APS College of Clinical Psychologists

APS College of Clinical Psychologists Student Prize recipients archive

2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010


2013 recipients

University Student Nominated Degree Earned Thesis Title
Monash University Max Fraser Doctor of Psychology (Clinical) Crying Through the Ages: A Developmental Perspective on Why
We Cry
Australian Catholic University (ACU) Christina P. Netscher Master of Psychology (Clinical) Age-related declines in facial expression recognition and social cognition: Cognitive and psychophysiological mechanisms
Australian National University (ANU) Dr Kristen Murray Doctor of Philosophy(Clinical Psychology) An Investigation of the Relationship Between Stress and Body Image in Australian Youth
Bond University Lucas Ford Master of Psychology (Clinical) Increasing Resilience through the Enhancement of Mindfulness with Metta: A Pilot Randomised Control Study
Cairnmillar Institute Natasha Ascenzo Master of Psychology (Clinical) The Role of Anger and Forgiveness in the Postnatal Experience
Central Queensland University Leonie Marie Lorien Master of Psychology (Clinical) Relationship between Client and Therapist Hope and Outcomes
Charles Sturt University Denise Phyllis Perkins Master of Psychology (Clinical) Psychological practice in remote settings: Practitioner perspectives
Curtin University of Technology Karen Winton Master of Psychology (Clinical) Postnatal depression and anxiety--the role of perfectionism and rumination, and the potential benefits of self-help
Deakin University David Hallford Doctor of Psychology (Clinical) Cognitive-reminiscence therapy for the treatment of depression in young adults
Edith Cowan University Geoffrey Stephen Carastathis PhD Rejected by the family for being gay or lesbian: Exploring and testing factors that contribute to resilience
Federation University Sarah Hanley Master of Psychology (Clinical) The Influence of Sense of belonging on the Body Image Dissatisfaction - Depression Relationship among Lesbians
Flinders University Melissa J. Atkinson Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology) Evaluation of a mindfulness-based prevention program for eating disorders
Griffith University Haley Webb Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology) The Role of Friends in Adolescent Appearance-Based Rejection Sensitivity: An Exploration of Individual Perceptions of the Friendship Context, and Interactions Within Best Friend Dyads and Friendship Groups
James Cook University Christine Anne O'Connor Master of Psychology (Clinical) A systematic review of the neuropsychological and psychological outcomes in adults following chronic subdural haematoma
La Trobe University John Montgomery Tee Doctor of Clinical Psychology Development and Evaluation of a Measure of Collaborative Empiricism in Cognitive Therapy
Macquarie University Erica Maree Crome Master of Psychology (Clinical)/Doctor of Philosophy The Latent Structure of Social Phobia
Murdoch University Jacinta Macintyre Doctor of Psychology (Clinical) Examination of an indicated prevention program targeting emotional and behavioural functioning in young adolescents
Queensland University of Technology Bethany Mackay Doctor of Clinical Psychology Preventing depression and promoting wellbeing in children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder: A mixed methods evaluation of a school-based resilience intervention
RMIT University Jessica Pienaar Law Master of Psychology (Clinical) Mindfully Managing Distress: Examining the Effectiveness of a Mindfulness-Based Group Program in Improving Emotion Regulation in a Clinical Population
Swinburne University of Technology Rony Emily Duncan Master of Psychology (Clinical) Ethical Dilemmas of Confidentiality with Adolescent Clients: Interviews with Australian Psychologists
University of Adelaide Dr Kate Gunn Master of Psychology (Clinical)/Doctor of Philosophy The psycho-social needs of rural cancer patients
University of Canberra Mark Taylor Master of Psychology (Clinical) What Makes a Therapeutic Space, a Therapeutic Place? A Theoretically-Based Therapeutic Design Model for Psychologists’ Offices
University of Melbourne Guy Campbell Master of Psychology (Clinical) Screening for Depression in the AIBL study of Ageing: A comparison of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale. supervisors
University of New England Jennifer Rees Brown Master of Psychology (Clinical) The Performance of Australian Children and Adolescents on Rey’s Tangled Lines Test
University of New South Wales Dr. Stella Li Master of Psychology (Clinical) The role of the sex hormone estrogen on fear extinction in male rats
University of Queensland Felicity Brown PhD Supporting parents after paediatric acquired brain injury: Evaluation of Stepping Stones Triple P combined with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
University of South Australia Rachel Samson Master of Psychology (Clinical) Women Watch Themselves Being Looked At: Effects of Sexual Objectification on Women's Self-Objectification and Eating Disorder Symptomology
University of Southern Queensland Anthony Bligh Master of Psychology (Clinical) Establishing Australian Normative Data and Methods of Analysis for the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test
University of Sydney Milena Gandy Doctor of Clinical Psychology & Doctor of Philosophy (DCP & PhD) The Identification, Prediction and Management of Depression in People with Epilepsy
University of the Sunshine Coast Laura Madeleine Johnson Master of Psychology (Clinical) An Investigation into the Efficacy of a Single-Session Attention Bias Modification Program for Individuals with Chronic Pain
University of Western Australia Lauren Janet Taylor Master of Psychology (Clinical)/Doctor of Philosophy An investigation of the phenotypic and aetiological relationships between Autism and Specific Language Impairment
University of Western Sydney Daniela Ho Tan Master of Psychology (Clinical) The Role of Adult Attachment Styles and Coping Style during Interpersonal Conflict in Relationships
University of Wollongong Marianne Elizabeth Bourke Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology) Therapist’s Emotional, Cognitive and Linguistic Responses to Patients with Borderline Personality Disorder in Psychotherapy


2012 recipients

Exploring Resilience and its Links with Spirituality and Religion After Controlling for Altruism

Student: Adelle Sushames
Supervisor: Robert Buckingham
University: Charles Sturt University

Resilience may be defined as the ability to bounce back from stress or adversity. The Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC) is a self-report measure used to assess resilience in clinical and research contexts, despite an inconsistent factor structure. The factor structures of this scale and its abbreviated, 10-item version were examined in a sample of 338 Australian adults. Three factors were identified, labelled Achievement Orientation, Spirituality/Religion, and Hardiness. A single resilience factor was identified for the CD-RISC10. Achievement Orientation, Hardiness, and CD-RISC10 scores were entered in separate hierarchical regression analyses using measures of spirituality and religion as predictors. Spirituality was significantly positively associated with Achievement Orientation (β = .24, p <.001), Hardiness (β = .21, p = .002), and CD-RISC10 (β = .21, p = .001). Religion shared a significant negative correlation with Hardiness (β = .-.13, p = .04). Controlling for virtues (altruism) did not alter bivariate relationships between resilience factors, spirituality, and religion. The implications for resilience theory, assessment, and intervention are discussed.

Keywords: Resilience; Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale; CD-RISC; Spirituality; Religion; Altruism

Incorporating Mindfulness into an Internet-Based Intervention for Female Sexual Dysfunctions

Student: Alice Lee Hucker
Supervisor: Professor Marita McCabe
University: Deakin University

This thesis explores the use of manualised treatments for female sexual dysfunction (FSD), with a particular focus on internet-based treatments. Due to the embarrassment that can surround FSD, online interventions offer an anonymous and private treatment alternative. To date, only one previous controlled study has evaluated the effectiveness of an internet-based treatment for FSD, and findings from this study offered preliminary support for this approach to FSD treatment. This thesis presents four articles focussing on the development, implementation and evaluation of a new online cognitive–behavioural therapy program for mixed FSD - the PursuingPleasure (PP) program. The PP program consisted of sensate focus, communication exercises, and unlimited email contact with a therapist, and extended upon prior research by being the first online treatment for sexual dysfunctions to incorporate online chat-groups and mindfulness training. The first article reviews the importance of psychological treatments in the area of FSD, and specifically explores the benefits and challenges of using manualised treatment programs for FSD. The second and third articles present quantitative data on the effectiveness of the PP program for both sexual and relationship functioning. Lastly, the fourth article provides a qualitative exploration of the content and usefulness of the online chat-groups that were included in the PP program. Finally, this thesis presents a discussion of the quantitative and qualitative data collected over the implementation of PP, the challenges encountered while administering the online treatment, and implications for research and treatment in the area of FSD. Limitations of the PP studies and recommendations for future research are also discussed.

Thinking about Internal States: A Study of Metacognition in Women with Eating Disorders

Student: Alix Vann
Supervisor: Dr Esben Strodl
University: Queensland University of Technology

Eating disorders (EDs) are debilitating mental illnesses involving overvaluation of shape and weight and one’s ability to control these, and severe disturbances in eating behaviour. Despite the proposition of several theories to assist in understanding and treating EDs, the outcome of psychological treatments for EDs are variable between diagnoses and have limited long-term effects on recovery. Metacognition, which refers to the higher order beliefs individuals hold about the processes involved in regulating internal states, is an emerging area of interest in EDs, given that the use of metacognitive therapy with other forms of psychopathology has resulted in promising treatment outcomes. Also in an attempt to further the understanding of and treatment success for EDs, it has recently been proposed that the three ED diagnoses, Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, may be considered transdiagnostically, with similar psychological mechanisms implicated in the maintenance of these disorders.

The body of research presented in this document aims to review the literature relating to aetiological theories and resultant psychological treatments of EDs, and through the use of a qualitative and a mixed methods study, investigate the metacognitions associated with EDs and determine whether metacognition in EDs is transdiagnostic.

The first study involved a qualitative investigation into metacognitions in EDs, based on open-ended interviews with 27 women with EDs. Using a grounded theory framework for data collection and analysis, a transdiagnostic model of metacognition in EDs was proposed. Core categories extracted included positive metacognitions about internal states; a cognitive-attentional syndrome comprised of perseverative negative thinking and allocation of attention to thoughts, food/eating, and the body; negative metacognitions about internal states; positive beliefs about coping strategies; cognitive coping strategies of distraction, suppression/avoidance and challenging/analysing thoughts; behavioural coping strategies of restriction of food intake/starvation, binge-eating, purging and social withdrawal; and distress. The model proposed on the basis of these themes detailed a flow on relationship between themes which becomes cyclical as different parts of the model feedback into each other. The qualitative analysis suggested that the core categories did not meaningfully distinguish ED diagnoses, thus a transdiagnostic model of metacognition in EDs was proposed.

The second study implemented a mixed methods design to further investigate the transdiagnostic nature of metacognition in EDs. The qualitative model proposed in the first study was integrated with additional quantitative measures of generic metacognitions for 27 women with EDs. Quantitative differences between diagnostic groups were found for three metacognitive constructs, however these differences were not supported by the qualitative data. Integrated data revealed similarities in metacognitions across ED diagnoses, supporting a transdiagnostic view of metacognition in EDs.

The proposal that metacognition in EDs is transdiagnostic has implications for understanding EDs, which is discussed in terms of metacognition possibly adding to theories explaining temporal migration between ED diagnoses and levels of comorbidity associated with EDs. The potential utility of a metacognitive-based therapy for EDs is also suggested. Overall, this body of research adds to the understanding of EDs through the application of a transdiagnostic metacognitive model and highlights areas of future investigation regarding potential psychological interventions for EDs.

The Influence of State Anxiety on the Relationship between Borderline Personality Disorder Traits and Mentalisation Capacity

Student: Andrew Legg
Supervisor: Associate Professor Carol Hulbert

Deficits in facets of mentalisation capacity have been argued to underlie the core features of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), which are most pronounced in the interpersonal context. To date, research in the role of social cognitive capacity in BPD psychopathology has been largely fragmented and has yielded seemingly contradictory findings. The current study investigated the influence of state anxiety on the relationship between BPD traits and components of mentalisation capacity. A series of measures were administered in a randomised order to 100 undergraduate psychology students (32 male, 68 female). A significant positive association was found between BPD traits and affective empathy, in particular, personal distress in tense interpersonal settings. State anxiety was found to significantly mediate this relationship, as well as the relationship between BPD traits and the detection and attribution of mental states, in both cases, over and above the influence of state depressive symptomatology. It was concluded that research in social cognitive capacity in BPD necessitates explicit consideration of the dynamic nature of social cognitive processing by accounting for both the arousal and mood states of individuals.

Characteristics of Autobiographical Memories and Prospective Imagery across a Spectrum of Hypomanic Personality Traits

Student: Brittany McGill
Supervisor: Michelle L. Moulds
University: The University of New South Wales

Evidence of a strong causal relationship between mental imagery and emotion has informed psychological conceptualisations of disordered positive mood states (i.e., mania). Holmes et al.’s (2008) cognitive model of bipolar disorder asserts a prominent role for intrusive and affect-laden positive imagery of the past and the future in the amplification and maintenance of positive mood and associated manic behaviours. The aims of the current study were two-fold: (i) to test aspects of this model in a non-clinical population sampled for hypomanic personality traits, and (ii) examine the phenomenological characteristics of positive autobiographical memories and imagery of the future. Undergraduate students (N = 80) completed a battery of self-report questionnaires and rated their positive and negative memories and images of the future on a number of dimensions (i.e., vividness, accessibility, sensory detail, emotional intensity, and visual perspective). We found significant positive correlations between hypomanic tendencies and: (i) use and experience of mental imagery, (ii) experience of intrusive mental imagery, and (iii) emotional intensity and sensory detail of positive but not negative autobiographical memories. Results are discussed in terms of theoretical and clinical implications, as well as directions for future research.

Age and synchrony effects in performance on the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test

Student: Claire Lehmann
Supervisor: Dr Anthony Marks
University: University of New England

There is evidence that individuals perform better on some memory tasks when tested at their preferred time of day, a phenomenon named the synchrony effect. There is also evidence of a predictable change from morning to evening preference during the adult life span. Together, these findings suggest that age effects on memory measures may be overestimated when time of testing is ignored. The aim of this study was to investigate whether synchrony effects could partially explain the well-documented age-related decline in performance on the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT). Groups of 42 younger adults (aged 18-33 years) and 42 older adults (aged 55-71 years) were administered the RAVLT at either their optimal (n = 21) or non-optimal (n = 21) time of day. Although both age groups benefited moderately from being tested at their optimal time, this effect was greater for older participants and extended to all facets of RAVLT performance except proactive interference. However, younger adults outperformed older adults on three of the five RAVLTs. These findings add to existing evidence of synchrony effects, particularly in memory functioning of older adults, and highlights the need for clinicians to consider optimal time of testing when administering and interpreting the RAVLT.

Psychometric Properties of the Self-Perceptions in Rehabilitation Questionnaire (SPIRQ): A New Measure of Therapy Progress in Brain Injury Rehabilitation.

Student: Ea Stewart
Supervisor: Associate Professor Tamara Ownsworth
University: Griffith University

OBJECTIVE. Self-awareness of deficits is often impaired following Acquired Brain Injury (ABI); however, little is currently known about the process of self-awareness emerging throughout rehabilitation, or changes in individuals’ subjective understanding of the functional consequences of their brain injury. The Self Perceptions in Rehabilitation Questionnaire (SPIRQ), a brief 20-item self-report measure monitoring individuals' self-perceptions, motivation, and emotional reactions throughout rehabilitation was developed as part of the current research. Preliminary psychometric properties were examined including reliability, validity, and sensitivity to change.

METHOD. Seventy three patients with ABI were administered the SPIRQ to assess internal consistency, and a subset (n = 43) were administered the SPIRQ on a second occasion, after 1-2 weeks, to measure test-retest reliability. Twenty-five patients with ABI were administered the SPIRQ and five standardised brain injury measures to examine the convergent validity of the SPIRQ. Forty-two patients were administered the SPIRQ and three established measures of disability and cognitive impairment to examine the divergent validity of the SPIRQ. To analyse sensitivity to change and individual reliable change, twenty participants from the convergent validity sample were administered the same five standardised brain injury measures and the SPIRQ on a second occasion, approximately 4- 6 weeks after the initial assessment.

RESULTS. Analysis of internal consistency revealed that item 4 was problematic and warranted removal; the subsequent 19-item SPIRQ demonstrated satisfactory internal consistency (α = .71 to .85) and test-retest reliability (rs = .74 to .90). Findings supported the convergent validity of the SPIRQ as subscales were significantly correlated with measures of corresponding constructs (rs = .41 to .73, p<.05), and findings also supported divergent validity as SPIRQ ratings were not significantly correlated with level of disability or cognitive impairment (r <.25). Findings indicated that the SPIRQ was not sensitive to uniform change at a group level; however, this was not unexpected as changes on the SPIRQ subscales were expected in either direction for the constructs of interest. A Reliable Change Index (Jacobsen & Truax, 1991) was used to examine individual reliable change, which was demonstrated for 9 of the 20 participants on at least one subscale.

CONCLUSION. Overall, the findings of the current research provide preliminary evidence for the reliability and validity of the SPIRQ and hence support its utility for its intended use and population (i.e. ABI). Potential clinical applications, methodological limitations and recommended future empirical evaluations of the SPIRQ are discussed.

The paradoxical effects of pursuing happiness: Comparing an acceptance-based and a happiness-based approach to positive psychology interventions

Student: Emma Kerr, University of Sydney
Supervisor: Dr Andrew Kemp
University: The University of Sydney

The pursuit of happiness is a core motivation of many individuals; however, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that under certain conditions explicitly pursuing happiness may actually be self-defeating. Detrimental effects of pursuing or overvaluing happiness are evident in positive emotional contexts, when one’s expectations for happiness are high and it is difficult to attribute failure to be happy to one’s circumstances. One example such a context is during the completion of positive psychology interventions.

The present study aimed to compare the efficacy of an acceptance-based approach and a happiness-based approach to the completion of positive psychology interventions. A 2 (goal; between) x 2 (intervention; between) x 2 (time; within) randomised-controlled design was employed to examine the impact of valuing and explicitly attempting to maximise one’s happiness while completing three positive psychology interventions (acts of kindness, using signature strengths, gratitude list), on subjective and objective indicators of emotion and wellbeing. Participants (N = 110) completed the intervention (or a no intervention control) for a period of four weeks before returning to complete post-intervention measures.

Results suggest that an individual’s approach towards happiness has no impact on wellbeing in the context of the four week intervention. This can be considered consistent with previous research if it is assumed that a positive emotional context was not created by the positive psychology interventions, however further research assessing participants expectations for happiness and disappointment in the outcomes are required to confirm these findings and elucidate the factors protecting from detrimental outcomes. The present study also provided novel evidence that despite popular belief, completing three positive psychology interventions simultaneously does not increase participant’s wellbeing compared to a no intervention control condition. This result is consistent with emerging findings that there is a point at which greater frequency or intensity of positive psychology activities does not necessarily result in more beneficial outcomes.

Why Women use Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM): A Comparison Across Mid-age and Older Adult Generations.

Student: Emma Elizabeth Poulsen
Supervisors: Professor Nancy Pachana; Dr Deidre McLaughlin; Professor Jon Adams; Associate; Professor David Sibbritt
University: The University of Queensland

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) use has been researched widely; however, studies with older adults and Australian populations are limited. While currently there are a range of clinical trials testing the efficacy of different types of CAM, research into the predictors of CAM use is lacking. The profile of Australian CAM users has been explored by researchers, however; the motivations and predictors of CAM use has not. This thesis will test the predictive value of a range of variables previously identified in existing literature that have been linked to CAM use. In addition, the themes surrounding CAM use will be explored across two cohorts of women from both the mid-age and older adult cohorts. A mixed methods design was used to combine both population data and personal experiences of women from a mid-age (born between 1946-51) and older adult (born between 1921-1926) cohort.

The profile of Australian women CAM users was mapped using data from the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women’s Health (ALSWH) in the mid-age and older women cohorts at Surveys Two (1998/1999) and Five (2007/2008). There were significantly fewer CAM users but more non-CAM users in 1999 compared to 2007 in the mid-age adult cohort (N = 12338, Age, M = 49.52, SD = 1.46, p < 0.001) and significantly less CAM users and non-CAM users in 1998 compared to 2008 in the older adult cohort (N = 10434, Age, M = 84.20, SD = 1.44, p < 0.016). Logistic regression was used for non-CAM users at Survey Two to predict CAM use at Survey Five in both cohorts of women. In the mid-age cohort, ARIA scores from major cities, p = 0.03, inner regional, p = 0.002 and outer regional cities, p = 0.01 reliably predicted CAM use. Stress was also found to be a significant predictor, p = 0.001. These relationships were all positive, indicating that as remoteness and stress increased, so too did an individual’s likelihood of using CAM in 2007. There were no significant predictors of CAM use found in the older adult cohort.

In response to these findings, six focus groups were conducted across two cohorts of women, including mid-age adults (60-65 years old) and older adult cohorts (over 80 years old) until thematic saturation had occurred. Consistent with previous studies it was evident that both mid-age and older adults CAM users consumed a varied and extensive range of CAM products ranging from fish oil through to acupuncture. Older women were less inclined to identify as being CAM users than mid-age women despite using a range of CAM products. Older adults were also more likely to refer to the influence that historical events played in their current health practices. Mid-age adults cited experiencing stress and guilt, the desire for control over their health, a holistic approach and preventative healthcare as the main reasons for commencing CAM use. Attitudes to CAM use varied across the two cohorts. Older adults described hope and optimism as being common in the mindset of a CAM user whereas mid-age adults used terms such as curious and assertive. Availability of services, promotion of CAM and a belief that it had lower risk than conventional medicine were also cited by both cohorts as being motivators to commence CAM use.

These findings have important implications for the phrasing of research questions with regard to women’s CAM use. It is perhaps more important to discuss the use of individual CAM products than discuss CAM use in broad terms with older adult cohorts. The importance of direct communication about CAM, control in health decision making and having an open attitude for physicians is also crucial if CAM use is to be managed in conjunction with conventional medicine. Finally, tolerance and experimentation with CAM use is increasing, so guidelines of how to incorporate this into conventional practice should be developed.

Spirituality, Forgiveness and Purpose in Life in Faith-Based Substance Abuse Treatment Programs

Student: Geoffrey C. B. Lyons
Supervisor: Professor Frank Deane
University: The University of Wollongong

Substance use disorders are a significant international health problem. Faith-based organisations are one of the primary treatment options for individuals with substance use problems. Many of these faith-based organisations either incorporate Christian theology into treatment or utilise the spiritually-based Twelve Step philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous. Empirical research has shown low to moderate associations between spirituality and recovery from substance use disorders; however, the exact mechanisms by which spirituality operates on recovery are unclear. Forgiveness and purpose in life are central to all major world religions; hence, this thesis explores the relationship between spirituality, forgiveness and purpose in life in the faith-based treatment of substance use disorders.

Study 1 evaluated the perceived importance that faith-based treatment providers place on spiritual and forgiveness-based treatment components in comparison to other secular treatment components of substance abuse. A brief survey was completed by 99 Salvation Army drug and alcohol treatment providers employed within Australian residential rehabilitation programs. Attitudes towards spiritual components of treatment such as Christian education and spiritual development were positive; however, treatment providers rated secular interventions such as relapse prevention and anger management as more important than spiritual components. Treatment providers also conceptualized forgiveness to primarily be a spiritual construct that was as important to treatment as other secular based components. This study provided support for further investigations of forgiveness in the faith-based treatment of substance abuse.

Study 2 is a cross-sectional investigation of spirituality, forgiveness and purpose in life among 277 substance abusers in residential faith-based treatment programs. Several different dimensions of spirituality and forgiveness were assessed. The results found that the daily spiritual experiences (e.g. feeling connected with God) associated with a person’s spirituality predict forgiveness constructs. In turn these forgiveness types negatively predict resentment and positively predict purpose in life. The results emphasise the potential of forgiveness of self and receiving forgiveness from God and from others in the recovery process.

Study 3 is a longitudinal investigation of spirituality, forgiveness and purpose in life among 242 residential faith-based substance abusers. It extends on the results of Study 2 by exploring the relationship between changes in spirituality, forgiveness and purpose in life on substance use. Results found that the development of daily spiritual experiences operated indirectly on substance use via forgiveness of self, forgiveness of others, and purpose in life; however, purpose in life emerged as being more influential than forgiveness of self or others. The results provide preliminary support for the central theory of this thesis: the cultivation of spirituality can operate on recovery from substance abuse by increasing forgiveness and purpose in life.

The final chapter emphasises the need for ongoing longitudinal research on daily spiritual experiences, self-forgiveness and purpose in life in faith-based substance abuse treatments. The finding that daily spiritual experiences indirectly influence recovery suggests that faith-based treatment providers may maximise the spirituality-recovery relationship by developing interventions that cultivate daily spiritual experiences.

Gender Role Conflict and Psychological Help-Seeking Attitudes in Australian Men

Student: Graeme James Castle
Supervisor: Dr Jane Power
University: Cairnmillar Institute

This project’s aim was to assess the effect that men’s adherence to traditional masculine norms has on the relationship between their experience of Gender Role Conflict (GRC) and their psychological help-seeking attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. A review of relevant literature revealed consistent findings supporting a significant relationship between men’s experience of gender conflict and their negative attitudes toward seeking psychological help. However, few studies have investigated more complex research designs in order to provide a deeper understanding as to the nature of this relationship. The role that men’s traditional masculine norms and ideology plays within this relationship is discussed and assessed. Specifically, it was predicted that greater levels of adherence to masculine ideology and norms would significantly mediate the relationship between men’s experience of GRC and their negative attitudes towards seeking professional help. A sample of 245 Australian men completed a series of online questionnaires including the Gender Role Conflict Scale (GRCS), the Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory–46 (CMNI-46) and the Attitude Toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help–Short Form (ATSPPH-SF). A multiple regression analysis revealed that men’s adherence to masculine norms significantly mediated the relationship between their experience of GRC and their attitudes to seeking-help for mental health issues. Implications of these findings for psychologists with regards on how to engage, retain and provide interventions specifically tailored for men are discussed.

Bulimia online: A randomised controlled trial investigating the effectiveness of an online automated self-help and therapist-assisted treatment program for bulimia nervosa

Student: Jacqueline Baulch
Supervisors: A/Prof David Austin and Dr Jo-Anne Abbott
University: Swinburne University

Cognitive behaviour therapy is considered “first line” treatment for bulimia nervosa, however, only a small percentage of sufferers ever receive this treatment. A number of barriers to treatment have been identified including a shortage of appropriately trained health professionals, long-waiting lists, high costs, geographical location, stigma and shame. The internet is increasingly recognised as a means to overcome many of these obstacles. Over the past decade the efficacy, feasibility and acceptability of a variety of online psychological interventions has been established through randomised controlled trials, reviews and meta-analyses. Evidence suggests that, for some psychological disorders, internet-based treatment may be as effective as face-to-face treatment. Preliminary research suggests that internet-based interventions are also effective in treating eating disorders. This thesis reports on a randomised controlled trial of “Bulimia Online”: a 12-week online cognitive behavioural treatment program for bulimia nervosa. Participants were 59 females and one male (mean age = 29.38 years, SD = 6.73) meeting DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for bulimia nervosa. Participants were randomly allocated to either Bulimia Online with therapist-assistance (n = 20), Bulimia Online without therapist-assistance (i.e. automated self-help) (n = 21) or a wait-list control condition (n = 19). Participants were assessed at pre-treatment, post-treatment and 3-month follow-up. Intention to treat analyses revealed that the Bulimia Online program was not superior to a wait-list condition for any measures. With the exception of depression, anxiety and stress scores, there were no significant differences in participant outcomes between the two versions of Bulimia Online. Exploratory analysis indicated that participants felt that Bulimia Online was a credible treatment option and reported high levels of satisfaction with the intervention, in addition to high levels of working alliance with their eTherapist (amongst those in the therapist-assisted condition). The results of this study suggest that while Bulimia Online is a potentially useful way of disseminating treatment, a larger research trial is needed to further clarify the effectiveness of the program.

Defining Persuasion in the Context of Client Autonomy

Student: Joanne Lilly
Supervisor: Professor Alfred Allan
University: Edith Cowan

Autonomy is a key principle in the clinical practise of psychology. Persuasion is regarded by some as a violation of client autonomy, yet psychologists have for many years, and are still, using persuasion in their practice. The use of persuasion is not necessarily unethical, provided that it is justified by another ethical principle, such as beneficence. As such, the original aim of this literature review was to determine whether use of persuasion brings about beneficial outcomes for clients. This preliminary review, however, was hampered as it became apparent that there is a lack of consensus regarding the definition of persuasion. The aim of this literature review was therefore to find a generally accepted definition of persuasion that can be used as an operational definition by researchers in the field. A systematic review was conducted to analyse definitions of persuasion in contemporary psychology literature. Thirty-seven articles were included in the review, and each was searched for a definition of persuasion and categorised according to the type of definition used. Most authors did not provide a definition of persuasion, and where authors did explicitly define the term, there was not agreement regarding any one definition. Based on the findings of this review, Warwick and Kelman’s (1973) definition of persuasion appears to be the best definition to use currently as it is the most detailed and limited, and therefore easiest to operationalise. The researcher proposes that this definition be utilised by researchers to investigate whether use of persuasion brings about beneficial outcomes for clients, and is therefore ethically justified, in the clinical practise of psychology.

Examining the Impact of a Psychological Self-Help Tool on Adolescents’ Mindfulness, Resilience, and Hope
Student: Kathie June McDonald

Supervisor: Professor Lorelle Burton
University: The University of Southern Queensland

Despite global recommendations that have been proposed and implemented to address increasing mental health issues, difficulties persist. The cost of addressing these increasing difficulties is burdening health systems world-wide. Adolescent populations specifically show a concerning range of mental health concerns with increasing prevalence rates. Addressing these mental health issues in adolescents now, may reduce future impact on health care systems. However there are challenges in trying to do this due to low service access rates and limited therapist availability. Self-help has been effectively used with adolescents to address a range of issues however the evidence-base for self-help is extremely limited. One particular self-help tool, the Kitbag, was developed by the International Futures Forum, as a means for increasing psychological capacity to cope in the modern world. Several theoretical bases contributed to the development of the Kitbag, including theories of Mindfulness, Resilience, and Hope. To date there has been limited research examining the impact of the Kitbag, and no research has directly examined its impact on the theoretical constructs described. The current research project was therefore the first Australian study of the Kitbag, and according to the Kitbag developers, the most comprehensive Kitbag study to date world-wide. The aim of the Kitbag for Adolescents Research Project was to examine the Kitbag as used by Australian adolescents and to consider its impact on their levels of Mindfulness (Curiosity and Decentering), Resilience, and Hope. A case study approach was adopted, which allowed examination of the Kitbag efficacy in both a mainstream school-based Year 10 adolescent population (n = 11; 5 male, 6 female) and a marginalised school-based Year 10, 11, and 12 adolescent population (n = 13; 6 male, 7 female). A pre- post-intervention design was used with 3 pre-test data collection points and 3 post-test data collection points. Both quantitative and qualitative data were gathered. Quantitative analyses found no overall change in Mindfulness, Resilience, or Hope from pre-to post-intervention. However some partial support was offered for positive relationships between each of the variables and the amount of Kitbag Use, indicating that practice and active coping may be related to adolescents’ levels of Mindfulness, Resilience, and Hope. Quantitative analyses were limited by a small sample size and poor test-retest reliabilities of the measures. Qualitative analyses identified some interesting differences between the two case study groups. In general, the Kitbag was better received by the mainstream students who used the Kitbag more often and reported a high likelihood to continue use and to recommend to others. The essential roller oil component was the favourite part of the Kitbag for the mainstream students however the abstract cartoon animal cards were less appealing to them. In contrast, the roller oil was the least favourite part for the marginalised students and the animal cards were the most appealing. Larger scale replication studies are needed in mainstream adolescent populations, whereas individualised support programs using the Kitbag would be more appropriate to evaluate with future Kitbag research in marginalised youth populations. It is further recommended that future research consider additional or alternative measures of Mindfulness, Resilience, and Hope, examine personality, and include more detailed measures of Kitbag Use.

Is MBCT effective for patients with chronic pain – even if pain is not the direct target? A qualitative pilot study of the effects of a MBCT program in chronic pain management.

Student: Kirsty M. Moore
Supervisor: Michelle E. Martin
University: The University of Adelaide

An estimated twenty percent of the global population experiences chronic pain, and comorbidity with emotional disorders such as depression is high. While the use of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) as an intervention for recurrent depression is escalating in both popularity and evidence-based success, MBCT is being increasingly utilized in a range of areas including chronic pain management. The current study explored the experiences of MBCT group participants to ascertain the perceived benefits of the MBCT program for patients with chronic pain, even when pain was not the specific focus. Factors that assisted and/or hindered chronic pain patients to continue mindfulness practice following participation in a MBCT group intervention were also considered with a view to understanding ways to assist patients in developing and consolidating their practice. Seventeen chronic pain patients who had participated in MBCT group training within a hospital pain unit setting were interviewed between eight and fifty months after treatment. Thematic analysis was implemented to identify key themes in participants’ comments. Six overarching themes were extracted: beliefs, control, relationships, struggle, knowledge and acceptance. Participants who perceived benefits from the MBCT program were most motivated to continue mindfulness practice. The importance of acceptance without resistance was emphasized in effective pain management. Clinical and research implications are discussed.

Keywords: MBCT · Mindfulness · Chronic Pain · Depression · Mindfulness Practice

The Effect of Mental Illness Knowledge on Stigma in Children of Parents with Mental Illness

Student: Lauren Bennett
University: The University of the Sunshine Coast

It has been estimated that there are around one million children of parents with a mental illness (COPMI) in Australia. The perception of mental illness stigma by association with the parent exacerbates the adversity and difficulty COPMI face. There is a theoretical link between knowledge about mental illness and stigma, which has gained empirical evidence amongst general population samples. This relationship has never been studied in COPMI. The current study aimed to investigate whether participation in an information-providing intervention called SCKOPING (Sunshine Coast KOPING) resulted in an increase in knowledge about mental illness and a decrease in perceived stigma amongst COPMI (n = 25; aged 9 to 17 years). Repeated measures ANOVAs and post-hoc tests indicated a large and significant increase in knowledge (ηp 2 = .364, p = .03) and decrease in perceived stigma (ηp 2 = .240, p = .005) following the intervention. However, only the change in perceived stigma was maintained at follow-up. There was no significant relationship found between knowledge acquisition and perceived stigma decrease. It was concluded that SCKOPING is effective in improving knowledge and reducing perceived stigma in COPMI, although further development is needed to sustain the knowledge gain over time. Continued research is needed to develop literature on programs that improve outcomes for COPMI.

Evaluation of a Memory Support Clinic within a University Clinical Psychology Program

Student: Lynda Steward
Supervisors: Professor E. Helmes & Dr B. Buckby
University: James Cook University

Memory clinics had an established role within the health systems for some years, particularly for older adults. Most memory clinics operate as a multidiscipline service, and within these clinics psychologists play an important role in the provision of psychosocial and neuropsychological assessment. In addition, psychologists practising in these services provide ongoing support to clients and their families and promote referral to community agencies. Other models still provide valuable services, particularly in regional centres where health services are limited. The aim of this study was to describe client characteristics and evaluate a single discipline memory clinic operating within the Psychology Clinic at James Cook University (JCU) by using published quality indicators for memory clinics (Draskovic et al., 2008). Seventy-five files of clients, who had consented to their information being used for research, were reviewed. Five of these clients did not continue with assessment after an initial interview. The average age of the clients was 60.2 years, SD = 12.93, with 52% being female. The majority of referrals to the clinic were made by General Practitioners (59%), with other referrals from medical specialists (10%), other health professionals (20%), and self referrals (11%). In 97% of cases the clients were assessed in enough cognitive domains to enable a DSM-IV diagnosis if the findings suggested severe deficits. The results suggested that the JCU memory clinic provided comprehensive cognitive assessment to its clients. However, because the clinic was a single discipline service some of the quality indicators (Draskovic et al., 2008) that presumed a multidiscipline structure could not be met, but the JCU Memory Support Clinic satisfied most of the process quality indicators, but only some of the structure and outcome indicators. It also provided experience and training for post graduate students in the areas of comprehensive cognitive assessment and psychological interventions for older adults. Recommendations included implications for multidisciplinary training in clinical psychology within the future planning of this clinic.

Two Variants of Worry Exposure as a Treatment for Hypothetical Worries in GAD

Student: Cameron McIntosh
Supervisor: Associate Professor Rocco Crino
University: The University of Western Sydney

Background: Worry exposure is a CBT technique frequently used to treat GAD, yet there are only a few studies on its effectiveness. Aims: To compare two worry exposure protocols developed for GAD to make a preliminary determination about the most effective way in which to present the feared stimuli to participants. Method: Nine university students suffering from GAD, were administered four 1-hour treatment sessions. Exposure was conducted by either directly imagining (DI) or via audio-recording/playback (AR) exposure to their feared event. General worry and intolerance of uncertainty (IOU) were the primary dependent variables. Results: All participants in the DI and half of the AR condition reported sub-clinical GAD at post-treatment, with results being maintained at 3-month follow-up and the treatment responders also reported decreased depression, anxiety and stress. Conclusions: The DI protocol was more effective than the AR methodology in this sample, and may be an appropriate standard for worry exposure research and clinical practice.

Keywords: GAD, worry, exposure, IOU, treatment, outcome.

Thesis Title: Does Well-being Moderate Attachment’s Association with Depression, Anxiety and Stress?

Student: Nicole Lawrence
Supervisor: Dr Kumari Fernando
University: Central Queensland University

The prevalence and impact of depression and anxiety disorders, and stress across the globe underscore the importance of identifying and examining influential predictors of mental health status, such as well-being. In addition, insecure attachment has long been considered to be a risk factor for adult psychopathology. In the current study, the moderating effect of well-being, a positive factor, on the association between attachment, and depression, anxiety and stress was assessed. Two hundred and twenty-one participants completed an online questionnaire that assessed attachment anxiety and avoidance, well-being, and depression, anxiety and stress. Results reveal that both attachment and well-being are important factors to consider when examining depression, anxiety and stress. Results also demonstrate that attachment anxiety and avoidance may best be conceptualised and studied as separate but related constructs, rather than clustered together as insecure attachment. The clinical implications of this study are that well-being is an excellent target for intervention for individuals with an anxious attachment style.

Evaluating Single Session Family Therapy in a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Setting

Student: Roy Wyatt
Supervisor: Dr Robyn Stargatt
University: La Trobe University

The thesis examines the implementation of a programme of single session family therapy in a local CAMHS. By using entirely qualitative methods, the researcher carried out in depth interviews with both clients and therapists. Employing thematic analysis techniques the thesis explores benefits, challenges, and implementation issues relevant to single session family therapy to aid in the understanding and improvement of such programmes of therapy in similar settings. Some attempt is made in describing the type of presentations best suited to single session work in the CAMHS setting, based on anecdotal accounts from therapists. Client outcomes are also explored and reported on. The thesis nestles its findings amongst the existing literature specifically relevant to the single session model developed by Moshe Talmon.

Cognitive and perceptual mechanisms in clinical and non-clinical auditory hallucinations

Student: Dr Saruchi Chhabra
Supervisor: Prof. Johanna Badcock and Prof. Murray Maybery
University: The University of Western Australia

Auditory hallucinations (AH) are one of the most persistent, distressing, and functionally disabling symptoms of schizophrenia. Despite significant research into aetiology and treatment, the full picture of the mechanisms involved in these experiences remains unclear. AH also occur relatively frequently in healthy individuals in the general population, supporting a continuum model of psychotic symptoms. However, there have been recent challenges to this view, including evidence of important differences in the phenomenology and cognitive mechanisms in patient and non-patient voice hearers. The overarching goal of this thesis is to advance our understanding of the commonalities and differences in cognitive and perceptual mechanisms underlying clinical and non-clinical AH.

One of the core features of AH involves them being experienced as separate from one’s own mental processes. These experiences have predominantly been explained by failures of self-recognition, or reality monitoring difficulties; however evidence points to a broader array of context memory impairments in AH. The first part of this thesis sought to explore the exact nature of context memory deficits in clinical and non-clinical AH. By assessing memory binding of voice and location information, the first two experiments revealed that healthy, hallucination-predisposed individuals are not impaired in either automatic or intentional binding of two external, contextual features of information in memory. In order to make firm conclusions about whether context memory impairments are/are not present in non-clinical compared to clinical AH, the third experiment applied an identical word-voice memory binding task in two separate studies of: (1) hallucination-prone individuals, and (2) schizophrenia patients (with and without AH). Analyses revealed no evidence of impaired binding in high hallucination-prone individuals relative to controls. In contrast, compared to controls, individuals with schizophrenia (both with and without AH) had difficulties binding the two stimulus features (remembering ‘who said what’), alongside difficulties remembering individual words and voices. These results suggest that the extent of context memory deficits in schizophrenia is more wide-ranging than simply a deficit in identifying the self as a source of mental events. Poorer memory for these real, external voices and impaired binding of words to voices were also associated with higher ratings of the loudness of hallucinated voices reported by individuals with AH.

The findings in the first part of this thesis underscore the importance of voice recognition difficulties in patients with schizophrenia, including a functional link to AH. The second part of this thesis explored the particular contribution of voice identity processing to clinical and non-clinical AH. Two separate experiments were designed using identical methodology, and age appropriate controls, to assess voice identity discrimination in: (1) individuals with schizophrenia (with and without AH), and (2) healthy undergraduates with a tendency to hallucinate. Results revealed atypical processing of resonance, though not pitch-based cues to vocal identity in patients with and without AH, but intact voice identity discrimination in hallucination-predisposed individuals. Resonance-based cues have been linked to perceptions of vocal dominance and masculinity in healthy individuals; consequently, they may be relevant to heightened perceptions of dominance and masculinity of hallucinated voices in schizophrenia.

Difficulties processing perceptual cues to voice identity, and binding these contextual cues in memory, are discussed in terms of their potential contribution to the external attribution of AHs. The non-specificity of these findings, however, suggests that these perceptual and cognitive processes also play a functional role in other symptoms of schizophrenia. The findings also add to a growing list of differences in cognitive function between clinical and non-clinical hallucinations, and demand a re-evaluation of the continuum model of psychosis. Importantly, such differences offer valuable insights into those mechanisms that may promote, or alternatively prevent, the emergence of clinically significant hallucinatory experiences.

Distress and Growth: Maternal and Paternal Interpretations of the ‘Lived’ Experience of Families Exposed to the 2003 Canberra Bushfire

Student: Tamra Sellick
Supervisor: Dr Lynne McCormack
University: The University of Canberra

This phenomenological study explores maternal and paternal subjective interpretations of changes in family life nine years after the 2003 Canberra bushfire. Data from six individuals, parents of three family groups, were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. One overarching theme emerged: Distress and growth in family life following catastrophic bushfire. This reflected both the independent and coexisting nature of distress and growth in family life over time as described by these participants. Five subordinate themes: living the terror; the legacy of survival; unexpected betrayal; shattered lives; and growing captured the participants’ ‘lived’ experiences of threat, distress, and meaning making following exposure to a catastrophic Australian bushfire. Post-event family distress was compounded by marital conflict, with competing priorities, different coping styles, and post-event personal change identified as sources of conflict and division. Positive change emerged over time and included domains of empathy, love, and gratitude, recently identified in the growth literature, and new domains of self-responsibility and growing together, not currently identified. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.

The Effect of Stereotype Threat on Women's Mathematical Performance and Motivation

Student: Dr Vincent Fogliati
Supervisor: Associate Professor Kay Bussey

According to stereotype threat theory (STT; Steele & Aronson, 1995), negative stereotypes interfere with the performance of their targets, particularly those who are motivated to disconfirm the relevant stereotype. STT also asserts that stereotype threat can eventually lead to reduced motivation in the relevant domain. This thesis presents three experimental studies, presented across two papers, which contribute to an understanding of the effects of stereotype threat on both performance and motivation.

The first two studies explored whether women would be protected from stereotype threat under conditions in which they acquiesced to the female-math stereotype. Stereotype acquiescence refers to a process whereby stereotype targets: i) expect their group to perform significantly worse than a relevant out-group, and ii) do not aspire to perform as well as the out-group. Study 1 demonstrated that women (n = 130) low in self-perceived ability were more likely than those high in self-perceived ability to acquiesce to the female-math stereotype, but were paradoxically protected from stereotype threat. Study 2 (n = 154; 108 women and 46 men) showed that women performed worse when informed that there were slight gender differences, than if told that men were considerably mathematically superior. By demonstrating that women who acquiesced to the female-math stereotype were protected from stereotype threat, these studies provide support for STT’s assertion that stereotype threat affects the performance of those motivated to disconfirm their stereotyped inferiority.

Finally, Study 3 (n = 84; 54 women and 30 men) found that stereotype threat led to reductions in women’s mathematical performance and also their motivation to improve following negative feedback. Together, these studies contribute to an understanding of the effects of stereotype threat on both performance and motivation, as well as some of the circumstances under which each of these effects of stereotype threat is most likely to occur.

Stereotype Threat and Intelligence: Measuring Children’s Performance on Different Learning Tasks

Student: Ms Poh Wan WONG
Supervisor: Dr Cathryne Lang
University: Australian Catholic University

Stereotype threat has been found to have detrimental effects on the performance of individuals from stigmatised groups. The purpose of this quasi-experiment was to investigate the stereotype threat phenomenon in the performance of children on an intelligence test. It was hypothesised that under stereotype threat conditions, girls would perform worse than boys on the intelligence test. However, the performance of girls and boys would not differ in the non-threat condition. Eighty Year 6 students were recruited from private schools and randomly allocated into a stereotype threat (tasks presented as diagnostic of ability) or non-threat condition (tasks presented as classroom activities). The Wechsler Nonverbal Scale of Ability was administered as a measure of general cognitive ability. The participants were also asked a series of questions relating to their own, teachers’, and parental beliefs about gender and intelligence. The findings obtained did not support the proposed hypothesis as the WNV Full Scale scores of girls and boys did not differ across the stereotype threat and non-threat conditions. Interview responses indicated support for gender equality in the perception of intelligence. The unexpected findings could be influenced by participants’ perception of the tasks as a challenge versus threat, positive view of girls in terms of learning, activation of the student identity, and greater emphasis on individuality.

Keywords: stereotype threat, gender, diagnosticity, intelligence

Quality of life and organ transplantation: Patients, family, and health professional perspectives on a second chance at life.

Student: Bianca Denny
Supervisor: A/Prof Susana Gavidia-Payne
University: RMIT University

Organ transplantation has the potential to extend the life expectancy of individuals experiencing end-stage organ failure. First pioneered in the 1960s, long-term survival after organ transplantation is now the norm rather than the exception. As such, quality of life (QOL) has become a widely accepted criterion by which to measure the success of organ transplantation.

Quality of life refers to an individual’s subjective experience of functioning. Extensive research indicates that transplantation is associated with QOL benefits, with transplant recipients enjoying better QOL than transplant candidates. However, several conceptual and empirical aspects of QOL have not received adequate attention. First, no previous research has attempted to explain ubiquitous QOL findings from a theoretical perspective. Second, health professionals’ perceptions of QOL issues have not been considered. Last, scant attention has been paid to young patients’ families and the home environment in the context of QOL.

The present thesis is comprised of three studies, which together present a holistic exploration of the QOL of organ transplant patients. Study 1 explored the QOL of organ transplant patients using the theoretical perspective of crisis theory to investigate the relationship between stress, coping, and QOL. A total of 226 participants representing non-transplant individuals, transplant candidates, and transplant recipients participated in the study, providing insights into the unique experiences of transplant patients and enabling comparisons of each group’s QOL.

Health professionals’ perspectives on transplant patients’ QOL issues was investigated in Study 2. This exploratory study examined QOL from the perspective of professionals who work with transplant patients, and sought to investigate the dissemination of copious amounts of QOL research, information, and data to clinical practice. The views of 41 health professionals were explored in relation to attitudes toward QOL issues, reported willingness to use QOL instruments and information, and actual use of QOL information in clinical practice. Results revealed inconsistencies between attitudes, willingness, and behaviour associated with QOL. Several suggestions are made to increase the use of QOL information in clinical practice.

The QOL experiences of 32 pediatric liver transplant patients were investigated in Study 3. Together with comparing the QOL of young transplant patients with non-transplant children, the study investigated the way in which families adjust to accommodate children following liver transplantation. The relationship between family functioning and QOL was also explored, with results showing an association between decreased QOL and increased adjustments to family routines. The finding that transplant families make more adjustments to routines to accommodate their children in comparison to other families informed several recommendations to ease the burden on transplant families and, in turn, enrich the QOL of young transplant patients.

Conclusions, strengths and limitations, and suggestions for future research are discussed are discussed in the context of these findings. Theoretical implications of the findings are presented, together with suggestions for practical applications to optimise the QOL of transplant patients. The synthesis of findings indicates a need for research to move beyond assessing QOL solely from patients’ perspective, thus enabling all patients to enjoy full QOL benefits afforded by transplantation.

Adult mental health and friendship satisfaction

Student: Laura Hampton
Supervisor: Phil Kavanagh
University: The University of South Australia

Objectives: Many individuals with symptoms of mental illness report difficulties maintaining friendships. Despite these findings, little research has investigated the nature of this difficulty or discovered a theory that can account for all psychological presentations. This study aims to investigate the associations between depression symptoms and friendship satisfaction within a sociometer theory framework. Design: 150 participants completed an anonymous online survey to investigate the associations between depression symptoms and friendship satisfaction. Results: The results revealed associations between depression symptoms and friendship satisfaction and friendship maintenance, with self-esteem and reflected friendship appraisals in combination mediating this association. Conclusions: The results support sociometer theory and have implications for both theory and practice. There is support for a friendship sociometer that navigates friendship structure maintenance (both functional and dysfunctional). Finally, the findings support the current treatment approach for depression—cognitive-behavioural therapy—providing new targets for therapy within this framework.

Key Words: Sociometer theory, depression, friendship satisfaction, friendship maintenance, adult

Effects of Behavioural Consultation on Adherence to Diabetes and Foot Care Regimens in Adult Diabetics with Foot Ulcers

Student: Mark Summers
Supervisor: David Leach

Optimal diabetic foot care requires patients’ behavioural adherence to foot care routines. Although non-adherence to foot care recommendations can lead to serious adverse consequences including amputations, to date little work has been done to develop and implement behaviour change interventions for diabetic patients at risk of foot complications. The effects of behavioural intervention on diabetes and foot care routines in 5 patients receiving multidisciplinary care for diabetes-related foot ulcers were evaluated using an A-B-A within subjects reversal design. Self-reported frequencies of diabetes and foot care behaviours were collected on a weekly basis over 4 phases: 1-month baseline, intervention, 1-month follow-up, and a 2-week long-term follow up at 6 months. The intervention consisted of 2 to 3 months of weekly one-on-one behavioural consultation sessions, consisting of goal-setting, feedback, and problem-solving based on the principles of applied behaviour analysis. The specific diabetes and foot care behaviours targeted for change varied from case to case. All participants improved their adherence to all self-care behaviours targeted in their intervention: 18 instances of positive behaviour change across the 5 participants. Changes were maintained at 1- and 6-month follow up. The changes observed across these single-case studies highlight the importance of integrating behavioural treatment components with conventional multidisciplinary care for diabetes-related foot problems.


2011 recipients

Name: A. Humphries
University: University of Melbourne, VIC
Title of Dissertation: Anxiety in Women Having an Abortion: The Role of Stigma and Secrecy

Name: A. Lynch
University: University of Tasmania, TAS
Title of Dissertation: The Role of the Two-Factor Model of Impulsivity and Conscientiousness in Risk Taking and Harm Reduction Behaviours Among Regular Ecstasy Users 

Name: A. M. Lampard
University: University of Western Australia, WA
Title of Dissertation: An evaluation of the cognitive-behavioural theory of bulimia nervosa

Name: A. Price
University: University of Sydney, NSW
Title of Dissertation: Cognitive flexibility and attention to detail across stages of anorexia nervosa 

Name: A. Talbot
University:  University of Sydney, NSW
Supervisor/s: Stephen Touyz and Phillipa Hay
Title of Dissertation: State-trait properties of cognitive impairment for patients with anorexia nervosa: An investigation of set shifting and central coherence in individuals who have achieved full psychiatric recovery

Name: C. Ahern
University: Swinburne University, VIC
Title of Dissertation: Self-construals in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Name: C. Dean
University: Monash University, VIC
Supervisor/s: J. Sabura Allen and Elizabeth Hughes
Title of Dissertation: Romantic partner attachment, mating approaches, and the association with eating disorder symptomatology. 

Name: C. E. Brennan
University: Curtin University of Technology, WA
Supervisor/s: Clare Rees
Title of Dissertation: Cognitive behaviour therapy for social phobia delivered via videoconference 

Name: C. L. Thake
University: Australian Catholic University, VIC
Supervisor/s: Eric. S Marx
Title of Dissertation: A psycho-evolutionary approach to identifying preferred and restorative natural landscapes 

Name: E. Eshkevari
University: Australian National University, ACT
Title of Dissertation: An investigation of the bodily self in eating disorders 

Name: J. Brands
University: Queensland University of Technology, QLD
Supervisor/s: David Kavanagh
Title of Dissertation: Therapy in cyberspace: Implications for the therapeutic alliance in online and computer-based psychological treatment 

Name: J. Geary
University: University of the Sunshine Coast, QLD
Supervisor/s: Mary Katsikittis and Peter Gibbon
Title of Dissertation: The influence of self-efficacy beliefs and coping strategies on acute pain management

Name: J. King
University: Edith Cowan University, WA
Title of Dissertation: An Exploration of Adolescents’ Experience of the Therapeutic Alliance within a Community-Based counselling setting 

Name: J. Lim
University: University of Southern Queensland, QLD
Title of Dissertation: The development and evaluation of a mood profiling website based on the Brunel Mood Scale. 

Name: J. Maurer
University: Griffith University, QLD
Supervisor/s: Fran O’Callaghan
Title of Dissertation: Effectiveness evaluation and comparison of two parent-based group education programmes for overweight and obese children 

Name: J. M. Marshall
University: University of New England, NSW
Supervisor/s: Amy D. Lykins
Title of Dissertation: Positive psychology and cognitive behaviour therapy: A group programme for reducing depression symptoms and increasing well-being 

Name: J. Saville
University: University of Ballarat, VIC
Title of Dissertation: The Experimental Effects of Cognitive Defusion and Cognitive Restructuring on Self-relevant Negative Thoughts 

Name: J.Slevec
University: Flinders University, SA
Title of Dissertation: Media exposure, body dissatisfaction and disordered eating in middle-aged women: The role of cognitive mediators 

Name: L. Davey
University: Bond University, QLD
Supervisor/s: Christina Samios
Title of Dissertation: Facebook use as a moderator for the relationship between autistic traits and social support satisfaction 

Name: N. Petruccelli
University: La Trobe University, VIC
Title of Dissertation: Working memory and narratives in children with specific language impairment and resolved later talkers. 

Name: M. Aday
University: Deakin University, VIC
Title of Dissertation: The relationship between special interests and emotional health in individuals with Autism Spectrum disorders 

Name: M. Beer
University: University of Adelaide, SA
Title of Dissertation: The relationship between mindful parenting and distress in parents of children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder 

Name: M. Currell
University: University of Queensland, QLD
Title of Dissertation: Relationships Between Health and Lifestyle Factors and Executive Functioning with Advancing Age

Name: M. Guidolin
University: Flinders University, SA
Supervisor/s: Michael Gradisar and Michelle Short
Title of Dissertation: Shortened Sleep Duration does not Predict BMI and Weight Status in Adolescents

Name: M. Houtzaager
University: University of Western Sydney, NSW
Title of Dissertation: Validation of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Examination – Self Report 

Name: M. Tabone
University: Charles Sturt University, SA
Title of Dissertation: From Phantasy to Reality: Losing an Intimate Partner Following Relationship Separation. 

Name: P. Carter
University: University of Wollongong, NSW
Title of Dissertation: Speech Disturbance in Response to Emotional Autobiographical Stimuli: A Comparison of Borderline Personality Disorder and Control Participants

Name: Q. Wong
University: University of New South Wales, NSW
Title of Dissertation: The Role of Ruminative Thinking in Social Phobia 

Name: S. Fitzpatrick
University: Macquarie University, NSW
Supervisor/s: Kay Bussey
Title of Dissertation: The Influence of Social Cognitive Factors and Peer Friendships on Social Bullying in Schools

Name: S. J. Bennet
University: RMIT University, VIC
Title of Dissertation: An Exploration of the Nature of Support in a Recovery-Oriented Eating Disorders Chat Room 

Name: S. Lutkin
James Cook University, QLD
Edward Helmes, Beryl Buckby and Alistair Campbell
Title of Dissertation:
Interpersonal dependency as a mediator of anxiety in older adults

Name: S. Moyle
University of South Australia, SA
Peter Mertin and Janet Bryan
Title of Dissertation:
Domestic violence: Psychological symptoms and patterns of disclosure

Name: S. Lawton
CQ University Australia, QLD
: Kevin Ronan
Title of Dissertation: To cut or not to cut: Differences between those who self harm and those who have thoughts only

Name: T. McQueen
University of Canberra, ACT
Amanda George
Title of Dissertation:
Solitary alcohol use, depression, and suicidal ideation among Australian university students: Examining the contribution of drinking to cope and social support

Name: S. Schubert
Murdoch University, WA
Supervisor/s: Lee and Peter Drummond
Title of Dissertation:
An examination of the efficacy, underlying mechanisms, and psychophysiological correlates of EMDR in Australian and Timorese populations


2010 recipients

Simon Rice, Australian Catholic University

Mike Barry, Australian National University

Rob Schutze, Curtin University

Shikkiah de Quadros-Wander, Deakin University

Ambika Nagesh, Flinders University

Katherine Horrigan, Griffith University

Adrienne Brown, La Trobe University

Flora Gilbert, Monash University

Adrian Schembri, RMIT University

Danielle Williamson, Swinburne University of Technology

Kathryn Fogarty, University of Adelaide

Anna Todd, University of New England

Johanna (Jeanie) Stafford-Brown, University of Queensland

Kimberly Norris, University of Tasmania

David Erceg-Hurn, University of Western Australia

Benjamin Wilkes, University of Wollongong