Scholar: Steven Hammonds
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Jacqueline Pistorello
pic: Minority College Students' Response to an Innovative First Year Experience (FYE) Course: Acceptability and Perceived Usefulness
Abstract:The first year in college is a time of intellectual, emotional, and social growth. However, there are many pressures that exist with this change: learning to individuate from parents and other adult protectors, earning good grades, getting along with roommates, exploring sexuality, fitting in, fulfilling extracurricular demands, meeting parental expectations, surviving financial challenges, and negotiating the increasingly present racial and cultural differences on campuses (Kadison & DiGeronimo, 2004). This McNair thesis will rely on data collected from a large study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (R01MH083740) to implement an innovative type of FYE class that would teach college freshmen psychological strategies, such as mindfulness, psychological flexibility, and values exploration, to improve adjustment to college and life and to prevent mental health issues from developing. The focus of this McNair thesis is to find if this innovative type of FYE class is acceptable to a diverse sample of college students, as the approach being utilized in the classroom adapts for the first time a psychotherapeutic intervention into a classroom format, and typically, minority populations are less likely to seek, and stay in, treatment. The study randomly assigned 732 full-time college freshmen to two different conditions: the FYE class based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT; Hayes, Strosahl, & Wilson, 2011) and a control condition relying on a more typical FYE format. The sample was comprised of 30% ethnic or racial minority students, reflective of the campus population. We will use analysis of variance to see if ethnicity and race impact acceptability and perceived usefulness ratings by students who took an ACT vs. a control FYE class and to what extent psychological flexibility mediated findings from minority students in particular.
New Scholar: 2012 cohort
Graduated With Baccalaureate Degree: 2013
Master's Degree Update: Enrolled fall 2013, Mississippi State University, Clinical Psychology