Sample Abstracts

Electronic Survey of College Band Directors

The aim of this survey study is to assess and improve the relationships between band programs and their athletic departments. An electronic survey link will be posted on an email listserv of college band directors. Data will be collected electronically and analyzed by comparing band directors who report a positive relationship with their athletic departments to those who report a negative relationship. The survey is anonymous.

Survey Study Using Psychiatric Patients

This dissertation study aims to validate a new test of malingering mental illness (i.e., faking mental illness) in order to provide correctional mental health facilities with a new tool to help ensure that only the inmates who truly need the limited mental health resources in those settings get that help. This study is a replication and extension of a preliminary unpublished study on the MIMIC (Mental Illness Malingering Index for Corrections). This survey study uses the most common approach to evaluating malingering tests: simulation procedures (asking Ss to fake mental illness), comparisons across multiple intact groups, and comparisons between the new measure and existing malingering measures (the Medical Symptom Validity Test [MVST] and the Structure Inventory of Malingered Symptomatology [SIMS]).

Ss will include inpatients (N=30) and outpatients (N=15) from Whitfield State Hospital and Communicare Mental Health Center, respectively. Inpatient Ss include patients under both civil commitments and criminal commitments. Non-clinical Ss include 100 Central Mississippi Correctional Facility inmates and 30 UM undergraduates.

All Ss will complete all three surveys. All clinical Ss will be asked to complete them honestly; a percentage of non-clinical Ss will be asked to complete the surveys as if they were mentally ill.

This study has been approved by Mississippi Department of Corrections, Whitfield, and Communicare.

Analysis of Existing Data Containing Identifiers

The purpose of this quantitative study is to examine the relationship between co-curricular involvement (campus climate, student involvement, and integrated work experiences) and post-graduation pursuits (employment and enrollment in graduate or professional school) for baccalaureate completers. Theories of student persistence (Braxton, 2003; Pascarella and Terenzini, 2005) and student involvement (Astin, 1984, 1985) establish the importance of co-curricular involvement for student success while enrolled in college. It is not known, however, how co-curricular involvement relates to students' professional endeavors post-graduation. The proposed study seeks to fill this void in the research and frame post-graduation pursuits as program outcomes while discussing the interaction between accountability and assessment for student affairs functional areas.

A key component of the research is analyzing archival data from a national longitudinal study that has not previously been used in inquiries of similar scope. The population for the study is defined as college students (ages 18-24) who participated in the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS: 96/01). The population size is approximately 10,300. The sample will be selected via criterion sampling, meaning data to be analyzed must be from respondents who are baccalaureate completers. Data from individuals who attended two-year institutions or did not complete a baccalaureate degree by 2001 will not be considered.

The study will incorporate a relational research design to determine the existence and strength of relationships between post-graduation pursuits and co-curricular involvement. Covariates representing student characteristics as well as institutional characteristics will be considered in data analysis. Data will be collected via structured record review from the BPS: 96/01: the researcher will access and review BPS: 96/01 case-level data and extract the information germane to the proposed study.

Exercise Study using Tourette Syndrome Patients and Controls

This research study is receiving funding from the Tourette Syndrome Association to empirically test the anecdotal reports that exercise reduces Tourette Syndrome (TS) symptoms. Ss 8-55 years old with and without TS are recruited for a small randomized clinical trial pilot study. The protocol was written in consultation with a neurologist. Most TS subjects will be referred from physicians who have agreed to support this work; additional TS subjects will be recruited from the TS Association’s members. Control subjects will be recruited via ads in Oxford.

Ss encounter 3 phases.

  1. When subjects phone in their interest in participation, they will be screened for inclusion.
  2. Both TS and control subjects take their pulse at home; TS subjects also complete screening surveys on Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which the PI will use to assess for differential responsiveness to the aerobic exercise.
  3. The 4-hour laboratory phase includes treadmill walking/running (10’ at 40% and 10’ at 65% of maximum capacity estimated from heart rate calculations) and the following pre- and post-exercise measures:
    • Survey of premonitory urges for Tics
    • EEG measures examining brain event-related electrical potentials or coherence in electrical brain activity:
      • While at rest
      • While subjects actively try to suppress tics
      • During a visual reaction time task
      • During an auditory reaction time task

Ss will be paid $50 and provided travel support, if needed.

Exercise Intervention With Children

This research study is a pilot test of the effectiveness of a novel approach to increasing physical activity and improving nutritional habits in 9-10 year old Oxford Elementary School children. The study includes: 1) interaction with Internet media designed to engender healthy habits and 2) daily emails that encourage use of a ‘Dance Dance Revolution’ game (DDR) that guides aerobic dance movements via a Sony Playstation and TV. Parents interested in volunteering their child in response to flyers sent home from school will phone investigators for more information.

Children will be screened for exclusion with a Health History Questionnaire.

The interventions include instruction during a regular school class and a physical education class.

Pre- and post-intervention measures include:

  1. Height, weight, % body fat (via electrical impedance device)
  2. Aerobic fitness measured by a standardized 20-meter shuttle run
  3. Surveys on habitual physical activity and snack habits

Walking Study Using DXA and Treadmill

The study aims to define the gait characteristics that are associated with observed higher metabolic costs during walking for overweight compared to normal weight individuals. Forty male and female subjects under 300 pounds and age 18-44 recruited via mass UM emails that screen for age and weight will 1) fill out 2 standardized surveys on physical activity, 2) walk across a force plate 15 times while spelling a word backwards or counting backward by 13s, and 3) walk on a treadmill while O2 uptake is measured for three 5-minute sessions: one at their ‘normal’ walking pace determined by a pre-test of walking 50 feet six times, and the others at a pace 25% higher and 25% lower than that pace, and 4) undergo a DXA. Video data will be retained indefinitely and available only to study personnel.

Safety screening is important in this study. Therefore, volunteers who phone in to reply to the email solicitation will be screened for age, weight, known pregnancy, heart disease, chest pain, dizziness, bone/joint problems, and prescription drugs that may limit physical activity and excluded accordingly. Also, Ss will be screened for maximum resting blood pressure of 140/90 and pregnancy once they come to the lab.

Benefits to Ss include: feedback on body composition (% body fat) and bone mineral density. There are no incentives.

Memory Study

This study aims to determine if memory is better for gossip information when compared to non-gossip information. Ss recruited via PSPM will participate in the experiment in a computer laboratory on campus. All materials will be displayed on the computer screen, except for the consent form which will be read and signed by participants immediately upon entering the lab. For the first experiment, Ss will be divided into three conditions: gossip, celebrity gossip, and non-gossip. Each group will read stories and be given a surprise free recall test. For the second experiment, Ss will be divided into two conditions: celebrity and friend. Each group will rank a list of gossip topics for their interest value on a scale of 1 to 5 and be given a surprise free recall test. The studies take 5-10 minutes. Amount of information remembered will be analyzed and the groups’ data will be compared.

Smoking Treatment Study with Psychiatric Outpatients

Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure causes health problems, such as cardiovascular and lung disease; bronchitis; pneumonia; and exacerbation of asthma. Home smoking restrictions (HSR) – rules that ban smoking in the home and car – reduce ETS exposure. Most of the few ETS exposure reduction intervention studies target only smokers with asthmatic children. Effective interventions for ETS exposure are 1) theory-based and 2) increase HSR. Psychiatric populations smoke at much higher rates than the general population. Decreased family ETS exposure in psychiatric populations could reduce financial and health stress. Ours is the first study to apply ETS reduction procedures to an outpatient psychiatric sample and the first to use telephone counseling with no face-to-face component in an attempt to reduce treatment delivery costs.

The proposed study has two aims: 1) to obtain prevalence rates of home smoking restrictions in an outpatient psychiatric sample and 2) to compare the efficacy of a brief telephone-based behavioral counseling intervention to reduce ETS exposure to a self-help control group in a sample of psychiatric outpatients who smoke.

Phase I: Baseline Survey. Interested smoker and nonsmoker patients 18 or older will be recruited from 2 offices of a rural community mental health center to complete a 10 to 15 minute baseline survey by telephone. All smoking and nonsmoking participants will be asked for demographics, home smoking restrictions policies in their home and car, and knowledge of environmental tobacco smoke exposure. Smokers will be asked about their tobacco use, tobacco dependence, and quitting attitudes and attempts.

Phase II: Intervention. At the end of the baseline survey, patients who smoke and do not have 100% home and car smoking restrictions will be asked to participate in an intervention study. Both counseling and self-help groups will get educational materials when they sign consent forms. The counseling group will get 3 telephone counseling sessions: an initial session and 1-month and 3-month sessions. Both groups will be surveyed by phone at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months for changes in baseline survey variables with particular focus on home/car smoking restriction rules and personal tobacco use.