In This Issue

Notable presentation abstracts from the 2012 APA Convention

Korean-born adoptees, memory recall of emotional words, parental stress in a NICU and narcissistic personality

Displacement and belonging for Korean-born adoptees: The personal journey of discovery and the decision to return to South Korea

Jason D. Reynolds and Christina Lecker, Fordham University

The diaspora of Korean-born adoptees raised in the U.S. has led to a range of quantitative and qualitative research into the experiences of ibyangin (adult adoptees) including acculturation, racial/ethnic identity development, self-esteem, belongingness, and overall psychological well-being. Since the passing of the Overseas Korean Act in 1999 and the Nationality Law of 2010, the accessibility of visas and social programs have given adoptees the opportunity to return to South Korea introducing returning to the birth country as an important factor in the lives of Korean adoptees.

Using a qualitative phenomenological design as the theoretical foundation for our use of an interpretivist-constructivist paradigm, we conducted one-two hour semi-structured interviews with seven participants. The researchers’ exploratory process was focused on gaining knowledge and insight into the erlebnis of each participant. One of the two primary investigators was a participant in the study. His experiences guided the cultural sensitivity and design of the interview procedures. The investigators explored with participants their retrospective experiences with ethnic/racial identity development, and the motivations and outcomes of their decision to return or not return to Korea in order to gain a better understanding of the clinical/practical implications of ethnic/racial identity development and the impact it can have on life meaning, goals and expectations.

Initial findings revealed embedded themes of identity and protecting adoptive parents. The investigators hope to apply their findings in developing psychological and educational interventions and to inform future grounded theory research on identity development models designed to target the unique ontology of Korean adoptees. 

The effect of varied stress levels on memory recall of emotional words

Annie Sheerin, University of New Haven

Stress has widely been shown to have an effect on memory. To date, the research is not conclusive as to whether this effect has a positive or negative influence on memory. The current study explores how increasing amounts of stress caused by psychosocial methods affect memory recall. It was hypothesized that memory recall for words would significantly decrease with higher levels of stress. It was also hypothesized that emotional words would be recalled less than neutral words. The participants were separated into three conditions: no stress, low stress, and high stress. The study consisted of three phases: learning, stress, and recall. The participants were all first shown a list of 64 words. Following the learning phase the stress conditions were administered a stressor using an adjusted Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) (Kirschbaum, Pirke, & Hellhammer, 1993). The TSST is a psychological stress test that requires participants to give an impromptu speech and to complete mental arithmetic. At the conclusion of the stress phase all groups were given a written recall test for the words they were previously shown. The results indicated that the participants recalled more neutral words than positive or negative words. There were no significant differences between the stress conditions with regard to the number of words recalled. The results of this study were minimal; however, there are implications from this study that support previous research. Further research on this theory combined with larger sample sizes could help to concretely understand the relationship between stress and memory.   


Kirschbaum, C., Pirke, K.-M., & Hellhammer, D. H. (1993). The Trier Social Stress Test- A tool for investigating psychobiological stress responses in a laboratory setting. Journal of Neuropsychobiology, 28, 76-81

The mediating effects of narcissistic personality and proactive relational aggression in adolescents

Chiu-O Cheng & Tzu-Wei Fang, Institute of Education, National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan

This study is aimed to investigate why some people tend to attack their friends offensively. We explore the relations of narcissistic personality, proactive relational aggression, hostility attribution, and anger and sadness to explain the current status of relational aggression in adolescents. In consequence, we found that both hostility attribution and anger show partial mediating effects between personality and proactive relational aggression.

According to a study by Campbell (1999), those with a high narcissism tendency seek power by dominating or exploiting others. In this observation, we clarify previous research which states that proactive aggression relates to narcissism (Seah & Ang, 2008), and simultaneously support that relational aggression correlates with narcissistic personality (Golmaryami & Barry, 2010).

From previous studies, we know the relationship among narcissistic personality, expression of anger, and hostility in young adults (Papps & O’Carroll, 1998; Raskin, Novacek, & Hogan, 1991; Rhodewalt & Morf, 1995). In ambiguous relation conditions, a person with a highly narcissistic personality tend to use negative reaction as a response; for instance, a person with a high, hostile attribution tends to attack with emotion when responding to social information processing. This research provides evidence of personality, cognition, and affect in proactive relational aggression in adolescents. Teachers, parents, and counselors can pay attention to adolescents’ psychosocial development and try to help students who tend to use hostile attribution to think positively and realistically.

We can also train adolescents about emotion regulation and anger regulation (i.e., teach them how to interdict angry emotions, like distracting attention). Besides this, a school can build an agreeable, helpful, and empathic school atmosphere.


Campbell, W. K. (1999). Narcissism and romantic attraction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77(6), 1254-1270.

Golmaryami, F. N., & Barry, C. T. (2010). The associations of self-reported and peer-reported relational aggression with narcissism and self-esteem among adolescents in a residential setting. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 39, 128–133.

Papps, B. P., & O Carroll, R. E. (1998). Extremes of self-esteem and narcissism and the experience and expression of anger and aggression. Aggressive Behavior, 24, 421–438.

Raskin, R., Novacek, J., & Hogan, R. (1991). Narcissism, self-esteem, and defensive self- enhancement. Journal of Personality, 59, 16-38.

Rhodewalt, F., & Morf, C. C. (1998). On self-aggrandizement and anger: A temporal analysis of narcissism and affective reactions to success and failure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 672–685.

Seah, S.L., & Ang, R.P. (2008). Differential correlates of reactive and proactive aggression in Asian adolescents: relations to narcissism, anxiety, schizotypal traits, and peer relations. Aggressive Behavior, 34(5), 553-562.

Addressing parental stress in a neonatal intensive care unit

Alexa Bonacquisti, MS, Drexel University, Department of Psychology
Pamela A. Geller, PhD, Drexel University, Department of Psychology and Drexel University College of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Chavis A. Patterson, PhD, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Division of Neonatology

Approximately 10-15 percent of infants born each year in the United States are treated in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU; March of Dimes, 2009), and often the experience of parenting an infant in the NICU is particularly distressing. While managing their child's medical conditions, parents must also develop their parental identities and cope with their own feelings of sadness, anger, fear, helplessness and grief (Davis & Stein, 2004). An understanding of factors that contribute to parental stress and adverse psychological consequences, such as depression and anxiety, is warranted. In addition, the provision of support for parents is critical, yet how to best help parents understand their role and cope with the associated physical, psychological and social demands remains understudied (Cleveland, 2008). This poster highlighted the current literature on the stress of parenting in the NICU, with a focus on the psychological and psychosocial consequences. The poster also included information on the development and pilot testing of a program being implemented in the Harriet and Ronald Lassin Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit (N/IICU) at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia entitled "N/IICU Survival Guide.” This program represents a multidisciplinary collaboration, encompassing pediatric, health, and clinical psychology, with applications for public health and medical education and training. The group-based "N/IICU Survival Guide" program aims to help parents better manage their experience in the N/IICU through the provision of information, psycho-education, coping strategies and resources. This poster highlighted the development and implementation of the program in the N/IICU.


Cleveland, L.M. (2008). Parenting in the neonatal intensive care unit. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing, 37, 666-691.

Davis, D.L. & Stein, M.T. (2004). Parenting your premature baby and child: The emotional journey. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing.

March of Dimes (2009). In the NICU. Retrieved from