Alumni Dissertations

 

Alumni Dissertations

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  • Do pictures impair sight word learning in beginning readers?

    Author:
    Alicia Senia
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Linnea Ehri
    Abstract:

    In two experiments, the impact of pictures on learning to read words was examined in kindergartners, first graders, and second graders (N=72). The written words were either simplified spellings (e.g., DLR for dollar) or conventional spellings. The words were learned either with or without pictures of their meaning. In the first experiment, forty kindergarten and first grade students were assigned to groups and were taught to read 10 words. One group was taught to read simplified spellings of the words, half accompanied by pictures, and half without pictures present. The other group was taught the 10 words in their conventional spellings, also with pictures either present or absent. It was hypothesized that kindergartners, presumed to be in the partial alphabetic phase of reading would learn to read simplified spellings of words by sight equally well either with or without pictures, whereas they would learn to read conventional spellings better without pictures present. It was hypothesized that first graders, presumed to be full alphabetic readers, would not be distracted by the pictures in either the simplified or conventional spelling conditions because they would process the conventional spellings automatically. Results indicated that both kindergarteners and first graders were distracted by the presence of pictures when learning sight words, both in the simplified and conventional spelling conditions. Experiment 2 utilized the same design with full alphabetic students in the second grade. In addition, half of the students' attention was directed at the spellings of the words. Results provided mixed support for the hypothesis that the second graders would not be distracted by the pictures in learning to read the words. Pictures did not distract sight word memory when students' attention was directed at letter-sound correspondences in the words during learning. However, second graders were distracted by the presence of pictures when they had learned conventional spellings of words without attending to letter-sound relations in words during word learning.

  • Analyzing ecological momentary data using growth mixture modeling

    Author:
    Mariya Shiyko
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    David Rindskopf
    Abstract:

    Real-time data capture, also known as ecological momentary assessment (EMA), is a unique data collection technique, which records moment-to-moment changes in human behavior as they occur in real time and in naturalistic settings. EMA is typically collected by electronic devices that prompt study participants to report behaviors (e.g., smoking) in real time, thereby minimizing problems associated with retrospective recall and reactivity. EMA has been heralded as a promising research tool in education, psychology, and behavioral medicine. It provides the needed data to examine patterns of behaviors as well as their temporal characteristics. Growth mixture modeling (GMM) is a statistical solution to many challenges associated with analyzing intensive EMA data. GMM estimates individual developmental profiles and classifies them into latent homogenous groups based on similarities in trajectories. This dissertation is a secondary data analysis of daily smoking rate of 74 newly-diagnosed cancer patients, who were enrolled in a randomized smoking cessation clinical trial prior to their cancer-related surgery. Patients' daily smoking rate was recorded over an average period of two weeks, yielding 896 assessments in total. The exploratory data assessment demonstrated substantial differences in patterns of smoking reduction across individuals during the intervention period. The goal of the GMM analysis was threefold: 1) to identify distinct smoking cessation patterns in a sample of patients awaiting a cancer-related surgery, 2) to investigate whether differences in tapering profiles are associated with differential smoking abstinence at surgery, 3) to identify personal and situational characteristics that are associated with each of the smoking cessation approaches. The final model identified three latent developmental classes, which included abrupt, gradual, and slow reducers, varying in their personal characteristics and smoking cessation rates. This model is contrasted with a single-class solution alternative. Challenges of model enumeration and model identification processes are discussed. While growth mixture modeling widens the spectrum of research questions that can be addressed, it also poses technical and conceptual challenges for future research.

  • The Effects of Parenting Style and Psychological Control on Relational Aggression in African American Girls

    Author:
    Yolanda Slade
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Shick Tryon
    Abstract:

    This dissertation explored the relationship of parenting styles and psychological control on relational aggression in African American girls. Specifically, it examined African American girls' perpetration and victimization of relational aggression and the influence of their mother's parenting style on their behavior. This study also investigated if parenting style is predictive of relational aggression and relational victimization. This dissertation sought to answer the following questions: (a) How well do parenting style and psychological control predict relational aggression in African American girls? (b) How well do parenting style and psychological control predict relational victimization in African American girls? (c)Which is the best predictor of relational aggression: psychological control or parenting style? (d)Which is the best predictor of relational victimization: psychological control or parenting style? (e) If the possible effects of parent age and income level are controlled, are parenting style and psychological control be able to predict relational aggression? (f)If we control for the possible effects of mother's age and income level, are parenting style and psychological control still able to predict a significant amount of the variance in the relational victimization score? I confirmed that psychological control was negatively associated with authoritative parenting style. Additionally, girls' perceptions of their mothers' degree of psychological control was not significantly related to either their daughter's use of relational aggression or their relational victimization. In contrast, parenting style was associated with relational aggression. Additionally, after controlling for age and annual household income, psychological control and parenting style did not significantly predict relational aggression. With regard to relational victimization, after controlling for age and annual household income, an authoritarian parenting style significantly predicted relational victimization.

  • The Relationship of Self-Concept and Academic Engagement to Each Other and to School Outcomes of Students with Disabilities

    Author:
    David Steinke
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Georgiana Tryon
    Abstract:

    THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK Abstract The Relationship of Self-Concept and Academic Engagement to Each Other and to School Outcomes of Students with Disabilities by David P. Steinke, M.Ed. Advisor: Georgiana Shick Tryon, Ph.D. The present study examined the relationship between self-concept, engagement, and school outcomes for students with educational disabilities in grades 10 to 12. Participants included 105 students in grades 10 to 12 in a large suburban high school who were classified as having an educational disability which qualified them for special education services. Self-concept was measured using the Self Description Questionnaire II (SDQ II, Marsh, 1992b). Engagement was measured using the Motivation and Engagement Scale (MES, Martin, 2004). School outcome measures for achievement consisted of PSAT verbal scores and PSAT math scores. Other school outcome variables were the number of student absences, number of student discipline referrals, and number of extracurricular activities in which a student participated. Other student and family information was gathered by means of a Demographic Questionnaire and a student data form that was used to gather information about student classification and class placement. Statistical analyses using Pearson Correlations and Canonical Correlation Analysis indicated that academic self-concept was more related to academic achievement and extracurricular participation than engagement measures. Variables of student discipline and attendance were not significant. Overall, academic self-concept was more important in the relationship with academic outcomes for special education students than academic engagement.

  • Curriculum-Based Measurement Performance Indicators: A Tool for Undergraduate Calculus Students to Inform and Direct their Learning Behavior

    Author:
    Linda Sturges
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Barry Zimmerman
    Abstract:

    The present study investigated the extent to which providing students with individualized performance feedback informed and directed their learning behavior. Individualized performance feedback was delivered to students using curriculum-based measurement progress indicators, either as a visual representation of ongoing performance in the form of a progress graph or as a progress graph supplemented with a qualitative analysis of topic mastery. Participants were 67 students enrolled in a first course in engineering calculus at a specialized public 4-year college. The College's specialization is within the maritime industry. Intact sections of Calculus I were randomly assigned to each of the feedback conditions. A contrast group of students who did not receive individualized performance feedback was formed. The impact of individualized performance feedback was examined in terms of measures of calibration accuracy, relearning, and academic performance when contrasted to corresponding measures from students who did not receive individualized performance feedback. Mixed-model analysis of covariance and mixed-model analysis of variance revealed differences between the feedback groups and the no feedback group. Differences for calibration accuracy approached statistical significance; however differences were statistically significant for measures of relearning and academic performance. For each measure, the students who received individualized performance feedback used that information to better judge their calculus capability, relearn topics not mastered more often, achieve at a higher level on course exams. When comparing the two feedback groups, there was evidence of differential self-monitoring activities. When students used the supplementary information gleaned from the mastery analyses, they studied non-mastered topics more often and had consistent study habits. Additionally, the group that received the supplementary mastery analyses not only reported more positive expressions of the usefulness of the feedback information, they also had strong associations between their perceptions of the usefulness of the feedback and corresponding measures of time engaged in academic activities and instances of relearning. Implications of the findings of this study suggest performance indicators appear to empower the student with the information to inform and direct one's learning behavior to become a successful learner.

  • Effects of Self-Directed Analogical Comparison and Generation of Factual Hypotheticals on Multi-Case Legal Reasoning

    Author:
    Moon Sue
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Barry Zimmerman
    Abstract:

    Drawing on analogical reasoning theories, this study sought to determine whether learner-directed generation of factual hypotheticals coupled with the briefing of court decisions would be better than briefing alone in engaging in legal reasoning from two or more cases. Thirty-seven students and recent college graduates, who had been previously enrolled in pre-law programs that emphasized the reading of court decisions, were recruited. They were randomly assigned to two training groups--a structured hypotheticals training group, which used a grid to prompt the generation of factual hypotheticals from court cases--and a briefing group which summarized the court cases in response to questions regarding the parties, facts, issues and ruling/disposition of a court case. After training and reading of three court decision, both groups were required to provide a solution to a factual hypothetical --a transfer task. Measures on case comprehension, self-efficacy and self-evaluation beliefs regarding comprehension were also assessed to determine whether the intervention would interfere with comprehension and motivation. Univariate analyses showed that the hypotheticals group outperformed the briefing only training group in solving the factual hypothetical. Multivariate analysis also showed that the intervention did not interfere with comprehension, as both training groups did not significantly differ in comprehension subprocesses. Finally the two training groups did not differ on self-efficacy and self-evaluation beliefs in connection with their perceived ability to comprehend court decisions.

  • Grandchildren's Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Family Functioning as Predictors of Grandmothers' Strengths and Needs

    Author:
    Alison Sullivan
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Marian Fish
    Abstract:

    Literature on intergenerational relationships clearly illustrates the importance of the grandparent role in the family. While much research has been done on the grandparent role when children are typically developing, little research has been done on the grandparent role when children have special needs. This study looked at grandmothers of children with ASD. The investigator collected data from 34 mother - grandmother dyads from children who were typically developing, 31 mother - grandmother dyads from families of children who were diagnosed with HFA/AS, and 19 mother - grandmother dyads from families of children who were diagnosed with AD. First, the study looked at consistency between mothers' and grandmothers' report of grandmothers' strengths and needs. Second, the study looked at the impact of grandchildren's ASD on grandmothers' strengths and needs. Finally, the study looked at the impact of family systems variables on grandmothers' strengths and needs. The study also looked at background variables that may impact grandmothers' strengths and needs. Results from the study partially supported the hypothesis that grandmothers will view circumstances as good as or better than mothers view circumstances. To a large extent there was agreement between grandmothers' and mothers' reports of grandmothers' strengths and needs. Where there were significant differences, grandmothers' reports of grandmothers' strengths and needs were more favorable than mothers' reports of grandmothers' strengths and needs. Grandmothers reported more strengths and fewer needs than mothers reported. Results from this study strongly supported previous research showing that grandparents of children with special needs are different from grandparents of children with typical development in terms of their role and experience. Results showed that grandmothers of children with ASD have fewer reported strengths and more needs than grandmothers of children with typical development. Results partially supported the hypothesis that family functioning will be associated with greater strengths and decreased needs for grandmothers, indicating that these variables, when unbalanced, hinder inclusion of grandmothers' involvement and satisfaction. Directions for future research and implications for education are also discussed.

  • PREDICTORS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL HELP-SEEKING ATTITUDES, WILLINGNESS TOWARD PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICE UTILIZATION, AND LEVELS OF PREVIOUS PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICE UTILIZATION AMONG ORTHODOX JEWISH PARENTS

    Author:
    Binyamin Tepfer
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Marian Fish
    Abstract:

    ABSTRACT PREDICTORS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL HELP-SEEKING ATTITUDES, WILLINGNESS TOWARD PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICE UTILIZATION, AND PREVIOUS LEVELS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICE UTILIZATION AMONG ORTHODOX JEWISH PARENTS by Binyamin Tepfer Adviser: Professor Marian C. Fish The current study explores factors that predict levels of attitude toward psychological help-seeking, intention of utilizing psychological services, and levels of previous psychological service utilization among Orthodox Jewish parents. Attitude levels were measured using the Attitudes toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help Scale (ATSPPH), developed by Fisher and Farina (1995). Level of intention was measured by the Intention of Seeking Counseling Inventory (ISCI) (Cash et al., 1975). Predictor factors included in the study were gender, level of education, group affiliation within Orthodox Judaism, level of social stigma measured by the Stigma Scale for Receiving Psychological Help (SSRPH) (Komiya, Good & Sherrod, 2000), and scores on the Openness toward Western Values Scale (OWVS), a scale developed in the current study. Participants included 157 Orthodox Jews from various Orthodox Jewish communities across New York State. Logistic regression, multiple regression, and correlations were used to analyze the data. The current study found that scores on the Attitudes toward Seeking Professional Help Scale (ATSPPH), the Intention of Seeking Counseling Inventory (ISCI), and levels of previous treatment utilization were all positively correlated with each other. In addition, various demographic factors were important in predicting attitude levels, intention levels, and whether previous treatment was sought. Attitude, group affiliation, and level of openness toward Western values were all significantly predictive of previous treatment levels. Those with lower attitude levels, self-affiliated with more insular and less acculturated Orthodox Jewish subgroups, as well as those who scored lower on the openness toward Western values scale, tended to have significantly lower levels of previous mental health treatment utilization. Levels of stigma toward seeking psychological help were predictive of levels of intentions to seek counseling, but not of levels of attitude or levels of previous treatment utilization. Those with higher levels of stigma tended to have lower levels of intentions to seek counseling. In addition, gender was significantly correlated with level of attitudes toward help-seeking. Women tended to have more positive attitudes than men. Within the construct of attitudes, the level of attitude that parents had toward seeking psychological help for themselves was found to correlate positively with attitudes levels they had for seeking psychological help for their children. These findings are important in providing insight and understanding in psychological help-seeking behaviors and attitudes among Orthodox Jews, a population not previously researched. Schools and mental health clinics that serve this population need to understand potential causes of initial resistance to treatment, as well as low treatment utilization levels from a socio-cultural perspective. Appropriate interventions to increase utilization levels should be formulated and implemented addressing the underlying causes of resistance to treatment.

  • Effects of Video-Based Peer Modeling on the Question Asking, Reading Motivation and Text Comprehension of Struggling Adolescent Readers

    Author:
    Kallen Tsikalas
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Barry Zimmerman
    Abstract:

    Struggling adolescent readers are distinct from others in two important ways: (1) They are adolescents; and (2) they have a history of struggle with reading. Good pedagogy prescribes that effective programs "meet students where they are." For middle-school students, this means meeting them in adolescence. Adolescents are more concerned with social norms and more susceptible to peer influence than younger children. Additionally, the fact that these youth are still struggling after years of reading instruction suggests that their motivation to persist at reading is likely to have suffered. To fully support and engage such adolescents, reading programs must leverage social processes and include explicit support for motivation and strategy use. This dissertation investigated the effects of a peer modeling instructional intervention on early adolescents' question asking, reading motivation and comprehension. Videotaped peer models demonstrated the use of question asking for comprehension and motivated participants to use the strategy. Participants were 48 sixth graders who attended public schools in New York City. Eighty-five percent were classified as reading below grade level. After completing an interactive tutorial on question asking, all students read a moderately challenging, computer-based science text. While doing so, participants in the Peer Modeling condition observed same-age, similar-ability peer models asking authentic questions about the text. After reading, all participants generated their own questions, completed a short survey, and were assessed for reading comprehension. The research found that peer modeling had a positive effect on the quality of questions that students asked and their text comprehension. Participants exposed to peer modeling asked more questions that were not answered in the text and more deep-level "I'm Confused" questions. They better understood the solution component of the text and recalled more critical idea units. Peer modeling did not affect participants' motivation or accuracy of comprehension judgments. In contrast to previous research, the study also found that students asked numerous deep-level questions, but that these questions were not necessarily linked to greater understanding. Additionally, higher motivation was not associated with greater comprehension. These findings have implications for the design of systems to support struggling readers and for theory-building about reading comprehension.

  • Grandmother Support, Family Functioning, and Parenting Stress in Families with a Child with a Disability

    Author:
    Natasha Tumbarello
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Marian Fish
    Abstract:

    This study examined the relationship among grandparent support, family functioning, and parental stress on families with children with and without disabilities between the ages of 2 and 12 years. Families are viewed as an ever&ndashchanging complex system with reciprocal interactions. One possible stressor on the family system is the birth of a child with a disability. Parenting stress levels seem to fluctuate in the family system over time depending on the age of the child with a disability, developmental stage, and demands of the age and stage. Studies show that social support, specifically that from grandmothers, can buffer some of the stress related to parenting a child with a disability (Kuster & Merkle, 2003; Mitchell, 2007; Trute, 2003). The current study addressed the following research questions: 1) Do families with a child with a disability differ from families without a disabled child with regard to grandmother support, family functioning, and parental stress? 2) What are the relationships among grandmother support, family functioning, and parental stress in families with a child with a disability? Fifty&ndashthree mother&ndashgrandmother dyads completed surveys regarding their support, parent stress, child stress, life stress, family cohesion, and family flexibility. Results for the current study revealed that the groups were comparable on most family demographic variables, such as mother age, grandmother age, ethnicity, and highest level of education. Significant differences were observed in the ages of the target child and annual income between groups. Significant differences were also observed between groups with regard to overall stress, parenting stress, and child stress. Total stress, parent stress, and child stress were higher in families with a child with a disability than in families with a child without a disability. Grandmother support was positively associated with family flexibility and inversely related to life stress. Grandmother support abated some stress related to major life events and enhanced family flexibility. Support from grandmothers did not, however, enhance family cohesion or reduce stress related to raising a child with a disability. In sum, the experience of parenting stress, child stress, and overall stress was higher in families with a child with a disability, and grandmother support was associated with reduced life stress and enhanced family flexibility; however, grandmother support was not found to enhance family cohesion, or diminish parenting stress, child stress, or overall stress experienced by mothers.