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Personal Memories and Social Associations: How Positive Emotions Influence the Activation of Implicit Prejudices

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The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of two positive discrete emotions, awe and nurturant love, on implicit prejudices. After completing an emotion induction task, participants completed Implicit Association Test blocks where they paired photos of Arab

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of two positive discrete emotions, awe and nurturant love, on implicit prejudices. After completing an emotion induction task, participants completed Implicit Association Test blocks where they paired photos of Arab and White individuals with "good" and "bad" evaluations. We hypothesized that nurturant love would increase the strength of negative evaluations of Arab individuals and positive evaluations of White individuals, whereas awe would decrease the strength of these negative evaluations when compared to a neutral condition. However, we found that both awe and nurturant love increased negative implicit prejudices toward Arab individuals when compared to the neutral condition.

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2018-05

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Examining Parents of Adolescents Attitudes About Emotions: A Cultural Perspective

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Emotions help shape prosocial behavior from early childhood through adulthood (Rivera & Dunsmore, 2011). Thus, it is important to further our understanding of how emotions are perceived and expressed during adolescence, a time where individuals are establishing their independence, solidifying

Emotions help shape prosocial behavior from early childhood through adulthood (Rivera & Dunsmore, 2011). Thus, it is important to further our understanding of how emotions are perceived and expressed during adolescence, a time where individuals are establishing their independence, solidifying their individuality, and expanding their understanding of expectations. In this context, it is necessary to consider what influences how emotions are socialized in adolescents. Parents play a central role in the development of children’s understanding of emotions, but less is known about how this influence may extend into adolescence (Feldman & Klien, 2003; Cassidy et al., 1992; Cohn & Tronick, 1987). Indeed, previous literature has found that culture and social support may influence how emotions are expressed and perceived and how they impact mental health (Crockett, et.al., 2007; Torres and Rollock, 2007; Torres, 2010; Padilla et. al., 1988). This study aims to bridge these factors to create a more comprehensive understanding of parent attitudes toward adolescents’ emotions by comparing White and Hispanic parents of adolescents. Specifically, this study examines whether parent gender (mothers versus fathers) and greater acculturation enhance these relationships and whether more positive attitudes about emotions and adolescents’ emotion expression influence parents’ own mental health.

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2019

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Spousal touch during sleep: better sleep unless you're anxiously attached?

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Affiliative touch, such as physical affection between relationship partners, activates neural systems associated with reward, relaxation, and attachment. Co-sleeping is a common practice among romantic partners, and the social context of sleep is linked to well-being. The effect of

Affiliative touch, such as physical affection between relationship partners, activates neural systems associated with reward, relaxation, and attachment. Co-sleeping is a common practice among romantic partners, and the social context of sleep is linked to well-being. The effect of touch during sleep, however, remains largely untested. As a first study, 210 married couples were asked how much they generally touched during sleep and how important it was for them to touch during sleep. I hypothesized that perceptions of more spousal touch during sleep, as well as greater importance placed on that touch, would be associated with better quality of sleep. Given the strong links between touch and attachment, and previous findings of poor sleep associated with attachment anxiety, these effects were expected to be greatest among spouses higher in attachment anxiety (who might benefit most from a sense of security arising from touch). Separate regression analyses were run for husbands and wives, controlling for affective symptoms of depression (which were significant predictors of poor sleep for both spouses). For both spouses, higher reports of amount and importance of touch during sleep predicted better quality of sleep. For wives, the predicted interaction was significant, but in the opposite direction: Reported amount and importance of spousal touch during sleep was positively related to sleep quality only among those with lower attachment anxiety, whereas it was unrelated among those with higher attachment anxiety. Higher attachment anxiety also was related to worse sleep among wives, but not husbands. It may be the case that wives who are lowest in attachment anxiety may feel more comfortable when being touched by their partners. As a result, they may touch more often, place more importance on touch, and be more likely to experience rewards of touch such as better sleep quality. The findings lend support to the idea that social touch can serve a regulatory function, even during sleep.

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2017

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A couples-based team approach to prophylactic bilateral mastectomy and social disapproval

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Prophylactic bilateral mastectomy (PBM) is the current recommended course of action for women with increased genetic risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Nevertheless, many receive negative feedback from family and friends surrounding the decision to undergo this surgery because they

Prophylactic bilateral mastectomy (PBM) is the current recommended course of action for women with increased genetic risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Nevertheless, many receive negative feedback from family and friends surrounding the decision to undergo this surgery because they do not have cancer when the decision is made; this results in a limited support network for coping with their PBM. Low social support is associated with depression, negativity, and anxiety. Women who had a PBM, were currently undergoing or had completed reconstruction, and were in a committed romantic relationship at the time of the surgery were surveyed (N = 53). The hypotheses that women who received negative feedback about their decision to have a PBM would have poorer individual well-being, and that the use of a couples-based team approach would moderate these adverse effects were tested. Data analyses support the hypotheses that women in couples taking a team approach to PBM have better individual well-being. The effects of negative feedback from others about the decision to undergo a PBM on personal mental health were moderated by use of a couples-based team approach. Women who received negative feedback from multiple sources had better outcomes if they used a couples-based team approach. Many women have a preventative oophorectomy around the same time as their PBM. Menopause is associated with side effects such as increased vasomotor symptoms and decreased sexual functioning. The hypothesis that surgical menopause is related to declines in sexual satisfaction following PBM was also tested. Regression analysis revealed no relationship. This study indicates that women who experience social disapproval and lack collaborative support from their significant other may be at increased risk for poor individual well-being following PBM.

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2018

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Social Anxiety and Emotion Regulation Processes in Romantic Relationships

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Intimate relationship functioning and mental well-being are inherently linked; thus, for those with mental illness, such as social anxiety, intimate relationship functioning may be impaired. Research on the intimate relationships of those with social anxiety has often focused on emotion

Intimate relationship functioning and mental well-being are inherently linked; thus, for those with mental illness, such as social anxiety, intimate relationship functioning may be impaired. Research on the intimate relationships of those with social anxiety has often focused on emotion regulation, as emotions play a crucial role in the development and maintenance of interpersonal relationships and are a clear area of deficit among those with social anxiety. The current thesis had three primary aims: 1a) to examine individual emotion expressivity and 1b) interpersonal emotion regulation processes among individuals with varying levels of social anxiety; 2) to examine individual and interpersonal emotion regulation within romantic relationships; and, 3) to examine how individual emotion expressivity and interpersonal emotion regulation influence relationship health and intimacy among those with varying levels of social anxiety. For Aim 1, differences in individual emotion expressivity and interpersonal emotion regulation were analyzed using regression analyses with social anxiety as a continuous predictor. Analyses were also conducted using a dichotomous grouping (i.e., non-socially anxious and socially anxious) and conducting a multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA).

For Aim 2, the impact of individual and interpersonal emotion regulation processes on relationship health was examined using a series of regression analyses. Finally, Aim 3 was tested using structural equation modeling (SEM). Results suggest those with social anxiety show specific, but not general, deficits in individual emotion expressivity and interpersonal emotion regulation, and both individual and interpersonal emotion regulation had positive effects on relationship health. Regarding the primary analyses, interpersonal emotion regulation fully mediated the association between individual emotion expressivity and relationship health. Further, although the strength of these paths varied between groups, the valence and general pattern of these findings were similar for both those with social anxiety and those without. The study provided novel insights into the role of interpersonal emotion regulation in relationship health, and extended previous findings on emotion regulation and relationship health among those with social anxiety.

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Date Created
2019