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Self- Motivation among College Students Who Have Experienced the Death of a Parent A Work In Progress Ryeshia Jackson, Psychology, University of North.

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Presentation on theme: "Self- Motivation among College Students Who Have Experienced the Death of a Parent A Work In Progress Ryeshia Jackson, Psychology, University of North."— Presentation transcript:

1 Self- Motivation among College Students Who Have Experienced the Death of a Parent A Work In Progress Ryeshia Jackson, Psychology, University of North Texas and Honors College Mentor: Amy Murrell, Department of Psychology, University of North Texas Experiencing the death of a parent is time-stopping, life-altering, and, most of all, hard to overcome. Each year a significant number of people undergo a tragedy that most do not know how to conquer. In the United States about 3.5% of children experience the loss of a parent (Mireault & Bond, 1992). This study will examine potential variables that arouse the motivation in individuals who have experienced the death of a parent. It will look at variables such as gender of the deceased parent, the quality of the child’s relationship with the living parent, and the child’s locus of control, resilience, valuing, and social support. A total of 50 individuals will be recruited into this project. All subjects must complete a voluntary consent form in order to participate in this study. Each participant will take the assessment and correlational analyses will be done to examine relationship among variables. The loss of an important person, in any situation, is likely tough to handle. A person may lose someone as the result of a move or a break-up, or even just growing apart. Grief may be involved in several types of loss. Grief has no deadline to leave; it can be short-term or long-term. Both short-term and long-term consequences can be noted (Crook & Eliot, 1980). Grief affects people in different ways. Some individuals may become depressed. Others might show internalizing or externalizing behaviors (e.g., anxiety or aggression). Grief may look different at different times (Crook & Eliot, 1996; Downey, 2000; Kaltreider& Mendelson, 1985; Worden, 1996). It could be argued, however, that the finality of death complicates the loss. Death of a loved one may affect every living member of the family (Jordan, Kraus, & Ware, 1993) and every family will experience, at some point, the loss of a loved one. Many survivors will experience what is known as grief. It is estimated that 3.5% of children in the United States will experience the death of a parent by the age of 15 (Mireault & Bond, 1992; Social Security Administration, 2000; Rainbows, n.d). The prevalence may be higher by the time the child becomes a college student. According to Balk (2001), nearly 30% of undergraduates are within 12 months of a death of a close family member or friend. The loss of a parent, whether in childhood or adulthood, is a “universal life changing event” which could hinder a person’s motivation to continue moving forward in life (Kaltreider & Mendelson, 1985; West, Sandler, Pillow, Baca, & Gersten, 1991; Lin, Irwin, Sandler, Ayers, Sharlene, Wolchik & Luecken, 2004). Parents are typically responsible for ensuring the safety and growth of their children; therefore, a child’s loss of a parent may be accompanied by feelings of uncertainty and stress as well as sadness (Mancini & Bonanno, 2006; Worden & Silverman, 1996). Several other negative consequences are associated with losing a parent, such as the development of mental health problems (e.g., anxiety, depression, somatic complaints) as well as withdrawal and conduct issues (Dowdeny, 2000; Lutzke, Ayers, Sandler, & Barr, 1997; Cohen, Mannarino, & Deblinger, 2006). There are several negative consequences that may occur after the death of a parent (Worden & Silverman, 1996; Haine, Ayers, Irwin, Sandler, Wolchik, & Weyer, 2003; Crook & Eliot, 1980; Harrington & Harrison, 1999). On the other hand, there are numerous factors that may contribute to an individual continuing with pursuit of important life goals after experiencing the death of a parent. The factors include gender of the deceased parent, the quality of the child’s relationship with the living parent, and the child’s locus of control, resilience, valuing, and social support (Kwok, Haine, Sandler, Ayers, Wolchik, & Tein, 2005; Lin, Sandler, Ayers, Wolchik, & Luecken, 2004). The existing literature has investigated how variables such as gender of deceased parent, relationship with living parent, loci of control, the resilience and social support of the child all relate to individuals who have experienced the death of someone. However, the literature to date is not consistent across all factors, and this study includes assessment of valuing, which has not before been included. Further, the research to date has not looked at the relationship between self-motivation in college students after experiencing the death of a parent and what factors assist in the accomplishment of obtaining those goals. Finally, there are several studies about parental bereavement and how the parent of a deceased child copes, but there is not a lot of literature about child bereavement, specifically, child bereavement of a parent. The literature to date consists of many dissertations which indicates that researchers need to look at these factors and how they are related to child bereavement. I want to thank Dr. Susan Eve for helping me to thoroughly understand what research is and how to go about it. I also want to thank Dr. Gloria Cox for making the Honors College possible to help students like me gain more information in a fun way. I want to thank Dr. Amy Murrell for taking the time out to assist me with this research project. I know you are very busy and I really appreciate it. I want to thank Dr. Connie Fickenscher for always giving me advice and helping me through this process. Lastly, I would like to thank Provost Wendy K. Wilkins for making Scholars Day possible. Thank you–you are all very wonderful people. Sincerely, Ryeshia Jackson Balk, D. (2001). College student bereavement, scholarship, and the university: A call for university engagement. Death Studies, 25(1), Crook, T., & Eliot, J. (1980). Parental death during childhood and adult depression: A critical review of the literature. Psychological Bulletin, 87(2), Dowdney, L. (2000). Childhood bereavement following parental death. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 41, Haine, R.A., Ayers, T.S., Sandler, I. N., Wolchik, S.A., & Weyer, J.L. (2003). Locus of control and self esteem as stress moderators or stress mediators in parentally bereaved children. Death Studies, 27, Harrison, L., & Harrington, R. (2001). Adolescents' bereavement experiences. Prevalence, association with depressive symptoms, and use of services. Journal of Adolescence, 24(2), Jordan, J.R., Kraus, D.R., & Ware, E.S. (1993). Observations on loss and family development. Family Process, 32, Kaltreider, N., & Mendelson, S. (1985, Sum). Clinical evaluation of grief after parental death [Electronic Version]. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 22(2), Retrieved September 29, 2009 Kwok, O., Haine, R. A., Sandler, I. N., Ayers, T. S., Wolchik, S. A., & Tein, J.-Y. (2005). Positive parenting as a mediator of the relations between parental psychological distress and mental health problems of parentally bereaved children. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 34, 260–271. Lin, K. K., Sandler, I. N., Ayers, T. S., Wolchik, S. A., & Luecken, L. J. (2004). Resilience in parentally bereaved children and adolescents seeking preventive services. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33, 673–683. Lutzke, J., Ayers, T., Sandler, I., & Barr, A. (1997). Risks and interventions for the parentally bereaved child. Handbook of children's coping: Linking theory and intervention (pp ). New York, NY US: Plenum Press. Retrieved from PsycINFO database Mancini, A., & Bonanno, G. (2006). Bereavement. Practitioner's guide to evidence-based psychotherapy (pp ). New York, NY US: Springer Science + Business Media. Mireault, G., & Bond, L. (1992). Parental death in childhood: Perceived vulnerability, and adult depression and anxiety [Electronic Version]. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 62(4), Rainbows (n.d.). A generation at risk. Retrieved February 3, 2010, from Social Security Administration. (2000). Intermediate assumptions of the 2000 trustees report. Washington, DC: Office of the Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration. West, S.G., Sandler, I., Pillow, D.R., Baca, L., & Gersten, J.C. (1991). The use of structural equation modeling in generative research: Toward the design of a preventive intervention for bereaved children. American Journal of Community Psychology, 19, Worden, W.J. (1996). Children and grief: When a parent dies. New York: The Guilford Press. Worden, J., & Silverman, P. (1996). Parental death and the adjustment of school-age children. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 33(2), Participants will be recruited through the UNT psychology pool. All recruited participants will first be given informed consent forms describing the projects and the procedures to be used. The researcher will explain all the risks and how the experiment will proceed. Participants will be given a chance to ask questions and then they will be asked to sign the consent form. Signing the consent form means they are voluntarily participating in this experiment. A total of 50 participants who have experienced the death of a parent will fill out a computer-based assessment that consists of several measures. In order to ensure the confidentiality of the responses, we will assign numbers to each participant. Each participant will fill out a demographic questionnaire about their age, gender, ethnicity, gender of the deceased parent, and age when the parent died. This measure will be randomly presented in the assessment. The participant will also complete the Valued Living Questionnaire, (VLQ; Wilson & Groom, 2002) (measures values); the Avoidance and Fusion Questionnaire, (AFQ; Greco, Murrell, & Coyne, 2004) (measures avoidance of the specific topic); Resilience Questionnaire, (Wagnild, & Young, 1993) (measures the buoyancy of a person); Rotter’s 29-item Locus of Control, (Rotter, 1966) (measures if the person has an external or internal locus of control); Bereavement Experience Questionnaire, (BEQ-24; Guarnaccia & Hayslip, 1998) ( measures the variety of grief and bereavement experienced); Social Support Instrument, (Zimet, G. D., Dahlem, N. W., Zimet, S. G., & Farley, G. K., 1988) (measures the support system of the person); Personal Value Questionnaire, (PVQ; (Blackledge, 2006) (measures all 9 ACT values domains); and the Social Values Survey (measures only social, family, and couples relationships). After the participant completes the assessment they will be thanked for taking the time out to participate in this study and the data will be ed to Dr. Amy Murrell as soon as it is saved on the computer. Correlational analyses will be used to look at the relationships among the variables in the data collected. ABSTRACT METHODOLOGY LITERATURE REVIEW REFERENCES ACKNOWLEDGMENTS PURPOSE The purpose of this experiment is to examine the variables that motivate someone to achieve their desired goals in life after experiencing the death of a parent. WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? The results will expose variables related to the motivation among bereaving individuals who have experienced the death of a parent. By examining these particular variables we may be able to identify variables that contribute to the positive outcomes of bereaved college students.


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