|Friday, February 22nd|
Death in the Anthropocene: Coping with Loss in the Age of Extinction and Civilizational Collapse
Jensen A. Lillquist, University of Montana, Missoula
9:00 AM - 9:15 AM
The Anthropocene presents significant environmental problems for both humans and nonhumans alike, as both climate change and mass extinction are ongoing phenomena. While mass extinction represents the direct death and loss of multitudes of species, climate change represents the threat of death and loss to human populations. Thus, mass extinction and climate change may be termed the losses of the Anthropocene; much environmental writing voices an unprocessed grief directed towards each of these losses. Yet in order for grief to become mourning—an active response to loss—the loss must be recognized and dealt with. The example set by death practices may provide a path to coping with the losses of the Anthropocene in order to avoid a passive response; it is crucial to bear witness to these losses in order to recognize their stakes and develop cultural practices which allow them to be processed. Conceptualizing the Anthropocene as a project in death allows overwhelming emotion to be replaced by affect.
I develop my argument through a survey of death practices, sociological and psychological analyses’ of the Anthropocene; and literary analysis on several cultural objects which respond to the Anthropocene. Specifically, I analyze The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, We’re Doomed, Now What by Roy Scranton, Flight Ways by Thom Van Dooren, the Remembrance Day for Lost Species, and the work done by the Dark Mountain Project. These works range from journalistic, to essayistic, to artistic; yet each in some way attempts to grapple with the emotions generated by the Anthropocene.
Loss can and will affect most people who continue to live through the Anthropocene, yet it cannot be allowed to produce a state of emotional and affective paralysis by overwhelming individuals and cultures. Several recent academic works explore the emotional work of the Anthropocene—the grief of the loss of species, loved places, and a sense of security—yet no model has been presented for how we may deal with the strong emotions generated by loss in the Anthropocene, and it is this gap that “Death in the Anthropocene” seeks to fill. The losses of the Anthropocene can be dealt with in the same way that the death of a loved one can be dealt with; through recognition and engaged practices.
“You know, for a clownfish, he really isn’t that funny”: Implications of Grief and Masculinity Through a Narrative Analysis of Finding Nemo
Kendyl A. Barney, University of Montana, Missoula
9:20 AM - 9:35 AM
Cultural norms make up a dominant narrative of bereavement which assumes individuals detach from the deceased and eventually “get over” their grief, among other expectations. This narrative has yet to evolve despite recent theories that suggest grief is a lifelong experience that involves continuing bonds with the deceased (Dennis & Kunkel, 2012) and ongoing processes of meaning making (Neimeyer, Klass, & Dennis, 2014). The dominant narrative is perpetuated largely through prominent rhetoric, such as film and media. Further, the dominant narrative is gendered by appropriating expected ways of grieving to women and men. For example, emotional expressions of grief (e.g., crying) are often deemed feminine expressions in Western society, therefore stigmatizing men who express their grief emotionally and, therefore, influence men to be stoic, grieve in solidarity, or grieve through more action-oriented processes (e.g., adventure seeking).
Through a narrative criticism of Disney and Pixar’s Finding Nemo (Walters & Stanton, 2003), I illustrate that the film perpetuates the dominant bereavement narrative. Specifically, I critique Finding Nemo as a grief narrative that appeals to hegemonic masculine ideals of bereavement and perpetuates Western norms surrounding masculine bereavement among its audiences. I draw from the work of Fisher and McClure to conduct this analysis. Fisher (1984) introduces the narrative framework, including a concept of narrative rationality that assumes persuasive narratives constitute a coherent story that rings true to audiences’ real experiences. McClure (2009) critiques that framework to suggest it is an extension of Burke’s theory of identification, introducing the notion that persuasive narratives create means of identification for audiences.
Focusing exclusively on Marlin’s storyline in Finding Nemo (Walters & Stanton, 2003), I emphasize character traits implicative of grief when paralleled to findings in grief research and theory. Marlin’s narrative rings true to audiences due to the humanistic identification with the non-human characters that evokes audience responses as if the characters were indeed human. The characters communicate linguistically, participate in human practices such as attending school, and experience profound emotions such as excitement, love, fear, and grief. Additionally, by upholding the dominant narrative of grief, the narrative allows for greater identification from audiences, though to the disidentification of others.
Marlin’s style of grieving upholds a hegemonic narrative of male grief by suggesting that grief is an unmascuiline experience. This narrative disenfranchises the real bereavement experiences of many men. Given the popularity of Disney films and the opportunities for identification presented throughout the film, this rhetoric is extremely powerful and, therefore, not without rhetorical consequence. Perpetuating these ideals closes conversations about what bereavement is actually like for those experiencing it. Finding Nemo perpetuates hegemonic masculine ideals of grief by insinuating that grief is not a masculine trait at all, which has detrimental effects against the effort to expand the dominant narrative beyond one that is unmasculine, linear, and temporary.
Understanding the Factors that Influence University Environment: Gender Differences in Perceptions of Female and Male STEM Graduate Students
10:00 AM - 10:15 AM
Female students on college campuses outnumber male students, yet male students still outnumber female students in STEM related fields. This study compares differences between how male and female students perceive their university environment and the impact of cultural congruity, academic perceptions, faculty interactions, peer interactions and mentor interactions on their perceptions. This research examines those factors that influence how graduate students in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) perceive their university environment. University Environment is a scale measuring attitudes about the availability of campus services, the willingness of campus faculty and staff to provide assistance, the level of personalized attention received, and comfort levels on campus. Data for the project comes from a survey of 4,012 STEM graduate students from 13 universities. The findings inform current understanding about perceptions of female and male STEM graduate students.
Psychological Abuse in Romantic Relationships and Associated Mental Health Concerns
Jessica Peatee, University of Montana, Missoula
10:20 AM - 10:35 AM
Intimate partner violence (IPV) continues to be a prevalent health concern, as recent estimates from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) found that 37.3% of women and 30.9% of men in the United States have experienced sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime (Smith, Chen, Basile, Gilbert, Merrick, Patel, Walling, & Jain, 2017). While all forms of IPV surveyed occurred at strikingly high rates, the most common form of IPV likely to be experienced over the course of one’s lifetime was psychological aggression, with nearly half of all women (47.1%) and half of all men (47.3%) reporting having experienced at least one psychologically aggressive behavior by an intimate partner (Smith et al., 2017). Many researchers hypothesize that experiencing psychological abuse in a romantic relationship may be more common than experiencing other forms of IPV because psychological abuse often co-occurs with the presence of physical violence in a relationship and may be likely to occur on its own (Follingstad & Rogers, 2014; Hennings & Klesges, 2003). The experience of psychological abuse in a romantic partnership has been associated with problematic health concerns such as depression, anxiety, and somatic complaints (Rogers & Follingstad, 2014). Due to its high comorbidity with other forms of relationship violence, few empirical studies have examined the impact of psychological abuse alone (without co-occurring physical or sexual abuse) in a romantic relationship on an individual’s health. This presentation will summarize results from a recent study aimed at examining how psychological abuse alone in a romantic relationship was related to an individual’s current mental health symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress) and how this relationship may differ from other experiences of relationship violence.
A sample of 331 college students attending a Northwestern university were invited to complete self-report measures in which they answered questions about their abuse experiences in their “most problematic” romantic relationships and described their current depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress symptoms. A comparison of rates of psychological abuse (88.5%), physical abuse (38%) and sexual abuse (44%) in this sample indicated that college students were more likely to endorse experiencing psychological abuse in their most problematic romantic relationship than other forms of IPV. Analysis of this sample revealed that those who experienced psychological abuse alone in their most problematic romantic relationship reported significantly greater symptoms of depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress than those who denied experiencing abuse in their most problematic romantic relationship, while those who experienced multiple forms of abuse (e.g., psychological abuse and physical/sexual abuse) reported the highest levels of mental health symptoms. This presentation will include a discussion of how these results evoke a need to develop and evaluate interventions that are sensitive to the experience of psychological abuse in an intimate partnership as a means of reducing problematic mental health concerns and/or reducing the likelihood of further victimization. Additionally, these results may be helpful in identifying individuals who would benefit from preventative or early intervention strategies.
What Happens Now? Using Best Practice Models to Support Children with Problematic Sexual Behaviors
10:40 AM - 10:55 AM
In 2016, approximately 20-25% of all cases handled at Child Advocacy Centers the alleged offenders of sexual abuse were under the age of eighteen (National Children’s Alliance, 2017). Identifying children who sexually harm one another as sex offenders is problematic. We should refer to them as children that exhibit problematic sexualized behaviors (PSB). Children with PSB describes the behavior as opposed to labeling the child. The most adopted definition in the literature of PSB is "children ages 12 and younger who initiate behaviors, involving sexual body parts (i.e., genitals, anus, buttocks, or breasts) that are developmentally inappropriate or potentially harmful to themselves or others" (Chaffin et al., 2008, p. 200). Chaffin et al. (2008) found that children exhibiting PSB have a wide range of heterogeneous experiences. Children with PSB experience a great amount of stigma and misinformation about childhood sexual experiences, which may result in consequences such as school expulsion and social isolation. Academics and practitioners use the term children with PSB because it labels the behavior as opposed to labeling the child as a sex offender. Chaffin et al. (2008) note that PSB is not a medical condition, psychological syndrome, or a diagnosable disorder. Rather, they are a, "set of behaviors that fall well outside acceptable societal limits," which may or may not be sexually gratifying (Chaffin et al., 2008, p. 200).
A formative and exploratory project was completed to gain an increased understanding of what PSBs are and how community members could support children and families. This evaluation seeks to guide and direct new programs and interventions and is based on model standards from The University of Oklahoma National Center on Sexual Behavior of Youth evidence-based programs (Allen, 2018; Royse, Thyer, & Padgett, 2016; St. Amand, Bard, & Silovsky, 2008). The project was part of an existing diversionary program of core community stakeholders. This multifaceted project will use applied research skills which is a practice that seeks to find a resolution to a specific problem. The project has explored the prevalence of PSB in Missoula, etiological factors, and the need for establishing an evidence-based model to support children and family health. To date, this project has discovered systems gaps that currently exist in data collection and analysis.
The exploratory study will be pilot-tested beginning spring 2019 with five families. The pilot will include a formative evaluation to seek increased knowledge within the Missoula community, clients, and stakeholders to lead to more informed choices and shape future programming and procedures. The diversionary committee is determined to initially focus on providing supports to school-age children and early adolescents (ages 6-14) that meet participant guidelines, including (a) having experienced trauma and exhibit trauma symptoms, (b) have engaged in problematic sexual behavior, and (c) have involved caregivers. Families and children that meet pilot program criteria will then be referred to clinicians practicing Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, an evidence-based treatment model for children with traumatic histories. Allen (2018) expanded upon existing model components and offered PSB-specific techniques, which include establishing family-defined sexual behavior rules and safety plans. The goal at the end of this pilot is to have developed an evidence-based and community-based PSB treatment model with a trauma-focus.
Participating in the Organization Narrative: An Examination of Myth in ACLU Membership Emails
Katjana Stutzer, University of Montana, Missoula
11:00 AM - 11:15 AM
After the 2016 presidential election, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was among a number of advocacy focused nonprofit organizations that experienced a surge in donations. Nonprofit advocacy organizations play an important role in informing and engaging the public, and setting agendas for what issues become prominent and are deemed important in American public life. From its position as a powerful and well-established organization, analyzing how the ACLU communicates to members about the civil liberties conflicts within the current administration is a fruitful exploration of potentially effective organizational communication, as well as an important insight in to a key political influencer in the United States. It was found that ACLU email communications to members function persuasively because they are consistent with the overarching hero myth narrative of the organization.
The literature demonstrates that narratives are key components of communication. According to the narrative paradigm, humans understand reality through communicating stories that make sense to them and support their experiences. Organizations also use stories to similarly understand and communicate their work. The most persuasive stories are those that ring true to most people. Myths are stories that follow accepted archetypal structures that almost everyone is familiar with (e.g., good wins over evil, hard work pays off). A narrative analysis of the plot, characters, and settings was used to analyze eleven ACLU emails sent to members in regards to the Justice Kavanaugh confirmation hearings and contrasted with the “About” section of the ACLU website. It was found that in both the “About” information and the set of emails the ACLU uses the hero myth, where the organization is engaged in a just battle for what is good, in this case liberty and freedom. It was found that the emails engage members by persuasively inviting them to cast themselves as characters in the hero myth along side the organization and take action offline (by donating money or calling their elected officials) in the same way that their characters jump into the excitement of the fight. ACLU member emails persuaded supporters to view their action as meaningful through inviting them to see themselves in the hero myth.
This research helps to fill a gap in the organization communication literature regarding narratives used externally in member communications. Not only is a narrative analysis a unique approach when applied to external communications, but it also provides a deeper understanding of how organizational narratives can function persuasively. This research also helps to provide more information about the communication strategies of ACLU and similar organizations, which are also underrepresented in the literature. Advocacy nonprofits in general but especially the ACLU play a powerful role in American politics and public life. So notably, the way they frame issues has a broader impact on public understanding of current events. The ACLU reinforces broad cultural narratives, like the hero myth, by drawing on those stories in their member communications, contributing to the understanding of issues of justice and the legal system as a battle scene or a fight, or a struggle between good and evil. This analysis is important because the ACLU is an influential actor in communicating the stories that citizens believe, both in the sense of myths and current events.
American Automation Tax Policy
11:20 AM - 11:35 AM
Automation increases production and reduces labor costs, while disrupting industry and employment. Will automation have a substantial long-term negative effect on America’s tax system and human labor market? This paper argues that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 implicitly endorses hiring human labor over automation. First, a brief background of automation is detailed. Second, an analysis of basic tax policy concepts, such as neutrality, efficiency, equity, and simplicity are applied to a specific provision of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Finally, this paper concludes that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 can assist a transition from reliance on an income tax base to one that focuses heavily on business investments and capital gains.
Death-Related Grief and Disenfranchised Identity: A Review of Key Concepts and Findings
Kendyl A. Barney, University of Montana, Missoula
11:40 AM - 11:55 AM
Throughout this review, I argue that grief is an aspect of identity given its continuous and reoccurring nature. The death of a significant person forces one to reconstruct their own narrative, resituate their relationship with the deceased individual, and develop a new sense of self post-loss. Further, I expand Doka’s (2002) theory of disenfranchised grief to argue that all grief is disenfranchised. I make this argument under the contention that the dominant narrative of grief always assumes the experience to be finite, linear, and a process of detachment. Given the reality that few people actually identify with this conceptualization of grieving, their experiences are always disenfranchised.
Those who have experienced the death of a significant person, such as a family member, commonly mention feeling isolated in their experience (Ironside, 1997; Goodrum, 2008). Difficulty communicating about grief occurs not solely because the loss is saddening, but because grief is disenfranchised. The purpose of this literature review is to support the contention that grief is an aspect of identity that is always disenfranchised by the dominant narrative of grief, making grief and loss difficult to communicate about. Grief deserves to be understood as a hidden illness of sorts; one that suddenly and permanently becomes a part of one's identity, making them a member in a club they never asked to join.
Experiences of grief following death-related loss are always disenfranchised given the “dominant narrative of grief” (Neimeyer, Klass, & Dennis, 2014), which assumes appropriate bereavement is detaching from the deceased, getting over the grief in a certain amount of time, and abiding by social norms surrounding what grief is and ought to be. This dominant narrative reinforces the performative nature of grief and upholds barriers to grief communication, thus disenfranchising the experiences of those who continue to grieve the death of a loved one. By not acknowledging this problem, researchers, practitioners, bereaved, and non-bereaved individuals alike fail to gain deeper insight into the actual experiences of individuals affected by grief, thus perpetuating the issue and turning a blind eye toward opportunities to participate in validating, compassionate, and honest conversations about grief, death, and dying. conclude by argue that, given the impact that grief has on individuals’ identities, failing to acknowledge and validate their real experiences with grief is failing to acknowledge and validate their full identities.
Understanding grief as a continuously constructed and narrated part of identity will yield many opportunities to manage of the problem of disenfranchised grief by, a) redefining the dominant narrative that confines individuals experiencing loss to a single assumed experience and, b) breaking down the barriers that inhibit grief communication. By reviewing previous grief research, I highlight gaps in current knowledge that can be filled by conceptualizing grief through this framework. Therefore, within my review, I pose areas for future research within the field of Communication.
Hopilavayi Tenses and Interpretations
1:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Hopilavayi is a Uto-Aztecan language spoken by about 4,000 people in Northeastern Arizona. According to the Hopi Dictionary Project (1998), Hopilavayi has two overt grammatical tenses: the future tense -ni and the habitual tense -ngwu. The lack of either tense is understood as the covert null tense -Ø that locates events in the non-future time. Much work has been done on Hopilavayi (cf. Whorf, 1938; Voegelin & Voegelin, 1969; Jeanne, 1978; Voegelin & Voegelin and Jeanne, 1979; Kalectaca, 1982; Malotki, 1983; Hill et al., 1998), but none have explicitly analyzed how temporal interpretations might differ from temporal locations encoded in the tense.
In this project I analyze the temporal interpretations and behaviors of each tense in Hopilavayi. I argue that out of the three tenses, only the null tense -Ø exclusively locates time, while the future tense -ni and the habitual tense -ngwu employ aspectual and modal interpretations in addition to temporal location. This research is cushioned within the literature, relying on the multitude of data published. This research is important because it contributes to an understanding of the different temporal categories and their behavior and reopens the discussion of Hopilavayi which has been dormant for over a score. Lastly, this research is intended to analyze Hopilavayi in a respectful manner and not to exotify it (cf. ‘The Hopi Time Controversy’. Also Whorf, 1941; Malotki 1983).
Ancient DNA Extraction and Analysis of Bone Samples from Orton Quarry Ossuary
Paige N. Plattner, University of Montana, Missoula
1:50 PM - 2:05 PM
The field of molecular anthropology, specifically the focus of ancient DNA analysis of human specimens, affords the opportunity to obtain background information and relationship of specimens and artifacts that may have been otherwise forgotten. The Orton Quarry (36ER243) site is an example of how genetic analysis can restore archeological context to otherwise disassociated remains. The Orton Quarry site is a Late Prehistoric mass grave of human remains along the coast of Lake Erie in Northeastern Pennsylvania. In March 1991, heavy-equipment operators accidentally exposed and destroyed approximately two-thirds of the original ossuary, leaving only the eastern third intact before archeologists arrived. In the time since the excavation very little has been published on the Orton Quarry site, its importance, or its original inhabitants. One of the primary objectives of this project is to expand upon the few publications of the site and add anthropological insight for the region. By extracting and analyzing the mitochondrial DNA using the Dabney et al. (2013) protocol, and the established standards for degraded DNA contamination avoidance, we have obtained valuable data on the site’s genetic ancestry. Ancient DNA from the seven samples was isolated and the whole mitogenome was sequenced. Haplogroups will be assigned and the resulting sequences compared to a relevant dataset from the surrounding region to gauge population relatedness and shared derived mutations, as seen in Pfeiffer et al. (2014). Despite the small sample size, comparing the data from these individuals through haplogroup and haplotype data from the Great Lakes region will prove to be valuable by establishing the maternal relationship between the individuals interned at the site, as well as with the region as a whole. This research has the potential to expand our knowledge of the Orton Quarry Ossuary, the genetic data for the Great Lakes region as well as grow our genetic understanding of ancient mitochondrial DNA in North America.
3D Printing of the Proximal Right Femur: It’s Implications in the Field of Physical Anthropology
2:10 PM - 2:25 PM
3D scanning and printing have become useful in many scientific fields over the last few years, and Physical Anthropology is no exception. With skeletal collections decreasing all over the globe and the question of preservation on the rise, it has become necessary to look towards different methods in which one can obtain valuable information. 3D scanning has become useful over the last few decades, and therefore it is essential to establish where this new technology can be of use. This paper will bring 3D scanning and printing into question and determine whether or not it should be used in the contexts of physical anthropology, such as forensic anthropology and preservation of archaeological remains.
This research will attempt to answer the question of whether or not a 3D scan and 3D print out of the proximal right femur will be identical to the original. This research will examine 30 right proximal femoral ends most of which will come from the collection of femurs at the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State and a few femurs that are present in the University of Montana Anthropology Department. These femurs will be hand measured before they are 3D scanned and printed. After the final printouts are made, an error rate will be established to determine if it can be of use in scientific fields that require quantitative accuracy to gather accurate information.
The Effects of Sexism on Communication in Dating Interactions
Alexandra Buscaglia, University of Montana, Missoula
2:30 PM - 2:45 PM
Previous research has suggested that ambivalent sexism biases individuals’ dating initiation preferences, in that individuals who score higher on measures of sexism seem to prefer gender stereotypical dating initiation behaviors (e.g., the man opens doors for the woman, the man pays for dinner; McCarty & Kelly, 2015; Glick & Fiske, 1996). Ambivalent sexism theory (Hall & Canterberry, 2011) maintains that sexism serves to disempower women, perpetuate gender stereotypes and aggressive attitudes toward women, and inhibit gender equality. Ambivalent sexism has also recently been tied to sexual harassment (Diehl, Rees, & Bohner, 2012). Previous research has focused primarily on men initiating dating interactions with women. The present study examined both men initiating dating interactions with women, and women initiating dating interactions with men. The purpose of this study was to examine perceptions of women’s dating initiations toward men, to increase understanding of the initial screening process that occurs during heterosexual dating interactions, and to determine how sexism influences perceptions of dating interactions.
A pilot study involving 45 undergraduate psychology students between the ages of 18 and 25 (M = 19.07, SD = 1.32) from Western Kentucky University was conducted to evaluate the validity of the Dating Initiation Questionnaire (DIQ), which was created for this study. In the final study, 152 undergraduate psychology students between the ages of 18 and 40 (M = 20.30, SD = 3.01) from Western Kentucky University completed measures of sexism (Ambivalent Sexism Inventory; ASI), social desirability (Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale; MCSDS), and dating initiation preference (DIQ). It was hypothesized that, for passive dating initiations, high scores on the ASI would be associated with high ratings of dating initiation effectiveness for men but not women; for aggressive dating initiations, high scores on the ASI would be associated with high ratings of dating initiation effectiveness for women but not men; for assertive dating initiations, regardless of gender, low scores on the ASI would be associated with high ratings of dating initiation effectiveness.
Results showed that gender and stronger ambivalent sexist beliefs were associated with higher effectiveness ratings for aggressive dating initiations. The model F statistic was significant for gender (B = -4.76, SE = .68, p <.001) and standardized ASI score (B = 1.54, SE = .55, p <.01), but not for their interaction term (p = .20). Independent t-tests confirmed that men reported higher preference of aggressive dating initiation than women (t(115.76) = 7.78, p<.001). In addition, higher ASI scores, regardless of gender, were associated with higher effectiveness ratings of aggressive dating initiations (t(141.69) = 3.62, p <.001). Therefore, individuals who held negative attitudes toward non-traditional women and positive attitudes toward gender stereotypical women preferred aggressive dating initiations. Importantly, men were more likely than women to endorse ambivalent sexist beliefs, which were associated with higher preference of aggressive dating initiations. Such individuals may approach others in an aggressive manner. One could argue that to prevent such harassment, individuals should be educated about communication styles and gender equality. Future research should focus on applying such interventions to men and women, and on revising the intervention to suit individuals with sexist beliefs toward women and men.
Worldviews: Discerning and Measuring the Dimensions that Make Up Our Most Fundamental Beliefs
Shailee R. Woodard, University of Montana, Missoula
2:50 PM - 3:05 PM
This research sought to develop a comprehensive worldview measure. A worldview is a set of core beliefs, values, and attitudes about the nature of the universe and humanity, one’s place in the universe and in their social context, and how one should live their life. Humans are predisposed to have a worldview, as it is a result of human nature and necessary for human functioning, particularly interacting with others and finding meaning and purpose in one’s life (Kearney, 1984; Nilsson, 2014). Worldviews have immense potential for contributions to the field of psychology. For example, worldviews provide possible explanations of human behavior and valuable insights into tensions between societal groups. While worldviews show great theoretical and empirical promise, critical gaps remain in our knowledge. One reason for the scarcity of research on worldview development is the lack of a robust worldview measure. The current research sought to fill this gap by developing a comprehensive worldview measure.
To do so, two studies were conducted. The first study derived a workable number of items (questions) from five existing worldview measures, and the second study used those items to produce a comprehensive worldview measure. In Study 1, five existing worldview measures (160 items) were administered to 171 undergraduate students. Items were analyzed using Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA), a statistical procedure used to identify a smaller set of underlying variables (i.e., factors) from a larger set of variables (in this case, the 160 questionnaire items). Using standard criteria for item reduction (e.g., redundant or uncorrelated items), the items were reduced to 77. The item reduction was necessary given that the statistical techniques required in Study 2 necessitate 5-10 participants per item.
Study 2 sought to identify the underlying factors (or groupings of the items) in order to ensure the new measure maintained a meaningful breadth while eliminating any further redundant or extraneous items. Participants (N = 772) were recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), an online platform where individuals are paid (in this case $.50) to complete small tasks. MTurk was chosen for two reasons: (1) large sample size (at least 770 participants) necessary for the analyses and (2) greater demographic variability to increase generalizability of the results. An EFA was run on half of these participants using the same criteria from Study 1 to reduce items. This process resulted in 41 items which formed five factors: Factor 1, benevolence and optimism; Factor 2, secularism; Factor 3, Eastern-based spirituality; Factor 4, hard work and respect for authority; and Factor 5, illusion of free will. The five factors were then analyzed using Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) to see how the six-factor model fit the remaining half of participants. According to the high standards of the CFA, this model appears to be a decent fit to the data. This new measure also shows strong preliminary evidence for reliability and validity. Overall, this new, comprehensive measure will serve as a strong tool to further worldview research.
Is higher self-compassion related to enhanced social func-tioning?
Jacob H. Bloch, University of Montana
3:10 PM - 3:25 PM
Self-compassion has become a popular topic of research in psychology since the publication of Kristen Neff’s seminal articles in 2003 (Neff, 2003a; Neff 2003b). Research demonstrates that the construct, which involves responding to oneself with kindness, balance, and understanding when faced with personal failure, consistently relates to well-being (Barnard & Curry 2011), which underscores its significance as a target for therapeutic intervention. Most extant research has focused on the intrapersonal benefits of self-compassion, such as its positive relationships with happiness, optimism, positive emotions (Neff & Vonk, 2009), and life satisfaction (Neff, Kirkpatrick, & Rude, 2009). Meanwhile, little research has addressed how engaging in self-compassion may be beneficial to one’s relationships. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether self-compassion is related to social connectedness and interpersonal competence. 231 participants from a university in the pacific northwest completed validated measures of self-compassion (the Self-Compassion Scale; SCS; Neff, 2003b), social connectedness (Social Connectedness Scale-Revised (SCS-R; Lee, Draper, & Lee, 2001), and interpersonal competence (Interpersonal Competence Questionnaire (ICQ; Buhrmester, Furman, Wittenberg, & Reis, 1988). Data analysis was performed using correlations and simultaneous multiple regression.
Regarding existing knowledge about these constructs, there is strong evidence that social connectedness (one’s enduring sense of closeness with their social world; e.g. Lee, Draper, & Lee, 2001; Lee & Robbins, 1998; Mauss et al., 2011; Neff, 2003b) and interpersonal competence (e.g., Fiori, Antonucci, & Cortina, 2006; Berkman & Syme, 1979; Delongis, Folkman, & Lazarus, 1988) are positively related to well-being in a variety of ways. Meanwhile, responding to oneself with self-compassion may allow a person to be more present and attentive to others in interpersonal contexts, rather than being self-critical and focused on one’s own manner of engaging. Self-compassion was examined in terms of a global construct and its six subscales, “(a) self-kindness—extending kindness and understanding to oneself (b) common humanity—seeing one’s experiences as part of the larger human experience, and (c) mindfulness—holding one’s painful thoughts and feelings in balanced awareness,” as well as each of their opposites (self-judgment versus self-kindness, isolation versus common humanity, and over-identification versus mindfulness; Neff, 2003b). Our results indicated that: 1) self-compassion and all of its subscales are significantly related to social connectedness, 2) the self-kindness and isolation subscales of self-compassion are predictive of social connectedness, 3) people reporting a greater tendency toward self-compassion were more likely to report initiating interpersonal interactions with others, engaging in more self-disclosure, and offering more emotional support to others, and 4) the facets of self-compassion are significantly related to the initiation and self-disclosure domains of interpersonal competence, but have a more complex relationship with emotional support. These results lend further support to the importance of self-compassion to interpersonal functioning, underlie its importance to well-being overall, and substantiate its relevance as a target of therapeutic intervention.