Shelby’s Research Proposal Presentation

img_5490Lab member, Shelby, presented her research proposal on resilience, social support, and self-esteem at our last lab meeting. The purpose of this study is to examine how social support relates to resilience in adolescents, to examine the predictive ability of social support and self-esteem to resilience, and to indicate if the relationship between resilience and social support is moderated by self-esteem. Shelby plans to present her findings and clinical implications at the 89th annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association in Chicago April 2017.

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PTG Lab Members Present at RA Workshop

Dr. Taku and lab member, Kyle, presented at this year’s Research Assistant Workshop
hosted by Psi Chi. The presentation began with a brief overview of what it is like being a research assistant and what is required of the position. A number of faculty’s research interests were presented and guest speakers img_5477were included as well. These guest speakers were either faculty or students part of a lab and they spoke of what is required of their lab specifically. Finally, Kyle and Dr. Taku explained the process of applying for research assistant positions and tips for being accepted. They encourage anyone interested in getting more experience in the psych department and building positive relationships with faculty to consider contacting professors about research assistant positions.

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Geena’s Article Presentation and Hypotheses

Lab member, Geena preimg_5479sented a study, Associations among religious coping, daily hassles, and resilience by Laura McIntire and Renae Duncan. After presenting the article to the lab, she presented potential hypotheses based on the article’s findings and started a discussion about them. The
main purpose of this study was to to examine the relationships among religious coping styles, the experience of daily hassles, and resiliency. Negative religious coping was found to be positively correlated with psychological distress and resilience was found to be negatively correlated with psychological distress. Researchers also found that individuals who experienced more daily hassles and used positive religious coping had a greater resilience than those who experienced more daily hassles but used negative religious coping. Geena then presented hypotheses based the findings that she plans to further research in the future.

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Lauren’s Article Presentation and Hypotheses

img_5402Lab member, Lauren, presented a study, Stress and affective experiences: The importance of dark personality features, and two hypotheses. Second semester research assistants present an article to other members of the lab and discuss potential hypotheses based on the article’s findings. The main purpose of this study was to determine if the Dark Triad personalities were linked with responses to stress. When comparing individuals high in psychopathy and low in psychopathy, researchers found that those high in psychopathy displayed a higher reaction to stress than individuals low in psychopathy. When comparing individuals high in narcissism and low in narcissism, researchers did not find a significant difference in reaction to stress. There were no significant findings between Machiavellianism and stress. Lauren then presented two possible hypotheses that she hopes to further research in her time in the lab.

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Whitney’s Thesis Presentation

img_5393Graduate student, Whitney, presented her master’s thesis research presentation, entitled Animal Assisted Therapy, Perceived Social Support, and Posttramatic Growth in Traumatized Youth, at our last meeting. The purpose of this study is to investigate (1) whether animals increase posttraumatic growth, (2) whether animals decrease posttraumatic stress symptoms, (3) whether AAT increases social support and, (4) whether social support impacts PTG. Whitney has received IRB approval, has begun data collection for this study, and will continue throughout the semester. Congratulations Whitney!

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The PTG Lab Presents at New Student Convocation

Lab members Shelby Seyburn, Geena Osowski, and Lauren Harriimg_5383sion were asked to speak at the Fall 2016 New Student Convocation for psych students. The presentation consisted of a brief overview of what PTG is, how the lab goes about conducting research, and why students should get involved in research early. They emphasized the importance of getting research experience outside of the classroom and building professional relationships with faculty as well as the steps one needs to take to become a research assistant.

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The PTG Lab Welcomes Two New Members!

img_5361The PTG lab is excited to welcome Kyle this upcoming Fall 2016 semester. Kyle is currently a junior at Oakland University and is majoring in psychology and minoring in Christian studies. He joined the PTG lab because he finds posttraumatic growth to be a more positive approach to trauma and something that should be studied more in-depth. He has an interest in how PTG affects spirituality and plans on studying how an individual experiences spiritual growth as a result of a traumatic event. After graduating from Oakland, Kyle plans on going to graduate school to obtain a masters in clinical psychology. Kyle can be reached at


The fall 2016 semester, the PTG is also welcoming new lab member, Jenna. Jenna is currently a junior at Oakland University and is double majoring in Psychology and Writing & Rhetoric. She joined the PTG lab because of her passion for helping people who suffer from PTSD. In particular, Jenna isinterested in examining how rumination promotes post traumatic growth, and what implications this could have for the treatment of those suffering from PTSD, as well as other stress-related disorders. Upon graduation from Oakland University, she plans to pursue graduate studies in Psychology with the ultimate goal of establishing a career in research. Jenna can be reached at

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The PTG Lab Welcomes Matt!

The PTG lab is excited to welcome Matt this upcoming Fall 2016 semester. Matt is a first year MS student with a double major in Psychologymatt pic.png and International Relations from the University of Missouri – Columbia as well as a Multicultural Certificate earned via studying abroad at Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan.

Having worked as a primary school teacher in Japan post-graduation, Matt is interested in investigating the variations of Post-Traumatic Growth in Japanese and American populations, with an emphasis on their correlation with an individual’s propensity towards elements of mindfulness and acceptance.

His professional goal is to establish a lab which evaluates the role socio-cultural variations of PTG play in relation to effective trauma-informed care. Matt can be reached at

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Congratulations Leah!

LeahLeah McDiarmid has graduated from the PTG lab and is moving on to her next step in her academic career.

Leah joined the lab Fall of 2013 and has been raising the bar ever since, achieving numerous accomplishments throughout her three years of the lab.

Leah has submitted to 10 conferences, including Meeting of Minds, the Midwestern Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.

This past summer Leah had the opportunity to present her research Personally important and family valued posttraumatic growth in adolescents, in Denver Colorado at the Annual American Psychological Association. At the conference Leah received the Raymond Corsini Student Poster Award Honorable Mention for her poster presentation.

Along side Dr. Taku Leah collaborated on a manuscript titled Personally important posttraumatic growth in adolescents: The effect on self-esteem beyond commonly-defined posttraumatic growth.  This manuscript was then published in Fall of 2015, and is currently in the Journal of Adolescence. In addition, she also has manuscripts under review. Leah has achieved many other honors and awards through her time in the PTG lab. This is an individual who has made her mark in the lab, the passion she has for research is remarkable.

This Fall 2016 Leah will be entering graduate school to achieve her Masters in Clinical Behavioral Psychology at Eastern Michigan University.

The PTG lab is eager to see what comes next for Leah, and wish her the best of luck next year!

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124th Annual American Psychological Association Convention

The first week of August, the PTG Lab ventured to Denver, Colorado to present their research at this years APA convention. Whitney Dominck, Leah McDiarmid, Aundreah Walenski and Shelby Seyburn presented their posters Personally ImIMG_8174portant and Family-Valued Posttraumatic Growth in Adolescents (Division 1: General Psychology Division), Gender and Age Differences in the Perception of Personal Growth (Division 32: Humanistic Division), and The Influence of Experiencing Multiple Life Stressors Following the 3.11 Earthquake on Posttraumatic Growth (Division 56: Trauma Division).

In addition, lab member Leah McDiarmid and Dr. Taku received honorable mention for the Raymond Corsini Student Poster Award. Their presentation was in Division 1 for General Psychology.

Among attending the annual APA convention the lab members were able to visit and speak with other PTG researchers, network with other professionals,and further their knowledge of Psychology. The conference was a great start to prepare the PTG lab for the upcoming semester of research.

Click the link below to view our posters and abstracts.

Personally Important and Family-Valued Posttraumatic Growth in Adolescents 

The Influence of Experiencing Multiple Life Stressors Following the 3.11 Earthquake on Posttraumatic Growth

Gender and Age Differences in the Perception of Personal Growth

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