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Reducing Social Media’s Negative Influence on Emerging Adults’ Mental Well-Being with a Design-Focused, Neuroscience Approach

Description

"No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth." These were the words of former Facebook Vice President Chamath Palihapitiya who publicly expressed his regret in a 2017 interview over his role in co-creating Facebook. Palihapitiya shared that social media is ripping

"No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth." These were the words of former Facebook Vice President Chamath Palihapitiya who publicly expressed his regret in a 2017 interview over his role in co-creating Facebook. Palihapitiya shared that social media is ripping apart the social fabric of society and he also sounded the alarm regarding social media’s unavoidable global impact. He is only one of social media’s countless critics. The more disturbing issue resides in the empirical evidence supporting such notions. At least 95% of adolescents own a smartphone and spend an average time of two to four hours a day on social media. Moreover, 91% of 16-24-year-olds use social media, yet youth rate Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter as the worst social media platforms. However, the social, clinical, and neurodevelopment ramifications of using social media regularly are only beginning to emerge in research. Early research findings show that social media platforms trigger anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and other negative mental health effects. These negative mental health symptoms are commonly reported by individuals from of 18-25-years old, a unique period of human development known as emerging adulthood. Although emerging adulthood is characterized by identity exploration, unbounded optimism, and freedom from most responsibilities, it also serves as a high-risk period for the onset of most psychological disorders. Despite social media’s adverse impacts, it retains its utility as it facilitates identity exploration and virtual socialization for emerging adults. Investigating the “user-centered” design and neuroscience underlying social media platforms can help reveal, and potentially mitigate, the onset of negative mental health consequences among emerging adults. Effectively deconstructing the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (i.e., hereafter referred to as “The Big Three”) will require an extensive analysis into common features across platforms. A few examples of these design features include: like and reaction counters, perpetual news feeds, and omnipresent banners and notifications surrounding the user’s viewport. Such social media features are inherently designed to stimulate specific neurotransmitters and hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, and cortisol. Identifying such predacious social media features that unknowingly manipulate and highjack emerging adults’ brain chemistry will serve as a first step in mitigating the negative mental health effects of today’s social media platforms. A second concrete step will involve altering or eliminating said features by creating a social media platform that supports and even enhances mental well-being.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2021-05

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Bullying, loneliness, and future responses to stress

Description

Bully victimization has been associated with blunted cardiovascular responses to stress as well as elevated responses to stress. The difference between these altered physiological responses to stress is largely unknown. This study explored several possible moderators to the relationship between

Bully victimization has been associated with blunted cardiovascular responses to stress as well as elevated responses to stress. The difference between these altered physiological responses to stress is largely unknown. This study explored several possible moderators to the relationship between chronic stress and future cardiac output (an indicator of increased stress) in response to future stressors. These moderators include the difference between social and physical stressors and individual levels of loneliness. Participants were administered measures of loneliness and victimization history, and led to anticipate either a "social" (recorded speech) or "non-social" (pain tolerance test ) stressor, neither of which occurred. EKG and impedance cardiography were measured throughout the session. When anticipating both stressors, loneliness and victimization were associated with increased CO. A regression revealed a three-way interaction, with change in cardiac output depending on victimization history, loneliness, and condition in the physical stressor condition. Loneliness magnified the CO output levels of non-bullied individuals when facing a physical stressor. These results suggest that non- bullied participants high in loneliness are more stressed out when facing stressors, particularly stressors that are physically threatening in nature.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2013

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The effect of stress on self-reported academic performance measures among Hispanic undergraduate students at Arizona State University

Description

Research on the impact of stress on the academic performance of Hispanic undergraduate students is limited, leaving institutions of higher education without needed information about how to better support this growing population of students. The purpose of this study was

Research on the impact of stress on the academic performance of Hispanic undergraduate students is limited, leaving institutions of higher education without needed information about how to better support this growing population of students. The purpose of this study was to identify stressors that have a negative impact on academic performance of Hispanic undergraduate students. Themes were derived from focus groups and interviews regarding stress, stressors and related academic performance impacts of Hispanic undergraduate students attending a large multi-campus urban university and incorporated into a survey addressing common stressors, their impact on academic performance, stress impact on other areas of life, stress management ability, and demographic characteristics. The survey was administered to a random sample of Hispanic undergraduate students using an online format (n = 169). Descriptive statistics were used to examine frequencies. Stressors were placed into themes and tested for reliability of fit using Cronbach's Alpha. Pearson's Chi-Square and Cramer's V were used to measure association. Significance was set at ¡Ü .05. Overall stress of respondents resulted in serious performance effects among 32.5% of respondents and moderate performance effects among 43.8% of respondents. Stress impeded academic performance at least weekly among 36.1% of respondents. Stressors resulting in the most serious stress and academic performance effects included family, time factors, finances, and academics. Moderate stress and academic performance effects were evident in stressors related to mental health, technology, commuting, personal concerns, physical health and legal problems. The majority of respondents indicated doing a fair (n = 84, 49.7%) or good (n = 52, 30.8%) job managing stress. The remaining 20.0% (n = 33) of respondents did a poor job managing stress. Students with lower grade-point averages managed stress poorly compared to students with higher grade-point averages, X2 (6, N = 163) = 15.222, p = .019, Cramer's V = .019. These findings provide evidence that stressors related to family, time factors, finances, and academics, and overall stress have considerable negative effects on the academic performance of Hispanic undergraduate students. Institutions of higher education can improve academic outcomes among this student population by addressing and reducing the impact of common stressors affecting these students.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2012

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On the brink: experiences of women with mental illness on probation

Description

This dissertation explores the lives of women who are on the Severely Mentally Ill (SMI) caseload at Maricopa County Adult Probation in Arizona (The Phoenix metro region). The project focuses on three primary issues: (1) what are the pathways to

This dissertation explores the lives of women who are on the Severely Mentally Ill (SMI) caseload at Maricopa County Adult Probation in Arizona (The Phoenix metro region). The project focuses on three primary issues: (1) what are the pathways to the criminal justice and mental health systems for women on the SMI caseload (2) how does discretion and expansive formal social control (both benevolent and coercive) impact the lives of these women on the SMI caseload and (3) what are the gendered aspects to successful completion of SMI probation. To answer these questions a mixed-methods research design was employed. First, in-depth semi-structured interviews were completed with 65 women on the SMI caseload. Second, these interviews were supplemented with a case file review of each participant, and field observations (encompassing roughly 100 hours) were conducted at the Maricopa County Mental Health Court. Third, analysis also included 5.5 years of quantitative intake data from the SMI caseload, exploring demographic information and risk and assessment needs scores. The biographies of the women on the SMI caseload revealed similar histories of victimization, substance abuse, and relationship difficulty that previous pathways research has noted. Additionally, mental health problems directly impacted the path to the criminal justice system for some women on the SMI caseload. Results also showed many aspects of expanded social control for women on the SMI caseload. This expanded control appeared to be gendered at times and often created double binds for women. Finally, quantitative analysis showed that some predictive factors of SMI probation completion were gendered. Policy implications and summaries of findings are discussed.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2013

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Improving User Experience for College Admissions

Description

The Barrett Honors College website contains a lot of information that isn’t easily accessible by Honors Students. Many honors students have trouble finding the correct information they need. Important information is scattered all over the website making it difficult for

The Barrett Honors College website contains a lot of information that isn’t easily accessible by Honors Students. Many honors students have trouble finding the correct information they need. Important information is scattered all over the website making it difficult for honors students to find and understand the information they need. One example of this is the requirements for Lower and Upper Division credit. This website displays the upper and lower division credit needed for a student to graduate from the honors college via a noninteractive flowchart. Many high school seniors find it difficult to understand the mundane flowchart outlining the required honors credit that is required for graduating from Barrett at Arizona State University. Also, it is confusing for many transfer students with unique circumstances to determine the necessary requirements for them to graduate as a Barrett student.
These difficult flowcharts and confusing websites have a huge impact on a student’s ability to adequately receive the information they need and, in the end, can have a negative impact on their ultimate decision when deciding if Barrett is right for them. A better user experience can be a more effective way of displaying information to students. A better design that allows to user more interaction would allow for the user to better understand the information they are presented. Instead of a monotone flowchart displaying the requirements necessary to graduate with honors status, A web application where a user can input their information and get an output of the necessary requirements tailored to the unique circumstance would be more informative, useful, and easier to use. The web app would take information such as a student’s year, whether it be an incoming freshman or transfer student, and their current and previous course credit to determine the specific number of honors credits, The Human Event courses, and Thesis project required for this user to complete the requirements for Barrett Honors College. This application would give the user a better understanding of what is required of them and in turn lead to a better user experience.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2020-05

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Measuring mindfulness-related constructs and the role of meditation in the association between mindfulness-related constructs and mental health among U.S. adults

Description

Mindfulness is a concept derived from the Buddhist discourses of the Satipattana. Interventions that draw on mindfulness have been shown to reduce psychologically distressing symptoms in clinical settings. It has become widely used as a therapeutic technique in counseling, so

Mindfulness is a concept derived from the Buddhist discourses of the Satipattana. Interventions that draw on mindfulness have been shown to reduce psychologically distressing symptoms in clinical settings. It has become widely used as a therapeutic technique in counseling, so it is important to develop an instrument measuring mindfulness-related constructs. This study presents a new instrument measuring the importance of mindfulness-related constructs. Results from an exploratory factor analysis revealed a clear two-factor structure, with the factors named "Present Moment Awareness", and "Compassion and Ethical Behavior." These items were positively correlated with each other and, as expected, negatively correlated with depression. Finally, hours of meditation moderated this association such that the association was stronger among participants who reported higher levels of meditation practice.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2014

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A constructivist grounded theory exploration of wellbeing in female adult sexual assault victims/survivors

Description

The purpose of this constructivist grounded theory study was to explore the perceptions of adult female sexual assault victims/survivors about their wellbeing: their definitions and descriptions of wellbeing; the impact of the assault on wellbeing; and barriers and facilitators to

The purpose of this constructivist grounded theory study was to explore the perceptions of adult female sexual assault victims/survivors about their wellbeing: their definitions and descriptions of wellbeing; the impact of the assault on wellbeing; and barriers and facilitators to achieving wellbeing following assault. Feminist theory provided the sensitizing concepts for this research. Data were collected via semistructured interviews with 22 adult women who had experienced at least one episode of sexual assault at or above the age of 18. Data analysis included first, second, and third level coding techniques, memo writing, and data displays. Participants experienced negative effects to their overall wellbeing as well as to the wellbeing domains of physical, mental, career/economic/financial, relational, and spiritual. The findings of this study support wellbeing as a core category encompassing the five domains listed above, also described in the literature. The participants also confirmed and expounded in depth on the dynamic, interactive, and overlapping nature of each of the domains of wellbeing and their ability to enhance, maintain, or worsen health status and overall wellbeing. In addition, a new construct emerged that cut across all domains, that of safety, and the overarching significance of culture was recognized. Additional research should continue to explore wellbeing in diverse populations of sexual assault victims/survivors. Additional research should also explore the significance and function of safety in sexual assault victims/survivors. Formal and informal supporters of sexual assault victims/survivors should be aware of the complex ways that sexual assault affects women. In addition, they should be aware of helpful resources for sexual assault victims/survivors.

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Agent

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Date Created
2015

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Breaking down the barriers of stigma: understanding and fostering help-seeking behaviors in medical students

Description

Many medical students are reluctant to seek help during the course of their four years of medical school. When they do finally ask for help, some are already burned out or in a crisis. One of the main reasons students

Many medical students are reluctant to seek help during the course of their four years of medical school. When they do finally ask for help, some are already burned out or in a crisis. One of the main reasons students are apprehensive about seeking help is stigma. This mixed methods action research study was conducted to explore whether a help-seeking, anti-stigma campaign improved help-seeking behaviors. The innovation was an anti-stigma campaign consisting of three components: (a) video vignettes of upper class students normalizing help-seeking, (b) a Friends and Family of Medical Students session to educate those closest to the student about medical school, and (c) an anonymous, online mental health screening tool. Data from the General Help-Seeking Questionnaire, individual interviews, and institutional data from the medical school provided information about the effects of the campaign and determined factors influencing help-seeking. Using these strategies, I hoped to normalize help-seeking and break down the barriers of stigma. Major findings included: Students were more likely to seek help from personal resources (close family and friends); Students may be more proactive with personal resources, but need prompting for college or formal resources; Students’ beliefs and attitudes were influenced by those closest to them and; First year students were more likely to seek help than their second year classmates. In addition, data inspired future research ideas and programming regarding the topic of help-seeking in medical school.

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Created

Date Created
2016

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Examining the efficacy of the Ninja Mind Training (NMT) program: a mindfulness-based intervention for bullied teens

Description

School bullying is a serious problem for children and adolescents, associated with a multitude of psychological and behavioral problems. Interventions at the individual level have primarily been social skills training for victims of bullying. However, investigators have had mixed results;

School bullying is a serious problem for children and adolescents, associated with a multitude of psychological and behavioral problems. Interventions at the individual level have primarily been social skills training for victims of bullying. However, investigators have had mixed results; finding little change in victimization rates. It has been suggested victims of school bullying have the social skills necessary to be effective in a bullying situation; however they experience intense emotional arousal and negative thoughts leading to an inability to use social skills. One intervention that has been getting increasing acknowledgement for its utility in the intervention literature in psychology is mindfulness. However, there has been no research conducted examining the effects of mindfulness meditation on victims of bullying. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to develop an online intervention for victims of bullying that utilizes the cutting-edge technique of mindfulness and to determine the efficacy of this intervention in the context of bullying victimization. Participants were 32 adolescents ages 11 to 14 identified by their school facilitators as victims of bullying. Repeated measures ANOVAs were used to assess the efficacy of the NMT program versus a treatment as usual (TAU) social skills program. Results revealed significant decreases in victimization and increases in mindfulness among both treatment groups from pre-test to follow-up and post-test to follow-up assessments. There were no differences found between the two treatment groups for mean victimization or mindfulness scores. Overall, the NMT program appears to be a promising online intervention for bullied teens. Directions for future research and limitations of this study were also discussed.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2013

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Relationship between perceived stress and depression in college students

Description

Other studies have previously demonstrated that perceived stress and maladaptive stress management can lead to harmful outcomes including depression, morbidity, and mortality. College students (especially freshmen) have more difficulty dealing with stress, which can increase their susceptibility to engage in

Other studies have previously demonstrated that perceived stress and maladaptive stress management can lead to harmful outcomes including depression, morbidity, and mortality. College students (especially freshmen) have more difficulty dealing with stress, which can increase their susceptibility to engage in high risk behaviors. The importance of conducting this research is to discover the effects that perceived stress levels may have on depression outcomes in college students, and to evaluate the influence of health related behaviors on this relationship. This study used a retrospective cross-sectional correlational design to examine correlations between perceived stress, physical activity, and other health behaviors on clinical and perceived depression in college students. A random sample of 20,000 students was drawn from 62,476 students enrolled at Arizona State University (ASU). Participants included 2,238 students who volunteered to take the American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment (ACHA-NCHA) in spring 2009. Supplemental questions for ASU students were developed by ASU Wellness and administered as a part of the ACHA-NCHA II. The university sent an invitation email, wherein students were directed through a hyperlink to the survey website. ACHA provided institutional survey data in an SPSS file for analysis. The data were evaluated with Spearman Rho Correlation Analysis and Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test. There were more female participants (n = 580) than males (n = 483), both averaged 23 years of age. Men had greater height, weight, and body mass index than females, all were significant mean differences. There were more significant correlations between health factors and having perceived depression than with having real or diagnosed depression. Logistic regression showed that out of all variables and behaviors studied, only high levels of stress, poor general health, substance use, and gender (female) resulted in significant odds in predicting that a participant would be in one of the depression categories. This research suggests that addressing these factors may be important to prevent and reduce depression among college students. This study provides empirical evidence that there is a significant relationship between perceived stress and depression among college students, and that health behaviors such as substance abuse have a negative mediating effect on this relationship.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2011