88th Annual Midwestern Psychological Association


The first week of May, the PTG lab ventured to Chicago, Illinois to present their research at this years 88th Annual Meeting – Midwestern Psychological Association (MPA). Whitney Dominick, Aundreah Walenski, and Shelby Seyburn presented their posters Strength versus Compassion: Cultural Disparities in Personal Growth (Stress, Health, and Psychopathology: Clinical Psychology Posters Division), The influence of Experiencing Multiple Stressful Events on Posttraumatic Growth (Psi Chi Posters VII Division), and Social Support as a Predictor of Posttraumatic Growth in Adolescents (Ostracism and Stereotypes: Social Psychology Division).

The MPA conference promotes the advancement of the psychological sciences. The PTG lab members enriched their knowledge of psychology by attending poster sessions, and symposia’s addressing diverse psychological research topics. In addition, they were able to speak with other researchers and network with professionals. This experience was a great start in preparation for upcoming conferences.

Click the link below to view our posters and abstracts

Strength versus Compassion: Cultural Disparities in Personal Growth

The influence of Experiencing Multiple Stressful Events on Posttraumatic Growth

Social Support as a Predictor of Posttraumatic Growth in Adolescents

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PTG Lab Member Aundreah Graduates from Oakland University

Graduation PhotoFriday April 29th was Oakland University’s College of Arts and Sciences graduation ceremony. Aundreah Walenski (PTG Lab member) graduated with Department Honors and Cum Laude well obtaining her Bachelor of Arts Degree. Aundreah will be attending University of Michigan this upcoming Fall to obtain her Masters degree in Social Work. Aundreah has achieved a number of accomplishments at Oakland University as well as in the PTG lab. The lab is excited to see what has yet to come for Aundreah. Congratulations on graduating!

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The Evolution of Psychopathology Conference

EconferenceThis April, PTG lab member Whitney attended the The Evolution of Psychopathology Conference at Meadow Brook hall, Oakland University (Link to the program: EvolPsychopathology-Program-2016).

At the conference Whitey presented her research poster Strength Versus Compassion: Cultural Disparities in Personal Growth. In addition, Whitney was able to special with other researchers, network with professionals, and further her knowledge of Psychology.

This was a great start to upcoming conferences in the next couple months.

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PTG By Drs. Tedeschi and Calhoun

Posttraumatic growth (PTG) is defined as positive psychological changes experienced as a result of the struggle with a major life crisis or a traumatic event. Lawrence G. Calhoun and Richard G. Tedeschi are two of the pioneers in the research and theory on PTG. These amazing researchers are sharing their wealth of knowledge and interesting findings in YouTube videos.

To learn more about posttraumatic growth and these world renown researchers check out the additional videos by clicking below:

History of PTG Lawrence Calhoun 

Soaringwords Interview Dr. Richard Tedeschi

The amazing research of Calhoun & Tedeschi 

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Accomplishments from Lab member Whitney

Whitney is the only Ph.D. student in the PTG lab. This is Whitney’s second semester in the lab and keeps exciting us with all of her accomplishments.IMG_6007.JPG.jpg

  • Whitney has been quoted in the Oakland post regarding animals and stress relief.
  • Whitney’s abstract on Compassion versus Strength: cultural disparities in personal growth has been accepted to present at the MPA conference in Chicago this May 2016.
  • Whitney’s poster has been excepted by the Evolution of Psychopathology Conference.
  • Her other study about the developmental perspectives on PTG has been been accepted to present at the APA conference in Colorado this August 2016.
  • She received two internal grants (research grant and travel grant) so far!

The lab is excited to see Whitney’s further accomplishments in the PTG lab!

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Geena’s Journal Club Presentation

Lab member, Geena presented a study Exploring self-perceived growth in a clinical sample of IMG_6363severely traumatized youth. This was Geena’s first Journal Club Presentation in the PTG lab. First and second semester research assistants present an article of their choose to the other lab members. The study aimed to add to research of PTG in children and adolescents who have experienced a severe trauma. The study analyzed how much growth they experienced and what kind of growth they reported by examining PTG before and after psychotherapy. Surprising to the researchers, only 17% of the participants reported PTG before psychotherapy (pre-treatment). However, they did find that the participants reported significantly more PTG post-treatment than pre-treatment. Geena is particularly
interested in the differences between children and adults experiencing PTG and plans to further this research with her time in the lab.

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Multitude Of Events Project Teams Up with the OU Pontiac Initiative!

The PTG lab is excited to announce they have been selected as one of the twenty-five mutually beneficial projects for the Oakland University and Pontiac Initiative. The Oakland University Pontiac Initiative is advancing the vitality of the City of Pontiac while providing experiential learning opportunities for OU students. On Saturday, March 5th lab members Aundreah Walenski and Lauren Harrison attended the OU/Pontiac Initiative Town Hall Meeting. They spoke on behalf of their partnership with Pontiac and the future plans ahead. At the close of the month, the lab will be collecting data and conducting a brief psycho-educational PTG intervention. The lab is honored to be given the experience to part to take part in such a great opportunity and excited to begin a long living relationship.

This research is also supported by Rosen Fellowship.

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Multitude of Events Project

Actual WebsiteAre you 18 years of age or older? YOU ARE INVITED to participate in a one session online research study that is being conducted by researchers from Oakland University. This study is being led by Aundreah Walenski and Dr. Kanako Taku (Associate Professor). You will be asked to do the following: 1) provide demographic information such as your age, ethnicity and religious association 2) complete a few questionnaires about how you perceive stress, and 3) asked to recall your past experiences that were stressful life events. All procedures in this survey have been approved by the Oakland University Institutional Review Board. This study will last approximately 45 minutes.

Study Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/multitudeofeventsproject

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Lauren’s Journal Club Presentation

IMG_6816Lab member, Lauren Harrison, presented her first Journal Club Presentation at our last meeting. Journal Club Presentations give our research assistants an opportunity to present a PTG article of their interest to the lab and challenge their research skills. Lauren choose an article on Personality, posttraumatic stress and trauma type: factors contributing to posttraumatic growth and its domains in a Turkish community sample. This study found that PTS severity contributed to PTG total and all domains except for appreciation of life. They also found that PTG and its domains were influenced by levels of personality and PTS severity.

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Reflection of the PTG Lab Fall Semester 2015


This semester has been a productive semester for the PTG lab. Currently, three abstracts have been accepted for poster presentations at the Midwestern Psychological Association (MPA), three abstracts are to be presented at the American Psychological Association (APA) this August 2016, and two symposiums are invited for International Congress Psychology (ICP). In addition, some of the lab members received awards this past semester.

  • Aundreah Walenski received the Rosen fellowship award and Provost Undergraduate Student Research Award. Her project title is “Personal growth resulting from multiple stressful and challenging events among college and high school students.”
  • Whitney Dominick received the Provost Graduate Student Research Award. Her project title is “Animal assisted therapy, perceived social support, and post traumatic growth in traumatized youth.”
  • Kana Taku received the University Research Committee Faculty Research Fellowship Award. Her project title is “Effects of mortality salience and personality on post traumatic growth and group entitativity.”

Stay tuned for updates on another productive semester in the PTG lab for Winter 2016.

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