Matching Items (8)

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Boys with conduct problems and callous-unemotional traits: Neural response to reward and punishment and associations with treatment response

Description

Abnormalities in reward and punishment processing are implicated in the development of conduct problems (CP), particularly among youth with callous-unemotional (CU) traits. However, no studies have examined whether CP children

Abnormalities in reward and punishment processing are implicated in the development of conduct problems (CP), particularly among youth with callous-unemotional (CU) traits. However, no studies have examined whether CP children with high versus low CU traits exhibit differences in the neural response to reward and punishment. A clinic-referred sample of CP boys with high versus low CU traits (ages 8–11; n = 37) and healthy controls (HC; n = 27) completed a fMRI task assessing reward and punishment processing. CP boys also completed a randomized control trial examining the effectiveness of an empirically-supported intervention (i.e., Stop-Now-And-Plan; SNAP). Primary analyses examined pre-treatment differences in neural activation to reward and punishment, and exploratory analyses assessed whether these differences predicted treatment outcome. Results demonstrated associations between CP and reduced amygdala activation to punishment independent of age, race, IQ and co-occurring ADHD and internalizing symptoms. CU traits were not associated with reward or punishment processing after accounting for covariates and no differences were found between CP boys with high versus low CU traits. While boys assigned to SNAP showed a greater reduction in CP, differences in neural activation were not associated with treatment response. Findings suggest that reduced sensitivity to punishment is associated with early-onset CP in boys regardless of the level of CU traits.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-12-15

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Scientific Detail and Juror Decision-Making in Capital Scenarios

Description

By providing vignettes with manipulated scientific evidence, this research examined if including more or less scientific detail affected decision-making in regards to the death penalty. Participants were randomly assigned one

By providing vignettes with manipulated scientific evidence, this research examined if including more or less scientific detail affected decision-making in regards to the death penalty. Participants were randomly assigned one of the two manipulations (less science and more science) after reading a short scenario introducing the mock capital trial and their role as jury members. Survey respondents were told that a jury had previously found the defendant guilty and they would now deliberate the appropriate punishment. Before being exposed to the manipulation, respondents answered questions pertaining to their prior belief in the death penalty, as well as their level of support of procedural justice and science. These questions provided a baseline to compare to their sentencing decision. Participants were then asked what sentence they would impose \u2014 life in prison or death \u2014 and how the fMRI evidence presented by an expert witness for the defense affected their decision. Both quantitative and qualitative measures were used to identify how the level of scientific detail affected their decision. Our intended predictor variable (level of scientific detail) did not affect juror decision-making. In fact, the qualitative results revealed a variety of interpretations of the scientific evidence used both in favor of death and in favor of life. When looking at what did predict juror decision-making, gender, prior belief in the death penalty, and political ideology all were significant predictors. As in previous literature, the fMRI evidence in our study had mixed results with regards to implementation of the death penalty. This held true in both of our manipulations, showing that despite the level of detail in evidence intended for mitigation, jurors with preconceived notions may still disregard the evidence, and some jurors may even view it is aggravating and thus increase the likelihood of a death sentence for a defendant with such brain abnormalities.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-12

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Do Young-Adult Cannabis Users Show Amotivation? An Analysis of Reports from Third-Party Observers

Description

Cannabis use has been purported to cause an amotivation-like syndrome among users. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether third party observers noticed amotivation among cannabis users. Participants

Cannabis use has been purported to cause an amotivation-like syndrome among users. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether third party observers noticed amotivation among cannabis users. Participants in this study were 72 undergraduate university students, with a mean age of M=19.20 years old (SD=2.00). Participants nominated Informants who knew them well and these informants completed a version of the 18-item Apathy Evaluation Scale. Results indicated that more frequent cannabis use was associated with higher informant-reported levels of amotivation, even when controlling for age, sex, psychotic-like experiences, SES, alcohol use, tobacco use, other drug use, and depression symptoms (β=0.34, 95% CI: 0.04, 0.64, p=.027). A lack of motivation severe enough to be visible by a third party has the potential to have negative social impacts on individuals who use cannabis regularly.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-12

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Characterizing Men with Psychopathic Traits Who Avoid Criminal Conviction for Serious Offending

Description

Although the interpersonal (e.g., deceitful, manipulative, grandiose) and affective (e.g., lack of empathy/guilt) features of adult psychopathy have been associated with an increased risk for criminal activity (Boccio & Beaver,

Although the interpersonal (e.g., deceitful, manipulative, grandiose) and affective (e.g., lack of empathy/guilt) features of adult psychopathy have been associated with an increased risk for criminal activity (Boccio & Beaver, 2018; Hare, 1993; Porter, Birt, & Boer, 2001), there remains a subgroup of individuals with these features who are able to avoid being convicted of a serious crime. However, it remains unclear what factors differentiate individuals with high psychopathic traits who are convicted for serious offending from those who are not convicted. To address this gap, the current study aims to answer the following: 1.) Do economic, social, or intelligence factors differentiate convicted versus non-convicted individuals with high psychopathic traits? and 2.) Are non-convicted individuals with high psychopathic traits less likely to engage in self-report offending than convicted individuals with these traits? Data was drawn from the youngest and oldest cohorts of the Pittsburgh Youth Study (N=806), a longitudinal study that followed adolescent (ages 13-16) males from Pittsburgh, PA over 22 years in order to examine the development of delinquency, substance use, and mental health problems. Significant between-group differences were examined using ANOVA and chi-squared analyses. Results showed no difference between convicted and non-convicted men with high psychopathic traits in terms of intelligence or relationship quality. However, non-convicted men with high psychopathic traits were more likely to be employed and less likely to be on public assistance that men with high psychopathic traits. Further, high psychopathic trait non-convicted men were less likely to report adult offending than their convicted counterparts, but were more likely to offend than men with low psychopathic traits who were not convicted. These results suggest that men with high psychopathic traits who elude conviction exhibit better adult adjustment than men with these characteristics that have been convicted, even though they report engaging in adult offending.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2020-05

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Adolescent Predictors of Marijuana Cessation and Motivations for Quitting Marijuana in a Racially Balanced Adult Non-Treatment Sample

Description

Marijuana is currently the mostly widely used illicit drug in the U.S., and has been for multiple decades (Johnston et. al., 2016). Despite a growing belief that marijuana use is

Marijuana is currently the mostly widely used illicit drug in the U.S., and has been for multiple decades (Johnston et. al., 2016). Despite a growing belief that marijuana use is not harmful, over 4 million Americans have met criteria for marijuana use disorders in the past year alone (CBHSQ, 2015). According to marijuana trajectory studies, about a third of marijuana users will end up quitting later in life, but some \u2014 such as those who meet criteria for dependence \u2014 have a much greater difficultly quitting. Therefore, by looking at marijuana users who were successful in quitting, and comparing them to ongoing adult marijuana users, factors that may assist in helping an individual quit \u2014 such as certain motivations for quitting \u2014 may be identified. To study these issues, data was collected from 507 participants from the Pittsburgh Youth Study. It was found that adolescents who used marijuana weekly for at least one year were likely to be ongoing marijuana users in adulthood and that adolescents who had a warm relationship with their primary caretaker were likely to have quit marijuana by adulthood. It was also found that Black participants were more likely to have legal, monetary, and religious reasons for quitting than were White participants. Furthermore, participants who used regularly in adolescence were likely to list legal reasons, as well as a concern that marijuana use was needed to feel normal. Finally, it was found that not a single motivation for quitting marijuana was associated with a shorter period of abstinence. The implications of these findings for motivations to quit marijuana are the focus of the discussion.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-12

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The Temporal Stability and Predictive Utility of Semiannual Teacher Assessments Across Elementary School

Description

Teacher assessments are often used alongside parent assessments to identify behavioral problems and patterns in school-aged children. These assessments can aid in the diagnosis of disruptive behavior disorders and are

Teacher assessments are often used alongside parent assessments to identify behavioral problems and patterns in school-aged children. These assessments can aid in the diagnosis of disruptive behavior disorders and are used to screen children for targeted delinquency prevention programs. Although researchers have heavily studied the relationship between parent and teacher assessments, not as much research has analyzed teacher assessments alone, specifically semiannual teacher assessments. Teacher assessments are typically conducted during the fall semester, normally a couple months into the school year, or during the spring semester, normally a couple months after the winter break period. Using data from the Pittsburgh Youth Study (PYS), we aimed to determine the temporal stability and predictive utility of semiannual teacher assessments of children's behavioral problems from 2nd grade to 5th grade. Results showed that mean assessment scores increased from the fall to the spring semester across all 4 grades. We also found that teacher assessments of behavioral problems in grade school were significantly correlated with future serious violence. Although our statistical model did not identify a specific time period or semester when these assessments were most predictive, we observed a pattern where the spring semesters were more predictive for the younger grades, and the fall semesters were more predictive for the older grades. Future research could aim to understand why this pattern exists and what its implications are.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018-12

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The Politics of Minority Group Control: Assessing the Empirical Validity of the Minority Threat Perspective

Description

Blalock’s (1967) minority threat perspective is one of the most empirically investigated theories of crime control in criminological literature. A large body of research has tested this perspective and established

Blalock’s (1967) minority threat perspective is one of the most empirically investigated theories of crime control in criminological literature. A large body of research has tested this perspective and established a link between minority context and increased criminal justice controls. The perceived threat mechanisms hypothesized to facilitate this link, however, have received relatively scant attention. In addition, no multidimensional scale of perceived minority threat has been developed. These oversights have significantly impeded the advancement of research testing the empirical validity and generalizability of Blalock’s premises across racial and ethnic groups.

Against this backdrop, this dissertation extends prior work by conducting three separate but interrelated studies. The first study focuses on the development and validation of a multidimensional Perceived Latino Threat Scale (PLTS). The second study investigates how the PLTS can inform the relationship between Latino context and punitive border control sentiment. The third and final study assesses the psychometrics of another multidimensional scale of perceived threat—the Perceived Black Threat Scale (PBTS), and examines the structural invariance and distinctness of the PBTS and PLTS.

Using data collected from two college samples, I relied on a variety of different methods across the three empirical studies, including confirmatory factor analyses, bivariate and partial correlation analyses, and ordinary least squares regression. Overall, the findings suggest that both the PLTS and PBTS are multidimensional constructs that are structurally invariant and empirically distinct. In addition, perceived Latino threat significantly influenced punitive border control sentiment, but did not surface as a mediating mechanism linking ethnic context to immigration attitudes. Furthermore, whereas objective Latino population context did not demonstrate significant effects on either perceived Latino threat or punitive border control sentiment, the results emphasized perceived Latino context as a key moderator in the relationship between perceived Latino threat and punitive border control sentiment. Thus, the findings support the multidimensionality of perceived threat, as well as the hypothesized link between perceived threat and punitive controls, but raises key concerns about the generalizability of Blalock’s perspective to explain the threat-control process of Latinos. Implications for theory and research are discussed.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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Looking Within: Examining the Short- and Longer-Term Consequences of Criminal Justice Confinement on Internalizing Problems

Description

This study examined whether periods of secure confinement in juvenile detention, jails, and prisons are associated with short- and longer-term increases in adolescent males’ internalizing problems during adolescence and young

This study examined whether periods of secure confinement in juvenile detention, jails, and prisons are associated with short- and longer-term increases in adolescent males’ internalizing problems during adolescence and young adulthood. Data came from a longitudinal community sample of 506 male adolescents who were assessed every six months for three years and annually for ten subsequent years. At each assessment, participants reported on their confinement experiences and internalizing problems (i.e., anxiety, depression) during the recall period. Fixed-effects models examined within-individual changes in internalizing problems before, during, and after youth reported any overnight stay in a correctional facility, after controlling for the time-varying confounds of externalizing problem behaviors and previous justice system contact. Additionally, this study tested whether changes in the participants’ internalizing problems varied depending on the confinement facility (i.e., juvenile detention, jail, prison). Overall, results indicated that internalizing problems increased during periods where participants had been confined in a facility. In contrast, there were no changes in internalizing problems in the period prior to confinement and internalizing problems returned to baseline levels in the year following confinement. Facility-specific analyses indicated confinement in prison was associated with the largest increase in internalizing problems. Findings from this study indicate confinement does influence internalizing problems and interventions sensitive to internalizing problems should focus on providing services during confinement and immediate reentry period.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020