Deborah Harris O'Brien, eastern region vice president of the Eastern Psychological Association, hands Erin Nolan her award.
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Research about the influence of maternal depression on a child’s self-esteem earned a psychology student and her faculty mentor an Eastern Regional Research Award for 2016-17, given by Psi Chi, the national honor society for psychology.
Erin Nolan '17, a senior psychology major from Asheville, N.C., and Sue Kelley, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Lycoming College, collaborated to determine that symptoms of maternal depression are related to intrusive parenting. They found that the level of invasive or pushy parenting affects different aspects of children’s self-esteem as they grow.
Nolan presented the research, “Maternal depression and child presented self-esteem,” as a poster presentation at the Eastern Psychological Association’s annual meeting in Boston, Mass. Four other Lycoming College students also presented their research.
“Many people have experienced depression personally or know someone who has, and current literature does not provide a lot of hope for children living with depressed caregivers,” said Nolan. “My research reveals that invasive parenting is just as important to treat as depression and doing so should result in better outcomes for children.
“My research also helped me realize that despite the amount of psychological literature, we always have more to learn and additional research continues to contribute to our understanding of the human psyche,” she said.
Nolan and Kelley’s research was selected from among a record number of applicants and will be published on the web or in a newsletter published by Psi Chi.
“Because research is the foundation of psychology, undergraduate students who engage in the process develop a better understanding of the field,” said Kelley. “Experiencing research first-hand prepares students for graduate study and enables them to think critically about information that is provided in respected research literature and the mainstream media.”
Nolan plans to pursue a master’s in social work at Marywood University after graduation.
Other Lycoming College students who presented include Emily Weaver, “Sexual Narcissism and Sexual Motives in Dating Couples”; Maelle Souchet, who worked on her poster, “Effects of Perceived Difficulty and Self-Efficacy on Performance,” with Izem El Mourabit; Krysta Corliss, “Effectiveness of Family Based Eating Disorder Treatment in a Private Practice Setting”; and Erika Stevens, “The Effects of Rumination on Psychosomatic Symptoms in College Students.”