Have a Safe Trip: Ecstasy Exposure, Perceived Risk, and Harm-Reduction Practices Among College Students
Nicole Alexis Ladines
Ecstasy – also known as 3, 4-Methylene dioxymetham-phetamine, or MDMA - has become one of the most notorious “club” drugs (Havere et al., 2011). SAMHSA (2015) reported that 6.8% of the U.S. population over the age of 12 had reported lifetime use of ecstasy. It has become popular as a social activity due to its subjective effects, such as feelings of connectedness, empathy, and heightened sensuality and sexuality (Leslie et al., 2015; Lee et al., 2010). Because of this, ecstasy use is prevalent among musical events such as nightclubs, festivals, and raves (Leslie et al., 2015). Prior studies on ecstasy users’ attitudes of perceived risk show that while some may understand that there are health risks involved, others believe that there is no harm at all in using ecstasy (Martins et al., 2011). The Harm Reduction Drugs Education (HDRE) approach argues that because the illicit usage of drugs cannot necessarily be stopped, the next step in safety would be to reduce or minimize any harm that can occur from using substances through harm-reduction practices (Akram & Galt, 1999). I hypothesize that higher ecstasy exposure will predict a higher sense of risk, which in turn will be a predictor of utilization of harm-reduction practices among ecstasy users.
The sample consisted of over 100 college students located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Participants were recruited through snowball sampling through social media and by classroom invitation. They were given a survey consisting of their Index of Habit Strength, an Ecstasy Use History Questionnaire (Davis, 2016) as well as three questions on Perceived Risk (Martins et al., 2011). The predicted results are that those who attend musical events are more exposed to ecstasy and that those with more exposure associate risk with usage. Results are also expected to demonstrate that one’s perception of risk will indicate engagement in harm-reduction practices, such as drinking water/electrolyte – rich fluids, preloading/postloading, and pill-checking (Davis, 2016). This research will advocate for implementation of harm-reduction practices as well as furthering knowledge on safety in recreational drug use.
This study examined college students’ moods during different seasons patterns throughout the year. Previous research has indicated that many individuals feel more lethargic, lonely and moody during the winter months (Rohan & Sigmon, 2000). These mood and behavior patterns clearly depend on specific seasons of the year. However, many studies have produced inconsistent findings and current data on how weather impacts college aged students moods in California (Lucht & Kasper, 1999). There are many inconsistent studies in the United States that indicate whether there is a higher fluctuation in women’s moods during seasonal change than there is with men(Chotai, Smedh, Johansson, Nilsson, Adolfsson, 2003). The current study investigated gender differences in college students and how weather impacts their overall mood in Northern California. It was hypothesized that women have a higher Global Seasonality Score (GSS) than men. It was also hypothesized that college -aged women experience more seasonal fluctuations in mood, socialization, sleep, eating patterns, and weight gain than men do. The current study involved 60 college students from a northern California university. The Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire (SPAQ; Rosenthal, 1984), a 7-item survey that measures of winter pattern seasonality of mood in the general population along with demographic and weather related questions were used to assess the effects of weather on mood and behavioral patterns. Results are expected to conclude that there is a statistically significant difference in GSS between men and women. Analyses are also expected to indicate that women’s mood, socialization, sleep, eating patterns, and weight fluctuation more than men’s. It can be concluded that there are gender differences in mood fluctuations that result from seasonal change.Furthermore, the analysis reveals a better understanding of how women and men adapt to seasonal change and provide support for further research within this topic. In regards of the results, the research is critical in understanding the correlation on why women’s overall mood fluctuates during different seasons of the year.
Parent culturally incompatibility was evaluated for its possible negative impact on a bicultural offspring’s cultural identity development. The 43 self-identified bicultural participants, aged from 18 to 67 years, provided family cultural histories, and completed the Parental Cultural Conflict Scale (PCCS) and the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM). The hypothesized relationship between high PCCS levels and low MEIM levels was not supported by the data; however, the range of responses on the PCCS was very limited with a complete absence of any very low or very high conflict scores. It was concluded that parents’ cultural incompatibility does not have the level of negative impact on their offspring’s cultural identity development as originally anticipated, but due to the limited range of PCCS values, the hypothesis cannot be completely rejected. Results also demonstrated that there was also no significant difference found in the mean MEIM scores for the bicultural study sample and published norms for various monocultural groups, suggesting that bicultural children may find their path to self-identification that is neither enhanced nor impaired by having two parents of different cultures.
Many believe the primary role in life is to settle down and have children. The present study focuses on understanding what can influence a person’s choice to have children. With a wide variety of childhood experiences that exist, as well as the influences of an optimism/pessimism attitude about life, this study will focus on how these characteristics can combine to influence one’s decision to have children.
According to McDonnell (2012), many of those who experienced an unstable or undesirable childhood grow up wanting no children as a way to not repeat the cycle. Meanwhile, some who experienced adversity in childhood seek parenthood as a way to do the opposite of what they experienced, and effort to provide better for their children. What differentiates these responses may have to do with general attitude about the world.
Individuals vary on their optimism-pessimism level. Evidence has been found that show optimism and pessimism to exist on a singular, bi-polar spectrum (Marshall, Wortman, Kusulas, Hervig, & Vickers, 1992); high optimism equates to a low level of pessimism and vice versa.
Studies have also shown that childhood adversities can play a large role when it comes to adulthood dispositional optimism (Korkeila et al, 2004). It is clear, then that childhood experiences, optimism-pessimism, and desire to have children are all somehow interconnected; these relationships suggests the following hypotheses: 1) Adults who had little or no adversity in childhood will desire to have children, independent of their levels of optimism/pessimism; and 2) Adults who did experience childhood adversity only will desire to have children if they are also high in levels of general optimism.
Stereotypical beliefs people have of personality traits that are expected from children in relation to their birth order has become a popular area of study. Parents can be consciously or unconsciously swayed to form impressions of their children based on birth order personality attributes formed by society and family. How parents act towards their children can impact a child’s cognitive and behavioral development (Eckstein & Kaufman, 2012). Using Adler’s psychological perspective theory, the present study hypothesized that there is a positive correlation between people’s perception of birth order traits and self-reported personality. Participants were 50 adults (84% female) 18 to 62 years old and primarily recruited on a university campus. Participants completed two online surveys, both shortened forms of Big 5 personality dimensions. The Mini-IPIP was used to gather participant’s self-reported personality traits. The TIPI was used to evaluate which traits the participants expect to see from a person that has the same birth order as them. Results demonstrated that there is a positive relationship between perceptions of birth order traits and self-reported personality. This is important because it suggest that Adler’s psychological perspective theory could be a more reliable measure to use compared to Sulloway’s evolutionary theory (Eckstein et al., 2010). Findings also add validity to Adler’s claim that the type of role a child adopts and the development of characteristics are a result of its interactions with family and society. Limitations include a small sample size and inaccurate hypothesized birth order traits. This study demonstrates that it is crucial for researchers to keep in mind that the family structure is the system from which specific birth order personality traits can develop and that parents should be aware of forming impressions of their children based on stereotypical societal beliefs.
The Relationship of Anxiety, Depression and Low Self-Esteem on the Tendency to have Compulsive Buying-type Behaviors
“Retail Therapy” is a term commonly used to describe the action taken to relieve or compensate for negative feelings by purchasing things not planned or necessary. This is also considered the first phase of shopping addiction (Sohn et al, 2013), and like other behaviors (e.g., drinking alcohol, eating, gambling) these can be problematic if not done in moderation.
When shopping involves a preoccupation or uncontrollable urge to buy and also leads to significant social and financial problems, it is called Compulsive Buying (CB). This problem behavior is a cycle that maybe initiated by negative feelings, followed by a short-lived euphoria and possible long-term negative consequences. Although not officially recognized as a psychological disorder, CB is associated with impaired functioning (Gallagher et al, 2017).
Studies suggest that certain personality traits and mood disorders are factors common in people with CB. Prior research has linked individuals who met criteria for CB with significantly higher rates of mood and anxiety disorders (Harvanko et al, 2013) and greater levels of depression (Kyrios et al, 2013). This information exposes the possibility that people can behave in ways consistent with compulsive buying from time to time without meeting the diagnosis for a mental illness.
It is reasonable to suggest that if the patterns of behavior have similar origins that differ only slightly, people who demonstrate non-clinical compulsive buying tendencies may also do so to alleviate (or change) negative mood(s). Therefore it is hypothesized that occasional compulsive-buying type behaviors will be more common for individuals with higher levels of depression or anxiety and lower self-esteem.
It was suggested that individuals who experience a stressful childhood may have learned from these experiences and developed a greater ability to cope with stress as adults; this ability is independent of general self-esteem. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, a Childhood Traumatic Events Scale, the Coping Self-Efficacy Scale and a Stressful Events Questionnaire were completed by 64 participants. Comparing those who had traumatic childhood experiences with those who had not, the results showed no significant group differences for the Coping Scores. Those with traumatic childhoods had significantly lower self-esteem, and had experienced higher (but not significantly different) levels of stress during past week and also in general during past three months. It was concluded that childhood traumatic experiences have little or no observable influence on how adults cope with or respond to stressful events.
Past research has indicated that immigrant college students experience acculturative shock and stress, arising from acculturative adjusting (Barlow, 2002; Cohen & Wills, 1985; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). This study explored the potential relationships between acculturative stress, perceived social support, and self-concealment amongst immigrant college students. Further, the study examined whether social support is related to lower acculturative stress for students. It was hypothesized that strong social support would be negatively related to acculturative stress, and that self-concealment would be positively related to acculturative stress.
Results indicate that there was a significant positive relationship between self-concealment and acculturative stress in this sample, indicating that participants who utilized self-concealment also experienced higher levels of acculturative stress. On the other hand, no relationship was found between perceived social support and acculturative stress. Findings indicate that immigrant students with a high level of self-concealment also experience difficulty acculturating to the culture in which they currently live. This has implications for immigration students’ ability to engage fully in school and for educational policy acculturative stress.
The development of an individual’s beliefs about God is significantly influenced by teachings of parents. However, not all children have the exact same beliefs as their parents. The present study will examine what may be the characteristics of individual who have similar or differing beliefs than those to which they were exposed as a child.
Although not identical to a “belief in God”, much of the past research evaluating belief systems has focused primarily of “religiosity”. Caldwell-Harris (2012) noted that openness to experience was the personality characteristic that differed most between the religious and non-religious respondents. Even controlling for education, gender, marriage, and child rearing openness remained, the strongest predictor of both lower religious belief and membership. In a study by Luke and Kim (2011) compared religious and views on strength of beliefs and found that even people who are not religious can hold very strong views and stick to these opinions avidly.
While several have studied relationship of personality and relition, few have evaluated the origins of those ideas, i.e., how beliefs may have changed since childhood. Arnett, Jensen (2002) studied religious socialization and found that beliefs in emerging adulthood show an increase in a skeptical view of religious institutions.
The adult’s beliefs about God, therefore, would seem to be a combination of the set of ideas taught by the parent and the personality characteristic of the adult child which have allowed the individual to retain or migrate away from those teaching. It is hypothesized that adults who score high in Openness are more likely to have a different set of beliefs than those which where taught to them as a child.
Methodology includes online data collection of demographics, measures parents and children’s beliefs, and the Big Five personality inventory. Results will be available in April 2017.
Discrimination is the act of negatively behaving towards a person or group of people due to the social group these individuals belong to. Although, as a society we like to believe that discrimination does not occur as often as it does, it can take many forms that we can be oblivious to. As a healthcare provider, one is held to a higher standard that many often forget are still human susceptible to the same vices. Discrimination in healthcare is a topic that many are not aware of the prevalence in our healthcare system. It might seem that the societal perceptions of different ethnic groups would not affect the healthcare sector but it does (Yearby, 2010).
The current study examined if unconscious biases had an affect on whether or not certain patients receive full scope treatment. The study proposed that racial discrimination affects the kind of treatment patients receive which leads to alarming health disparities between majority and minority group members. The study aimed to reveal the psychological nature of discrimination and how covert discrimination is the main culprit behind the differences in medical treatments received from healthcare providers. Empathy and personality scales were used to measure whether or not covert discrimination was present in those trying to enter and already working the healthcare field.
Participants were anonymously surveyed and provided their self-identified demographics, were given the student version of Jefferson Empathy Scale, randomly assigned one out of three vignettes about a patient, were asked further questions on how likely the participant would be to treat the patient and the speed in which they would administer pain medication if at all. Then, the participants were asked to rate the patient’s personality through a condensed version of the Big Five Inventory. Lastly, the participants were dismissed with a thank you for participation letter.
A diverse sample of students in healthcare related majors and at a small private liberal arts school and Bay Area healthcare professionals were recruited through social media, email, and an in class presentation for the study. The study was hosted online through SurveyMonkey.com and was open for 60 days.
It was hypothesized that the higher the empathy levels of the healthcare provider, the higher level of care they would administer to a patient. It was also hypothesized that due to subconscious biases that are perpetuated by society, African Americans are more likely to be given less treatment as opposed to Caucasian and Non-Stated race patients or thought to be exaggerating their medical experiences (level of pain) by the healthcare providers (healthcare related majoring students and professionals).
The findings of this study are intended to broaden the awareness of racial discrimination in healthcare and showcase how negative stereotypes of certain ethnic groups affect every aspect of life, including receiving of health care.
Previous research has demonstrated that natural views and access to plants appear to have significant beneficial effects on individuals (Relf, 1992). Studies of green views out of a classroom window showed significant reductions in students’ mental fatigue (Li & Sullivan, 2016), and studies of indoor plants in hospital settings showed stress reduction and increased healing rates in patients (Ulrich, 1984). Indoor plants in the workplace demonstrated improved employee performance (Kweon, Ulrich, Walker, & Tassinary, 2008). However, there have been few studies examining the impact indoor plants might have in a classroom setting. This study used an experimental design to measure the impact of indoor plants on participants’ stress levels, mental fatigue, and test performance. Forty-eight students and non-students recruited from a small liberal arts college in Marin County were given a timed 12-question math test. The test environment for the experimental group included green, leafy, indoor plants, whereas the test environment for the control group was devoid of plants. The participants’ level of immediate post-test stress and mental fatigue was self-measured using 12 questions from the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (Spielberger, Gorsuch, Lushene, Vagg, & Jacobs, 1983) and the Profile of Mood States (Grove & Prapavessis, 1993). Results of the current study indicated that, relative to those in the control group, participants exposed to indoor plants reported similar levels of stress and fatigue, and showed no significant difference in test performance. A correlation was found between participants’ levels of stress, tension, and fatigue. The current study was unique in its design, and further research is needed in a classroom environment to fully demonstrate the benefits of indoor plants on stress, fatigue, and test performance of students.
Twice exceptionality, or 2e, is the recently-coined term for the intersection of learning disabilities (LDs) and giftedness in an individual. Typically, these learning disabilities encompass ADHD, ASD, and/or specific learning disorders such as dyslexia. Because giftedness may obscure or compensate for a student’s academic struggles, and because institutional fixation on disability may overshadow intelligence, twice exceptionality is often missed by teachers and other authority figures in a child’s life. Given the ongoing difficulties of screening for twice exceptionality, it is likely that many 2e students have gone unidentified throughout most of their academic careers, without receiving the accommodations that would most benefit their studies. Furthermore, 2e adults whose schooling predated widespread awareness of twice exceptionality are more likely to have been diagnosed later in life.
The twin prongs of identification and intervention for 2e youth make up the bulk of studies in the field. Today’s 2e youth are better-identified, better-studied, and better-supported than any previous generation, but 2e adults remain an understudied population. In addition to the difficulties and contradictions inherent in twice exceptionality, late identification and lack of support are likely to have negatively impacted twice exceptional adults, both in and out of the classroom.
The present study will examine the ability of 2e adults to effectively cope with stressors in their lives, as well as their current level of life satisfaction. Approximately fifty or more 2e adults will be recruited through email and social media, and via the disability department of a small liberal arts university. Participants will be asked about their diagnostic histories and their experiences with higher education, and will then complete the Satisfaction With Life Scale (Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S., 1985) and Coping Self-Efficacy Scale (Chesney, M.A., Neilands, T.B., Chambers, D.B., Taylor, J.M., & Folkman, S., 2006). Data will be collected and analyzed in March and April 2017.
We hypothesize that there will be a relationship between the age of identification as twice exceptional and adult quality of life, operationalized by Satisfaction with Life and Coping Self-Efficacy. Additionally, we will explore the relationships between specific diagnoses and these variables, as well as factors of race and gender. This study will provide information on an underserved and understudied group, and we hope it will provide a deeper understanding of the needs and strengths of this population.
Emotions can often be transferred from one person to another. It has been assumed that the strength and impact of contagious emotions can depend largely on the susceptibility of the individual. This concept has led to the idea of emotional contagion, or “the tendency to automatically mimic and synchronize facial expressions, vocalizations, postures and movements with those of another person, and consequently, to converge emotionally”, as defined by Hatfield, Cacioppo & Rapson (1992). The present study will examine the influence of certain emotions and the increased probability for contagion to occur. Specifically, this study will explore the emotional strengths of happiness and sadness viewed in others as catalysts for changes in individual mood states. Participants (n=60) solicited from Dominican University and different social networks will be sent an email containing the link to a survey via Surveymonkey.com, containing the Emotional Contagion Scale (ECS; Doherty, 1997), one of six randomly selected video clips from youtube.com, and two subscales from the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule-Expanded Form (PANAS-X; Watson & Clark, 1994). Participants will also be asked common demographic questions. The ECS measures individual susceptibility to emotional contagion. Participants will then watch one of six video clips (either a male or female) that depict an elderly person expressing either a happy, sad, or neutral emotion. Finally, participants will be asked a total of 12 questions about their mood state using two subscales from the PANAS-X (joviality and sadness). This study furthers current research to extend findings that establish a relationship between individual differences in emotional susceptibility and the potential for mood change. It is hypothesized that 1) emotionally susceptible people should score high on a mood scale after watching an emotionally charged video clip, 2) sadness will have a more contagious effect, and 3) females will score higher than males in emotional contagion. Data collection for this study will take place February/March of 2015.
Derry E. Gutierrez
Social networking sites (SNS) like Facebook provide several social comparison opportunities. College students use several methods of social media to communicate and stay in touch with friends and family around the world. Although Facebook allows its users to post pictures, plan social events, meet new people, sustain relationships, and observe others’ lives, it also traps its users into a world where they (consciously and unconsciously) compare their lives to those of others. Facebook users self-evaluate and self-enhance their lives by socially comparing themselves with the detailed information they receive from other users. This frequent comparison indicates that social network sites are an important venue where people can evaluate themselves (e.g., opinions, abilities, and emotions), develop their own identities, and where people can also feel happy/unhappy or satisfied/dissatisfied with themselves from comparison with others (Lee, 2014). Shaw and Grant’s (2002) study indicated that internet use decreased depression and loneliness and increased both self-esteem and social support; however, Kraut et al. (1998) found internet use to be positively associated with depression, loneliness, and stress. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate the correlation between the use of Facebook and students’ level of self-esteem. Specifically looking at the amount of time college students’ spend on Facebook and how it makes them feel lonely or unhappy with themselves, ultimately affecting their self-esteem.
Forty participants were sent an email link with one online survey on surveymonkey.com to complete. They responded to a combined 33 questions from the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965), the Facebook Usage and Experience Measure (derived from Rouis, Limayem, & Salehi-Sangari, 2011), and the Demographics questionnaire regarding age, ethnicity, marital status, and gender. This study predicts that students with intense use of Facebook are affected negatively and have a lower self-esteem than those who do not.
Research is the cornerstone of undergraduate education in Department of Psychology at Dominican University of California. Posters in this collection showcase some of the student work presented at conferences.
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