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Lecture 11 &12

by: Rachel Onefater

Lecture 11 &12 76884

Rachel Onefater

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This weeks class Notes!
Dr. George Howe
Class Notes
Pscychology, clinical, community, research, lab
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This 12 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rachel Onefater on Thursday February 18, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 76884 at George Washington University taught by Dr. George Howe in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 14 views. For similar materials see PSYC4201W in Psychlogy at George Washington University.


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Date Created: 02/18/16
Valid measurement → have not been tradition that have been thought about in psychological science and more concepts in reliability and validity are grounded in how we study personality, and o don't transfer as easily into other areas.  Construct validity  → Measurement of stressor and things that happen in our world • Cronbach & Meehl (1955) Cronbach, L. J.; Meehl, P.E. (1955). "Construct Validity in  Psychological Tests". Psychological Bulletin 52 (4): 281–302  Experiment in 1955: Created this idea and they talk about construct validity in psychological  tests Definition: How well an observational method measures the construct it is supposed to measure,  and at the heart of everything we do in measurement What is a construct?  • Construct: an abstract concept referring to some state(ex. person, environment) and how it  varies over person, place, time, or behavior.  • Examples of constructs involving the environment:  – Stressful events: a concept rather than a concrete thing – Traumatic events:  – Daily hassles  – Long­term adversities  • Examples of constructs involving psychological processes  – Emotional reactions  – Attention bias  – Appraisal of events as within my control   Why are these abstractions?  • A construct is an abstraction because:  – It emphasizes some aspects of the situation and ignores others → stressful events, we are defining a particular subset of events and focusing in on some aspect of them that we feel is important. – It applies to a very large set of concrete occurrences (across people, across places, across time) Example: May 24, 2014 someone passed you and said something mean to you versus a criticism  is a set of experiences that can happen across a wide range of people, places, and times  – We can never observe all possible occurrences Example: every time you collect a sample on stressful events for GW students, you are not  collecting data from Howard Students or UClA students, although you hope these results will  apply in general to these students as well. – We want our observations to apply in general across all possible occurrences of this type   What do we mean by “measure”?  • Measurement:  Describing some state in terms of reasonable distinctions  – Present/absent  – One among several possibilities  Example: Physical stressor?  emotional stressor? social stressor? – Along some continuum from low to high Example: Snarky smile, happy smile, or your zygomatic muscle moved a tenth of a cm. upward.  The challenge of construct validity  • The construct validity((def.) whether the measure that we use, measures the construct that we  think it does) of a measure can be challenged in two ways:  – We may have a useful construct, but a poor measure  – We may have a useless construct, even if we have a reasonable measure  What evidence makes us more confident that we have a valid measure of a useful  construct?  → If you don’t have a good measurement, your research will probably not be very useful! a. No single study describes that a study can be valid, because you need some sort of descriptor(i.e. “this is a good measure because…”), and this is completely subjective. • The type of evidence will depend on how we define the construct, as well as how we try to  measure it  • We will focus on two types of constructs:  – Environmental conditions  – Psychological processes   How do we measure exposure to stressors?  • What aspects do we focus on?  • What methods are most valid and accurate?  Criteria for valid measurement of environmental conditions  • Observations are:  – Objective: I attend to aspects of the environment, not the person’s reactions to it – Consensual: if I observe using two different methods or observers, they will  agree(*consensus*, but this is rarely 100% between two observers)  – Replicable: If I observe the same kind of thing at two different times, I will describe it in the  same way. (test­retest reliability: if you are given a personality questionnaire now vs. 5 weeks  from now, you should have the same results, but this assumes that personality does not change). – About functionally equivalent conditions: The specific conditions I observe have similar  effects on my outcomes of interest.  *NOTE: Do they function in the same way, or do they have similar effects!  Stressors: are they just big life changes?  • Early formulations: Adolf Meyer’s Life Chart (1919)  Question: How are people’s lives related to their health → needed a way of tracking “fundamentally important environmental incidents” and these are things where something happens to people and when there is a lot of changes this is when there is more likely to be disease onset. –As the events occurred, they me be tied to some kind of health response ­ Suggested that such events clustered around the time of disease onset  Stressful Events  • Holmes and Rahe (1967)  – Reviewing life charts from over 5000 patients  – Identified 43 events most likely to cluster in this way  – Social Readjustment Scale. Items include:  • Death of a spouse  • Marriage  • Change in financial state  • Change in work   Question of “how much exposure”?  • Issue of functional equivalence:  – Do different stressors have more or less impact?  • How to determine magnitude of stressors?  • Early approach in life charts: count up number of events in a period •  The more events, the more exposure   Magnitude of stressor?  • Holmes and Rahe: Believed events themselves differ in “magnitude”  – Defined “social readjustment”: amount and duration of change in one’s accustomed  pattern of life from various life events”  – Asked people to rate each event “as to relative degree of necessary adjustment”  – Marriage given value of 50 as reference point   SRS Items→ these numbers are from a scale in 1967! 1 Death of a close family member 63  2 Pregnancy 40  3 Jail term 63  4 Divorce 73  5 Fired at work 47  6 Death of a close friend 37  7 Begin or end school 26  Marriage 50  8 Minor violation of laws 11  **NOTE: If 0 is no social readjustment at all, and marriage is 50, how would you rate each of  these? 50 16  SRS Items 1 Death of a close family member 63 2 Pregnancy 40 3 Jail term 63 4 Divorce 73 5  Fired at work 47 6 Death of a close friend 37 7 Begin or end school 26 Marriage 50 8 Minor  violation of laws 11 Actual SRS weights from early studies: 17  Problems  • Perceived severity can be influenced by current mood(ie. if you are in a bad mood, you will rate things differently than if you were in a happy mood)→  biased by current  mood state • Evaluation of “how bad it was” is an appraisal that can change with time, be affected by current mood, and vary across personality style  • This challenges the replicability requirement  What about reports of occurrence?  • Can these be biased by subjective factors?  • Mlynarski & Howe (2016)  – 204 families facing parental job loss  – Children aged 9­14  – Both completed a child­focused life events checklist   Agreement on total number of life events?  • Yes, but by no means perfect ( r = .51) Perfect agreement Observed correlation  → Child vs. Parent rating of life events, and this shows which events correlated, and supported things that were similar, but not perfectly similar! Example: Child said that he had 12 life events, and mother said that the child had 28! Id this  systematic bias, or just fuzziness? Is there subjective bias after we control for agreement?  • Yes, particularly for child (more depressed mood, more events reported). → The more depressed a child reported to be, the less agreement they had on life events with their parents!  Using multiple reporters  • Combining measurements from multiple reporters (or methods) can lead to more valid  measurement  • Helps to eliminate subjective bias found in individual reports → Mother's’ depression did not operate this way, but 1 year later, mothers’ depression did operate this way!  Limitations?  → Using a measure that added together all the life events, so if a kid gets a score of 10 and so does the parent, but they could be reporting on 10 different events out of the 45 listed! → Can the child be experiencing things that the Mom does not know about! *NOTE: Parents usually know less and less about what is going on with their lives  More recent approaches  • Contextual assessment : • Daily challenges (or hassles)  Contextual assessment • Brown & Harris (1976): Life Events and Difficulties Schedule (LEDS) → work done in the U.K. → Can give someone a checklist item, and may not do a good job at jogging memory, or they may interpret items differently than someone else might! • Uses semi­structured interviews to identify events, gather detailed information about each  • Uses multiple raters to evaluate “level of threat” using specific criteria   LEDS Vignettes  EVENT: Parent and romantic partner begin living together.  1) S is an 8­year­old Caucasian UK male living with his mother and brother. Mother  is divorced and her first boyfriend since then is now in prison. She had been seeing a new boyfriend for some weeks and S had met him only a few times. He is divorced, and has a  5 year old daughter. The event is that, without S being given any warning the boyfriend  moved into the household. This was on a sort of part­time arrangement: he stays 3 or 4  nights per week, and visits every day, but also has his own flat. No problems were  reported in the first fortnight.  2) S is an 11­year­old African­American male in the 5th grade. S's mother's  boyfriend, A, aged 35­40, moves into the apartment that S shares with his brother, aged 3, his sister aged 9 and his mother. S continues to have his own room and the living  arrangements are not cramped. S's mother has been dating A for about a year when he  moves in. S and his siblings get along well with A and there are no problems at the end of two weeks.   Pros and cons  • Strengths:  – Threat ratings reflect functional equivalence  – Focuses on objective elements  – Detailed information helps reduce biased recall  – Consensual ratings by multiple raters  • Weaknesses:  – Requires substantial resources  – Subjective rater bias can occur unless rating teams are carefully trained and supervised  Daily challenges • Checklists of daily challenges  – Also referred to as “daily hassles”  – Usually less severe events that occur more frequently  – Used to study shorter­term impact of exposure to challenge  • Pros and cons  – Biased recall less likely, given short time frame  – But other forms of biased reporting are possible   Social desirability biases  • Social desirability bias: tendency to report in ways that are seen more favorably by others  – Over­report positives  – Under­report negatives  • How might this influence measurement of stressful life events?   Events involving social disapproval  • Whisman & Snyder (2007)  • National survey of 4884 married women  → Q: How many sexual partners have you had in the last 12 months, and if they had more than 0-1 partners, they could be unfaithful or in an open relationship. • Two forms of measurement (repeated)  – Face­to­face interview: over 1% reported they had only 1 partner in 12 months  – Self­administered on laptop : 6% reported then on had 1 partner in the last 12 months • Question about number of sexual partners in last 12 month  Reporting differences by method  • Computer may be perceived as more anonymous, safer , no difference in anonymity, same  group of people, and we may be more aware of the potential for how someone else could  respond. Summary  • Important to evaluate accuracy and validity of measurement methods  • Participant reports can be compromised by:  – Subjectivity  – Bias due to current mood  – Bias due to perceived social desirability  • Methods need to be refined when such biases are found  • Some forms of measurement are more prone to bias than others Is it all in Our Minds ● Appraisal in the human stress response! Appraisal:(def.) the stressful nature of an event depends on how a person appraises the situation → evaluate → come to understand it in a certain way ● Richard Lazarus and Susan Folkman(1984): appraisal as an active cognitive  process with two components: 1. Primary Appraisal: “is anything at stake here and if so, what?” a. Types of Appraised Situations: i. Harm or Loss/The damage has already occurred ii. Threat(there is possibility o f damage in the future iii. Opportunity/possibility for growth, mastery or gain 1. Example: You can meet people in  the hospital and get to know them ● Goals at stake may include: → Physical comfort and safety(threat: physical discomfort/harm) → Social relationships(threat: loss of important other) → Achievement(threat:failure) → Self-Worth(threat: humiliation/loss of face) → Moral Value(threat: blame by others, sense of culpability) What contributes to strength of threat appraisal? → Patterson & Neufeld(1987) → Review research mostly using immediate threat of shock, loud noise → Factors that strengthen threat appraisal → More important goals threatened → Goals more likely to be unavailable should event occur → The event is more imminent → More time for “incubation” (worrying) Primary Appraisal and Emotion ● Biron & Link (2014) ● Studied 2072 working Israeli civilians during 2006 war with Lebanon ● Evaluated Primary Appraisal: perceived threat of war situation to ○ family Life ○ Leisure activities ○ Life in General → Assessed Negative emotions for people Findings: ● Stronger threat appraisals associated with more negative  emotions(4=.42) ● Stronger association for women with inconsistent work routines,  and this suggest that the regularity and stability of work routine that seem to be  particularly important for women. → Appraisal of these events can be related to, and can influence emotional arousal Limitation? → Could be that emotions drive threat appraisal → Have to get the time scale right, so an expansion using longitudinal design would start to help with these limitation 2. Secondary Appraisal: (def.) “ Can I do anything about it?” → Common aspects of secondary appraisal: a.  Is the outcome predictable? b. Is the outcome controllable? c. Can I do something about it? → Locus of Control: Can I control the outcome, or is it controlled by forces external to me? → Self efficacy: Do I have the personal capacity to bring about the outcome Secondary Appraisal and Emotions → Vander Elst et al. (2014) → Two wave longitudinal study of 722 Swedish white collar workers over 14 months → Assessed: → Perception of job insecurity(primary appraisal) Findings: ● Greater perceived control associated with reduction in depression ● But more negative primary appraisals associated with reductions in perceived control(over time) ○ Primary Appraisal can have an effect on secondary  appraisal → Appraisal of these events can be related to, and can influence emotional arousal Examples of combined primary/secondary appraisals → “When this homeless person approached me on the streets, his behavior is predictable and harmless. I can influence the situation by saying hello and he will respond by being pleasant” vs. → “When this homeless person approached me on the street, his behavior is unpredictable and dangerous. I cannot influence the situation with anything that I do” What shapes appraisal? ● Schemas (def.) beliefs built on prior experiences ● Schema: a mental structure of preconceived ideas or association ○ Predetermined set of linkages which can be activated and are  useful to us, ways of organizing information about the world. How do schemas influence appraisal? ● Can influence what we pay attention to (more likely to notice things that fit  schema) Example: if you are scuba­diving you may be more attentive to shadows or sharper objects if you are watching out for a shark vs. if you are in a restaurant, you would not be focusing on shadows  or sharp objects. ● Can influence how we search for new information (looking for things that confirm the schema) ● Can we influence our interpretation of specific events (when faced with things  that contradict schema, we are more likely to reinterpret them to be consistent with it) Activation of Schema ● Schemas can be activated or primed by immediate context(Bruner & Postman) Example: Spades are actually black and hearts are red! Can mood activate schemas? ● Lu et al (2012) ● Identified two groups of people with no sign of current depression: ○ Those with prior history of major depressive episodes ○ those with no such history ● Randomly assigned people to groups to: ○ Mood induction procedure (sad music) ○ Neutral music(Bach, neutral thought) ● Assessed Schemas with Questionnaire 1. Dysfunctional attitude scale Example: If I do not do as well as other people, it means I am an inferior human being. Findings: → If you were never depressed and in the neutral group, or in the negative mood induction there was not much difference → BUT, if you have depression, there were no differences in the neutral but significant decreases in emotion when listening to the sad music. *NOTE: more likely to be susceptible to things that activate sadness and therefore may be faster  for them to slip back into depression. Is appraisal deliberate or automatic? → probably both Dual process models of appraisal(Smith and DeCoster, 2000) → Associative processing: → Automatic, quick and effortless preconsciousness → Relies on association learned through repeated experience → “default mode” → Reflective processing → Deliberate slower, effortful, consciousness, controlled → More verbal intentions, rule based → Probably activated when expectation are violated Example:  → Associative: Social anxiety involves heightened sensitivity to threat in ambiguous social situations(Salemink et al, 2013) Can reflective reappraisal reduce stress response? ● Park: active reflection may lead to changes in meaning ● Gaos may become more or less salient after reflection Cognitive Behavior therapy and Restructuring Schemas ● Shimotsu et al(2014) ● Group cognitive behavior therapy with 46 Japanese outpatient adults focusing on: ○ Relationship between thought and emotions ○ Explanation of Cognitive Distortions ○ Cognitive Restructuring Strategies Findings: → Significant reductions across 10 week period in all areas of dysfunctional attitudes → CBT changes dysfunctional attitudes Limitation? No control group! Big Picture/Summary: → Primary appraisal and secondary appraisal and can influence ach other and both can be influenced by schemas and can determine size and duration of stress response


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