Volume 8

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Editors' Note
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Kristen Sorgi | Brown University

Self-Efficacy, Experience, and Appraisal of Situations in the Academic and Social Domains of College Life
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Abstract: This paper investigates the relationship between perceived self-efficacy and several situation-based variables in the academic and social domains of college life. A sample of 99 Brown University undergraduates respond to a series of self-report measures through an online survey. Analyses of these responses revealed fundamentally different relationships between reported levels of self-efficacy, experience with demanding situations, and perceived stress and coping abilities in the academic and social domains. Connections to social learning theory and previous findings, as well as implications for future research, are discussed.

Anastasia Rykova

A Comparative Look at the Effectiveness of Adlerian Therapy versus Gestalt Therapy for Major Depressive Disorder
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Abstract: Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a serious and consuming mental illness that affects a large portion of the population. As such, extensive research has been dedicated to finding effective methods for its remission. Throughout this body of work, researchers have not only identified the most effective, but least effective methods as well. There are numerous benefits to studying why and how a particular treatment works, but even more so for studying why and how it does not. This approach can illuminate inconsistencies between treatment and patient needs, allowing already effective methods to increase their applicability. Countering flaws in this manner can improve therapy methods in general, by providing another technique with which treatment information can be gathered and used. Adlerian and Gestalt therapy are two methods which meet these requirements. Discussing each treatment’s ineffectiveness as well as its comparative effectiveness will shed light into the nature of MDD. This discussion demonstrates that Adlerian therapy (AT) is more effective than Gestalt therapy (GT), thereby suggesting that people with MDD respond to a slow, sensitive, and mental therapy that allows for a world-view restructuring well.

Sean Madden | Plymouth State University

Depersonalization/ Derealization Disorder: A Neglected Disease in Psychiatry
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Abstract: Depersonalization/ derealization disorder is an overlooked, common, and debilitating dissociative condition. Core features include persistent or recurrent depersonalization and/or derealization (i.e., profound sensations of unreality and detachment). The disorder affects both sexes equally and usually begins in adolescence. Etiological factors include illicit drug use, emotional abuse, and prolonged stress. Neural substrates include ventrolateral-prefrontal dysfunction, anomalies in the parietal and temporal lobes, and dysregulated serotonergic neurotransmission. The disorder has been deemed refractory to medication; however, tricyclic antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and opioid antagonists have helped some patients. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and mindfulness-related exercises have shown promise. More research is required to further the efficacy of treatment and to raise awareness of the disorder in both clinical and public settings.

Hailey Ziegelhofer and Anvita Bhardwaj | The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Alternative Therapies for Mood Enhancement: Is Laughter Truly the Best Medicine?
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Abstract: Although research investigating the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is currently minimal, there is evidence that both Laughter Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation are effective in raising mood. However – there are significant gaps in existing research. Firstly, the two treatments have never been directly compared. Additionally, previous studies have not used a control group. With that in mind, this study was created to evaluate differences in the effectiveness of Laughter Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation on elevating mood after viewing a sad video. We hypothesized that individuals in the Laughter Yoga group would display an increased mood following the intervention when compared to the Mindfulness Meditation and control groups. An Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) elucidated that the specific intervention group (either Laughter Yoga or Mindfulness Meditation) was significantly impactful on happiness levels, even after controlling for baseline happiness. As hypothesized, post-hoc tests revealed that the Laughter Yoga intervention resulted in more dramatically elevated happiness when compared to both the Mindfulness Meditation and control groups. Results showed Laughter Yoga to be a promising and fast-acting form of therapy for mood enhancement, when compared to Mindfulness Meditation or no intervention.

Daniel Khaw and Margaret Kern | University of Pennsylvania, University of Melbourne

A Cross-Cultural Comparison of the PERMA Model of Well-being
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Abstract: Seligman’s (2011) PERMA theory of well-being describes a multi-dimensional approach in order to define what it means to flourish in life. The PERMA constructs include Positive emotion (P), Engagement (E), Relationships (R), Meaning (M), and Accomplishment (A). Butler and Kern (2014) developed the PERMA-Profiler, a brief measure of PERMA. In this study, we extend the PERMA-Profiler to a Malaysian sample, in order to examine how well the measure works in another culture. Participants (N = 322) completed the PERMA-profiler, and subset of participants (n = 268) also answered two qualitative questions about their perspectives on well-being. We compared the sample means to data previously collected from participants in the United States (N = 5,456). The Malaysian sample was significantly lower than the US sample on all of the PERMA domains Next, we used factor analysis to examine the proposed five-factor structure. A three-factor model (positive emotion/ relationships, meaning/accomplishment, and engagement) fit the data better than the proposed five factors. We then coded and examined the qualitative questions on perceptions of well-being. While the PERMA constructs were generally represented, there were also other constructs that went beyond the PERMA model, such as religion, health, and security. Examining the PERMA-Profiler in Malaysia provides the opportunity to understand well-being more comprehensively in different cultures and evaluate how individuals in specific cultures flourish.

Xin Zhao | University of California, Berkeley

The Association between ADHD and Creativity
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Abstract: Are children and adults with ADHD more creative? This review will discuss the relationship between creativity and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and will investigate related biological models and behavioral experiments. By examining research that studied ADHD children, ADHD adults, high-creativity individuals and control subjects, this review will present discrepant research regarding the relationship between ADHD and creativity. Spontaneous Eye Blink Rate (EBR) has been found to be a valid measure for creativity and dopamine. Children with ADHD not on medication display lower dopamine levels and EBR when performing goal-directed tasks. Interestingly, other researchers have observed children and adults, with ADHD symptoms and diagnosis, are more likely to score higher in divergent thinking tasks and less in convergent thinking tasks than controls. A possible explanation is that the dopamine levels mediate ADHD symptoms, and also, lead to different performances in convergent thinking tasks and divergent thinking tasks. Hopefully further research can help attain accurate diagnoses for children with high creativity and improve treatments for people with ADHD.

Natalia Van Doren | University of California, Berkeley

The Role of Yoga’s Rituals in Psychological Well-being
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Abstract: Yoga is an ancient discipline that has been shown to increase both mental and physical health and well-being. Individuals are constantly looking for a way to counter the psychological effects of a rapid paced life, and yoga has been a solution for many. While past research identifies physiological changes associated with yoga practice that lead to a decrease in stress and increased well-being, little is known about the psychological processes that lead to well-being. Past research connects synchronous rituals of yoga with increases in prosocial behavior. Other research finds correlations between yoga and psychological well-being, but little research has looked at the connections between synchronous rituals of yoga, prosocial behavior and well-being. A theoretical model is proposed to explain the effect of yoga’s rituals on psychological well-being, where prosocial behavior mediates the relationship between the synchronous rituals of yoga and psychological well-being. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.