M.S. in Clinical Psychology

Thesis Abstract Samples

For review of the complete written thesis, you may contact the California Lutheran University Library at (805) 493-3259.




"Management of experiential avoidance in a college population"

by Alba RocĂ­o Andrade (August, 2011)

The purpose of this study was to determine if an individual's happiness or level of life satisfaction while engaging in experiential avoidance can increase as a result of the individual's values, ability to cope with stressful events and his or her ability to cognitively defuse negative thoughts. Participants consisted of 16 male and 42 female students at California Lutheran University between the ages of 18 to 46. All students completed a self administered survey packet containing six scales. Scales included in the packet were an avoidance questionnaire, a cognitive diffusion scale, a coping scale, a values inventory, a subjective happiness scale, and life satisfaction scale. A multiple regression analysis indicated that coping and values did not have an effect on the relationship between happiness or satisfaction with life. Cognitive diffusion did not have an effect on happiness, however it did have an effect on the relationship between satisfaction with life and avoidance.



"Mental Health Perspectives of Native Americans"

by Ruth Arvisio (August, 2011)

The counseling profession is becoming more multifaceted as the U.S. population shows an increasing demographic shift in ethnic minority groups, including Native Americans. However, there is substantial evidence that Native Americans underutilize mental health services, although they are exposed to more stressors than European-Americans. This study explored the perceptions of Native Americans towards mental health practitioners who serve them. My hypothesis was that Native Americans would find a counselor's cultural competency the most important variable despite counselor ethnicity. This was both confirmed and contested by the focus group data. This qualitative research with Native American produced valuable data as tribal members revealed their perspectives on counselor ethnicity, counselor cultural competence, cognitive match, counselor empathy, trustworthiness and confidentiality. Results revealed that tribal members expressed that agencies do not show enough interest in understanding the Native American experience. Tribal members also emphasized that understanding on the part of the counselor was of primary importance and may be a more feasible approach to addressing cultural competence issues.



"Using Screening and Brief Intervention to Examine Alcohol and Drug Use and Mental Health in College Students"

by Loretta Ransom (August, 2011)

The purpose of this study is to determine the relationship between drug and alcohol use behaviors and mental health within a sample of college students by using a screening and brief intervention (SBI) protocol. Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) is an intervention model that identifies individuals who are problem substance users and provides them with a motivational intervention designed to promote appropriate steps to address the severity of the problem. For those with non dependent, problem substance use, a brief intervention can produce substantial reductions in alcohol and drug use. For those who have more serious substance abuse or dependence disorders, referral to appropriate treatment is warranted. This model represents a paradigm shift in how, when, and for whom substance use services are provided, with the focus on preventing further dependence as opposed than merely the treatment of the current dependencies. The SBIRT model utilizes screening tools to first identify persons at risk of developing substance use disorders, intervention techniques to assist individuals to reduce and or abstain from harmful alcohol and drug use, and referral to appropriate treatment programs for individuals who demonstrate a high risk of use.

There are many different types of screening tools utilized with SBIRT. One standardized, scripted screening tool, the Alcohol, Smoking, and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST), has gained prominence and considerable usage, especially when used for screening for all substances (not just alcohol). This interview-guided screening tool was developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and has been studied cross-culturally in eight countries. It provides a detailed assessment of both alcohol and illicit drug use (including injection drug use) and provides information on hazardous, harmful, or dependent use. It was originally developed for use in primary care settings but has been applied in other settings, such as trauma centers, mental health settings and college health centers.

SBIRT can be utilized in different types of settings where at-risk individuals may seek services, and by various professionals, who may or may not have prior substance use counseling experience. As such, one of the key benefits of utilizing SBIRT is increased organizational capacity to screen and deliver timely interventions for individuals at risk of substance use. Several studies have demonstrated long-term benefits of SBIRT, including decreases in the frequency and severity of drug and alcohol use, (Burke, Arkowitz, & Menchola, 2003), reduction in the risk of trauma associated with use (Gentilello et al. 1999; Fleming et al. (2002), increase in number of patients who enter long-term treatment, reduction in adverse effects of combining alcohol and other medications, and net health-care savings (Gentilello, Ebel, Wickizer, Salkever, & Rivara, 2005). While most of these outcomes have been well demonstrated among alcohol users interfacing with primary care settings, there have been promising approaches to the use of SBIRT with substance users in other settings.

Between 2006-2009 6,772 University students were pre-screened for drug and alcohol use with the Alcohol Use Disorders Test Consumption Questions (AUDIT-C) (Dawson, Grant, Stinson & Zhou, 2005) and students who screened positive were given a full-screen Alcohol, Smoking, and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) (Henry-Edwards, Humeniuk, Ali, Poznyak, & Monteiro, 2003). Previous 30-day substance use and mental health data were extracted from the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) Client Outcome Measure (Center for Substance Abuse Treatment [CSAT] GPRA Client Outcome Measures, 2005) which was administered at baseline and at six month follow-up. Reductions in binge drinking, marijuana use, and days of depression and anxiety were found in male and female students. In addition, significant associations were found for binge drinking and anxiety at baseline. Screening and brief intervention procedures appear to be effective in aiding to reduce problematic drug and alcohol use within the college population and the GPRA client measure is effective in capturing clients' mental health outcomes at intake and follow-up. Used in conjunction, the screening tools and client outcome measure tool provided a practical motivational framework and specific intervention procedures for addressing substance abuse and mental health issues.



"Aggression, Fantasy Proneness And Pornography Use As Predictors of Sexually Aggressive Ideations In College Students"

by Danielle Todaro (November 2007)

The purpose of this study was to examine aggression, fantasy proneness and pornography use as predictors of sexaully violent ideations among male and female college students. This study was carried out with the college population as sexual violence and aggression are prominent in this community.

Furthermore, both sexes were examined in order to determine if any discernable gender differences existed among these three factors. A total of 93 male and female students from a small faith-based university completed self-report questionnaires in order to obtain information about their levels of aggression, fantasy proneness and pornography use.

Students were then asked to choose the most appealing scenario from a series of three sexual vignettes ranging from low to highly sexually aggressive. These data were studied using multiple regression analysis to determine the predictive qualifites of each three factors.

Results indicate that use of violent pornography among male college students may predict sexaully violent ideations in that population. The results, however, failed to dermine if aggression, fantasy proneness and pornography use are predicative of these same ideations in females.



"Fantasy Proneness and Daydreaming Styles: Inquiry into Correlates of Affect Regulation and Adult Attachment"

by Laura O'Neill (August 2007)

The purpose of this current study was to explore possible relationships between adult romantic attachment, affect regulation, and the imaginative processes of fantasy proneness and daydreaming styles in a convenience sample of 98 student volunteers from a southern California liberal arts university.

Attachment styles and dimensional scores, affective biases, levels of fantasy proneness, and styles of daydreaming were determined using self-report inventories and written responses. Findings from the study indicate that fantasy proneness was significantly predicted by and predictive of Positive-Constructive Daydreaming and Guilt and Fear-of-Failure Daydreaming (GFFD).

Attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance were both significantly predicted by Negative Affect. Attachment anxiety was further predicted by the daydreaming styles of GFFD and Poor Attentional Control. More specifically, individuals with a preoccupied attachment style had significantly higher scores on GFFD and Negative Affect compared to securely attached individuals.

Overall, predictive relationships were found between attachment, affect regulation, and daydreaming styles as well as between daydreaming styles and fantasy proneness, but the relationship between adult attachment and fantasy proneness appears to be indirect.



"Condom Use Self-Efficacy and Observed Condom Use Skills in College Students"

by Erick Robert Elhard (June 2007)

The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between condom use self-efficacy and measurable condom use skills in college students. Research has shown that college students frequently engage in sexual activity, though their knowledge regarding the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases and the skills necessary to practice safe sex have been called into questions.

The Condom Use Self-Efficacy Scale (CUSES) and the Measure of Observed Condom Use Skills (MOCUS) were utilized along with a demographic and personal history sheet to accomplish the purpose of the study. As part of the quasi-experiment, 40 undergraduates were evaluated to see how gender and order effects impacted performance on the CUSES and the MOCUS.

All participants were recruited haphazardly in campus dormitories and all participants were briefed regarding the nature and intent of the current study. Data were analyzed utilizing a 2-way MANOVA design. No gender differences were found, but results showed an order of presentation effect.

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