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Friday, April 24th

Poster Number: 041

Far From Home: Consumption and Personalization in College Dorms


Mattin Avalon, Winthrop University
Kaitlyn Clingenpeel, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Michael Sickels, Ph.D.

For many traditional college students, their campus is the first “home” they will ever choose for themselves. Their dormitories or residence halls are the first spaces they will ever personalize as young adults. This paper examines those personalization processes, and the resulting navigations of institutional control, identity, and reconceptualization of home within the college student population. Data were collected through eight interviews and dormitory tours conducted with full-time campus residents at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The resulting analyses examined the systematic process of personalizing a dorm room, and how that process is affected by the institution and issues around privacy as a university student. The broader implications of this paper lie in its understanding of how the future generation of homemakers construct identity, and how future consumer values become transmittable elements as college becomes a necessity and a commodity all its own. This research was limited because data came from the student body of only one university; future research should be conducted with additional universities to strengthen the validity of this study.

Poster Number: 042

College Students' Attitudes More Negative toward Older versus Same-Aged Peers

Selena Gonterman, Winthrop University
Janie Howland, Winthrop University
Olivia Guillen-Blas, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.

We examined current college students’ responses to common college social situations that varied in closeness and age of the target individual. We hypothesized that college students would have more negative attitudes toward older compared to same-aged peers. We hypothesized that a higher fear of death, a higher fear of missing out, or more emotional distance from grandparents would predict more negative attitudes toward older students. Participants were current college students (n = 88) with a mean age of 20.90 (SD= 1.87). The majority were women (70%) and Caucasian (51%). Participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions. All of the conditions described the same social situations. Participants were asked to imagine themselves in the situation (e.g., meeting a roommate, working on a group project, playing intramural sports). In one condition, the age of the other person was not specified. The other conditions specified either an 18-year-old, a 30-year-old, or a 50-year-old. Participants responded to scales to assess fear of death, fear of missing out, and closeness with grandparents. Results revealed partial support for our first hypothesis. Traditional-age college students felt more negatively toward close, but not casual, campus interactions with 30- and 50-year-olds compared to 18-year-olds. Our second hypothesis that fear of death and grandparent interactions would predict attitudes, was not supported. These results suggest that traditional-age college students’ attitudes toward older peers may be based more on immediate comfort and relatability issues rather than on personal fear of and experiences with aging.

Poster Number: 043

The Relationship Between Future Orientation, Social Support and GPA


Chelsea Harris, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Melissa Reeves, Ph.D., and Matthew Hayes, Ph.D.

Future orientation (FO) is broadly defined as one’s perception of one’s future. It has been shown to act as a protective factor for adolescents regarding substance abuse, risky behavior, and internalizing problems, as well as promoting greater academic success. Most FO research has focused on children or adolescents, leaving a gap for young adults. Similarly, social support (SS) has been shown to act as a protective factor and promote positive mental health and academic outcomes. FO develops and shapes itself in accordance with an individual’s social context, including SS, making it valuable to study the two variables together. This study examines FO in college students and investigates the mediating effect of FO and SS on GPA. Participants were recruited through social media and data were collected through an anonymous online survey. The results indicate higher FO positively correlated with higher overall SS and GPAs; however, SS from a special person had a significant negative relationship with student’s GPA scores after accounting for the variance in FO and overall SS. A possible explanation for this could be the type of SS received from those special others and the likely distraction they impose for the student’s school work. Implications could include school resource centers drawing attention to these findings to increase awareness in students of how their FO and different sources of SS could be affecting their academic performance.

Poster Number: 044

Process Goals Raise Academic Confidence and Performance of First-Generation College Students


Gabrielle E. McGee, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Donna Nelson, Ph.D.

First-generation college students (FGCS) enter college less academically prepared than their peers. Additionally, FGCS encounter more academic difficulty and earn lower grades compared to their counterparts. As such, it is important to find ways to increase academic confidence and performance among FGCS. One potential avenue for doing so may be to influence their goal orientation when approaching academic work. Process goals focus on the steps needed to achieve a desired outcome, while outcome goals focus on the desired outcome itself. Research suggests that, for difficult tasks, process goals result in greater levels of performance, lower feelings of anxiety, and higher perceptions of self-efficacy than outcome goals. The present study manipulated goal orientation on a difficult task, and then measured confidence and performance with respect to a subsequent pop quiz. It was expected for FGCS to exhibit lower academic confidence and performance compared to non-FGCS when instructed to adopt outcome goals; however, no such differences when participants were instructed to adopt process goals were to be expected. Participants consisted of 29 FGCS and 38 non-FGCS students in introductory psychology courses. All participants completed a challenging anagram task. Students were randomly assigned to either the Process Goal Condition or the Outcome Goal Condition. Results confirmed that FGCS benefited from process goals.

Poster Number: 045

Relationships between Family Values, Academic Motivation and Performance

Kahdaijah Williams, Winthrop University
Jarismary Polo, Winthrop University
Taji Mayberry, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Tara J. Collins, Ph.D.

Although everyone has different outlooks on what motivates them, scholars have found that when it comes to students and motivation, they are related. The primary goal of this study was to examine the ways in which motivation, family values, and performance has a positive significance on academic performance. College students, primarily from Winthrop University, were surveyed to see the ways in which their experiences from home and school life influenced their academic performance. The constructs that were measured were (a) family values, (b) reading comprehension, and (c) motivation (intrinsic/extrinsic). Overall, it was found that reading comprehension held no significance in determining a student’s academic performance, nor was there a significance in a student’s academic motivation. It was also found that a student’s family values held to be statistically significant on the construct levels of general attitudes and curiosity, making our main hypothesis to be partially supported. From the results, it can be concluded that academic performance is measured by things other than just the student, but that they are influenced by external factors as well. The things that were assumed to be related were not significant, which was unexpected since it was hypothesized that there was a positive significance between all variables and academic performance. These findings may suggest that the more a person is curious about his or her work, and the more positive the guardian’s general attitudes, the better the child is likely to perform.

Poster Number: 046

The Effects of Competition and Student Ability on Achievement Goals


Kelsey Allen, Winthrop University
Gabrielle E. McGee, Winthrop University
Shannan Keianna Goodwin, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Matthew Hayes, Ph.D.

The present study examined whether the effect of competition on achievement goals depends on student ability. The 129 college students who participated in this study received a packet that included a short learning activity with corresponding questions, an achievement goal questionnaire, and demographic items. Half of the packets contained instructions that had students answer the questions to the best of their ability, which created a non-competitive environment. The other half contained instructions that had students do the best that they could, because their scores would be ranked against those of their classmates. This facilitated classroom competition. Afterward, the students completed a questionnaire to assess the achievement goals used to complete the learning activity. Finally, the students answered demographic questions. Self-reported GPA was used to measure student ability. The results found that competition did not affect achievement goals for any students; it is possible that the competitive manipulation was not strong enough or that achievement goals are more trait-based than state-based in nature. It was found that low-ability students tended to have approach motivation, as they either wanted to learn the material or do better than their peers. Overall, students exhibited more performance goals than mastery goals. Students who did have mastery goals tended to have an approach motivation, meaning that they wanted to learn the material from the activity. This indicates that student learning at the collegiate level is not entirely performance-oriented for all students. It can be concluded that competition does not affect students’ achievement goals when facilitated through instruction.

Poster Number: 047

Partner Characteristics, Confidence, and Knowledge Predict Sexual Consent Attitudes

Andrea D. Ward, Winthrop University
Erin Creed, Winthrop University
Nadirah Madyun, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.

This study examined college students’ perceptions of consent in sexual situations comprised of different partner-pairings; we included non-heterosexual couples, as research on sexual consent within these groups is very limited. Participants were 95 young adults (62% women; 50% Caucasian) with a mean age of 19.36 (SD = 1.41). Participants provided their perceptions of one of four randomly assigned scenarios; the scenarios described sexual encounters between a heterosexual couple, a gay couple, a lesbian couple, or an age-diverse heterosexual couple. In all scenarios, sexual consent was ambiguous and not clearly offered. Participants also responded to scales to measure sexual consent attitudes and sexual risk-taking. Mixed results were found for the hypotheses. Age did not influence college students’ perceptions of sexual consent; instead, students found the lack of consent less troublesome for a gay couple than for lesbian or heterosexual couples. This perception may reflect an (incorrect) assumption that consent is more important for a woman to give than for a man. Interestingly, the results did not find gender differences in overall perceptions of consent. Individuals who were African American, confident, or knowledgeable about sexual consent felt the most in control of their own sexual consent. However, knowledge of sexual consent was also linked to sexual risk-taking. Perhaps risky sexual choices create situations where sexual consent is necessary. Social media use, a common behavior among college students, predicted increased sexual-risk taking. This information, particularly regarding non-heterosexual couples, contributes to the growing body of research focused on understanding sexual consent on college campuses.

Poster Number: 048

Relationship Norms in China versus the U.S.

Shelley Hamill, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Shelley Hamill, Ph.D.

The purpose of this research is to examine Chinese and American relationship norms. Research shows that while relationships in China used to be controlled by parents, the power is beginning to shift to the children, primarily through the introduction of online dating. These relationships are now more of an emotional involvement rather than a business deal. Young adults in America, on the other hand, have experienced sexual freedoms since the 1920s, beginning with the invention of the car. Additionally, the number one reason for marriage in America is love. Research also shows a difference in the age in which children in these countries start dating. Previously, youth in China started dating sometime after high school and rarely engaged in premarital intercourse. Recently, though, the number of hookups among college students in China has steadily increased; however, the experiences they have are fewer in number than those of American youth. In a particular study in North America, it was found that 60-80% of college students had experienced a hookup. In another study, it was found that 32% of seventh, ninth, and 11thgraders reported having sexual intercourse. Premarital sex and casual sex are common and generally accepted practices in American culture. This research shows how different countries have different practices with regard to relationships.

Poster Number: 049

Relationships Between Sleep Disturbance, Energy Levels, Low-Energy Coping Mechanisms, and GPA

Eva Hermanova, Winthrop University
Kanesha M. Rhodes, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Tara J. Collins, Ph.D.

College students are said to be the most sleep-deprived group of individuals; therefore, it is crucial to understand how sleep deprivation affects our well-being, especially with regard to academic performance and overall quality of life. It is hoped that this study adds to the existing research on the effects of sleep deprivation by examining low-energy mechanisms, and how these variables correlate with academic performance. We hypothesized that individuals with higher sleep disturbance would have more fatigue, increased use of low-energy coping mechanisms, and lower GPAs. Seventy-five undergraduate college students participated in our online, self-administered questionnaire. The questionnaire assessed participants’ level of sleep disturbance, fatigue, GPA, and low-energy coping mechanisms: coffee, tea, and energy drink consumption; exercise and diet. The analyses revealed that sleep disturbance significantly positively correlated with energy drink consumption and coffee consumption. However, the relationship between sleep disturbance, tea consumption, diet, and exercise proved to be insignificant. This study also examined the relationship between sleep disturbance and fatigue, finding that sleep disturbance significantly positively predicted fatigue. From the results, it can be concluded that coffee and energy drink consumption negatively impact one’s sleep quality, while exercise, diet, and tea consumption have no impact. Contrary to the hypothesis, it was found that higher sleep disturbance significantly predicted higher GPA. The results have important implications for the overall quality of life of college students and can potentially be used to help individuals increase their GPAs and sleep quality by not consuming caffeinated beverages such as coffee and energy drinks.