Sarah Burghaus Proposes Thesis on Driving Anger

Sarah Burghaus, a doctoral student in her second year, successfully proposed her master's thesis yesterday. She hopes to begin data collection in January.

We know that driving anger is a robust predictor of aggressive driving, non-aggressive forms of unsafe driving, and a number of crash-related conditions (e.g., near misses, losses of concentration while driving). Sarah's thesis, Relationship of Mindfulness, Empathy, and Consideration of Future Consequences to Driving Anger, will examine three variables which may mitigate the experience of driving anger: trait mindfulness, empathy, and the consideration of future consequences.

Sarah will determine whether these variables can enhance the prediction of driving anger beyond the contribution of the Five Factor Model (FFM) of personality. If these variables can explain additional variance in driving anger, it will help to support a case for assessing these constructs as part of a comprehensive evaluation of driver risk and may inform the development of more sophisticated models for understanding the proximate factors contributing to unsafe driving.

Lab Accepting Undergraduate Research Assistants

Anger Words
For undergraduate students in psychology and related fields who are planning to apply to doctoral programs in psychology, obtaining research experience now is highly desirable. The same may be true of some (but not all) master's programs, depending on their focus.

The Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab in the Department of Psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi is accepting applications from motivated Southern Miss undergraduate students who are interested in obtaining research experience to enhance their applications for graduate school. A new online application has been set up for students interested in joining the lab.

Students planning to apply to graduate programs are encouraged to begin obtaining research experience prior to their senior year so they have sufficient time to see projects through to completion. Interested students may apply at any time of the year but are encouraged to apply prior to the semester in which they hope to begin working in the lab so that their schedule may be considered in selecting a weekly meeting time. Late October through November would be an ideal time to apply to join the lab for the Spring semester.

Priority is given to applicants with cumulative GPAs above 3.0 and who are seeking research experience to benefit their graduate school applications.

Students accepted to the lab may elect to receive course credit through PSY 491 for their work.

Daniel Deason Proposes Thesis on Personality and Relational Aggression

Daniel Deason, a doctoral student in his second year, successfully proposed his master's thesis today. He did a great job presenting his study and obtained approval from his committee to move forward.

Daniel's thesis, Personality and Relational Aggression in College Students: The Role of Social Anxiety and Rejection Sensitivity, will examine the utility of the Five Factor Model (FFM) of personality, social anxiety, and rejection sensitivity in predicting relational aggression between peers and romantic partners. We expect that some of the Big Five personality factors will predict relational aggression but that social anxiety and rejection sensitivity will explain additional variance in relational aggression beyond the contribution of the FFM.

Lab Welcomes New Master's Student

The Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab is pleased to welcome a new master's student. Mallory McCann is entering the master's program in August of 2013. She completed her undergraduate work at Louisiana State University.

Congratulations to Mallory on her admission to the master's program. We look forward to working with her.

Predictors of Binge Eating in College Women

Emily Prather proposed her dissertation today, Predictors of Binge Eating in College Women. She did a great job with her proposal, and her dissertation committee approved her plan.

Emily's study aims to clarify the possible roles of trait anger, anger suppression, impulsivity, and emotion regulation in binge eating among college women. Data collection will begin in the fall. It is hoped that her study will inform our understanding of binge eating.

Charles Spielberger, RIP

I am sad to report that Dr. Charles Spielberger, author of the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory-2, passed away yesterday. We in the lab are indebted to Dr. Spielberger in more ways than I can mention. Without his measures, theories, considerable body of scholarship, and assistance over the years, much of our work on anger would not have been possible. He will be missed.


Charles Donald Spielberger, PhD (born 1927) passed away June 11, 2013. Dr. Spielberger was a clinical and community psychologist best known for his work on personality and health. He was past president of the American Psychological Association and an emeritus member of the Psychology Department at the University of South Florida, where he served as Department Chair. Dr. Spielberger was a USF Distinguished Research Professor, the highest academic honor bestowed by the University. An internationally acclaimed scholar, he wrote over 460 professional publications. He was also a mentor to many graduate students, and provided gifts to the USF Foundation to support graduate students through scholarships. In recognition for his work, Dr. Spielberger received numerous awards, including the American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology and the Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement in the Application of Psychology from the American Psychological Foundation. After his official retirement, he remained an active researcher, running the Center for Research in Behavioral Medicine & Health Psychology.

Before coming to USF, he taught at Vanderbilt University (1962-1967) and Florida State University (1967-1972). He also served as a visiting faculty at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study. Dr. Spielberger served in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1946 to 1979, retiring at the rank of Commander. He earned a B.S. in chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Iowa.

Dr. Spielberger is survived by his wife, Carol, and his son, Nicholas.

Prepared by Dr. Michael Brannick, Chair, Department of Psychology, University of South Florida

Caitlin Clark Recognized for Poster at Student Research Colloquium

Caitlin Clark, a second-year master's student working in the lab, presented a poster on parenting and relational aggression at the 7th Annual Student Research Colloquium at the University of Southern Mississippi in April. She just learned that her poster was selected by faculty judges as an outstanding poster. Congratulations to Caitlin!

Caitlin will enter the doctoral program in the Fall and plans to continue her work on aggression.

Interview With El Observador

I was interviewed last week by a reporter with El Observador, a newspaper in Uruguay. The article, "Luis Suárez, un mordiscón en un partido y el otro lado de la ira, según expertos," addressed anger in the context of a recent incident during which Uruguayan soccer player, Luis Suárez, bit a player during a match between Liverpool and Chelsea.

The article by Daniel Ríos addressed the development of problem anger, the benefits of healthy anger, and anger management. Dr. Howard Kassinove of Hofstra University was also interviewed for the article.

Attitudes Toward Anger Management Scale Soon to be Published

Evidence-based treatments for clinically dysfunctional anger have been available for some time; however, they are often designed for highly motivated individuals who acknowledge having a problem with anger and a desire for assistance. While some individuals with anger problems are motivated, many others are ambivalent about seeking or actively participating in treatment. The importance of assessing treatment motivation is evident to clinicians who provide anger management services, and measures of treatment readiness are beginning to appear.

Attitudes toward anger management services are likely to influence one's willingness to seek professional help for dysfunctional anger and impact the nature of the working alliance. Assessing attitudes toward these services may help us identify obstacles to help seeking and better engage angry clients early in treatment.

A paper based on David Boudreaux's master's thesis describing the development of the Attitudes Toward Anger Management Scale (ATAMS), a new measure designed to assess attitudes toward seeking professional help with problem anger, was just accepted for publication in Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development. The paper describes the development and initial validation of the measure.

Additional work on the ATAMS is needed before the instrument can be recommended for use in clinical settings, but we are encouraged by the initial results and will soon begin collecting additional data.

The citation is below, and the paper is available in pre-release .pdf format by clicking on the title:

Boudreaux, D. J., Dahlen, E. R., Madson, M. B., Bullock-Yowell, E. (in press). Attitudes toward anger management scale: Development and initial validation. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development.

National Anger Management Association to Hold Fall Conference in Arizona

The National Anger Management Association has scheduled their Fall conference for October 24-25, 2013, in Tuscon, AZ. The conference will be held on the campus of the University of Arizona and is focused on those interested in treating problem anger and domestic violence. Additional information about the conference can be found here.

Anger and Culture at SEPA

David Boudreaux and Deirdre Paulson

Here are David Boudreaux and Deirdre Paulson at the 2013 Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) conference in Atlanta with their poster, Anger From a Multicultural Perspective. Deirdre works on Dr. Melanie Leuty's Work & Occupations Research Collaboration Team. This poster was a great example of productive collaboration across different research labs in our program.

ISRA Offers Student Memberships

For those of us studying anger and aggression, it is not always easy to find professional organizations that seem relevant. I thought I'd mention that the International Society for Research on Aggression (ISRA) offers student memberships for graduate students who are interested in research on aggression and violence. Student memberships are only $30/year, and this can be a good way to stay connected with what is happening in the field.

Lab Welcomes Two New Doctoral Students

The Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab is pleased to welcome two new doctoral students for the Fall 2013 academic term.

Caitlin Clark is a master's student currently working in the lab who joined us in 2011 from Georgia College & State University. She plans to continue her research on aggression and hopes to broaden her focus beyond parenting-related variables. Niki Knight is completing her bachelor's degree at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Her interests make her a good fit for the lab.

Congratulations to Caitlin and Niki! We look forward to working with you.

Paper on Relational Aggression in College Students Soon to be Published

A paper authored by Eric R. Dahlen, Katherine A. Czar, Emily Prather, and Christy Dyess will soon be published in the Journal of College Student Development. The paper, "Relational aggression and victimization in college students," has been in press for some time, and it will be nice to see it appear in print.

The brief abstract for the paper is below:
For this study we explored relational aggression and victimization in a college sample (N = 307), examining potential gender and race differences, correlates, and the link between relational aggression and common emotional and behavioral problems, independent of relational victimization. Gender and race differences were observed on relational aggression and victimization. Relational aggression in peer and intimate relationships was positively correlated with depression, anxiety, stress, anger, and alcohol problems. Independent of gender, race, and relational victimization, peer relational aggression was predicted by anxiety, trait anger, and personal problems related to alcohol use.

Poster Accepted for APA

A poster based on David Boudreaux's master's thesis, Attitudes Toward Anger Management Services, has been accepted for inclusion in the Division 17 poster session at the annual conference of the American Psychological Association in Honolulu, Hawaii. Congratulations to David! A trip to Hawaii should be a nice break from working on his dissertation.