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The Effects of Mental Health and Familial Support on Childhood Cancer Patients

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Children with cancer can experience decreased emotional health along with deteriorating
physical health compared to children without cancer. Many studies have been done to examine the effects of emotional distress and mental health on the cancer patient, as well as

Children with cancer can experience decreased emotional health along with deteriorating
physical health compared to children without cancer. Many studies have been done to examine the effects of emotional distress and mental health on the cancer patient, as well as the role of familial support. It was found that children with cancer may suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD, and socio-emotional problems as a result of the trauma of being diagnosed and treated for a pervasive, life-threatening disease. Late effects may also worsen co-morbid mental health disorders. Childhood cancer patients who experience co-morbid mental health problems of depression and anxiety end up having a longer duration of recovery, as well as a worsened outcome than others with a single disorder (Massie, 2004). It was also shown that family members are affected emotionally and mentally from dealing with childhood cancer. Not only is the cancer patient at risk for PTSD during or after treatment, but also family members (National Cancer Institute, 2015). Siblings of the child with cancer may experience feelings of loneliness, fear, and anxiety, as the parent’s attention is focused on the child suffering with cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute (2015), familial problems can affect the child’s ability to adjust to the diagnosis and treatment in a positive way. However, children with strong familial and social support adjust easier to living with cancer. A common theme found in literature is that regular mental health checkups during and after cancer treatment is important for quality of life. Therefore, it is important for all childhood cancer patients and their families to receive information about mental health awareness, as well as therapeutic interventions that are developed for families caring for a child with cancer.

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Date Created
2019-05

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Does Sleep Predict Children's Academic Success?

Description

Academic success in childhood is crucial for later academic, occupational, and life success (Heckman, 2006; Kuncel, Hezlett, & Ones, 2004; Spengler, Brunner, Damian, Lüdtke, Martin, & Roberts, 2015). Recent research suggests sleep is important for academic success but lacks objective

Academic success in childhood is crucial for later academic, occupational, and life success (Heckman, 2006; Kuncel, Hezlett, & Ones, 2004; Spengler, Brunner, Damian, Lüdtke, Martin, & Roberts, 2015). Recent research suggests sleep is important for academic success but lacks objective measures of sleep (Buckhalt, El-Sheikh, Keller, & Kelly, 2009; Curcio, Ferrara, & De Gennaro, 2006; Dewald, Meijer, Oort, Kerkhof, & Bögels, 2010; Philbrook, Hinnant, Elmore-Staton, Buckhalt, & El-Sheikh, 2017). The purpose of this study was to examine the relations between sleep and academic success among children through objective measures of sleep in order to expand on the literature. Our sample consisted of 381 twins (50.4% male; 56% Caucasian; 36.5% same sex dizygotic) participating in an 8-year assessment from a longitudinal twin study. Actigraphy was used to assess sleep while various measures were used to assess academic success. A series of mixed model regressions were used to test the main predictions, with family entered as a random effect. Sex, age, Hispanic, SES, and zygosity were controlled for. Significant negative relations were revealed between sleep latency and reading and sleep latency and school liking. Additionally, SES was the most consistent significant positive predictor of our measures of academic success. These results suggest sleep and effects of SES should be considered when developing ways to help children’s school performance.

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2018-05

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Do Emotions Make A Difference? Determining if Positive Emotions Moderate the Effectiveness of an Embodied Language Comprehension Intervention

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Previous research demonstrated the overall efficacy of an embodied language intervention (EMBRACE) that taught pre-school children how to simulate (imagine) language in a heard narrative. However, EMBRACE was not effective for every child. To try to explain this variable

Previous research demonstrated the overall efficacy of an embodied language intervention (EMBRACE) that taught pre-school children how to simulate (imagine) language in a heard narrative. However, EMBRACE was not effective for every child. To try to explain this variable response to the intervention, the video recordings made during the four-day intervention sessions were assessed and emotion was coded. Each session was emotion-coded for child emotions and for child-researcher emotions. The child specific emotions were 1) engagement in the task, this included level of participation in the activity, 2) motivation/attention to persist and complete the task, as well as stay focused, and 3) positive affect throughout the session. The child-researcher specific emotions were 1) engagement with each other, this involved how the child interacted with the researcher and under what context, and 2) researcher’s positive affect, this incorporated how enthusiastic and encouraging the researcher was throughout the session. It was hypothesized that effectiveness of the intervention would be directly correlated with the degree that the child displayed positive emotions during the intervention. Thus, the analysis of these emotions should highlight differences between the control and EMBRACE group and help to explain variability in effectiveness of the intervention. The results did indicate that children in the EMBRACE group generally had a significantly higher positive affect compared to the control group, but these results did not influence the ability for the child to effectively recall or moderate the EEG variables in the post-test. The results also showed that children who interacted with the researcher more tended to be in the EMBRACE group, whereas children who did not interact with the researcher more frequently were in the control group, showing that the EMBRACE intervention ended up being a more collaborative task.

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Date Created
2020-05

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A Child's Ability to Learn Emotion Understanding and Coping Strategies

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Self-regulation in the form of coping with emotions is something that most people have effectively adapted to by adulthood. This is an organically learned process that begins in early childhood through play, parenting, education, and peer interactions. This study examines

Self-regulation in the form of coping with emotions is something that most people have effectively adapted to by adulthood. This is an organically learned process that begins in early childhood through play, parenting, education, and peer interactions. This study examines whether six children aged 4-5 (M age= 4.72, SD= 0.372, 50% female, 100% Caucasian) are able to understand basic emotions and how to cope with them through one of two protocols. The conditions were either directive instruction or embodied cognition, and children were evaluated with a pre and post-test measure. Findings did not indicate any significant effect of the conditions on memorizing coping mechanisms, nor did it indicate that there was a significant improvement in emotion understanding following the sessions. These findings were limited by the sample size and participant interest.

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Date Created
2017-12

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Going Back in Time: Children’s Word Learning Through Backwards Integration

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For many years now, early word learning in children has been an important subject among many researchers. There are many ways in which children learn word-object pairings including using co-occurrences, forwards integration, and backwards integration. This study primarily focuses on

For many years now, early word learning in children has been an important subject among many researchers. There are many ways in which children learn word-object pairings including using co-occurrences, forwards integration, and backwards integration. This study primarily focuses on backwards integration. Backwards integration entails using learned information to be able to recall a word-object pairing from a previous time. In this thesis, three different studies were conducted with children aged 3-7 years old. In the general task, children were presented with a computerized word-learning task in which they could track word-referent pairings using co-occurrence statistics, forward integration, and backward integration. The goal of Study 1 and Study 2 was to determine the best task design to study backwards integration. The goal of the final study, Study 3, was to provide preliminary data on backwards integration. The overall results indicate that a between subjects design is the most beneficial way to test backwards integration because as a group, children were learning when compared to chance. In addition, the results from Study 3 showed that children were not learning in the task. In general, this suggests that this task may have been very difficult for children to complete. One limitation of Study 3
was that there was a small sample size of only 29 children. In order to account for this, the sample sizes in Study 2 and Study 3 were combined. This combined data did show that children succeeded at the backwards integration condition. It is noteworthy to mention that backwards integration was above chance in Study 2 and in the Study 2 and 3 combination. Therefore, the overall results suggest that children may possibly be able to backwards integrate; however, no evidence of learning in any of the other conditions were present.

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Created

Date Created
2019-05

Sheldon the Shy Tortoise: A Children's Book About Shyness

Description

This creative project is a children's book entitled Sheldon the Shy Tortoise. Accompanying the story is a literature review of the research on childhood shyness. The purpose of the project is to gain a better of understanding of shyness in

This creative project is a children's book entitled Sheldon the Shy Tortoise. Accompanying the story is a literature review of the research on childhood shyness. The purpose of the project is to gain a better of understanding of shyness in childhood. Topics covered in the literature review include risk factors and causes, negative social and behavioral effects, impact on academics, and treatment options. Using this information, the children's book was written. It aims to be fun for children to read while also providing insight and encouragement into some of the problems related to being shy. The story features animal characters and a relatively simple plot so it is easily understandable by the target audience of late-preschool and early-elementary children. The main character, Sheldon the tortoise, is often physically and metaphorically "stuck in his shell". He wants to participate in social activities but is afraid to do so. Through a series of events and interactions, Sheldon starts to come out of his shell in every sense of the phrase. The book is illustrated using photographs of hand-crocheted stuffed animals representing each of the characters. By incorporating scholarly research into the writing process, children will hopefully be able to gain an understanding of their shyness and ways to help decrease it. Teachers should be able to better understand their shy students and understand some of the unique challenges of working with shy children. This creative project helps convey necessary information to children and families during a critical period of development.

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Created

Date Created
2016-05

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How Social Intelligence Correlates with and Affects Securely and Insecurely Attached Individuals

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The author examined the relationship between social intelligence and attachment style, specifically how attachment style affects how individuals respond to social intelligence training. Students at the Herberger Young Scholars Academy, a school for the highly gifted, completed an online social

The author examined the relationship between social intelligence and attachment style, specifically how attachment style affects how individuals respond to social intelligence training. Students at the Herberger Young Scholars Academy, a school for the highly gifted, completed an online social intelligence training program through the Social Intelligence Institute and were assessed on a number of items. These items include the Tromso Social Intelligence Scale (TSIS), the Attachment Questionnaire for Children (AQ-C), and a daily diary measure in which they recorded and rated their social interactions day to day. All participants were found to be either securely or insecurely attached, and those that were insecurely attached were further divided into insecure anxious attachment style and insecure avoidant attachment style. It was hypothesized that those with a secure attachment style would have higher initial TSIS scores than those with an insecure attachment style. It was also hypothesized that insecurely attached individuals would benefit more from the social intelligence training program than securely attached individuals indicated by "In tune" scores from the daily diaries, and insecure avoidant individuals would benefit more from the program than insecure anxious individuals indicated by "In tune" scores from the daily diaries. None of these hypotheses were supported by the data, as there was no significant difference between the initial social intelligence scores of the three attachment styles, and none of the variables measured were found to be significant predictors of "In tune" scores. Key Words: social intelligence, social intelligence training, attachment, attachment style, children, adolescents, gifted, IQ, high IQ

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Date Created
2014-12

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Stories of Female Figures in Norse Mythology Adapted for Children:Women of Norse Myth: For Little Goddesses

Description

Popular culture tends to downplay strong female characters to favor a plethora of male figures that children look up to as heroes. This creates a gender imbalance in exposure to inspirational characters that children can look up to as role

Popular culture tends to downplay strong female characters to favor a plethora of male figures that children look up to as heroes. This creates a gender imbalance in exposure to inspirational characters that children can look up to as role models. For our team's creative project, we chose to write and illustrate a children's book mainly targeted at young girls, ages eight to twelve that focuses on the stories of selected female figures of Norse mythology. The five stories in our collection focus on the figures Frigg, Skadi, Elli, Idunn, and Freya and are inspired by the mythology contained in the Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson and selected medieval texts on the Germanic Lombard tribe. Through our book, Women of Norse Myth: For Little Goddesses, we wanted to introduce children to Norse mythology, a branch of myth that is often overshadowed by more popular mythologies such as Roman and Greek. Additionally, our goal was to bring light to the female figures within Norse myth that are generally given less attention than their male counterparts. Keeping in mind these goals, the stories were adapted from the original myths in a manner that would be suitable for a young audience as well as our aim for female empowerment. The final manuscript contains an introduction to Norse cosmology, introductions to the figures, a glossary of Norse terms used, and the illustrated stories themselves. Together with our combined talents, interests, and goals, Women of Norse Myth: For Little Goddesses was completed, and we hope that someday it can be published and serve as a fun and inspiring storybook for children to read and learn from.

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Date Created
2016-05

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The Influence of Parental Overprotection on the Prevention of Anxiety Symptoms in Caucasian and Hispanic/Latino Children

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This study examined whether changes in intervention related gains from the REACH for Personal and Academic Success program, an indicated anxiety prevention school-based protocol, vary as a function of participant youth's exposure to overprotective parenting. This study also examined if

This study examined whether changes in intervention related gains from the REACH for Personal and Academic Success program, an indicated anxiety prevention school-based protocol, vary as a function of participant youth's exposure to overprotective parenting. This study also examined if ethnicity/race (Caucasian vs. Hispanic/Latino) interacts with overprotective parenting to predict program response. A total of 98 children (M age = 9.70, SD = .07; 77.60% girls; 60.20% Hispanic/Latino) received 1 of 2 protocols (REACH or academic support) and responses were measured at post-treatment and 1-year follow-up. Findings showed that child self-regulation skills improved in the school program (REACH) for children of parents with low levels of overprotection, and child self-regulation skills improved in the control program (academic support) for children of parents with high levels of overprotection. These findings were significant in the Hispanic/Latino subsample, but not in Caucasian youth.

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Date Created
2016-05

Theory of Mind Development in Middle Childhood

Description

How do children understand how others see the world? I examined correlations between 4-8 year old children's understanding of beliefs and their understanding of other ways that people represent the world. Beliefs that I measured are understanding of pretense, understanding

How do children understand how others see the world? I examined correlations between 4-8 year old children's understanding of beliefs and their understanding of other ways that people represent the world. Beliefs that I measured are understanding of pretense, understanding that things can have multiple identities, understanding that people can know things by inference, and understanding that people can look at the same thing and have different representations of it. I predicted that there would be correlations among these tasks. In particular, I predicted children would be able to understand these tasks when they understood true and false beliefs, based on current theories on belief understanding. I predicted that the classic false belief task alone would not be a good predictor of task performance, but that the combination of true and false belief tasks would. Participants were 100 children recruited at the Phoenix Children's Museum between ages 4 and 8. Previous research has found that children pass all of these tasks between the ages of 6 and 8, but no other studies have looked at the inter-correlations among them. Contrary to my prediction, children did not pass these tasks all at once, but scores went up gradually with age and belief understanding.

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Date Created
2016-12