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  1. The Effect of University Belongingness in Anxiety and Depression Among Emerging Adults [Download]

    Title: The Effect of University Belongingness in Anxiety and Depression Among Emerging Adults
    Author: Adom, Kelvin
    Description: Introduction: Emerging adulthood is a stage of life characterized by notable personal development across several domains, including social identity. Many emerging adults attend colleges and universities, a context in which substantial social identity growth occurs. James Cameron's three-factor model proposes that social identity is comprised of Centrality, Ingroup Affect, and Ingroup Ties. Centrality refers to the amount of time spent thinking about being a group member. Ingroup Affect refers to the emotions associated with membership in the group. Lastly, Ingroup Ties are the perceptions of similarity, bonds, and belongingness with other group members. Studies have shown that a lack of bonds with social groups predicts negative mental health outcomes, while development of strong social ties predicts positive psychological adjustment to college and lower rates of anxiety and depression. Furthermore, strong social ties to the university have been shown to be associated with lower rates of anxiety and depression. This is particularly important given rates of such internalizing disorders have been increasing in college students, where 21.8% and 13.5% report impairment in functioning from anxiety and depressive symptoms, respectively. The present study hypothesized inverse relationships between social ties to one's university and both anxiety and depression in college students. Methods: Undergraduate students (n = 341) attending a private urban university completed self-report matures. These measures included the Penn State Worry Questionnaire, the Beck Anxiety Inventory, and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9. Participants also completed the Three Dimensional Strength of Group Identification Scale to measure aspects of their social identity as students of a university. Results: Bivariate correlational analysis revealed a significant inverse relationship between overall social identification with the university and depressive symptoms (r = -.16, p < .05). Ingroup Affect also had a significant inverse relationship with depressive symptoms (r = -.18, p < .05) and with worry symptoms (r = -.16, p < .05). Ingroup Ties had a significant inverse relationship with depressive symptoms (r=-0.24, p<.0001), worry symptoms (r=-.12, p<.05) and panic symptoms (r=-.14, p <.05). Discussion: The findings of the present study support prior research which claim that an emerging adult's connection to their educational institutions may be critical for their psychological well being. The importance of these findings could contribute to lower instances of reported depression and anxiety cases on university campuses. Universities can use these findings to develop programs which foster a sense of community; which could ultimately promote more positive mental health on campus and a strong sense of school spirit among college students.
    Keywords: Social Identity, Social Belongingness, Emerging Adulthood, Research Days 2018
    Date Uploaded: 04/26/2018
  2. Demography and the Marginal Propensity to Unionize [Download]

    Title: Demography and the Marginal Propensity to Unionize
    Author: Okafor, Chinemelu
    Description: Unions advocate for fair employee pay standards and workplace protection: unions can be regarded as a symptom of disequilibrium between the wages workers seek and the wage offered by an employer. Unions serve as powerful institutions for the alleviation of discriminatory workplace practices through the creation of a collective voice for disenfranchised communities. Although union membership offers advantages for workers from marginalized occupational and demographic communities, in the past years overall union membership as a percentage of the U.S. workforce has declined; namely, private sector union membership has declined significantly over time, while public sector union density has remained fairly constant (BLS, 2016). This analysis explores the interrelation between demographic and occupational characteristics and private sector union membership. Private sector union organizers are concerned with developing targeting strategies to reduce attrition rates and recoup membership losses. This paper acknowledges the positive contribution that unions provide to marginalized individuals; thus, the idea supporting this analysis is that considering member profiles and their role in an individual’s decision to unionize might benefit union organizers’ recruitment efforts. Positive, significant results would suggest union organizers target their recruitment efforts toward individuals that have a greater propensity to unionize given demographic and occupational profiles. Using 2013-2016 data taken from the Current Population Survey (CPS), this study investigates the marginal propensity to join a private sector union given personal profile characteristics. Time trends between demographic and occupational characteristic (levels) are first plotted using historical CPS data during the period 2000-2016. The historical trends reveal that union membership levels are highest for black men, individuals ages 45-64, and those in the transportation industry. To empirically test that these trends exist at the margin, a multidimensional logistic regression is employed to underscore the individual propensity to join (or not join) a private sector union. Demographic measures include race, sex, and age and are included first as explanatory variables, and occupational characteristics- occupation/industry- are added subsequently. Based on the observed CPS data trends, I hypothesize that the results of this analysis will be consistent with the historical level results of the data and confirm that there exists a significant, positive propensity to unionize for black men, individuals ages 45-64, and those in the transportation industry.
    Keywords: Research Days 2018, Economics, Union, Wages, U.S. workforce, Private sector
    Date Uploaded: 04/21/2018
  3. Socio-Economic Status as a Predictor of Sexual Behaviors Among Latino Immigrant MSM and Their Sexual Partners [Download]

    Title: Socio-Economic Status as a Predictor of Sexual Behaviors Among Latino Immigrant MSM and Their Sexual Partners
    Author: Parchem, Ben
    Description: Background: Sexual risk for HIV is stratified by sexual role and activities, particularly presenting a higher risk for receptive partners due to biological vulnerabilities. Sexual role-based identity among Latino men who have sex with men (MSM) often coincides with assumptions regarding power dynamics between sexual partners. Latino MSM often associate pasivo (receptive) roles with less power in the dyad whereas activo (insertive) roles are associated with more power. A more granular understanding of the role socio-economic status (SES) plays in power dynamics, and thus HIV risk, is warranted given the identity-based oppression faced by Latino MSM. Our study aimed to explore the implications of SES for sexual activities among Latino immigrant MSM. Methods: Our sample included 350 Brazilian, Colombian, and Dominican immigrant MSM residing in New York City. We estimated SES differential using participants’ responses on questions gauging their sex partner’s education and income compared to their own. We categorized SES as favoring the participant, the partner, or equal between partners. Participants also reported their participation in a series of sexual activities during the most recent sexual encounter with a single partner. Results: Regarding SES differentials, 24% of participants had a higher SES than their partner, 40.9% had a lower SES, and 35.1% reported equal SES. A series of logistic regressions revealed that, as compared to participants with higher or equal SES, participants with lower SES than their sexual partner were more likely to receive oral sex and manual stimulation of their penis and anus by their sexual partner. They were also less likely to penetrate or ejaculate in their partner’s anus. They were not more or less likely to receive anal penetration or ejaculation in their anus from their sexual partner. Conclusions: Although participants with lower SES were more likely to receive oral and manual stimulation, it did not confer an increased risk of HIV through receptive anal intercourse. The conceptualization of dyadic power between activo and pasivo partners was not aligned with SES. To minimize the influence of SES on HIV risk, user-controlled forms of protection such as PrEP may be more of an acceptable option for Latino immigrant MSM.
    Keywords: Research Days 2018, Psychology, HIV, Sexual behavior, Latino studies
    Date Uploaded: 04/21/2018
  4. Pulsatile flows in a Curved Artery Model [Download]

    Title: Pulsatile flows in a Curved Artery Model
    Author: Najjari, Mohammad Reza
    Description: Due to the importance of understanding behavior of blood flow in curved arteries, we experimentally modeled the flow of blood analog fluids through curved vessels. The curvature deviates the primary flow and causes the formation of helical motions inside the vessels, i.e. vortices. These vortices play important roles in hemodynamics and can affect mixing of different blood components and wall shear stress inside the artery. Therefore, understanding of the dynamics of these vortices is important. There are some characteristics that can affect the vortices in vessels e.g. rheological properties of the blood analog, vessel wall properties (rigid/elastic), and geometry of vessel. We investigate the morphology of vortical structures inside curved vessels under different conditions and aim to portray a complete picture of their evolution in 3D space. In order to investigate the effect of different parameters on vortices we used a canonical 180˚ curved vessel geometry. The rigid models were machined from an acrylic block. To fabricate the more complex elastic models we developed an injection molding method to produce optically clear elastic vessels from silicone. Our working blood-analog fluid is a mixture of water and glycerin to match the viscosity of blood. Viscoelastic and shear-thinning properties of blood were simulated by adding Xanthan gum. The refractive index was perfectly matched to that of the vessel to minimize distortion for imaging with our optical diagnostics. To produce the required variable pulsatile flow rates, an adaptive feedback PID controller was developed that automatically adjusts the input to the pump to match the desired flow rate waveform. Particle image velocimetry (PIV) was used in all experiments to measure the velocity fields inside the curved vessel. After obtaining the velocity data, vortices were detected using the d2 vortex identification method with an in-house Fortran code and vortex circulation analysis was performed. Our findings have resolved conflicting viewpoints in the scientific literature concerning the effects of complex fluids and effect of vessel wall elasticity. Our published results provide justification for using simple Newtonian fluids in rigid geometries as opposed to using more complex fluids in elastic vessels. These simpler models capture all the relevant flow physics and are simpler to construct, and are more amenable to optically-based measurements. Also, we showed that the effects of local elasticity on morphology of vortices are less important compared to dominant effect of geometry and torsion. Therefore, this justifies the use of simple rigid models with realistic geometry.
    Keywords: Research Days 2018, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Blood flow, Biology
    Date Uploaded: 04/21/2018
  5. Understanding the Experience of Growth-Oriented Women Entrepreneurs: A Portraiture Study [Download]

    Title: Understanding the Experience of Growth-Oriented Women Entrepreneurs: A Portraiture Study
    Author: Scott, Andrea Richards
    Description: While women entrepreneurs have significantly contributed to the US economy, they have been depicted as being smaller, having less profits, concentrating in low-profit sectors, and generating fewer jobs than their male counter parts (Blank et al., 2010; Hughes, Jennings, Brush, Carter & Welter, 2012; Marlow, 2014; Minniti & Naude, 2010; U.S. Department of Commerce Economic and Statistics Administration, 2010). There is a need for research that avoids the traditional view of women entrepreneurs as disadvantaged (Marlow, 2014). The purpose of this qualitative portraiture study is to understand the essence of US-based growth-oriented women entrepreneurs’ experiences in growing their businesses by centering women’s ways of knowing in the male normative environment of entrepreneurship. The study explores the following research question: How do growth-oriented women entrepreneurs understand their experiences in growing their organizations within a male-normative environment of entrepreneurship? Related sub-questions are: How do women entrepreneurs identify and use facilitators to grow their businesses? How do women entrepreneurs describe the experience of acquiring knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) needed to grow their businesses? This study examines women entrepreneurs’ experiences from an appreciative inquiry perspective; a key tenet of portraiture methodology. Rather than looking for the deficiency in the women entrepreneurs’ experience, it searches for “the good” (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997). The ontology that guided this study was social constructivism (Creswell, 2013; Crotty, 1998; Guba & Lincoln, 1989); an epistemology based on women’s way of knowing (Belenky et al., 1986); and portraiture methodology. The portraits of the three women entrepreneurs were assembled into a gallery. These stories were organized into categories that were analyzed across participants to determine where emergent themes reveal patterns (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997) and were presented as the study’s findings. The final layer was my interpretations of the women entrepreneurs’ stories presented in poetic form. The findings of this study include six themes: women’s entrepreneurial experiences, characteristics, learning, reflections on gender, knowing, and self as knower. Conclusions on the experience of women entrepreneurs’ growth within the normative environment of entrepreneurship along with implications are presented.
    Keywords: Research Days 2018, Human and Organizational Learning, Economics, Women's studies, Portraiture methodology, Entrepreneurship
    Date Uploaded: 04/21/2018
  6. Effectiveness of Radiation Therapy for the Treatment of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma [Download]

    Title: Effectiveness of Radiation Therapy for the Treatment of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma
    Author: Singh, Apurva
    Description: Abstract Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma (HNSCC) is usually treated with radiation therapy (RT). We wish to study whether the heterogeneity of the tumor affects the clinical outcome after RT. A database is available that contains HNSCC images acquired in various modalities. Each image modality gives different information about the patient; we wish to test whether a combination of modalities will help to assess the likelihood of success of RT. The computerized tomography (CT) scan image gives us anatomical information whereas the positron emission tomography (PET) scan gives us physiological information. The tumor is visible in the pretreatment PET images. PET images have poorer resolutions than CT images, but the PET-CT imaging system ensures that the pre-treatment CT images are registered with the PET images. Thus, using the tumor information in the pre-treatment PET image, we can locate the exact position of the tumor in the pre-treatment CT image. On registering the pre-treatment CT images with the post-treatment CT images, we have the original location of the tumor displayed in the post-treatment CT image, which, in turn will give us the location of the presumably cured tumor in the post-treatment PET image. The effectiveness of the treatment can be judged by the presence, location and size of the tumor at a particular time after the start of the treatment. This involves a study of both the pre- and the posttreatment images. Shifts are observed between the various images, however, because of factors including change in the position of the patient between the imaging sessions. Thus, image registration is important to combine the information obtained by the different imaging modalities and also to correct the shift between the pre-and post-baseline images. The clinical data accompanying the database indicate whether there was a local recurrence of the tumor in the patient after the completion of the treatment. The patients are divided into local recurrent and non-local recurrent categories. The RT Plan, included in the database, is used to indicate the tumor boundaries in the pre-treatment PET images. Once the tumor region has been extracted, various texture measures are computed on it. Those include energy measures, moments of the tumor texture, correlation between the tumor pixels and their neighbors, Fourier measures and others. We also aim to examine whether the heterogeneity of tumor textures can be a factor that predicts the treatability of the tumor by radiation therapy.
    Keywords: Research Days 2018, Radiation oncology, Biomedical engineering, Radiation therapy, Cancer treatment
    Date Uploaded: 04/21/2018
  7. Improvement in Aortic Vascular Inflammation by PET/CT Associates with Improvement in Aortic Distensibility by MRI at One-Year in Psoriasis [Download]

    Title: Improvement in Aortic Vascular Inflammation by PET/CT Associates with Improvement in Aortic Distensibility by MRI at One-Year in Psoriasis
    Author: Shukla, Parag
    Description: Introduction: Globally, 18 million people die from cardiovascular disease (CVD) annually, making it the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. In recent years, inflammation has been established as a key cause of CVD, but the effects of anti-inflammatory treatment on cardiovascular (CV) risk remains poorly understood. Psoriasis (PSO), a chronic inflammatory skin disease associated with increased CV events, provides an ideal clinical model to study inflammation and CV risk. Cardiovascular inflammation can be monitored by PET/CT of the aorta. Aortic distensibility (AD) is an important marker of subclinical CVD and has been shown to predict future CV events. Following subclinical markers, such as AD, enables physicians to make judicious treatment decisions before events such as stroke, myocardial infarction, or angina occur. Our study demonstrates a novel association between VI and AD in patients with chronic inflammatory disease. Hypothesis: A reduction in aortic vascular inflammation (VI), measured by PET/CT, will associate with increased AD, measured by PET-MRI at 1-year. Methods: Consecutively recruited PSO patients (N=50) underwent whole-body PET/CT scans to quantify VI as target-to-background ratio (TBR). Descending aorta contours on PET-MRI were traced throughout the cardiac cycle [Qflow, Medis] to measure AD. Longitudinal changes in aortic VI and AD were analyzed by multivariable regression. Results: The cohort was middle aged (mean ± SEM: 49.8 ±1.9 years), mostly male (56%), had low CVD risk, and mild-to-moderate PSO. At 1-year follow up, patients had a median improvement in PSO severity of 40% (p<0.001) with use of biological therapy (28/50 patients) while aortic VI decreased by 8% (1.81 ± 0.05 vs 1.67 ± 0.04, p<0.001) and AD increased by 10% (0.61 ± 0.03 vs 0.67 ± 0.04, p=0.04). Reduction in aortic VI was associated with an improvement in AD beyond traditional CV risk factors, statin use, and systemic/biologic PSO therapy (β=-0.36, p=0.04). Conclusion: Improvement in aortic VI in patients with psoriasis by PET/CT is associated with improvement in AD by PET-MRI at 1-year, suggesting that treatment of inflammation may have a favorable impact on functional characteristics of the aorta. These findings further advance our understanding of the role of inflammation in CVD and the utility of PET-MRI for inflammatory CVD risk prediction. Our novel findings can help improve the accuracy of CVD risk prediction, enable physicians to make evidence-based decisions, and decrease the global economic burden of cardiovascular disease on healthcare systems.
    Keywords: Research Days 2018, Psychology, Cardiovascular disease
    Date Uploaded: 04/21/2018
  8. Wrath and Woe of Heroes: Translating Male Grief in Homer’s Iliad [Download]

    Title: Wrath and Woe of Heroes: Translating Male Grief in Homer’s Iliad
    Author: Alpert, Margot E.
    Description: Homer’s Iliad has always held a fascination for me in the drama of its central heroes, particularly when it comes to Achilles. The original Greek text holds little back in its depictions of its heroes; Achilles wails as he rips off his clothes and in other moments of heroic redemption drags a body around the city. While there are obvious displays of masculinity within the Iliad, what is often overlooked is a softness and emotional intelligence with which the Ancient Greek portrays these men. My research has been not only locating and examining these moments of purposeful change, but also finding the reason for why they have come to be. In studying translations of Homer’s Iliad, I have found what appears to be a tendency to not only subvert the emotional responses of men, but to masculinize them, especially when it comes to displays of grief. This study pulls from literary theory fields of both translation studies as well as affect theory to examine how translators have interpreted Homer’s original Greek to fit their contemporary standards. My research focuses on three translations of this text: Alexander Pope’s 1715 edition, Samuel Butler’s 1898 edition, and Caroline Alexander’s 2015 edition. Pope takes on the challenge of this translation by updating the text into a metered verse in English, while Butler takes a more standard approach in keeping his translation in prose. However, I found it necessary to include Alexander’s approach, in that her translation provides us the lens of both a contemporary translator and a woman. From these three translations, I have been able to evaluate how translations of this text have changed within a 300 year period, and how these translations represent the cultures of masculinity from which they were created.
    Keywords: Research Days 2018, Homer, Gender, Masculinity
    Date Uploaded: 04/21/2018
  9. Effects of Breastfeeding on Postpartum Depression and Anxiety [Download]

    Title: Effects of Breastfeeding on Postpartum Depression and Anxiety
    Author: Chen, Steven
    Description: Postpartum depression (PPD) is a serious mental health condition that affects an estimated 13 – 19% of mothers, with well documented negative consequences on maternal and infant health (O’Hara & McCabe, 2013). Research has explored risk factors for PPD, including depression history and social support. However, breastfeeding as a risk factor remains understudied. Recent research has found mixed findings on the relationship between breastfeeding and PPD, in part due to varying operationalization of breastfeeding and depression. Breastfeeding difficulties may not only be due to depression but also anxiety, but anxiety has not been measured as much as depression. To address these research gaps, the present study evaluated the association between breastfeeding and PPD and between breastfeeding and postpartum anxiety. Given that depression and anxiety are highly comorbid (Austin et al., 2010), we hypothesized that there will be a negative relationship between breastfeeding and depression, and between breastfeeding and anxiety. We reviewed medical charts from 283 postpartum mothers who received OBGYN services at 6-weeks postpartum. The sample included predominantly married (58.3%), African American (46.4%) women. The Edinburg Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) was used to identify women with symptoms of both depression and anxiety, with higher scores indicating higher severity. Postpartum mothers were separated into two groups: (1) Breastfeeding group (n= 224), who reported breastfeeding exclusively breastfeeding or combined breastfeeding and formula feeding; and (2) Formula feeding group (n= 58), who reported exclusively formula feeding or formula feeding due to early cessation of breastfeeding. Results indicate no significant difference in depression scores between breastfeeding (M= 0.37, SD= 0.42) and formula feeding groups (M= 0.37, SD= 0.55); t(280)= -0.07, p= 0.95. There was a marginally significant difference in the anxiety subscale, in which the breastfeeding group reported having more anxiety symptoms (M= 0.87, SD= 0.66) than the formula feeding group (M= 0.67, SD= 0.72); t(280)= 1.97, p= 0.050. These findings suggest a mixed relationship between breastfeeding and PPD, and breastfeeding and postpartum anxiety. Future research should be conducted to understand the extent of comorbidity between anxiety and depression. Additionally, research should focus on the role of anxiety in PPD to understand why higher anxiety scores on the EPDS may occur for postpartum mothers who either breastfeed or formula feed their infant. Our results suggest the importance of screening for both PPD and anxiety, and encouraging mothers to make decisions about breastfeeding that are best for them to decrease risk for maternal depression and anxiety.
    Keywords: Research Days 2018, Postpartum depression, Mental health, Breastfeeding
    Date Uploaded: 04/21/2018
  10. Media Coverage and the Gender Gap In Political Ambition [Download]

    Title: Media Coverage and the Gender Gap In Political Ambition
    Author: Chevalier, Kat
    Description: Research has shown that the lack of women in elected office is due to a disparity in the number of women who choose to run. But little research considers whether the media environment may exacerbate this so-called gender gap in political ambition. In this project, I test whether exposure to news stories that emphasize the importance of candidates’ policy expertise and public speaking ability make women less interested in running for office. This hypothesis arises from previous research that finds women often view themselves as less qualified for political office than similarly qualified men. To test the hypothesis, I draw on an original survey experiment conducted in early 2018 with a national sample of adults and a sample of college students. If the media play a role in reinforcing misperceptions that women lack the qualifications to run for office, that may help explain the persistence of gender inequality in the American political institutions.
    Keywords: Research Days 2018, Media, Gender inequality
    Date Uploaded: 04/21/2018