Term of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Department

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Jeff Klibert

Committee Member 1

Dorthie Cross

Committee Member 2

Amanda Rickard

Abstract

Hope is a positive psychology resource that utilizes one’s perceptions of strengths to create clear goals, produce multiple pathways to reach goals, overcome barriers, and generate the energy needed to pursue goals by increasing positive affect and satisfaction, while reducing negative problem orientations (Magyar-Moe, 2014). Hope interventions also significantly reduce psychological distress (Rustøen, Cooper, & Miaskowski, 2011). Discrimination is a significant barrier to quality of life for African Americans (Bilkins, Allen, Davey, & Davey, 2016). Discriminatory experiences increase levels of distress (Brown, et al., 2000). However, it is unknown if hope interventions can protect African Americans against distress caused by microaggressions. Thus, the current study studied the utility of different hope interventions in buffering the effects of microaggressions on distress (i.e., anxiety, anger, depression). One hundred and three African American undergraduate students participated in an experimental study. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two induction tasks (neutral or microaggression stress) and one of four interventions (basic hope, hope savoring, integrated hope, or control). Multiple measures of state-based anxiety, anger, and depression were administered three times during the experiment. First, the microaggression task was effective in inducing higher levels of stress and increased participants’ scores of state-based anxiety, anger, and depression. In addition, a 2 (induction) x 4 (intervention) x 3 (time) mixed ANOVA was used to determine the buffering effects of different hope interventions. Results revealed a non-significant 3-way interaction effect, suggesting that hope interventions do not moderate the causal relationship between microaggression stress and distress, especially for anxiety and anger. However, there was a significant induction*intervention effect for depression scores at Time 3, which suggests that certain hope interventions are effective in reducing depression for participants who did not experience the microaggression stress induction task. Results from these analyses are complicated. They suggest that hope interventions are effective in working with African American college students under specific conditions and only with specific distress indices.

Research Data and Supplementary Material

No

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