Publications by authors named "Anthony L Burrow"

38 Publications

Associations Between Everyday Discrimination and Sleep: Tests of Moderation by Ethnicity and Sense of Purpose.

Ann Behav Med 2021 Mar 24. Epub 2021 Mar 24.

Department of Human Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA.

Background: Everyday discrimination holds pernicious effects across most aspects of health, including a pronounced stress response. However, work is needed on when discrimination predicts sleep outcomes, with respect to potential moderators of these associations.

Purpose: The current study sought to advance the past literature by examining the associations between everyday discrimination and sleep outcomes in an ethnically diverse sample, allowing tests of moderation by ethnic group. We also examined the role of sense of purpose, a potential resilience factor, as another moderator.

Methods: Participants in the Hawaii Longitudinal Study of Personality and Health (n = 758; 52.8% female; mage: 60 years, sd = 2.03) completed assessments for everyday discrimination, sleep duration, daytime dysfunction due to sleep, sleep quality, and sense of purpose.

Results: In the full sample, everyday discrimination was negatively associated with sleep duration, sleep quality, and sense of purpose, while positively associated with daytime dysfunction due to sleep. The associations were similar in magnitude across ethnic groups (Native Hawaiian, White/Caucasian, Japanese/Japanese-American), and were not moderated by sense of purpose, a potential resilience factor.

Conclusions: The ill-effects on health due to everyday discrimination may operate in part on its role in disrupting sleep, an issue that appears to similarly impact several groups. The current research extends these findings to underrepresented groups in the discrimination and sleep literature. Future research is needed to better disentangle the day-to-day associations between sleep and discrimination, and identify which sources of discrimination may be most problematic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/abm/kaab012DOI Listing
March 2021

Derailment within the landscape of psychopathology.

Curr Opin Psychol 2021 Feb 6;41:21-27. Epub 2021 Feb 6.

Department of Human Development, Cornell University, USA.

When perceived changes in course occur, individuals can be left feeling disconnected from who they were in the past. This sensation of being 'off-course' in life is an individual difference we call 'derailment.' In this article, we review derailment's unique contribution to the psychological literature, the role of perceived self and identity change in mental health, and the nuanced association between derailment and depression. Although depression has been emphasized in research to date, we argue for derailment's role in other types of mental illness, motivating several exciting directions for future work. For the pervasiveness of identity in our everyday lives, the study of derailment confers opportunities for better understanding the experience of psychopathology and approaching its treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2021.01.009DOI Listing
February 2021

When the end feels near: sense of purpose predicts well-being as a function of future time perspective.

Aging Ment Health 2021 Mar 1:1-11. Epub 2021 Mar 1.

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA.

Objectives: While sense of purpose is a robust predictor of well-being, little work has considered whether the associations vary based on future time perspective. Exploring this possibility is important given that the extent to which one may pursue their life aims could be dependent upon how much time they feel that they have remaining.

Methods: Using three samples (total  = 2333), the current study considered the association between sense of purpose and future time perspective. Moderation tests also examined whether the associations between sense of purpose and three well-being components (positive affect, negative affect, life satisfaction) differed as a function of future time perspective.

Results: Across all three studies, people with a broader time perspective reported a higher sense of purpose. Both constructs predicted greater well-being, even after accounting for chronological age. Future time perspective moderated the associations between sense of purpose and well-being, such that the negative association between sense of purpose and negative affect was stronger for those with a broader time perspective and the positive association between sense of purpose and life satisfaction was stronger for those with a limited time perspective.

Conclusion: The well-being benefits associated with sense of purpose in adulthood may depend on future time perspective. Findings are discussed in the context of how purpose can be harnessed to enhance well-being even when older adults feel that their time left is limited.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2021.1891203DOI Listing
March 2021

Derailment as a risk factor for greater mental health issues following pandemic.

Psychiatry Res 2020 May 13;289:113093. Epub 2020 May 13.

Department of Human Development, Cornell University, United States.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113093DOI Listing
May 2020

Moving beyond promoting 'Happiness' in gerontology interventions.

Age Ageing 2021 01;50(1):62-64

Department of Psychology & University Research Priority Program Dynamics of Healthy Aging Research, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Researchers have called for gerontologists to spend greater attention on promoting happiness in older adulthood, a point aligned with the general public's interest in finding the keys to being happy later in life. However, targeting and even defining happiness comes with several caveats and challenges, leaving researchers to make difficult decisions regarding measurement and intervention strategies. Instead, the current commentary suggests that gerontology interventions may fare better if researchers focus on specific components of positive psychological functioning. We present sense of purpose and life enjoyment as examples of two such components, and note the potential merit in developing these more focussed intervention programmes. As such, the commentary suggests the value of moving beyond targeting happiness when developing intervention programmes for older adult participants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afaa226DOI Listing
January 2021

Sense of purpose predicts daily positive events and attenuates their influence on positive affect.

Emotion 2020 Jun 25. Epub 2020 Jun 25.

Department of Human Development.

Sense of purpose has proven a consistent predictor of positive outcomes during adulthood. However, it remains unclear how purposeful adults respond to positive events in their daily lives. The current study examined whether sense of purpose predicted the frequency of daily positive events, as well as participants' affect on days with a positive event, across 8 days in an adult sample ( = 1959; mean age: 56 years). Sense of purpose predicted a greater frequency of daily positive events. Moreover, sense of purpose moderated the associations between daily positive events and daily positive affect; purposeful adults experienced less of an increase in positive affect both on the current day and the day following the positive event. Findings are discussed with respect to how purpose in life may serve homeostatic functions, insofar that having a life direction reduces responsivity to daily events and promote affect stability. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000776DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7759594PMC
June 2020

Derailment as a risk factor for greater mental health issues following pandemic.

Psychiatry Res 2020 07 13;289:113093. Epub 2020 May 13.

Department of Human Development, Cornell University, United States.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113093DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7219393PMC
July 2020

Purpose by design or disaster: Preserving a sense of purpose amid environmental uncertainty.

J Environ Psychol 2020 Jun 30;69:101436. Epub 2020 Apr 30.

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis, United States.

Psychological research suggests a sense of purpose in life is a coveted asset, with well-established linkages to well-being and healthy functioning. But how do individuals preserve this sense when previously reliable settings - and the opportunities they afford - are profoundly disrupted? The current moment provides a formidable test of this question, as widespread transmission of Covid-19 and intense efforts to slow it drastically transform our environment. Here, we consider how the experience of purpose may be impacted by disruptions in three key person-environment interactions: , , and . We hope to motivate critical thinking about how this pandemic, and our collective responses to it, influence the experience of purpose and delineate a research agenda that may inform how individuals' can preserve a sense of engagement and contribution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2020.101436DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7192066PMC
June 2020

Day-to-day fluctuations in experiences of discrimination: Associations with sleep and the moderating role of internalized racism among African American college students.

Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol 2021 Jan 20;27(1):107-117. Epub 2020 Apr 20.

Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Auburn University.

Objectives: Studies of discrimination and sleep have largely focused on between-person differences in discrimination as a correlate of sleep outcomes. A common criticism of this research is that standard questionnaire measures of discrimination may be confounded by personality and identity and are subject to recall bias. Partially addressing these limitations, the current study examined within-person, day-to-day fluctuations in perceived discrimination as a predictor of day-to-day fluctuations in sleep. The role of internalized racism as a moderator of the within-person association between discrimination and sleep was also considered.

Method: Participants were African American college students attending a predominantly White institution ( = 124, 26% male, = 20.1, = 1.6). Each student was asked to complete a baseline questionnaire and a 9-day diary. Experiences of discrimination were assessed in the questionnaire and daily diary format. Sleep problems were measured each day using self-report measures focusing on sleep quality. Internalized racism was assessed with the miseducation scale, which captures the degree to which individuals associate negative characteristics such as laziness and criminality with their racial/ethnic group. Established measures of racial identity were considered as covariates.

Results: Multilevel analyses indicated that on days when participants experienced more discrimination, subsequent sleep problems increased ( = .037, = .017, = .034). Furthermore, this within-person association was moderated by internalized racism such that the effects of daily discrimination on sleep were stronger among those who scored higher on miseducation ( = .046, = .021, = .033).

Conclusions: Overall, results suggest that ongoing efforts to reduce discrimination, support the adjustment of racial/ethnic minority students, and address internalized racism are warranted. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cdp0000342DOI Listing
January 2021

The unique predictive value of discrete depressive symptoms on derailment.

J Affect Disord 2020 06 1;270:65-68. Epub 2020 Apr 1.

Department of Human Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-4401, United States.

Background: Studies have consistently demonstrated a positive cross-sectional association between depressive symptoms and derailment, or the sense of being "off-course" in life. Still unknown is whether all symptoms of depression similarly relate to derailment. Given that depressive symptoms do not weigh equally in the prediction of other important outcomes, this study aimed to bridge the gap between these novel findings and emerging perspectives focused on the impact of individual depressive symptoms.

Methods: The study was preregistered prior to data collection. The analytic sample contained 1,457 adults (M = 37.46 years, 54.22% female) recruited from Amazon's Mechanical Turk. Participants self-reported on depression using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, and perceived changes in identity and self-direction using the Derailment Scale.

Results: All symptoms of depression shared positive unadjusted associations with derailment. Feelings of failure, fatigue, and sleep problems shared positive unique associations with derailment, and represented the top three contributors to the explained variance in derailment.

Limitations: This study relied on self-report methods, making results vulnerable to bias (e.g., social desirability, errors in memory, interpretation).

Conclusions: As work understanding the association between depressive symptoms and derailment continues to unfold, this study has provided markers for researchers and clinicians by suggesting that those who feel like they have failed, are fatigued, or report sleep problems may be the most likely to feel off-course and disconnected from their past selves. This work helps establish the utility of considering identity within the context of mental health, and future directions stemming from these findings are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.03.097DOI Listing
June 2020

Loneliness and meaning in life are reflected in the intrinsic network architecture of the brain.

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2019 05;14(4):423-433

Montreal Neurological Institute, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada.

Social relationships imbue life with meaning, whereas loneliness diminishes one's sense of meaning in life. Yet the extent of interdependence between these psychological constructs remains poorly understood. We took a multivariate network approach to examine resting-state fMRI functional connectivity's association with loneliness and meaning in a large cohort of adults (N = 942). Loneliness and meaning in life were negatively correlated with one another. In their relationship with individually parcelled whole-brain measures of functional connectivity, a significant and reliable pattern was observed. Greater loneliness was associated with dense, and less modular, connections between default, frontoparietal, attention and perceptual networks. A greater sense of life meaning was associated with increased, and more modular, connectivity between default and limbic networks. Low loneliness was associated with more modular brain connectivity, and lower life meaning was associated with higher between-network connectivity. These findings advance our understanding of loneliness and life meaning as distinct, yet interdependent, features of sociality. The results highlight a potential role of the default network as a central hub, providing a putative neural mechanism for shifting between feelings of isolation and purpose.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsz021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6523421PMC
May 2019

Affective reactivity to daily racial discrimination as a prospective predictor of depressive symptoms in African American graduate and postgraduate students.

Dev Psychopathol 2018 12 12;30(5):1649-1659. Epub 2018 Sep 12.

Cornell University.

This study examined whether individual differences in affective reactivity, defined as changes in positive or negative affect in response to daily racial discrimination, predicted subsequent depressive symptoms. Participants were African American graduate and postgraduate students (N = 174; M age = 30 years) recruited for a measurement-burst study. Data on depressive symptoms were gathered at two assessment points 1 year apart. Affective reactivity data was obtained from participants via a 14-day diary study of daily racial discrimination and affect. Participants who experienced pronounced increases in negative affect on days when racial discrimination occurred had elevated depressive symptoms 1 year later. Heightened positive affect reactivity was also associated with more depressive symptoms at follow-up. The results suggest that affective reactivity (either greater increases in negative affect or greater decreases in positive affect in the context of racial discrimination) may be an underlying psychological mechanism that confers vulnerability to future depressive symptoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0954579418000950DOI Listing
December 2018

The development of purpose in life among adolescents who experience marginalization: Potential opportunities and obstacles.

Am Psychol 2018 09;73(6):740-752

Washington University in St. Louis.

In recent decades there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of research focused on purpose in life, demonstrating a host of benefits that emerge for individuals committed to a purpose. As with other constructs in the positive youth development framework, there is a paucity of work investigating how experiences of marginalization impact the development of this psychological asset among adolescents. To catalyze research on this front, we draw attention to potential opportunities and obstacles associated with experiences of marginalization and how they might affect an adolescent developing a purpose in life. Like García Coll and colleagues' (1996) integrative model, our perspective includes sociocultural factors (e.g., social position, adaptive culture), an emphasis on intragroup variability, and discussion of potentially promoting and inhibiting aspects of marginalization. Following a description of existing research on purpose development during adolescence, we discuss how experiences of marginalization could contour the development of self-integrative, strong, and articulated purpose among adolescents. To conclude, specific considerations for future research are outlined, including how existing definitions of and tools for measuring purpose can be adapted to produce a scientific literature that values and includes the normative purpose development of adolescents who experience marginalization. (PsycINFO Database Record
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/amp0000249DOI Listing
September 2018

Derailment: Conceptualization, measurement, and adjustment correlates of perceived change in self and direction.

J Pers Soc Psychol 2020 Mar 6;118(3):584-601. Epub 2018 Aug 6.

Department of Human Development and Family Studies.

Developmental perspectives on self and identity view a sense of personal sameness and continuity as critical for positive adjustment. Thus, the degree to which individuals perceive change over time in self and direction constitutes an important individual difference. Here, we offer an empirically sound instrument for assessing the extent to which people feel temporally discrepant and off course-a sense we term First, we develop and empirically validate a self-report measure that is sensitive to our conceptualization of derailment (Studies 1-3). Employing the new measure with adult samples, Study 3 demonstrates its predictive ability above and beyond other widely used measures of subjective change and identity distress. Study 4 shows the negative effects of derailment persist independent of whether individuals perceive changing for the better or worse, or actually experience status-changing life events. Study 5 demonstrates the prospective utility of this measure by predicting depressive symptoms 18 months later. Finally, levels of derailment are shown to be reduced by a daily writing experiment that emphasizes goal continuity (Study 6). The discussion situates derailment at the intersection of developmental, clinical, and social psychological literatures as a unique and measurable source of psychological vulnerability, and strategies for attenuating its potentially deleterious impact are suggested. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000209DOI Listing
March 2020

Sense of Purpose Moderates the Associations Between Daily Stressors and Daily Well-being.

Ann Behav Med 2018 07;52(8):724-729

Center for Healthy Aging, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA.

Background: Having a sense of purpose in life has been consistently demonstrated as a predictor of positive health outcomes, including less perceived stress, yet, little is known about the role of sense of purpose on stressful days.

Purpose: The current study investigated the sense of purpose as a moderator of stressor-related changes in daily physical symptoms, positive affect, and negative affect.

Methods: A subset of the Midlife in the United States study (n = 1949, mage: 56.4 years) reported their sense of purpose, along with up to eight daily assessments of stressors, affect, and physical symptoms. Multilevel models evaluated whether sense of purpose was associated with deviations in affect or physical symptom reporting on days when participants reported a stressor versus days when stressors did not occur.

Results: Sense of purpose was associated with higher daily positive affect, lower daily negative affect, and fewer daily physical symptoms. Compared with individuals who reported lower levels of purpose, those reporting higher levels encountered the same number of daily stressors, yet showed less of an increase in negative affect and physical symptoms on stressor days than on stressor-free days. Purpose did not predict changes in positive affect in response to daily stressors.

Conclusions: Findings provide evidence that a purposeful life may be characterized by lower negative affect and physical symptom reporting on stressful days.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/abm/kax039DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6052784PMC
July 2018

Development and validation of the Dietarian Identity Questionnaire: Assessing self-perceptions of animal-product consumption.

Appetite 2018 08 7;127:182-194. Epub 2018 May 7.

Cornell University, United States.

In navigating decisions about what to eat, people both construct and rely on a food-choice identity. Yet food choice is multifaceted, as people apply different dietary schemas to different types of food, engaging various domains of food-choice identity. In this paper, we focus on dietarian identity: one's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with respect to consuming or eschewing animal products (here, pertaining to red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy). First, we draw upon Rosenfeld and Burrow's (2017a) Unified Model of Vegetarian Identity in order to develop a Dietarian Identity Questionnaire (DIQ). Second, we validate the DIQ's factor structure, construct validity, internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and replicability. Lastly, we highlight directions for the use of the DIQ in future research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2018.05.003DOI Listing
August 2018

Perspectives of future health in self and others: The moderating role of culture.

J Health Psychol 2020 04 20;25(5):703-712. Epub 2017 Sep 20.

Cornell University, USA.

People tend to perceive themselves more favourably than others, but the degree to which individuals exhibit this bias may be influenced by cultural upbringing. Korean ( = 271) and American ( = 503) participants were asked to evaluate current and future health expectations for themselves and others. Results showed that American participants rated their own future health more positively than others' future health, whereas Korean participants rated their own and others' future health similarly. Given its role in patient health behaviour, implications for creating context-sensitive interventions for future health expectations are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1359105317730897DOI Listing
April 2020

Vegetarian on purpose: Understanding the motivations of plant-based dieters.

Appetite 2017 09 25;116:456-463. Epub 2017 May 25.

Department of Human Development, Cornell University, United States.

Much recent research has explored vegetarians' dietary motivations, recurrently highlighting the significant influence they exert on how people view themselves and others. For vegetarians and other plant-based dieters, dietary motivations have been theorized to be a central aspect of identity. Yet not all plant-based dieters are motivated to follow their diets; rather, some face aversions and constraints. In this paper, we propose that motivations, aversions, and constraints constitute three distinct reasons for consuming a plant-based diet. After conceptually distinguishing motivations from aversions and constraints, we critically evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of two conceptual frameworks that exist for studying these motivations systematically: the ethical-health framework and the Unified Model of Vegetarian Identity (UMVI) motivational orientations framework. Importantly, these frameworks serve different purposes, and their suitability often depends on the research question at hand. Particularly given an increasing prevalence of plant-based dieting, cultivating a more holistic understanding of these two frameworks is necessary for advancing this discipline. Directions for future research are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2017.05.039DOI Listing
September 2017

The Value of a Purposeful Life: Sense of Purpose Predicts Greater Income and Net Worth.

J Res Pers 2016 12 4;65:38-42. Epub 2016 Sep 4.

Department of Human Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA.

Having a sense of purpose in life appears valuable across life domains, though it remains unclear whether purpose also provides financial value to individuals. The current study examined sense of purpose as a predictor of concurrent and longitudinal income and net worth levels, using two waves of the MIDUS sample of adults (N = 4660 across both assessments). Participants who reported a higher sense of purpose had higher levels of household income and net worth initially, and were more likely to increase on these financial outcomes over the nine years between assessments. Interaction tests suggested some evidence of age moderation, but gender did not appear to moderate the influence of purpose on economic outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2016.07.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5408461PMC
December 2016

The unified model of vegetarian identity: A conceptual framework for understanding plant-based food choices.

Appetite 2017 05 18;112:78-95. Epub 2017 Jan 18.

Department of Human Development, Cornell University, United States.

By departing from social norms regarding food behaviors, vegetarians acquire membership in a distinct social group and can develop a salient vegetarian identity. However, vegetarian identities are diverse, multidimensional, and unique to each individual. Much research has identified fundamental psychological aspects of vegetarianism, and an identity framework that unifies these findings into common constructs and conceptually defines variables is needed. Integrating psychological theories of identity with research on food choices and vegetarianism, this paper proposes a conceptual model for studying vegetarianism: The Unified Model of Vegetarian Identity (UMVI). The UMVI encompasses ten dimensions-organized into three levels (contextual, internalized, and externalized)-that capture the role of vegetarianism in an individual's self-concept. Contextual dimensions situate vegetarianism within contexts; internalized dimensions outline self-evaluations; and externalized dimensions describe enactments of identity through behavior. Together, these dimensions form a coherent vegetarian identity, characterizing one's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors regarding being vegetarian. By unifying dimensions that capture psychological constructs universally, the UMVI can prevent discrepancies in operationalization, capture the inherent diversity of vegetarian identities, and enable future research to generate greater insight into how people understand themselves and their food choices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2017.01.017DOI Listing
May 2017

Microaggressions and Daily Experience.

Perspect Psychol Sci 2017 01;12(1):173-175

1 Department of Human Development, Cornell University.

Psychologists use the term microaggressions to describe subtle forms of bias and discrimination experienced by members of marginalized groups. Lilienfeld (2017, this issue) makes an important contribution to the literature by presenting a critical review of the meaning and measurement of microaggression experiences. In this commentary, we argue that advancing the construct of microaggressions rests on research approaches that move beyond static representations of individuals to dynamic frameworks that observe people's lives as they unfold day to day. We discuss the conceptual potential of microaggressions as a bridging concept across multiple levels of analysis. We conclude that the intensive study of individuals over time can contribute to theory evaluation and offer new insights into the nature of unfolding processes that are theorized to be central to the manifestation of microaggressions in everyday life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1745691616664505DOI Listing
January 2017

The effects of exposure to objective coherence on perceived meaning in life: a preregistered direct replication of Heintzelman, Trent & King (2013).

R Soc Open Sci 2016 Nov 23;3(11):160431. Epub 2016 Nov 23.

Department of Human Development , Cornell University , G06 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853-4401 , USA.

Having a sense of meaning in life (MIL) has been acknowledged as a catalyst to psychological flourishing. As such, understanding ways to promote MIL represents a worthy goal for those interested in bolstering positive outcomes. This study sought to replicate the findings of Heintzelman, Trent & King (2013 , 991-998 (doi:10.1177/0956797612465878)), who found that MIL could be influenced by external stimulation. Their findings suggest that exposure to coherent stimuli produces significantly higher MIL scores than exposure to incoherent stimuli. Using materials and methodology provided by the corresponding author of the original paper, this study attempted to directly test this manipulation under conditions with increased statistical power. All tests, however, failed to replicate. Possible explanations for these discrepant findings are discussed, and potential future directions for this area of the literature are proposed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.160431DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5180121PMC
November 2016

Waiting with purpose: A reliable but small association between purpose in life and impulsivity.

Pers Individ Dif 2016 02;90:187-189

Department of Human Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14853.

Purpose in life contributes to health and wellbeing. We examine the link between purpose and behavioral impulsivity that may account for these benefits. In a community sample of 503 adults, we found a small yet reliable positive association between purpose and valuing future rewards on a delayed discounting task, a behavioral index of impulsivity. This bootstrapped correlation remained after accounting for Big-5 personality traits, positive affect, and demographic characteristics, suggesting a unique and robust link between purpose and impulsivity ( = .1). We interpret this connection as evidence that purpose enables a broader life view, which serves to inhibit impulsive distractions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2015.11.010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4668943PMC
February 2016

Leveling Mountains: Purpose Attenuates Links Between Perceptions of Effort and Steepness.

Pers Soc Psychol Bull 2016 Jan 12;42(1):94-103. Epub 2015 Nov 12.

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA.

People tend to overestimate the steepness of slopes, especially when they appraise the effort necessary to ascend them as greater. Recent studies, however, suggest the way individuals perceive visual stimuli may rely heavily on their personal motivations. In four studies (N = 517), purpose in life was tested as a motivational framework influencing how appraised effort relates to slope perception. Studies 1 and 2 found the amount of effort participants appraised necessary to ascend several virtual slopes was related to greater overestimation of their steepness. Yet, this relationship was attenuated by purpose assessed both as a disposition and experimental manipulation. Studies 3 and 4 replicated these findings using actual hills, again showing links between the amount of effort thought required to ascend them and their perceived angle were diminished by greater purpose. The discussion addresses implications of purpose as a broad motivational framework that shapes how individuals see their environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0146167215615404DOI Listing
January 2016

Life is pretty meaningful and/or purposeful?: On conflations, contexts, and consequences.

Am Psychol 2015 Sep;70(6):574-5

Carleton University.

Comments on the original article "Life is pretty meaningful," by S. J. Heintzelman and L. A. King (see record 2014-03265-001). Heintzelman and King condense descriptive data from numerous studies to conclude that individuals tend to see life as meaningful, because average scores on the meaning and purpose in life assessments fall above the midpoint. However, in so doing, they make two contentious assumptions. The first is the expectation that scale midpoints actually reflect an average score on that construct. However, one should not interpret this metric to suggest that people generally live meaningful lives without great caution and consideration of the second assumption: the conflation of purpose and meaning in life. In response, the current authors address this second assumption and the need to develop better questions and measures for both meaning and purpose.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0039063DOI Listing
September 2015

Purpose in life as a resource for increasing comfort with ethnic diversity.

Pers Soc Psychol Bull 2014 Nov 22;40(11):1507-16. Epub 2014 Sep 22.

Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Emerging demographic trends signal that White Americans will soon relinquish their majority status. As Whites' acclimation to an increasingly diverse society is poised to figure prominently in their adjustment, identifying sources of greater comfort with diversity is important. Three studies (N = 519) revealed evidence that purpose in life bolsters comfort with ethnic diversity among White adults. Specifically, dispositional purpose was positively related to diversity attitudes and attenuated feelings of threat resulting from viewing demographic projections of greater diversity. In addition, when primed experimentally, purpose attenuated participants' preferences for living in an ethnically homogeneous-White city, relative to a more diverse city when shown maps displaying ethno-demographic information. These effects persisted after controlling for positive affect and perceived connections to ethnic out-groups, suggesting the robust influence of purpose. Potential benefits of situating purpose as a unique resource for navigating an increasingly diverse society are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0146167214549540DOI Listing
November 2014

Derailed by diversity? Purpose buffers the relationship between ethnic composition on trains and passenger negative mood.

Pers Soc Psychol Bull 2013 Dec 27;39(12):1610-9. Epub 2013 Aug 27.

1Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA.

Many individuals feel socially isolated and distressed in ethnically diverse settings. Purpose in life may buffer this form of distress by fostering one's sense of having a meaningful direction, which may also be of significance to others. In two experience-sampling studies with ethnically diverse participants, we examined associations between the ethnic composition of urban trains and passenger distress, and tested purpose as a moderator of these relationships. Study 1 showed that participants of all ethnic backgrounds reported greater negative mood when the percentage of ethnic out-group members aboard their train increased. However, individual differences in purpose significantly attenuated this effect. Study 2 replicated and extended these findings experimentally by showing that relative to a control condition, briefly writing about purpose prior to boarding trains also diminished the impact of ethnic composition on negative mood. The discussion addresses strategies for promoting positive adjustment in our increasingly diverse society.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0146167213499377DOI Listing
December 2013

Racial microaggressions and daily well-being among Asian Americans.

J Couns Psychol 2013 Apr 18;60(2):188-99. Epub 2013 Feb 18.

Department of Human Development and Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, Cornell University.

Although epidemiological studies and community surveys of Asian Americans have found that lifetime occurrences of racial discrimination are associated with increased risk for psychological morbidity, little is known about how exposure to racial discrimination is patterned in everyday life. Extrapolating from previous qualitative research (Sue, Bucceri, Lin, Nadal, & Torino, 2007), this study presents data on the prevalence and psychological correlates of everyday racial microaggressions that reflect the Asian American experience. Measures of positive affect, negative affect, somatic symptoms, and racial microaggressions were completed by 152 Asian Americans each day for up to 14 consecutive days. Approximately 78% of participants reported some form of racial microaggression within the 2-week study period. Multilevel analyses indicated that elevations in daily microaggressions, as well as greater microaggressions on average, predicted increases in somatic symptoms and negative affect. Implications of these findings for racial microaggression research and clinical practice are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0031736DOI Listing
April 2013

Flying the unfriendly skies? The role of forgiveness and race in the experience of racial microaggressions.

J Soc Psychol 2012 Sep-Oct;152(5):639-53

Cornell University, College of Human Ecology, Department of Human Development, G60D MVR, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.

Because even subtle forms of racial discrimination can damage well-being, identifying individual differences that shape this stress process is important. Dispositional forgiveness has been shown to influence how people perceive and react to interpersonal transgressions, yet its role in the context of racial discrimination has not received much research attention. In the current study, participants completed an initial measure of dispositional forgiveness and then considered a scenario that could be deemed racially discriminatory. Next, participants' perceptions of the scenario, negative affect, and cognitive performance were assessed. Dispositional forgiveness predicted all three outcomes such that more forgiving individuals were less likely to view the event as racially discriminatory and showed lower negative affect and greater cognitive performance after reading the scenario. Moreover, race moderated these relationships such that forgiveness played a more beneficial role for ethnic minorities than for whites.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00224545.2012.686461DOI Listing
October 2012