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Associations Between Sleep and Cognitive Function in Middle Childhood: The Moderating Role of Early Life Socioeconomic Status

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The objective of the current study was to examine sleep and academic functioning during middle childhood. More specifically, the twin design was used to determine the heritability of academic competence and sleep. Phenotypic analyses using multi-level mixed model regressions were

The objective of the current study was to examine sleep and academic functioning during middle childhood. More specifically, the twin design was used to determine the heritability of academic competence and sleep. Phenotypic analyses using multi-level mixed model regressions were performed to predict academic functioning from sleep. Lastly, socioeconomic status was tested as a moderator in the associations between sleep and academic functioning. Participants included twins (N = 191 families; Mage = 8.47 years) recruited from Arizona birth records at 12 months of age. Sleep duration, latency, onset, efficiency, variability, and sleep problems were assessed using actigraph watches and the Child Sleep Habits Questionnaire. Academic functioning was assessed using subtests of the Woodcock Johnson Cognitive Test of Achievement-IV (picture vocabulary, passage comprehension, and applied problems) and the MacArthur Health and Behavior Questionnaire. As determined by twin intraclass correlations, the heritability of academic competence ranged from 51-76%. Sleep heritability ranged from 14-80%. In addition, phenotypic analyses only showed a significant association between sleep latency and WJ picture vocabulary scores. More specifically, sleep latency was negatively associated with the picture vocabulary subtest. Additional models were run to examine if any interactive effects were present between early SES and the various sleep parameters. Several significant associations were observed with applied problems scores and parent-reported academic competence. Specifically, for children of low SES, a significant positive association was observed for sleep duration and WJ applied problems scores, as well as for sleep efficiency and WJ applied problems scores. No significant associations were observed for sleep efficiency and HBQ scores with children of any SES. Also, no significant relationships were observed with children of high SES for any of the academic measures.

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2018-05

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The Use of Biophilic Design to Enhance the Student Experience Implemented in the Prayer and Meditation Room of the Arizona State University Hayden Library

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This project examines biophilic design principles to demonstrate the impact it can have on the well-being of college students at Arizona State University. This paper details our collaboration with Hayden Library, and design elements proposed using biophilic design for the

This project examines biophilic design principles to demonstrate the impact it can have on the well-being of college students at Arizona State University. This paper details our collaboration with Hayden Library, and design elements proposed using biophilic design for the new Prayer and Meditation room as part of the 2019 renovations of the library. We will explore and explain what biophilia/biophilic design is and the specific impacts it can have on humans by including a literature review of previous studies and some in-person research experiences. The literature examined includes how biophilic design has specific positive effects on humans and how we can apply this to students visiting the newly renovated Hayden Library. This project also contains data and information from a workshop (November 1, 2018) organized to gather input from professionals at Shepley Bulfinch for the design of the Prayer and Meditation room. The input from the designers is combined with the body of research on biophilic design to present
to the Hayden Library 2020 renovations team.

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2019-05

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Longitudinal Associations between Perceived Discrimination and Depression, Anxiety, and Academic Achievement in Latinx College Students

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Higher education institutions have increasingly sought to diversify the ethnic makeup of freshmen classes (Covarrubias, Herrmann, & Fryberg, 2016) and rates of Latinx college attendance have been rising (Hall, Nishina, & Lewis, 2017). However, despite comparable levels of earned-credits, Latinx

Higher education institutions have increasingly sought to diversify the ethnic makeup of freshmen classes (Covarrubias, Herrmann, & Fryberg, 2016) and rates of Latinx college attendance have been rising (Hall, Nishina, & Lewis, 2017). However, despite comparable levels of earned-credits, Latinx students have lower rates of college completion (Contreras & Contreras, 2015). One potential explanation may be disproportionate increases in stress, and in particular, discrimination experiences reported by Latinx students during the transition from high school to college (Hunyh & Fuligni, 2012). As such, the aim of the current study was to examine whether everyday discrimination in high school and college were associated with changes in adolescent well-being and academic adjustment over the college transition in a sample of Latinx adolescents. Study participants were 209 Latinx adolescents (85.1% Mexican descent, 62.1% 2nd generation; 35.6% male; Mage= 17.59) who completed questionnaire assessments during the spring or summer before entering college (T1) and again during the first semester of college (T2; 88.5% retention). In both high school and college, participants completed a modified version of the Everyday Discrimination Scale (T1 α=.88, T2 α=.89; Williams et al., 1997). Dependent variables included internalizing symptoms in college (depressive symptoms {α = .95}, anxiety symptoms {α = .88}, stress symptoms {α = .94}; DASS; Lovibond & Lovibond, 1995), and institutional records of college GPA. Correlation and regression analyses were conducted in SPSS 23 to examine associations between discrimination experiences (high school and college) and college internalizing symptoms and GPA, controlling for high school levels. Other covariates included immigrant generation status, sex, parent education (as a proxy for socioeconomic status), and whether the participant attended the focal higher education institution. Zero order correlations (Table 1) revealed that greater reports of discrimination in high school and college were associated with higher depressive symptoms, higher anxiety symptoms, higher stress, but not GPA in college (Table 1; all ps <.05). In multivariate analyses and after adjusting for covariates similar patterns emerged (Table 2). Greater reports of discrimination in college were associated with higher depressive symptoms (β = .18, p < .05), anxiety symptoms (β = .19, p <.05) and stress (β = .18, p <.05), but not GPA (β = -.04, ns). Everyday experiences of discrimination in high school were not significantly associated with college outcomes. In summary, our findings suggest that discrimination experiences among Latinx students in college, but not high school, are associated with increases in internalizing symptoms, including depression, anxiety and stress. Interestingly, discrimination experiences in high school and college were not associated with academic achievement in the first semester of college. Such findings suggest that higher education institutions should focus on global indicators of well-being during the Latinx college transition and seek to implement programs to: a) reduce stress associated with engaging in diverse college environments and b) reduce discrimination experiences on college campuses. Future research is needed for replication of these results and should also seek to further explore the trajectories of internalizing symptoms beyond the first semester of college.

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2019-05

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The Lemming Effect as a Mechanism of Individual Change in Group Treatments

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College-aged women are at an increased risk for the development of subclinical levels of eating disordered symptoms, which have been correlated to lasting deleterious cognitive, physical, and academic effects. The Body Project (TBP) is a universal group-based eating disorder prevention

College-aged women are at an increased risk for the development of subclinical levels of eating disordered symptoms, which have been correlated to lasting deleterious cognitive, physical, and academic effects. The Body Project (TBP) is a universal group-based eating disorder prevention program that targets undergraduate women and challenges thin ideal messages through cognitive dissonance. Burlingame, Strauss, and Joyce (2013) in a meta-analysis of group treatments proposed five factors that independently and congruently work to promote individual change in group treatments: formal change theory, patient characteristics, leader characteristics, structural factors, and small group processes. A host of literature within TBP exists surrounding four of these factors, however, little research has been conducted on the small group processes that moderate individual change within this eating disorder prevention program.
The current study was designed to replicate and extend previous findings on the prevalence of the lemming effect within TBP, as well as examine how the lemming effect is related to outcome of treatment at a 3-month follow-up. Thirty-two participants aged 18-24 were examined. Groups ranged from 3 to 21 participants, including peer leaders. Twenty-nine audio recordings of session one of TBP were coded for lemming effects by the main research, and ten were coded by blind raters for inter-rater reliability measures. Three scales, the Ideal Body Stereotype Scale-Revised (IBSS-R), the Body Parts Satisfaction Scale-Revised (BPSS-R), and the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q), were used to measure levels of thin-ideal internalization, body satisfaction, and frequencies of eating disordered (ED) behaviors, respectively.
Partial correlations revealed nonsignificant relationships between the number of lemming effects and the change in thin-ideal internalization and body satisfaction from baseline to follow-up. Additionally, a reliable change index revealed that the majority of change from baseline to follow-up was reliable for the IBSS-R, and the majority of change for the BPSS-R was unreliable. Lastly, chi-square tests of independence revealed nonsignificant relations between the number of lemming effects and change in ED behaviors.
Due to the small sample and lack of findings, future research would benefit from including a larger sample. This would enable larger power to detect effects and allow for more thorough statistical analyses to be performed to compare the relation of lemming effects to changes in outcome. However, this was the first study to look at the lemming effect variable as a small group process within TBP and added to the growing literature on how small group processes result in efficacious outcomes of treatment within group treatments.

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2019-05

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The Heritability of Different Indices of the Diurnal Cortisol Rhythm in Middle Childhood and Phenotypic Associations with the Home Environment

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Research has shown that environmental stressors that occur during childhood and early adolescence are associated with multiple deficits in physiological and psychological functioning later in life. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis has been proposed as a potential biological mechanism through which

Research has shown that environmental stressors that occur during childhood and early adolescence are associated with multiple deficits in physiological and psychological functioning later in life. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis has been proposed as a potential biological mechanism through which these phenotypic alterations occur as studies have shown a link between early life adversity and altered diurnal cortisol patterns (Goldman-Mellor, Hamer, & Steptoe, 2012; Gunnar & Quevedo, 2008). Given research has shown that diurnal cortisol levels are influenced by genetic factors (Veen et al., 2011), but that a majority of differences across subjects can be attributed to the environment (Schreiber et al., 2006), phenotypic associations were explored between the quality of the home environment and children's diurnal cortisol patterns. The first aim of this study was to determine the level of genetic and environmental contributions to different parameters of diurnal cortisol rhythm. The second aim of this study was to examine whether the quality of the home environment, particularly indicators involving parenting and the physical environment, was associated with these same diurnal cortisol measures. A diverse sample of 320 twin children were assessed at 8 years using gold standard home environment interviews and a measure of diurnal cortisol rhythm across three days with three samples taken from each twin every day. Twin intraclass correlations indicated high levels of heritability for the morning to afternoon diurnal cortisol slope as well as the afternoon to evening slope, while measures of cortisol in the afternoon, evening, and across the day showed low levels of heritability, which suggested that differences in the environment were a more influential factor. Multilevel regression analyses showed that the overall quality of the home environment was found to be significantly negatively associated with cortisol levels at bedtime and negatively associated across the morning to afternoon slope at a trend level. The physical environment and emotional climate of the home were not significantly associated with any indicators of the diurnal cortisol pattern. A unique seasonality effect was noted as cortisol measurements taken from participants during the summer were significantly increased when compared to participants throughout the rest of the year. Overall, these findings showed a unique association between the quality of the home environment and diurnal cortisol levels at bedtime and perhaps the change in cortisol levels across the morning to afternoon, as well as a possible seasonal covariate which may affect diurnal cortisol measurements and one which often goes overlooked in cortisol research.

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2018-05

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Associations between Coping Styles and Romantic Relationships in Adolescents Transitioning to College

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How adolescents cope with stress impacts all aspects of their lives and is particularly important during the transition to college, a time were adolescents are at risk for negative physical and mental health outcomes. What has not yet been studied

How adolescents cope with stress impacts all aspects of their lives and is particularly important during the transition to college, a time were adolescents are at risk for negative physical and mental health outcomes. What has not yet been studied is how coping impacts the type of romantic relationship adolescents engage in. Data from a longitudinal study, which featured baseline measures as well as twice weekly diary assessments, was used to assess how coping style, commitment level, partner conflict, and sexual risk at baseline was associated with number of romantic partners and relationship duration over the transition to college. There was no significant association between coping and number of romantic partners or relationship duration. Increased partner conflict was associated with lower relationship duration, while higher levels of commitment were associated with higher relationship durations. Adolescents' sexual risk score was negatively correlated with number of romantic partners. Limitations as well as directions for future research are discussed.

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2018-05

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Does Sleep Predict Children's Academic Success?

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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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Understanding Emotion Dynamics and Observed Cooperation and Conflict in the Sibling Relationship

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Sibling interactions are natural contexts for learning about the appropriate expression of emotions. The emotionally charged nature of sibling interactions creates a convenient context to explore emotional reactivity and regulation. The purpose of this study was to examine the relations

Sibling interactions are natural contexts for learning about the appropriate expression of emotions. The emotionally charged nature of sibling interactions creates a convenient context to explore emotional reactivity and regulation. The purpose of this study was to examine the relations among parent-reported sibling relationship quality, observed sibling prosocial and antisocial behaviors displayed when playing a competitive marble game, and children's emotions coded from videotape. The sample consisted of 58 twin children who are currently participating in the longitudinal Arizona Twin Project. Parents completed the Sibling Relationship Questionnaire online at 5 and 8 years. Additionally, a competitive marble game interaction between the siblings took place in the home at 8 years and was videotaped for objective coding of prosocial, antisocial, and control behavior. Facial expressions were also coded from videotape using Emotient FACET software across the marble game interaction. Three mean composites of emotion were created, including positive and negative emotional facial expressions. Results showed that parent reported warmth did not predict the occurrence of positive emotions during the sibling interaction. However, siblings with high conflict showed less fear during the interaction. Parent reports of warmth predicted the extent to which siblings differed on emotion expression, however conflict did not. Parent ratings of conflict and warmth did not predict the extent to which the sibling dyad was emotionally intense. Findings regarding genetic and environmental effects were in line with previous reports of genetic influence on prosocial behavior and negative emotion, and expressions of joy being influenced by the environment. This study investigated noteworthy aspects of the sibling relationship that appear to promote children's adaptive development.

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2018-05

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The first in its class? The cognitive effects of the contraceptive hormone drospirenone when given with and without an estrogen

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Drospirenone (DRSP) is a novel, pharmacologically unique synthetic progestin with properties more similar to the endogenous progestogen, progesterone, than any other progestin currently on the market. While a significant amount of research has been conducted on the risks associated with

Drospirenone (DRSP) is a novel, pharmacologically unique synthetic progestin with properties more similar to the endogenous progestogen, progesterone, than any other progestin currently on the market. While a significant amount of research has been conducted on the risks associated with DRSP, the impact of DRSP on cognition, especially in reference to learning and memory, is not well understood. However, it is imperative to fully understand the cognitive effects of DRSP, both alone and in combination with EE (as taken in a combined oral contraceptive [COC]), so that women and their physicians can make a fully-informed decision when deciding to take a DRSP-containing COC. Study 1 examined the effects of three doses of DRSP in order to determine the optimal dose for combining with EE, and found that the medium dose of DRSP (30 µg/day) enhanced spatial working memory performance. In Study 2, the medium dose of DRSP from Study 1 was combined with low (0.125 µg/day) and high (0.3 µg/day) doses of EE to examine the effects of DRSP as taken with EE in a COC. The results from Study 2 indicated that when DRSP was combined with a low, but not high, dose of EE, spatial working memory impairments were seen at the highest working memory load. Anxiety-like behavior was evaluated using the OFT, and DRSP was shown to decrease measures of anxiety-like behavior. Additionally, while treatment with a high dose of EE decreased several measures of anxiety-like behavior, a low dose of EE did not, suggestive of a dose response. Taken together, the findings presented from both studies suggest that some of the cognitive effects of the combination of DRSP with EE are different than those of either hormone administered on its own. Further exploration in a preclinical, ovary-intact animal model is a next step to fully understand these effects in the translational context of a contraceptive, given that women taking an EE-DRSP combination are typically ovary-intact.

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2017-05

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The Relationship between Biculturalism and Mental Health Outcomes among College-bound Latino Adolescents

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Cultural beliefs and behaviors can serve as both risk and protective processes for Latino adolescents, with some recent empirical work suggesting the important protective role of bicultural values (e.g., endorsing high levels of both mainstream culture and culture of origin).

Cultural beliefs and behaviors can serve as both risk and protective processes for Latino adolescents, with some recent empirical work suggesting the important protective role of bicultural values (e.g., endorsing high levels of both mainstream culture and culture of origin). We expanded on past research to explore whether bicultural values were associated with internalizing (depressive, anxiety, stress) symptoms and externalizing (alcohol use) symptoms among a sample of Latino adolescents preparing to begin college. We hypothesized biculturalism to protect against all negative outcomes. Our sample consisted of 209 college-bound Latino adolescents (65% female; 85.1% Mexican descent; 10.6% 1st generation, 62% 2nd generation) who were enrolled in university for the coming fall. All multivariate models included sex, ethnicity, parent education, and immigrant generation status as covariates. Correlations and multivariate analyses revealed that higher bicultural values were associated with lower depressive symptoms, lower anxiety symptoms, lower stress, and greater alcohol use. Gender was shown to moderate the relationship between biculturalism and alcohol use. Overall, findings suggested that greater bicultural values were associated with lower endorsement of internalizing symptoms for all participants, but higher endorsement of alcohol use over the last year for the highly bicultural females. Biculturalism may be particularly protective for Latino adolescents who are preparing to attend college given the need for them to transition into an environment with high acculturative demands. However, our results also highlight that these bicultural females may be at greater risk for alcohol use and related problems.

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2017-12