Philip Stoner Proposes Thesis

Philip Stoner, a first-year student in the Counseling Psychology doctoral program at the University of Southern Mississippi, successfully proposed his master’s thesis today. Philip’s thesis will examine the relationship of vulnerable narcissism and emotion dysregulation in self-injurious behavior and self-criticism.

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!

Introducing Skylar Hicks

Skylar Hicks
Skylar Hicks is a second-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Southern Mississippi. She is originally from Louisiana, where she graduated from the University of New Orleans with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

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.

Skylar Hicks Proposes Thesis

Skylar Hicks successfully proposed her master's thesis yesterday. Skylar's thesis will examine the relationship between trait anger and the perpetration of relational aggression among college students while taking general negative affect into account and testing the potential role of emotion regulation as a moderator of this relationship.

If emotion regulation moderates the relationship between anger and relational aggression, this may have implications for the treatment of relationally aggressive individuals. For example, such findings might indicate that anger management and other interventions aimed at improving emotion regulation could be beneficial for relationally aggressive young adults.

Skylar is a second-year doctoral student working in the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of New Orleans and entered the Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program in the Fall of 2015.

Congratulations to Skylar on the successful proposal!

Congratulations to Dr. Emily Prather

Emily Prather graduation
Congratulations to Dr. Emily Prather, an alumna of the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab, who graduated with her Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi last week. I last saw Emily when she took a break from her predoctoral internship at Wellspan Behavioral Health in York, PA, to successfully defend her dissertation in April. Emily's dissertation focused on the role of anger, impulsivity, and emotion regulation in binge eating. After completing her internship last summer, she started a post doc position at Wellspan. She is now studying for the EPPP exam for licensure as a psychologist and beginning the job search process where she is interested in both clinical work and teaching.

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.

Emily Prather Defends Dissertation on Anger and Binge Eating

Emily Prather successfully defended her doctoral dissertation yesterday at the University of Southern Mississippi, Predictors of Binge Eating in College Women. Emily's study evaluated the relationships among four theoretically relevant factors hypothesized to predict subclinical binge eating in a sample of college women: trait anger, anger suppression, impulsivity, and emotion regulation.

Emily started by confirming the four-factor structure of the UPPS Impulsivity Scale (Whiteside & Lynam, 2001) through confirmatory factor analysis. Multiple measures of impulsivity have been used in the literature, and the UPPS is one of the newer ones. Given that there has been some disagreement over the optimal factor structure, it was important to make sure that the four-factor structure of this measure would be confirmed in this sample. After confirming this factor structure, Emily found that the urgency and lack of perseverance factors predicted binge eating. Urgency was a hypothesized predictor, but the utility of perseverance was unexpected and suggests that the role of impulsivity in binge eating may be somewhat broader than previously thought.

Trait anger predicted binge eating over and above general negative affect, suggesting that there seems to be something about one's propensity to experience angry feelings that may be particularly useful in understanding binge eating. The tendency to suppress anger in an unhealthy manner also predicted binge eating, and both anger suppression and emotion regulation partially mediated the relationship between trait anger and binge eating. It appears that anger management and the development of emotion regulation strategies may be worth exploring for college women with subclinical binge eating.

Emily is currently
completing her predoctoral internship at Wellspan Behavioral Health in York, PA. She recently accepted a postdoc position with Wellspan to begin this summer.

Congratulations, Emily!