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Spring 2009 Colloquium Series

April 29

Speaker: Brian Dow, Ph.D., Therapist, South Bay Mental Health Center, Hawthorne, CA

Title: Self-Efficacy as a Mediating Variable for the Relationship between Depression and Exercise

This study examined whether exercise self-efficacy and locus of control (LOC) mediate the relationships between depression and exercise.  Also, this study examined whether self-efficacy and LOC are predictors of the duration of exercise, and if they better predict duration of exercise in the past two weeks when combined, than each variable independently.  Results from an on-line survey showed that exercise had a significant inverse relationship to depression and a positive relationship to self-efficacy, and self-efficacy mediated the relationship between depression and exercise.  Self-efficacy was the best predictor of exercise and external LOC was not significantly related to exercise and it did not better help predict duration of exercise when added to self-efficacy in the regression equation.  However, external LOC had a positive significant relationship with depression.  Results showed that there was a significant inverse relationship between anxiety and exercise self-efficacy.  This study suggested that techniques used to increase peoples’ exercise self-efficacy might be used to decrease peoples’ level of depression.



April 15

Speaker: Hector Betancourt, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Loma Linda University

Title: Psychological Perspectives on Health Disparities:  The Study of Culture and Behavior

This presentation highlights the need to investigate the role of psychological and cultural factors relevant to disparities in health among individuals from various ethnic and SES groups.  A theoretical model and methodological approach for the study of culture and behavior are described and research on disparities in cancer screening among Anglo and Latino women is used to illustrate the implementation of the model and methodology.  Conceptual and methodological issues concerning research on culture and behavior as well as the importance of culture-based health-care interventions are discussed.



March 25

Speaker:  Wei-Chin Hwang, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Claremont McKenna College

Title: Top-down and Bottom-up Approaches to Culturally Adapting Psychotherapy

Recent reports by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) indicate that ethnic minorities are less likely to receive and have access to quality health and mental health services, and that overall, they evidence worse treatment outcomes.  In this talk, I will present an overview of an NIMH funded clinical trial that compares cognitive-behavioral therapy versus culturally adapted cognitive behavioral therapy. I will discuss theoretical and community-based participatory and formative methods to culturally adapt and modify psychotherapy for depressed Chinese Americans. Examples of adaptations will be provided and the underlying rationales for the modifications will be discussed.



March 11

Speaker:  Roger Levy, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, UCSD

Title: Noise and Memory in Rational Language Comprehension

Considering the adversity of the conditions under which linguistic communication takes place in everyday life-ambiguity, competition for our attention, speaker error, and our limited memory– it is remarkable that we are as successful at it as we are.  Nevertheless there are a number of puzzles regarding limitations to our comprehension.  I present two new computational models and evidence supporting them.  More generally, these models suggest how taking environmental and cognitive constraints into account can lead to a more satisfactory picture of human cognition.



February 25

Speaker:  Lori Katz, Ph.D., Women’s Mental Health Center, Long Beach Veterans Affairs Healthcare System

Title: Comparison of Prolonged Exposure and Holographic Reprocessing to Treat Trauma

Which treatment is most appropriate for whom?  This presentation addresses similarities and distinction between Prolonged Exposure (PE) and Holographic Reprocessing (HR) to treat symptoms of trauma.  Although PE has a vast empirical base and HR is a newly emerging treatment, the comparison brings forth questions about what mechanisms are necessary and sufficient for change.  A hallmark difference is vantage point when recalling memories of trauma (e.g., as if re-experiencing the memory versus as if observing the memory from afar).  Five factors of change will be discussed and considerations for future research are presented.



February 11

Speaker:  Andrew Lohmann, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, CSULB

Title:  Neighborhoods and the Impact of a New Freeway on Sense of Community

A great deal of research has been invested in seeking to understand environmental effects on neighborhoods, as well as neighborhood effects on its residents.  The results of this research have directed billions of dollars into social programs.  However, what do we really know about neighborhoods?  Are we defining them correctly in the research?  We examine these questions in the context of studying the impact of newly built freeway on the sense of community of residents living adjacent to the thoroughfare.