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THE EFFECT OF ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES ON AUTONOMIC ACTIVITY IN ADULTHOODAdverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are a significant and highly prevalent issue. ACEs include physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, dysfunction in the home, parental loss through divorce and or death, and other potentially traumatic events (Felitti et al., 1998). More research is needed to gain a better understanding of how ACEs are linked to long-term negative mental health outcomes and physiology. A non-invasive way to understand the relationship between adversity and mental and physical health is to examine physiological activity patterns of the autonomic nervous system (sympathetic and parasympathetic). Such physiological measures include electrodermal activity (EDA), heart rate (HR), and heart rate variability (HRV). The purpose of this study was to investigate if certain autonomic activity patterns are associated with ACEs and if these activity patterns can be observed in early adulthood. To do this, EDA, HR, and HRV were collected from participants during a baseline period of rest and while they completed a stressful task (Stroop Test). Additionally, participants were measured in this study using the Adversity and Abuse Items from the Harvard Second Generation Study Questionnaire (Morrill et al., 2019). Certain demographic information is also being collected. The hypotheses of this study were as follows: 1) Individuals who score high on the ACEs scale will display higher levels of HR and EDA at baseline than those with low scores, 2) individuals who score high on the ACEs scale will have higher HR and EDA during the stress task than those with low ACEs scores, and 3) Participants in the high ACEs group will have lower overall HRV than those in the low ACEs groups. The results of this study did not show any significant differences between ACEs groups and their physiological measures during baseline or during the Stroop task.
EXAMINING THE EFFECTS OF MU OPIOID RECEPTOR AGONISTS ON PAIN - RELATED DEPRESSION OF NESTING IN MICEA key goal in preclinical pain research is improving the translational value of findings by modeling pain states elicited in humans. Examining the expression and treatment of pain-related disruption of behavior represents one approach to improving the alignment between preclinical pain research and clinical settings. Past studies support the ability of the intermediate efficacy opioid, morphine, to restore pain-related depression of nesting in mice. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the effects of the low efficacy opioid, buprenorphine, and the high efficacy opioid, methadone, on lactic-acid induced depression of Nestlet shredding in male and female ICR mice. At the start of test sessions, 5 × 5 cm Nestlets were weighed and suspended from the wire lid of the home cages. Under control conditions, mice removed pieces of the suspended Nestlets to build nests. The results indicated that intraperitoneal injections of 0.18% lactic acid disrupted Nestlet shredding. Unlike morphine, both buprenorphine and methadone failed to restore acid-induced depression of shredding. In the absence of acid, both buprenorphine and methadone significantly depressed shredding. Our findings highlight the need for additional testing of these drugs across different pain procedures and noxious stimulus intensities to determine whether a balance can be achieved between their rate-decreasing and antinociceptive effects.
RACISM, RELATIONSHIP FUNCTIONING, AND COMPARISON LEVELS OF ALTERNATIVESRomantic relationships offer a space for companionship, belonging, love, and intimacy. However, relationships do not exist in a vacuum. One important external factor that can affect the functioning of a relationship is experiences of racism. Yet, few studies have examined the effects of racism on relationship functioning. Data from 122 participants currently in romantic relationships in which one partner is a person of color was used to examine the association between experiences of racism and negative and positive aspects of relationship functioning as well as perceived partner alternatives. Experiences of racism were positively associated with anger, perceived partner anger, and withdrawal; and negatively associated with perceived partner support. Experiences of racism were also positively associated with perceptions of comparison level for alternatives. Findings suggest that experiencing racism is related to both negative and positive aspects of relationship functioning as well as perceived partner alternatives. Future research should seek to further examine these relationships.
THE IMPACT OF TRAINEE THERAPIST PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS AND TECHNIQUE USAGE ON THE THERAPEUTIC ALLIANCE AND SESSION DEPTHThe quality of the therapeutic alliance and the depth of the therapeutic work are thought to be two of the most important contributors to client outcomes. Moreover, it is clear that therapists differ in their ability to form strong working relationships and engage meaningfully with clients. Much less is known with regard to which specific therapist characteristics and techniques are most helpful in forming strong bonds with clients and deepening the work, especially within trainee populations. This study utilizes a multi-trait multi-method assessment of clinical graduate trainees (N = 65) prior to training and then matches these scores to process measures collected from their first therapy case. The therapy was video recorded, and observer ratings of exploration, insight, action, and supportive techniques were provided for the third session. Clients also completed the Working Alliance Inventory and the Session Evaluation Questionnaire at the third session. Regression results indicate that therapist characteristics (age, GRE score, interpersonal problems, perspective taking, and emotional investment in relationships) and technique usage (exploration, insight, action, and support) significantly predicted client-rated depth. While the overall two-step regression model was not significant for alliance, there was a significant correlation with a moderate effect for observer-rated usage of support and client-rated alliance scores. Exploratory regression results indicated technique usage variables independently predict client alliance ratings with support having a positive impact. Implications of the findings as they pertain to selection and training in clinical and counseling training programs are discussed.