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Linfield students travel to Mexico for conference

Linfield College seniors Lauren Loepp of Hillsboro, Nadia Abraibesh of Portland and Ashlee Hockett of Springfield presented research with Professors Jennifer Linder and Tanya Tompkins at the regional Western Psychological Association (WPA) conference in Cancun, Mexico, April 22.

Hockett and Abraibesh received funding from the national chapter of Psi Chi, a national honor society for psychology majors and minors. Linfield also contributed funds through a research and travel grant awarded to the students last fall.

At the conference, three presentations from two separate research projects were presented to students and professors from the undergraduate and graduate levels.

The poster presented by Loepp, Abraibesh and Linder focused on the relationship between college women’s use of media and their aggressive behavior with peers and romantic partners. Their data examined how much aggressive television was viewed by their participants, as well as time spent on social networking sites like Facebook. The researchers were particularly interested in relational aggression, which includes behaviors that intend to harm by manipulating relationships, such as spreading rumors and the silent treatment.

“We found that exposure to relationally aggressive television was associated with higher acceptance of the use of relational aggression and greater use of both relational and physical aggression with romantic partners,” Linder said.

Their project is a collaboration with Sarah Coyne, professor of psychology at Brigham Young University. A total of 150 participants have been studied, 100 from Linfield and 50 from Iowa State University, another collaborating institution.

Abraibesh and Hockett presented papers separately from a larger project focused on gender, co-rumination, stress, coping and emotional adjustment.

Co-rumination is problem-focused talk, explained Tompkins. It occurs in a relationship and that involves partners mutually encouraging problem discussion, rehashing problems, speculating about the causes and consequences of the problem and dwelling on negative emotions associated with the problem.

“It is associated with positive (friendship) and negative (depression) outcomes, however, these adjustment trade-offs are unique to females, with males enjoying friendship benefits only,” Tompkins said.

Abraibesh studied in Ecuador last year, collecting data from students at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. Her paper focused on cross-cultural comparisons of the construct and its associations with friendship quality and depression in U.S. and Ecuadorian students. Hockett’s paper focused on exploring the role of negative inferential style, or the tendency to attribute negative events to global and stable causes that have negative implications for the self. She found negative inferential style was most strongly associated with depression for those who engaged in moderate or high levels of co-rumination regardless of gender.

“The conference serves as a stepping stone in the educational development of Linfield students,” Linder said. “It is a good opportunity for students to network and make connections with people in the field.”