Los Angeles County Psychological Association (LACPA) invites poster proposals from its student and early career members (within seven years of receipt of doctorate). Proposals on any research or theoretical topic related to the field of psychology are considered.

All three of the 2013 LACPA Convention Poster Award Winners are from the CSPP Clinical Psychology PhD and PsyD programs in Los Angeles.

First Place:
Wanyu Chang, PsyD
Relationships Between Sensory Processing and Theory of Mind in Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders

Deficits in sensory processing and impairment in Theory of Mind (ToM) are two commonly observed symptoms among children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDDs). Mindreading is a 4-step mechanism that involves the ability to process sensory information (Baron-Cohen, 1995), and this capability is a critical step that allows humans to process another’s intention, feelings, and emotions (i.e., the ability of Theory of Mind). The current study explored the potential relationship between impairment in sensory processing and deficit in Theory of Mind in 20 males aged 3 to 15 years 11 months who were diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Results of this study showed that 80% of the participants had definite sensory deficits, 10% met criteria for probable difference in sensory deficits, but only 10% demonstrated typical performance sensory as assessed by the Short Sensory Profile. With regard to impairment in Theory of Mind, 80% of the participants experienced impairment as assessed by the Childhood Asperger’s Syndrome Test. Furthermore, there was a significant relationship between a child’s overall struggles with sensory deficits and impairment in Theory of Mind. A significant correlation was found between tactile deficits and impairment in Theory of Mind as well as under-responsive sensory deficits and impairment in Theory of Mind.

Second Place:
Lauren Moses, MA and Sarah McVay, MA
Reducing Discrimination Toward Transgender Individuals: The Need for Psychoeducation in Medical Schools

Discrimination against the transgender community is pervasive and many transgender individuals experience discrimination in medical settings. In one study, 19% of transgender respondents reported that they were refused medical care and 28% of respondents postponed medical care due to prior physician discrimination (Grant et al., 2011). Although education on transgender issues appears to be lacking in medical schools (Xavier et al., 2004), brief interventions have been effective in increasing medical providers’ knowledge of transgender issues, including psychosocial and medical needs. This poster highlights the need for education on transgender issues in medical schools and provides recommendations for specific psychoeducational interventions.

Third Place:
Rachael Holloway, MA
The Neuropsychology of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury in Veterans

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) affect significant numbers of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. These disorders frequently co-occur, leading to overlapping symptoms. Persistent Postconcussive Symptoms (PCSs) are often considered to be neuropsychological symptoms of mild TBI, but recent research suggests that they may be more closely correlated with PTSD than with mild TBI. The correlation between PTSD and these neuropsychological outcomes highlights the importance of considering the neuropsychology of trauma itself, rather than just traumatic injury. Beginning to consider this will prompt clinicians to screen for neuropsychological symptoms whenever PTSD is present, leading to more thorough care.

Honorable Mention:
Marlene M. Gonzalez
Stress, Coping, and Wellness Among Women of Color in Graduate Studies

With the demands and pressures of graduate school, it is important to examine the factors that contribute to the well-being of ethnically diverse women in higher education. The current poster will include a literature review of the perceived stressors and coping strategies that affect the well-being of women of color in graduate programs. This review will focus on the use of mentorship and spirituality as tools to enhance the graduate school experience. Based on this review, recommendations regarding the ways in which women of color can maximize their well-being, while in graduate school, will be presented.