Jessica’s Journal Club Presentation

Lab member, Jessica presented her Journal Club Presentation on “Post-traumatic growth, stressful life events, and relationships with substance use behaviors among alternative high school students,” at our last lab meeting. IMG_6229Journal club allows lab members to pick an article of their interest regarding PTG and challenge their research skills. Jessica chose a prospective study that looked at older at-risk adolescents who reported higher levels of PTG in the aftermath of a stressful life event also looking at their substance use behaviors at the two-year follow-up.

Click here to read more about this article

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Three Students Published Papers in the Meeting of Minds Undergraduate Journal

Meeting of Minds is a yearly undergraduate conference that gives undergraduate students the opportunity to present their research and publish papers in the Meeting of Minds undergraduate journal. This past May three lab members published  papers in the journal. If your interested click on the titles and read their research!

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Aundreah’s Honors Independent Study – Research Proposal Presentation

IMG_6149Lab member, Aundreah Walenski, presented her research proposal for her honors independent study project (PSY494), entitled Multitude of Events, at our last meeting.

The purpose of this study is to investigate how PTG can occur resulting from multiple events; specifically the current exploratory study uses quantitative data to potentially discover the existence of a multi-event approach to participants’ scores on the PTGI.

IRB proposal is currently under review. Aundreah will continue her work on this project throughout the semester!

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The PTG lab welcomes Shelby Seyburn

shelby_web-025Shelby Seyburn is the newest member to the team for the Fall 2015 semester. She is currently a junior at Oakland University. Her major is in psychology and minor in Nutrition. She joined this particular lab because she found PTG to be a continuously growing area of research that needs more understanding. Her main area of interest among PTG is in adolescence. She has always been interested in this particular age group and found that there are numerous areas with undiscovered information. Generally, Shelby would like to explore the different mental states and personalities of adolescence before and after they experience trauma, along with looking at the different levels of trauma. Trauma is such a broad definition, which can be looked at in many different ways. After undergraduate school Shelby would like to pursue her education in psychology by attending graduate school, focusing on adolescents. Shelby can be reached at:

Shelby was also very excited to read about the work Professor Kanako Taku and the PTG lab members are conducting in the Oakland Post. She is eager to begin working with the lab and continue helping their current research on high school students. To read more about the article visit

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PTG Lab Welcomes First Graduate Student!


The PTG Lab is very excited to welcome our fist graduate student Whitney. Whitney is a first year PhD student, with a Bachelors in Psychology from Colorado State University. She is interested in pursing the relationship between animals and PTG, particularly as it pertains to traumatized children. Her ultimate goal is to establish an animal assisted therapy program for traumatized children utilizing dolphins in the wild. Currently she is assisting in a study of PTG in medical professionals, analyzing the qualitative data about the relationships between adolescents’ understanding of PTG in regards to their demographics, and examining what elements in support, including spending time with animals specifically, may be beneficial in fostering PTG. Whitney can be reached at

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How to Bounce Forward After Trauma

A recent article has been published in the Huffington Post featuring popular examples in our media from Buddha to Batman of PTG like the recent memoirs and novels: Malala Yousafzai’s book I am Malala  and Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADrs. Tedeschi and Calhoun discuss in depth about the positive changes experienced after stressful life events. Click the picture or here to read this inspiring article.

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123rd Annual American Psychological Association Convention

BeFunky Collage BetterThe first week of August, the PTG Lab ventured to Toronto, Canada to present their research at this years APA convention. Dr. Taku, Leah McDiarmid, and Aundreah Walenski presented their posters Personally Important Posttraumatic Growth as a Predictor of Self-Esteem in Adolescents (Division 1: General Psychology Division) and Cross-Cultural Differences in the Relationship between Hope and Posttraumatic Growth (Division 32: Humanistic Division).

Dr. Taku also presented her research, Burnout and Psychological Growth Affects Wellness in Physicians at a symposium with Dr. Richard Tedeschi and Dr. Jane Shakespeare-Finch. In addition, we were able to visit and speak with other PTG researchers, network with other professionals, further our knowledge of Psychology, and prepare for our upcoming semester of research.

Click the link below to view our posters and abstracts.

Personally Important Posttraumatic Growth as a Predictor of Self-Esteem in Adolescents

Cross-Cultural Differences in the Relationship between Hope and Posttraumatic Growth

Burnout and Psychological Growth Affects Wellness in Physicians

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2015 Meeting of Minds Conference

MOM collage

In May lab members Jessica Genaw, Aundreah Walenski, and Leah McDiarmid presented their research at this years 23rd annual Meeting of Minds conference at University of Michigan-Dearborn. New lab member Shelby was able to attend the conference and support the lab and gain a hands on understanding of the labs ultimate goal to present and share our research.

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PTG Lab Members Graduate from Oakland University


Left to Right: James Casolari, Alexander Boulos, Dr. Taku, and Leah McDiarmid

Saturday, May 2nd was Oakland University’s College of Arts and Sciences graduation ceremony.  Two past PTG lab members including Alexander Boulos (PTG Lab member Winter 2013 semester) and James Casolari (PTG Lab member Winter 2014 Semester) and one current Lab member Leah McDiarmid graduated with their Bachelor of Arts Degree. Congratulations on graduating PTG Lab members!

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PTG Lab Featured on Oakland University’s Home Page

adf 2We made the home page! The PTG Lab, Dr. Taku, and research assistants Leah McDiarmid and Aundreah Walenski, were recently interviewed by Oakland University’s Communication and Marketing. Click the picture above or here to read the article discussing posttraumatic growth, Dr. Taku’s recent research ventures, and the lasting impact she has left on her undergraduate research assistants’ success at Oakland and beyond.

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