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Shared Parenting: From Practice to Policy

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This study examines how a 2013 Arizona law on shared parenting would affect living arrangements, and thus mental health measures. There were two hypotheses. According to the Law Change Hypothesis, it was hypothesized that parenting time in Arizona would be

This study examines how a 2013 Arizona law on shared parenting would affect living arrangements, and thus mental health measures. There were two hypotheses. According to the Law Change Hypothesis, it was hypothesized that parenting time in Arizona would be more equal following the 2013 Arizona law change while there would be no change in parenting time in other states following the 2013 Arizona law change. It was further hypothesized that child mental health would be better after the law change in Arizona with no change being seen in other states. Results of this study were almost completely inconsistent with the hypothesis. According to the Law Reflect Hypothesis, the law is actually reflecting the behavior of the community and their thoughts on equal parenting time becoming more favorable, and therefore a change towards more equal parenting time would be found prior to 2013 in Arizona with no change seen in other states. Furthermore, as the Arizona community’s behavior changed, child mental health would be better with no change being seen in other states. Regressions found that a small change toward more equal parenting and closeness with father was prior to 2013 for Arizona students, compared to out-of-state students, although it did not find that the year of divorce resulted in less anxiety, stress, and depression. This partially agrees with past research that the 2013 law is working as intended, even if it started working earlier than we thought. This does not agree with previous research stating there is a connection between equal parenting and better mental health. This is important because this study questions the efficacy of an important and controversial policy. If future studies are consistent with this one, the effectiveness of the Arizona 2013 law change on mental health will need to be further evaluated.

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Date Created
2021-05

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Carnesi Thesis Paper

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Suicide is a significant public health problem, with incidence rates and lethality continuing to increase yearly. Given the large human and financial cost of suicide worldwide alongside the lack of progress in suicide prediction, more research is needed to inform

Suicide is a significant public health problem, with incidence rates and lethality continuing to increase yearly. Given the large human and financial cost of suicide worldwide alongside the lack of progress in suicide prediction, more research is needed to inform suicide prevention and intervention efforts. This study approaches suicide from the lens of suicide note-leaving behavior, which can provide important information on predictors of suicide. Specifically, this study adds to the existing literature on note-leaving by examining history of suicidality, mental health problems, and their interaction in predicting suicide note-leaving, in addition to demographic predictors of note-leaving examined in previous research using data from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS, n = 98,515). We fit a logistic regression model predicting leaving a suicide note or not, the results of which indicated that those with mental health problems or a history of suicidality were more likely to leave a suicide note than those without such histories, and those with both mental health problems and a history of suicidality were most likely to leave a suicide note. These findings reinforce the need to tailor suicide prevention efforts toward identifying and targeting higher risk populations.

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Date Created
2022-05

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Final Thesis Defense Presentation

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Suicide is a significant public health problem, with incidence rates and lethality continuing to increase yearly. Given the large human and financial cost of suicide worldwide alongside the lack of progress in suicide prediction, more research is needed to inform

Suicide is a significant public health problem, with incidence rates and lethality continuing to increase yearly. Given the large human and financial cost of suicide worldwide alongside the lack of progress in suicide prediction, more research is needed to inform suicide prevention and intervention efforts. This study approaches suicide from the lens of suicide note-leaving behavior, which can provide important information on predictors of suicide. Specifically, this study adds to the existing literature on note-leaving by examining history of suicidality, mental health problems, and their interaction in predicting suicide note-leaving, in addition to demographic predictors of note-leaving examined in previous research using data from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS, n = 98,515). We fit a logistic regression model predicting leaving a suicide note or not, the results of which indicated that those with mental health problems or a history of suicidality were more likely to leave a suicide note than those without such histories, and those with both mental health problems and a history of suicidality were most likely to leave a suicide note. These findings reinforce the need to tailor suicide prevention efforts toward identifying and targeting higher risk populations.

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Date Created
2022-05

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COVID-19 Related Stress, Mental Health, and Alcohol Use Outcomes Among College Students: Examining the Moderating Role of Emotion Regulation

Description

The COVID-19 pandemic has generated alarming increases in psychological distress and alcohol use behaviors and has caused the greatest increases in depression and anxiety symptoms among college students. Prior studies have examined the impact of COVID-19 broadly on mental health

The COVID-19 pandemic has generated alarming increases in psychological distress and alcohol use behaviors and has caused the greatest increases in depression and anxiety symptoms among college students. Prior studies have examined the impact of COVID-19 broadly on mental health and alcohol use outcomes; however, few studies have examined these impacts in college students. Previous studies have examined individual factors that could moderate the relation between COVID-19 related stressors and mental health and alcohol use outcomes, but knowledge is lacking regarding the role of emotion regulation. The present study aimed to examine the role of emotion regulation in the relation between both COVID-19 stressful experiences and COVID-19 related worry and mental health and alcohol use outcomes, and to explore racial/ethnic differences in their associations. Four hierarchical multiple regression models were conducted to assess main effects of COVID-19 stressors and emotion regulation, as well as moderation of the effect of emotion regulation on depression symptoms, anxiety symptoms, alcohol consumption, and alcohol use disorder (AUD) symptoms during the past year. COVID-19 related worry was associated with greater symptoms of both mental health outcomes, whereas COVID-19 related stressful experiences were associated with both mental health outcomes, more alcohol consumption, and more AUD symptoms. Difficulties in emotion regulation had significant main effects on mental health outcomes and AUD symptoms, but not alcohol consumption. Hispanic/Latinx students reported higher experiences of both COVID-19 related stressors, but consumed less alcohol than did White/European students. This study provides further insight into the nature of COVID-19 related stressors and their subsequent impacts. Implications for prevention and intervention on college campuses are discussed.

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Date Created
2021-12

Mental Health Status and History of Suicidality as Predictors of Suicide Note Leaving Behavior

Description

Suicide is a significant public health problem, with incidence rates and lethality continuing to increase yearly. Given the large human and financial cost of suicide worldwide alongside the lack of progress in suicide prediction, more research is needed to inform

Suicide is a significant public health problem, with incidence rates and lethality continuing to increase yearly. Given the large human and financial cost of suicide worldwide alongside the lack of progress in suicide prediction, more research is needed to inform suicide prevention and intervention efforts. This study approaches suicide from the lens of suicide note-leaving behavior, which can provide important information on predictors of suicide. Specifically, this study adds to the existing literature on note-leaving by examining history of suicidality, mental health problems, and their interaction in predicting suicide note-leaving, in addition to demographic predictors of note-leaving examined in previous research using data from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS, n = 98,515). We fit a logistic regression model predicting leaving a suicide note or not, the results of which indicated that those with mental health problems or a history of suicidality were more likely to leave a suicide note than those without such histories, and those with both mental health problems and a history of suicidality were most likely to leave a suicide note. These findings reinforce the need to tailor suicide prevention efforts toward identifying and targeting higher risk populations.

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Created

Date Created
2022-05

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Equine Assisted Learning: An Evidence-Based Intervention for Families

Description

Background: It is estimated that 50% of all mental illness arises prior to age 14, an incident attributed in part to disruptions and imbalances within the family system. Equine assisted learning is a complementary and alternative approach to family therapy

Background: It is estimated that 50% of all mental illness arises prior to age 14, an incident attributed in part to disruptions and imbalances within the family system. Equine assisted learning is a complementary and alternative approach to family therapy which is being used increasingly to promote mental health in both adults and children. This study sought to build and deliver an evidence-based, family-centered equine assisted learning program aimed at promoting family function, family satisfaction and child social-emotional competence, and to measure its acceptability and preliminary effect.

Method: Twenty families with children 10 years and older were recruited to participate in a 3-week equine assisted learning program at a therapeutic riding center in Phoenix, Arizona. Sessions included groundwork activities with horses used to promote life skills using experiential learning theory. The study design included a mixed-method quasi-experimental one-group pretest posttest design using the following mental health instruments: Devereaux Student Strengths Assessment, Brief Family Assessment Measure (3 dimensions), and Family Satisfaction Scale to measure child social-emotional competence, family function, and family satisfaction, respectively. Acceptability was determined using a Likert-type questionnaire with open-ended questions to gain a qualitative thematic perspective of the experience.

Results: Preliminary pretest and posttest comparisons were statistically significant for improvements in family satisfaction (p = 0.001, M = -5.84, SD = 5.63), all three domains of family function (General Scale: p = 0.005, M = 6.84, SD = 9.20; Self-Rating Scale: p = 0.050, M = 6.53, SD = 12.89; and Dyadic Relationship Scale: p = 0.028, M = 3.47, SD = 7.18), and child social-emotional competence (p = 0.015, M = -4.05, SD 5.95). Effect sizes were moderate to large (d > 0.5) for all but one instrument (Self-Rating Scale), suggesting a considerable magnitude of change over the three-week period. The intervention was highly accepted among both children and adults. Themes of proximity, self-discovery, and regard for others emerged during evaluation of qualitative findings. Longitudinal comparisons of baseline and 3-month follow-up remain in-progress, a topic available for future discussion.

Discussion: Results help to validate equine assisted learning as a valuable tool in the promotion of child social-emotional intelligence strengthened in part by the promotion of family function and family satisfaction. For mental health professionals, these results serve as a reminder of the alternatives that are available, as well as the importance of partnerships within the community. For therapeutic riding centers, these results help equine professionals validate their programs and gain a foothold within the scientific community. Additionally, they invite future riding centers to follow course in incorporating evidence into their programs and examining new directions for growth within the mental health community.

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Date Created
2019-05-02