UC graduate and undergraduate psychology research to be presented at national conference

April 9th, 2012
Stress and anxiety among Americans is under increasing concern –in the doctor's office, in the workplace and at home. UC student researchers will be examining different facets of the crisis as they take part in a national conference aimed at bringing relief to that suffering.

UC graduate and undergraduate research posters will be presented at the 32nd annual conference of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, which will be held April 12-15 in Arlington, Va. All of the student researchers are under the mentorship of Alison Mcleish, a UC assistant professor of psychology.

Three graduate students and four undergraduate research assistants will represent the UC Department of Psychology at the conference. Here's a roundup of the poster presentations:

The Role of Distress Tolerance in Excessive Worry

Description: Excessive worry, the defining feature of generalized anxiety disorder, has been identified as a cognitive avoidance strategy to reduce emotional experiences. Distress tolerance is defined as a perceived ability to tolerate emotional distress. This presentation focuses on a survey of 227 college students. The findings suggest that distress tolerance plays a unique role in excessive worry and could be a useful intervention in therapy.

Presenters: Kristen M. Kraemer, a doctoral student in clinical psychology; Kimberly M. Avallone, a doctoral student in clinical psychology ; Alison McLeish, assistant professor of psychology; Christina M. Luberto, a doctoral student in clinical psychology

Emotion Dysregulation as a Predictor of Anxiety Sensitivity and Anxiety Symptoms Among Smokers With Asthma

Description: Anxiety has long been associated with both asthma and cigarette smoking. It can also impede smoker's efforts to kick the habit. This study on 125 smokers with asthma explored the relationship between anxiety and emotion dysregulation – described as difficulty in managing negative emotions – among smokers with asthma. Results of the study indicate that emotion dysregulation may place smokers with asthma at risk for the development of anxiety issues such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Presenters: Kimberly M. Avallone; Christina M. Luberto; Kristen M. Kraemer; Alison McLeish; Emily O'Brien, undergraduate RA; Emily Jeffries, undergraduate RA

Anxiety Sensitivity and Smoking Outcome Expectancies Among Smokers With Asthma

Description: Anxiety sensitivity (AS) is significantly associated with smoking behavior and smoking-related cognitive processes. To date, no research has examined the relationship between AS and smoking outcome expectancies among smokers with asthma. This study examined the unique predictive ability of AS in terms of smoking outcome expectancies (i.e., appetite-weight control, positive reinforcement/sensory satisfaction, negative reinforcement/negative affect reduction, negative consequences) among smokers with asthma. The results found that among smokers with asthma, higher levels of AS are associated with expectations of negative outcomes due to smoking. These results suggest that AS is an important factor to consider in terms of cessation interventions, since individuals may differ in their expectations of negative health consequences from smoking.

Presenters: John B. Fleming, undergraduate RA; Kimberly M. Avallone; Christina M. Luberto; Alison McLeish

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Re-experiencing Symptoms and Barriers to Smoking Cessation

Description: Cigarette smoking is more common among individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and research also shows smokers with PTSD have a tougher time quitting. This survey of 126 smokers explored the unique characteristics of PTSD that could interfere with efforts to quit smoking. The study found that the re-experiencing symptoms of PTSD (e.g. flashbacks) were the primary barriers to cessation.

Presenters: Kimberly M. Avallone; Kristen M. Kraemer; Alison McLeish; Christina M. Luberto; Emily Jeffries

Emotion Dysregulation and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Cluster Severity in a Trauma-Exposed Sample

Description: Emotion regulation – defined as the modulation, awareness, and acceptance of emotions as well as the ability to engage in goal-directed behavior and apply emotion regulation strategies flexibly in the face of emotion – has been implicated as a principal factor in the maintenance of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. However, specific emotion regulation difficulties (emotional non-acceptance, impulse control difficulties, limited access to emotion regulation strategies) have yet to be explored in relation to severity of the three posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom clusters: avoidance, re-experiencing and hyperarousal. This presentation will examine the role of specific emotion regulation difficulties in the three PTSD symptom clusters, and examine the clinical implications of emotion regulation difficulties in PTSD.

Presenters: Emily O'Bryan; Kristen M. Kraemer; Alison McLeish

Provided by University of Cincinnati

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