Director: Eric R. Dahlen, Ph.D.
So while these opportunities are available, how many of our students actually take advantage of them? Not surprisingly, this depends on each student and his or her professional goals. Most of our doctoral students present work based on their master’s thesis and/or dissertation at professional conferences. Some go beyond this and present the results of collaborative research projects, literature reviews, or more clinically focused work as well. With more available conferences than any of us have the time or money to attend, these opportunities are plentiful. Similarly, most of our doctoral students will submit manuscripts based on their master’s thesis and dissertation for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Students seeking academic or other research-oriented careers will typically be involved in additional research projects that aim to produce publishable manuscripts.
Similar opportunities exist for master’s students; however, their condensed time frame is often a limiting factor. Because master’s students have a shorter program of study and do not have the same research requirements as doctoral students, it is less likely that they will complete independent research projects comparable to a thesis. For most master’s students, getting involved in collaborative research projects makes more sense and can still result in presentation and/or publication opportunities. For especially talented master’s students aiming to apply to doctoral programs, independent research projects can sometimes be arranged based on fit and available resources.
We are interested in admitting a Counseling Psychology doctoral student for the Fall 2018 term. If you are planning to apply to doctoral programs in Counseling Psychology and you have research interests that overlap with ours, we hope you will consider submitting an application to the Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Students interested in applying should see our page on joining the lab and consult the information available on the Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program website (see Admissions Information). The application deadline is December 1, and now is the time when most applicants are thinking about where they plan to apply and working on their applications.
As is the case with most doctoral programs, the application process is highly competitive. Faculty start with an extensive review of the written application materials and work to identify a select group of the top applicants. Those selected are then invited to visit the Hattiesburg campus for in-person interviews. Interviewees have the opportunity to meet the program faculty, learn more about the lab, discuss research ideas with Dr. Dahlen, and interact with many current graduate students.
Growing up in a military home, Amber moved around a lot. She started her post-secondary studies at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. At the end of this two-year program, she received an Associate of Arts in preparatory science and transferred to the University Southern Mississippi in 2016. She wanted to carry on the tradition of her father and brothers and also stay close to home.
Over the summer, Amber presented a poster on jealously and relationship satisfaction in romantic relationships at the MSU research symposium. Currently, she enjoys working with the Dark Triad in the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab. Looking forward, Amber wants to learn more about child psychology and child development research.
Amber hopes to attend to graduate school at the master’s level in counseling or clinical psychology. She is currently engaging in the process of learning more about graduate school programs. She says that the process has been straightforward but challenging. She is actively seeking advice from professors and has found a variety of helpful responses. She is actively working on graduate school applications, GRE, letters of recommendations, and trying to find programs that fit with her interests. Ultimately, Amber is interested in a career as a therapist with the hope of owning her own practice. During her free time, she enjoys baking and reading science fiction/thriller novels.
- Post contributed by Adijah Battle
Ashley is from Starkville, Mississippi and graduated from Starkville High School. She chose to attend Southern Miss after touring the campus. She said that she fell in love with the atmosphere and discovered that she felt at home on the campus.
In addition to her work with the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab, Ashley is also gaining research experience in child development through another lab in the department. She is interested in family cycles and overall mental health (stress in particular). She hopes to gain more insight and research experience that comes with working in research labs.
Ashley hopes to attend graduate school and pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology. She said that she's getting an early start in thinking about the graduate school application process and that it is much better to plan ahead than to start late. Thus, she is getting involved in research now, working to maintain her grades, engaging with her professors, and getting involved in activities like the Psychology Club to learn more about the field of psychology. Ultimately, she wants to be a clinical psychologist working in private practice. Ashley’s hobbies include working at the Payne Center, hanging out with friends and at the Baptist student union, fishing, and research.
- Post contributed by Adijah Battle
Morgan grew up in Madison, Mississippi and completed her undergraduate work in psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. During her time as an undergraduate, she worked in the Personality Assessment and Clinical Outcomes (PACO) Lab. This work led to a poster presentation at the Undergraduate Symposium on Research and Creative Activity on the Five Factor Model of personality and treatment preference.
When asked about what drew her to the Counseling Psychology Master's Program, Morgan said she liked the program atmosphere and the people involved in the program. She also noted that she liked the program's emphasis on diversity and the flexibility of the program (i.e., students receive training that prepares them to pursue a variety of different career and/or academic pathways).
When it comes to research, Morgan's interests include dark personality traits, forensic psychology, and juvenile offenders. Morgan’s aims to pursue a doctorate in counseling psychology and hopes to work with adolescents and/or juvenile offender populations. During her free time, Morgan’s hobbies include hanging out with friends, enjoying time with her dog, and singing.
When asked about what advice she would offer to potential applicants, Morgan said that it is important to start the process of preparing for graduate school applications as early as possible to make sure one meets all the deadlines. Good advice!
- Post contributed by Adijah Battle
Believe it or not, working as an RA in a Psychology research lab can be valuable for a number of other reasons too. Here are just a few examples that come to mind:
- Some students do not discover their passion for research until they have the opportunity to be part of a research lab.
- Obtaining research experience allows students to develop the sort of portfolio of skills many employers are seeking (e.g., knowledge of the research process, interpersonal awareness, the ability to contribute to a team, effective problem solving, organization and time management).
- By working as an RA, a student provides a faculty member with the opportunity to get to know him or her in a meaningful way, and this often results in a more relevant letter of recommendation (i.e., the professor is able to address the student’s potential to succeed in the research-related aspects of graduate training and/or address many of the job-relevant skills noted above).
- Being part of a research lab often gives students a clearer understanding of the research process, and this can translate into improved performance in Psychology courses.
- Working as an RA in a lab that includes graduate students provides undergraduates with an accurate idea of what it is like to be a graduate student, what to expect from graduate training, and additional opportunities for mentoring.
- Students can sometimes opt to earn elective course credit by working as an RA in a lab.
Undergraduate students enrolled at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Hattiesburg campus can learn more about joining the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab and explore other opportunities for gaining research experience in the department.
We are currently working on a paper based on Daniel’s master’s thesis that examines the contribution of social anxiety to the Five Factor Model (Costa & McCrae, 1992) of personality in understanding relational aggression in college students.
Congratulations to Daniel on the new job!
If you have any ideas about content you’d like to see on the new page, let us know.
Congratulations to Morgan on her admission to the master’s program! We are looking forward to working with you.
Congratulations to Taylor on the admission!
Both vulnerable narcissism and emotion dysregulation have been linked to suicidality in previous studies; however, relatively little is known about the relationship of these factors to self-injurious behavior and self-criticism in non-clinical settings. Philip’s study will use a college student sample and is anticipated to generate some useful information about the important topic of college student mental health.
Congratulations to Philip on the successful proposal!
As an undergraduate, Skylar was involved in two different research labs. The Stress Physiology in Teens (SPIT) Laboratory led her to examine the interplay between stress exposure, biological trajectories, and adolescent development in understanding why certain individuals develop psychopathology. Her time with the Youth Social and Emotional Development Laboratory was spent identifying social, emotional, and cognitive factors related to the development and maintenance of aggressive behavior in youth.
She applied to Southern Miss because the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab overlapped with her research interests in aggression. Skylar recently proposed her master’s thesis, The Role of Emotion Regulation in the Relationship between Trait Anger and Aggression, and is currently collecting data. She hopes to research other forms of aggression, such as sexual aggression. Skylar’s career interests include working in a maximum-security prison, as well as a psychiatric unit or major hospital.
When asked for advice concerning potential future applicants to our program, Skylar mentioned the importance of gaining research experience, as it can be helpful in defining a career path and in assessing which graduate programs best align with one’s personal research interests.
Congratulations to Caitlin!
Congratulations to Niki on the successful match!
Currently, Taylor is conducting a research project designed to evaluate one of the few published measures of cyber aggression suitable for use with college student samples. She is using it to examine various predictors of cyber aggression (also known as electronic aggression). Predictors under investigation include trait aggressiveness and several dark personality traits (e.g., psychopathy, narcissism, spitefulness, sadism). Not only is she well-positioned to make a meaningful contribution to the literature in this area, but she is helping to pave the way for future students in the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab to study cyber aggression.
Taylor's plans for the future involve pursuing her doctorate in Counseling Psychology, and she is applying to doctoral programs this year. Her career goals include working as a director/supervisor at an inpatient or residential treatment facility.
When asked what advice she might have for future applicants to the Counseling Psychology master's program at the University of Southern Mississippi, Taylor mentioned not to be afraid of asking questions or seeking clarification. It is important to remember, she said, that many people can relate to the inevitable anxiety surrounding the admission process and are eager to help.
As an undergraduate, Michael worked on an independent research project focusing on the behavioral effects of a college smoking ban. His curiosity in research and counseling continued to evolve by studying abroad, ultimately guiding him to apply to the master's program at Southern Miss.
Michael aims to become a licensed professional counselor upon graduation and is interested in a career in community mental health. As such, he hopes to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic, our program's in-house training clinic where both master's and doctoral students obtain much of their practicum experience under the supervision of program faculty. This experience, along with his coursework in the master's program, will prepare Michael to pursue licensure.
In addition to completing a literature review on alcohol-related aggression, one of the ways Michael has been assisting the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab is working with his peers to write biographical statements (just like this one) for our website. This is something we have been talking about doing for some time because we think it is helpful information for potential applicants to have. With Michael taking the lead on it, we are finally doing it!
When asked for advice concerning potential future applicants to our program, Michael voiced the importance of taking the time to create a well-crafted personal statement that best represents what an applicant has to offer to the program and makes a case for why the applicant is a good fit with the program.
As an undergraduate, Savannah was involved in social and evolutionary psychology research. This resulted in her role as the second author of a 2016 paper published in Personality and Individual Differences. The paper, "Social and emotional intelligence moderate the relationship between psychopathy traits and social perception," reflects Savannah's interests in dark personality traits and social/emotional intelligence. These interests led her to apply to the doctoral program in Counseling Psychology at Southern Miss to work in the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab.
Savannah plans to continue studying psychopathic personality traits and social/emotional intelligence for her master's thesis, exploring their role in relational aggression. One advantage of her previous work in this area is that she already has a solid understanding of the variables and some great ideas about how best to assess them. This has allowed her to get a quick start on her thesis project. Savannah's plans for the future involve a career in academia where she can continue to conduct research.
When asked about any advice she might have for future applicants to our program, Savannah stressed the importance of knowing the research interests of potential faculty advisors, noting that this can help give one a better picture about where one would “fit” as a graduate student in the program. Very good advice!
Following the interviews, 1-2 applicants who are selected for the doctoral program typically receive an offer of admission to the program and the lab. Some applicants who are not selected for the doctoral program may be encouraged to apply to the master's program, as this provides applicants with another opportunity to join the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab and gain the sort of research experience that can strengthen their application to the Counseling Psychology doctoral program at Southern Miss, as well as other doctoral programs.
As an undergraduate, Adijah worked as a research assistant with a professor who was studying mindfulness. After deciding to continue her education, she applied to the Counseling Psychology Master's Program at Southern Miss because she was impressed with the benefits of the program's in-house training clinic and the high pass rate on the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP) obtained by graduates of the doctoral program.
Adijah joined the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab and is currently completing a literature review on depression and social media use. She also hopes to study various aspects of personality during her graduate training. After completing the master's program, Adijah plans to pursue a doctoral degree. She would eventually like to open a private practice with a focus in treating adults.
When asked for advice concerning potential applicants to our master's or doctoral programs, Adijah expressed her belief in the importance of being aware of what one is seeking from graduate training before one applies. Not only does this tend to be associated with a greater probability of success in obtaining admission to a program, but it allows one to begin graduate training with a clear goal in mind toward which one can strive in an efficient manner. Good advice!
As an undergraduate, Philip joined a research team at Mississippi State University, working in a self-harm lab which led to his interest in studying suicide. Philip’s research interests include aggression and self-aggression, non-suicidal self-injury, and research around preventative measures and their predictive utility in advancing the understanding of suicidal behaviors. His interest in research led him to apply to Southern Miss and the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab.
As for his future career plans, Philip plans to pursue an academic position where he can continue to conduct research. He would also like to provide counseling services, with a specific interest in college-age populations.
When asked for advice concerning potential future applicants to our program, Philip mentioned the importance of obtaining research experience and explained that his prior research experience helped to prepare him for graduate work at Southern Miss.
As an undergraduate, Niki joined a research team focused on social behavior and sleep studies. She collaborated on several projects (e.g., laboratory-based sleep studies, measure development, and personality and social behavior research). She found that she particularly enjoyed research related to personality and behavior. This interest guided her in applying to doctoral programs and has carried over into her research as a graduate student at Southern Miss.
Niki started the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program in the Fall of 2013, at which time she joined the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab. Niki successfully defended her master's thesis, The Dark Triad and HEXACO Model of Personality in Relational Aggression, in October of 2015. She presented at the Mississippi Psychological Association (Relational Aggression Among Young Adults) and the Southeastern Psychological Association (The Dark Triad of Personality and Relational Aggression). Most recently, she successfully proposed her dissertation in September of 2016, Fear and Loathing in Peer Relationships: Indirect Aggression, Comparison-Based Traits, and Cognitive Vulnerabilities. She will begin data collection for this project soon.
Niki is in the process of applying for a predoctoral internship, which she hopes to complete at a VA Medical Center. Niki's long-term career goal is to become a VA psychologist, and she is particularly interested in the treatment of veterans with personality disorders, substance use disorders, and/or PTSD.
We recognize that this type of information is not always easy to find, so we aim to provide more of it for prospective students considering the doctoral or master's programs in Counseling Psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi who are interested in the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab. Specifically, we plan to begin sharing some additional information about the students working in the lab in the form of brief student bios we will make available here. This should be helpful to prospective applicants by giving them a sense of where our current students came from, what they were doing before joining us, what they are working on here, and what they hope to do after they complete their graduate training.
Our first student bio should be ready soon and will be posted here as soon as it is available.
Congratulations to Adijah on her admission to the master's program! We are looking forward to your arrival next month.
Savannah Merold will be graduating this spring with a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi. At Southern Miss, Savannah worked as a research assistant in Dr. Sacco's Social Psychology Lab. She completed an independent project focusing on how social and emotional intelligence moderated the relationship between psychopathic personality traits and social perception.
Philip Stoner will be graduating this spring with a B.A. in Psychology and English from Mississippi University for Women. During his undergraduate career, Philip worked as a research assistant in the Clinical Studies Lab at Mississippi State University, where he obtained research experience in areas such as aggression, alcohol use, narcissism, and sleep.
Congratulations to Savannah and Philip on their admission to the doctoral program! We are looking forward to working with you both.
David is almost finished preparing a manuscript based on his dissertation, which should soon be ready to submit for publication. He plans to take the EPPP exam for licensure this summer.
Congratulations to David on the job!
Caitlin Clark will be completing her predoctoral internship at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System in Bay Pines, FL.
Daniel Deason will be completing his predoctoral internship at the Counseling Center at the University of Memphis in Memphis, TN.
Congratulations to Caitlin and Daniel!
We are looking forward to meeting the applicants who will be interviewing, hearing about their research ideas, and discussing plans for future research.
It is fairly common for current doctoral students to have a hard time imagining that there will be a day when they reach the end of their graduate training. I certainly remember feeling that way. But like Emily just showed us, it really does happen. The classes, examinations, and dissertation writing do not last forever.
It was great to see Emily again for commencement and meet her family. Congratulations to Emily on the completion of her doctorate! Please stay in touch and let us know what is next for you.
As explained on our page for students interested in joining the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab, students who apply to work with Dr. Dahlen and receive an offer of admission to the Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program are accepted to work in the lab.
We are happy to have Diana join the lab and are looking forward to working with her this semester.
Congratulations to Taylor and Michael on their admission to the master's program! We are looking forward to their arrival in Hattiesburg.
Over the summer, I was able to replace our ancient lab computer with a newer one that should be far more usable since it can run current software and connect to the Internet. I think we could also use this computer as a central hub for storing shared resources (e.g., electronic copies of journal articles, examples of successful IRB proposals, completed theses and dissertations, electronic copies of research questionnaires).
Dr. Madson and I are hoping to clear out some of the unnecessary furniture soon and hope to make some additional upgrades in the months ahead.
Skylar completed her bachelor's degree in psychology at the University of New Orleans, where she worked in Dr. Monica Marsee's Youth Social and Emotional Development Lab. She has been working as a research associate in the Department of Psychiatry at the LSU Health Sciences Center. Her interest and experience in overt and relational aggression make her an excellent fit for the lab.
Congratulations to Skylar on her admission! We are looking forward to working with you in Hattiesburg.
We plan to delay decisions until early to mid June to make sure that we are able to consider all interested master's students before making decisions.
I have updated the software I used to develop and maintain the website (Rapidweaver) to the most current version, and I am using a new design template from ThemeFlood. As time permits, I hope to add more pictures and try to streamline the organization of the site a bit.
If you encounter any problems or find things that are not working as they should, please let me know.
This lab space should provide students with some quiet workspace, a place for graduate students to meet with undergraduate research assistants without disrupting others, and facilitate access to shared research materials. It will take some time and effort to organize the space effectively and figure out how best to use it, but it will be very helpful as we move into a busy semester with multiple projects underway and a few more about to begin.
Ashley is completing her bachelor's degree in psychology at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, Indiana. Her interests in relational aggression and anger make her a good fit for the lab.
Congratulations, Ashley! We are looking forward to working with you.
This site should be a great fit with Emily's interests in behavioral medicine. We're proud of you, Emily!
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.
Congratulations to Mallory on her admission to the master's program. We look forward to working with her.
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.
Projects likely to begin in the Fall include:
- Help seeking for anger problems among college students
- Anger and alcohol abuse
- Developing a brief screening and early intervention program for college students at risk of developing anger-related problems
- Cultural factors in relational aggression
- Developing improved measures of aggressive driving
Kate will be moving to San Marcos, TX, this summer to begin her predoctoral internship at the Texas State University - San Marcos Counseling Center.
Great job on comps and good luck on the National Counselor Examination you two!
Kate has been interested in working at a university counseling center for some time, and she is excited to have a position at her top choice: the Texas State University - San Marcos Counseling Center. We’re proud of you, Kate!
Michelle's dissertation, "A Psychometric Investigation of the Young Adult Social Behavior Scale (YASB)," was a confirmatory factor analysis and validation of a self-report measure of relational aggression suitable for college students. Greg's dissertation, "Increasing Readiness to Change Anger: A Motivational Group Intervention," involved a treatment study in which a brief motivational enhancement group was compared with a no-treatment control.