Miriam Liss is a clinical psychologist who best known for her work on parenting and gender issues. An internationally known expert, Dr. Liss has been interviewed by the Washington Post, MSNBC.com, and Live Science. She is the co-author of an award-winning textbook “Psychology of Women and Gender” published by Norton Press. She is also the co-author of "Balancing the Big Stuff: Finding Happiness in Work, Family and Life," published by Rowman and Littlefield press.
Dr. Liss has published in a wide variety of areas including autism and developmental disorders, sensory processing, self-injury, feminist self-identification, body objectification, intensive and helicopter parenting, work-family balance, social media, and mindfulness. She is the author of over 50 peer reviewed articles and has over 75 regional and national conference presentation.
Dr. Liss’ honors include election into Phi Beta Kappa and Psi Chi, where she was selected as the Regional Faculty Advisor Winner and supervised the chapter winning the National Chapter Award in 2006. She received the UMW Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award in 2005 and won the SCHEV Outstanding Faculty award in 2014. She also has been named one of Princeton Review’s Best 300 Professors. Her articles have been published in numerous journals including the Sex Roles, Psychology of Women Quarterly, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Journal of Personality and Individual Differences, Personality and Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines. Many of Dr. Liss’ publications and presentations are with UMW student co-authors, and she enjoys mentoring students to do research that is of publishable quality.
Areas of Expertise (5)
2015 Outstanding Faculty Award (professional)
Miriam Liss, professor of psychology at the University of Mary Washington, has received a “2015 Outstanding Faculty Award” from the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia. Liss joined the UMW faculty in 2001 and is a clinical psychologist. Recently, Liss released a book with fellow UMW psychology professor Holly Schiffrin called “Balancing the Big Stuff: Finding Happiness in Work, Family and Life.”...
Best 300 Professors (professional)
Named to list of top 300 professors by Princeton Review.
Outstanding Young Faculty Member (professional)
Awarded by the University of Mary Washington.
University of Connecticut: Ph.D., Psychology 2001
University of Connecticut: M.A., Psychology 1998
Wesleyan University: B.A. (Honors), Psychology 2005
Media Appearances (13)
The happiest (and unhappiest) states in America may surprise you
Vox News online
"Increasing wealth does not increase a person's happiness, but experiencing poverty certainly makes you unhappy," says Miriam Liss, a professor of psychology at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Are you anxious, introverted or just a ‘highly sensitive person’
USA News Hub online
One study from the University of Mary Washington in the US examined people’s relationships with their parents and their current mental health.
Why 'quirky' people are attractive
As psychologist Miriam Liss of the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and her co-authors found, to look honest and competent in a career setting, or even electable as a politician, a woman must dress conservatively and not sexily.
Selfies and Mental Health
The practice of taking your own picture, then posting it to the Internet is a big part of youth culture, but psychologists at the University of Mary Washington say selfies may be a sign of trouble for young women. Which is why psychology professor Miriam Liss chose to take a closer look. She and her colleague Mindy Erchull studied 165 female students at their school – the University of Mary Washington.
Why Is Social Media So Addictive?
Social media is so addictive because it plays on one of the most fundamental aspects of what it means to be human—our need for social connection with others.
Is Santa real? Here's advice on how to handle a difficult question when kids ask
Naples Daily News; Wisconsin State Farmer online
Miriam Liss, professor of psychological science at the University of Mary Washington and mother of a 12-year-old believer, said a parent can usually tell when a child is ready when they start asking these questions:
How Instagram Became Divisive for Female Fly-Fishers
“It’s hard for women to negotiate hypermasculine environments,” says Miriam Liss, a psychology professor at the University of Mary Washington. “You become a token. All your activities are highly scrutinized, and if you mess up, it’s seen as if all women are incapable of fly-fishing.”
Experts Suggest That The Phenomenon Of Intensive Parenting May Be An Intensive Mistake
Baby Gaga online
Researcher, Miriam Liss, a psychologist at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia explains, "There's something very appealing about these intensive parenting ideologies," "[These attitudes] seem like they are how we should be feeling toward our children. But they may be more problematic than we think."
UMW theater students teach stage skills to school-aged children
The Free Lance-Star print
This is the first year of a partnership between UMW and the downtown organization, and it represents a new emphasis on community engagement for the university, said Miriam Liss, a UMW pyschology professor and Stage Door board member who conceived of the workshop series.
Balancing the Big Stuff with Drs. Miriam Liss and Holly Schiffrin
In this interview, psychology professors and authors Drs. Miriam Liss and Holly Schiffrin talk with us about their book, Balancing the Big Stuff: Finding Happiness in Work, Family, and Life.
For a Happy Life, Love Your Spouse More Than Your Kids, Says One Marriage Counselor
Miriam Liss, a psychologist at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia, wrote a study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies on “intensive parenting” and found that “women who believed that parenting should be child-centered had reduced life satisfaction
What Parents Can Learn From a Town That Produced 11 Olympians
New York Times online
They intuitively sense what a 2013 study in the Journal of Child and Family Studies concluded: that overprotective or helicopter parents thwart a child’s basic psychological need for autonomy and competence, resulting in an uptick in depression and lower life-satisfaction levels.
Top 10 Best and Worst States for Happiness
However, key economic factors will always play a part, according to Miriam Liss, a professor of psychology at the University of Mary Washington. "It is important to live where you can afford housing without being financially stressed and where you can build some sort of community and develop strong friendship networks," Liss said in WalletHub's report. "Research suggests that other variables such as weather are considerably less important than most people think."
Mindfulness as a mediator and moderator in the relationship between adverse childhood experiences and depressionCurrent Psychology
2021 Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been associated with a variety of negative physical and psychological health outcomes. The mechanisms by which this occurs and potential protective factors present in this relationship are understudied. Mindfulness is a cognitive resource that may protect individuals against symptoms of psychological distress. It has five core facets and encourages a nonjudgmental acceptance of the present moment. The purpose of this study was to explore the role of mindfulness in the relationship between ACEs and depression, both as a mediator and as a moderator, or protective factor. We hypothesized that the aware, describe, and non-judgement facets of mindfulness would be key factors in both sets of analyses. Participants at a university (N = 279) were given the Five Factor Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), the Adverse Childhood Experiences Scale (ACES), and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-8) to measure depression. Results indicated that the describe CI [.02, .11], aware CI [.05, .17], and non-judgement CI [.06, .18] facets of mindfulness significantly mediated the relationship between ACEs and depression. Additionally, the aware facet of mindfulness was also a significant moderator in this relationship, [t (interaction) = −3.22, p
Effects of a Meditation and Contemplative Practice Course on College Students’ Mindfulness, Self-Compassion, and Mental HealthThe Journal of Contemplative Inquiry
2020 Objectives: Mindfulness-based practices have been shown to be effective in reducing depression and anxiety among college students. Less is known about whether coursework incorporating contemplative practices has similar beneficial effects. This study sought to investigate the benefits of a course focusing on contemplative practices that included mindfulness-based practice inside and outside the classroom. Methods: In Study 1, 42 students enrolled in Meditation and Contemplative Practice, a course taught through the Department of Classics, Philosophy, and Religion, completed measures of mindfulness, self-compassion, depression, and anxiety at the beginning and end of the semester. In Study 2, 43 students in this course, and 65 students in an Introduction to World Religions course completed the same measures at the beginning and end of the semester. In Study 3, 15 students enrolled in the contemplative practices course completed a pre-test, a post-test, and a follow-up assessment six weeks later. Results: Across all three studies mindfulness and self-compassion rose over the course of the semester. In Study 1, anxiety significantly decreased. In Study 2, those in the religious studies course did not experience increased mindfulness or self-compassion over the course of the semester. Furthermore, there were significant interactions indicating that the religion students increased in depression and anxiety over the course of the semester while those in the contemplative practices class decreased. Study 3 indicated that the gains made during the semester continued after the course was over. Conclusions: Results indicate that coursework on contemplative practices is beneficial to the mental health of college students.
Psychological inflexibility moderates the relationship between thin-ideal internalization and disordered eatingEating Behaviors
2020 Internalizing ideals of thinness has been related to disordered eating. Thus, it is important to identify potential protective factors that may allow someone to internalize this belief without developing an eating disorder. In this study, we explored psychological flexibility and inflexibility as potential moderators of the relationship between thin-ideal internalization and disordered eating. College women (N = 201) completed the Multidimensional Psychological Flexibility Inventory, the thin-ideal internalization subscale of the Sociocultural Attitudes Towards Appearance Questionnaire, and the Eating Attitudes Test. Psychological inflexibility, but not psychological flexibility, was found to be a significant moderator of the relationship between thin-ideal internalization and disordered eating. Further analyses found that the specific subscales which moderated this relationship were Fusion, Lack of Present Moment Awareness, Lack of Values, and Inaction. Contrary to our hypothesis, disordered eating was positively related to Acceptance. The results suggest that being psychologically inflexible is particularly problematic in the context of thin-ideal internalization. Additionally, increasing acceptance may not be effective if the accepted thoughts are about the importance of thinness.
Picture Perfect: The Relationship between Selfie Behaviors, Self-Objectification, and Depressive SymptomsSex Roles
2019 Social media use has been linked to depression, although there is evidence that how one uses social media matters. Self-objectification may influence social media-related behaviors, such as taking many pictures before posting and using photo editing. These may be related to negative outcomes, perhaps because they contribute to feeling disingenuous online. These relationships were explored in the context of selfie posting on Instagram among a sample of young U.S. women who completed self-report measures. Mediation analyses were used to determine whether self-objectification, operationalized as body surveillance, predicted depressive symptoms serially mediated by either (a) taking multiple pictures before posting or (b) photo-manipulation as well as through feeling disingenuous online. In the first model, body surveillance predicted taking multiple selfies before posting which, in turn, related to feelings of depression. Taking multiple selfies before posting was not related to feelings of deception. In the second model, there was a significant four-variable indirect effect wherein self-objectification predicted depression through photo manipulation and feelings of disingenuousness online. The present study shows that there are specific behaviors that women, especially those who self-objectify, engage in before actively using social media that can relate to negative consequences. Understanding how self-objectification impacts social media behaviors can help women became more aware of their engagement in potentially problematic behaviors and work toward self-acceptance.
"How Extraversion, Neuroticism, Attachment Style and Fear of Missing Out Predicted Social Media Use and Addiction."Personality and Individual Differences
2017 Social media use is prevalent in today's society and has contributed to problems with social media addiction. The goal of the study was to investigate whether extraversion, neuroticism, attachment style, and fear of missing out (FOMO) were predictors of social media use and addiction. Participants in the study (N = 207) volunteered to complete a brief survey measuring levels of extraversion, neuroticism, attachment styles, and FOMO. In the final model of a hierarchical regression, younger age, neuroticism, and fear of missing out predicted social media use. Only fear of missing out predicted social media addiction. Attachment anxiety and avoidance predicted social media addiction, but this relationship was no longer significant after the addition of FOMO.
Not hating what you see: Self-compassion may protect against negative mental health variables connected to self-objectification in college womenBody Image
2015 Self-objectification is related to maladaptive mental health variables, but little is known about what could ameliorate these associations. Self-compassion, a construct associated with mindfulness, involves taking a non-judgmental attitude toward the self. In this study, 306 college-aged women were recruited; those who were highest (n = 106) and lowest (n = 104) in self-compassion were retained for analyses. Levels of body surveillance, body shame, depression, and negative eating attitudes were lower in the high self-compassion group. Furthermore, the fit of a path model wherein body surveillance related to body shame, which, in turn, related to negative eating attitudes and depressive symptomatology was compared for each group, controlling for body mass index. The model fit significantly differently such that the connections between self-objectification and negative body and eating attitudes were weaker in the high self-compassion group. Treatment implications of self-compassion as a potential means to interrupt the self-objectification process are discussed.
“Stop looking at me!” Interpersonal sexual objectification as a source of insidious trauma.Psychology of Women Quarterly.
2014 Objectification has been conceptualized as a form of insidious trauma, but the specific relationships among objectification experiences, self-objectification, and trauma symptoms have not yet been investigated. Participants were women with (n = 136) and without (n = 201) a history of sexual trauma. They completed a survey measuring trauma history, objectification experiences (body evaluation and unwanted sexual advances), constructs associated with self-objectification (body surveillance and body shame), and trauma symptoms. The relationships among the variables were consistent for both women with and without a history of sexual trauma. Our hypothesized path model fit equally well for both groups. Examination of the indirect effects showed that experiencing unwanted sexual advances was indirectly related to trauma symptoms through body shame for those with and without a history of sexual trauma. Additionally, for women with a history of sexual trauma, the experience of body evaluation was indirectly related to trauma symptoms through the mediating variables of body surveillance and body shame. The data indicate that the experience of sexual objectification is a type of gender-based discrimination with sequelae that can be conceptualized as insidious trauma. Clinicians may consider the impact of these everyday traumatic experiences when working with women who have clinical symptoms but no overt trauma history.
Fathers, daughters, and self-objectification: Does bonding style matter?Body Image
2014 As women are exposed to objectification and the “male gaze,” they self-objectify, which predicts negative psychological outcomes. Given the centrality of the “male gaze,” positive father/child relationships may have a buffering effect. In this study, women (N = 447) completed a survey measuring paternal bonding (care and overprotection), self-objectification, negative eating attitudes, and depression. Women were categorized into four groups based on bonding style. Analyses indicated an interaction such that women who reported high care and low overprotection reported the fewest negative eating attitudes. A path model was tested for each group. The fit of the high care/high overprotection group's model significantly differed from that of the high care/low overprotection group. The relationships between body surveillance and shame as well as between shame and negative eating attitudes were stronger in the former group. These findings suggest that caring but overprotective fathers may exacerbate the negative effects of body surveillance and shame.
Helping or hovering? The effects of helicopter parenting on college students.Journal of Child and Family Studies
2013 Parental involvement is related to many positive child outcomes, but if not developmentally appropriate, it can be associated with higher levels of child anxiety and depression. Few studies have examined the effects of over-controlling parenting, or “helicopter parenting,” in college students. Some studies have found that college students of over-controlling parents report feeling less satisfied with family life and have lower levels of psychological well-being. This study examined self-determination theory as the potential underlying mechanism explaining this relationship. College students (N = 297) completed measures of helicopter parenting, autonomy supportive parenting, depression, anxiety, satisfaction with life, and basic psychological needs satisfaction. Students who reported having over-controlling parents reported significantly higher levels of depression and less satisfaction with life. Furthermore, the negative effects of helicopter parenting on college students’ well-being were largely explained by the perceived violation of students’ basic psychological needs for autonomy and competence.
Extending the negative consequences of media internalization and self-objectification to dissociation and self-harm.Sex Roles
2013 Self-objectification is often understood as a consequence of internalizing unrealistic media ideals. The consequences of self-objectification have been well studied and include depression and self-harm. We argue that body surveillance, a component of self-objectification that involves taking an observer’s perspective on oneself, is conceptually related to dissociation, a variable related to depression and self-harm. We hypothesized that the normative experience of self-objectification may increase the risk that young women dissociate in other contexts, providing an additional indirect path between self-objectification, depression, and self-harm. Snowball sampling begun with postings on Facebook was used to recruit 160 women, believed to be primarily from the U.S., to complete an online survey about the effects of media on young women. All participants ranged in age from 18–35 (M = 23.12, Median = 22, Mode = 21). Using this sample, we tested a path model in which internalization of media ideals led to body surveillance and body shame, body surveillance led to dissociation and body shame, body shame and dissociation led to depression, and dissociation and depression led to self-harm. This model, in which we controlled for the effects of age, had good fit to the data. Our findings suggest that self-harm and dissociation, both outcomes associated with the literature on trauma, are related to self-objectification. These relationships are discussed in terms of conceptualizing objectification and self-objectification as a form of insidious trauma or microaggression. Clinical implications are also discussed.
Differences in beliefs and behaviors between feminist actual and anticipated mothers.Psychology of Women Quarterly
2012 The transition to parenthood has been linked to an increase in traditional attitudes and behaviors. The goal of our study was to determine whether feminist mothers differed from feminist non-mothers on attitudes and behaviors related to motherhood. Self-labeled feminist mothers (n = 344) and non-mothers who indicated that they wished to have children (n = 361; anticipated mothers) were asked about their feminist beliefs, their actual or expected division of labor after they had children, and actual or expected child surname choices. Results indicated that liberal feminist beliefs were higher among anticipated mothers. Liberal feminist beliefs with a focus on equality in the workplace may not be as salient to mothers. Cultural feminist beliefs, however, were higher among actual mothers. Cultural feminism, which focuses on valuing care, communal traits, and the role of women as mothers, may be particularly appealing to mothers. Additionally, feminist anticipated mothers expected a more egalitarian division of labor than feminist mothers actually experienced. Finally, feminist anticipated mothers expected to make significantly more nontraditional name choices for their children than feminist mothers actually made. Feminist women may experience social pressures that are unanticipated by women who are not yet mothers. The impact of cultural feminism on feminist motherhood is also discussed.
Maternal guilt and shame: The role of self-discrepancy and fear of negative evaluation.Journal of Child and Family Studies
2012 Guilt and shame are emotions commonly associated with motherhood. Self-discrepancy theory proposes that guilt and shame result from perceived discrepancies between one’s actual and ideal selves. Fear of negative evaluation by others may enhance the effects of self-discrepancy especially for shame, which involves fear of others’ reproach. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between self discrepancy, guilt, shame, and fear of negative evaluation in a cross-sectional, self report study of mothers. Mothers of children five and under (N = 181) completed an on-line survey measuring guilt, shame, fear of negative evaluation, and maternal self-discrepancies. Guilt and shame were related to maternal self-discrepancy and fear of negative evaluation. In addition, fear of negative evaluation moderated the relationship between maternal self-discrepancy and shame such that mothers who greatly feared negative evaluation had a very strong relationship between these variables. Maternal self-discrepancy and shame were not related among mothers who had low fear of negative evaluation. The results are discussed in terms of the detrimental effects of internalizing idealized standards of perfect motherhood.
Everyone feel empowered: Understanding feminist self-labeling.Psychology of Women Quarterly
2010 Research findings raise questions about whether the feminist identity development model provides information about women's social identification as a feminist. Specifically, the penultimate stage, Synthesis, has been theorized to capture when feminist identity formation coalesces and women take on the feminist label. However, available data have suggested this stage may not be related to feminist self-labeling, calling for a better understanding of the variables associated with identifying oneself as a feminist. An online questionnaire was administered to 653 female self-identified feminists and nonfeminists in order to investigate the association between feminist self-labeling and Synthesis scores and to better understand what it means to take on the social identity of a feminist. Feminist self-labeling was not associated with Synthesis; however, women who self-labeled as feminists were more likely to acknowledge the existence of sexism, view the current gender system as unjust, and believe that women should work together in order to enact change. Synthesis was related to a combination of feminism- and conservatism-related constructs. Women high in Synthesis viewed the current gender system as just yet also believed that women should work together to enact change. We discuss the paradox represented by this combination of beliefs as well as their implications for the feminist identity development model and the women's movement in general.
Development and validation of a quantitative measure of intensive parenting attitudes.Journal of Child and Family Studies
2012 Intensive mothering (IM) attitudes have been considered the dominant discourse of motherhood, but have only been assessed qualitatively The goal of this study was to develop a quantitative scale to assess these ideologies, their construct validity, and their relationship to relevant constructs (i.e., work status and division of household labor). An on-line questionnaire was given to 595 mothers asking 56 questions assessing different aspects of IM attitudes as well as several validation measures. An Exploratory Factor Analysis on 315 randomly selected mothers yielded a 5 factor solution. A Confirmatory Factor Analysis on the remaining 280 mothers demonstrated good fit. The five factors expressed the ideas that (1) women are inherently better at parenting than men (Essentialism), (2) parenting should be fulfilling (Fulfillment), (3) children should be cognitively stimulated by parents (Stimulation), (4) mothering is difficult (Challenging), and (5) parents should prioritize the needs of the child (Child-Centered). Scales had adequate reliability and construct validity compared to the Parental Investment in the Child questionnaire, the Parenting Sense of Competence Scale, and Beliefs about Maternal Employment. The Essentialism, Fulfillment, and Challenging scales were positively related to having more responsibility for child care and household chores. Stay-at-home mothers had higher scores on Essentialism and lower scores on Stimulation than both part-time and full-time working mothers supporting the notion that both working and non-working mothers have intensive parenting ideologies that are manifested in different ways.
Feminism and attachment parenting: Attitudes, stereotypes, and misperceptions.Sex Roles
2012 Though people often report wanting to have children because they think it will make them happier, much research suggests that parenting is associated with decreased well-being. Other studies have found that parenting is related to increased life satisfaction. The goal of this study was to provide insight into this paradox by investigating the relationship between a specific way of parenting, intensive parenting, and maternal mental health. An online survey was completed by 181 mothers with children ages 5 and under. Intensive mothering beliefs correlated with several negative mental health outcomes. Controlling for perceived family social support, the belief that women are the essential parent was related to lower life satisfaction and believing that parenting is challenging was related to greater depression and stress. The results of this study suggest that aspects of intensive mothering beliefs are detrimental to women’s mental health. It may not be parenting per se, but specific and particularly intensive ways of parenting, that relate to negative mental health outcomes.
Development and exploration of the Enjoyment of Sexualization Scale.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
2010 Sexualization of girls and women in America is rampant and has many negative consequences. Women, however, often report enjoying being sexually admired by men. Given this paradox, it is unclear whether such enjoyment represents an authentic empowerment of women’s sexuality or is related to traditional feminine norms and sexist beliefs. In Studies 1 and 2, the authors developed and tested the eight-item Enjoyment of Sexualization Scale (ESS). It had good reliability and was differentiated from related constructs including body surveillance, body shame, self-sexualizing behaviors, and appearance-contingent self-esteem. In Study 3, endorsement of traditional gender norms, endorsement of benevolent sexism, and endorsement of hostile sexism were all positively related to the ESS. Moreover, women who both enjoyed sexualization and engaged in self-objectification reported more negative eating attitudes. Overall, there was little support for positive effects of enjoying sexualization. The extent to which enjoying sexualization actually empowers women or contributes to their oppression is discussed.
Men want equality, but women don’t expect it: Young adults’ expectations for participation in household and childcare chores.Psychology of Women Quarterly
2010 This study explored whether there was a discrepancy between young adults' ideal and expected participation in household and child care chores as well as what variables predicted expectations for future chore division. Three-hundred fifty-eight unmarried, heterosexual participants with no children completed an online questionnaire assessing the percentage of chores they ideally wished to, and actually expected to, complete in addition to measures of individual differences. Results showed that, although men desired and expected an egalitarian division of labor, women projected that they would actually engage in a disproportionate amount of the household labor and child care. Additionally, women, but not men, expected to do significantly more chores than they ideally wanted. Women with more liberal feminist attitudes ideally wanted to, and expected to, do fewer household and child care chores, whereas men with liberal feminist attitudes ideally wanted to, and expected to, do more. The importance of finding a partner with a career orientation was related to ideally wanting to do more household labor and child care whereas the importance of finding a partner with a family orientation was related to wanting to do less. On the other hand, men and women who felt it was unlikely that they would find family-oriented partners expected to actually do more household chores and child care. Results indicated that young women expected inequity in their relationships, consistent with findings from research on married couples, despite the fact that men expected equality. The importance of structural changes that will set the stage for egalitarianism are discussed.
Well…She wants it more: Perceptions of social norms about desire for marriage and children and anticipated chore participation.Psychology of Women Quarterly
2010 The current study examined how desire for marriage and children related to anticipated chore involvement for both men and women. An online survey was completed by 466 college students recruited from multiple colleges and universities in Virginia. Participants provided information about their own desire for marriage and children, expectations for future division of household labor, and their perceptions of the typical woman's and man's desires for marriage and children. Men and women did not differ in their self-reported desires for marriage and children. However, the typical man was perceived as having a lower desire for both marriage and children and the typical woman as having a higher desire for both. Desire for marriage and children was predicted by anticipated chore involvement above and beyond liberal attitudes for women but not for men. These findings are discussed in terms of how social norms and stereotypes affect power in relationships through the principle of least interest.
Sensory and attention abnormalities in autistic spectrum disordersAutism
2006 Individuals with autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) often experience, describe and exhibit unusual patterns of sensation and attention. These anomalies have been hypothesized to result from overarousal and consequent overfocused attention. Parents of individuals with ASD rated items in three domains, 'sensory overreactivity', 'sensory underreactivity' and 'sensory seeking behaviors', of an expanded version of the Sensory Profile, a 103-item rating scale developed for the present study. Parents also rated symptom severity, overselective attention and exceptional memory, and completed the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales. Of 222 rated subjects, 144 had complete data. Cluster analysis showed the predicted overfocused pattern of sensation and attention, comprising overreactivity, perseverative behavior and interests, overfocused attention and exceptional memory in 43 percent of this sample. This pattern was striking in 10 percent. The neurological basis of overreactivity and overfocusing is discussed in relation to the overarousal hypothesis. Attention is drawn to its considerable prevalence in the ASD population.
Predictors and correlates of collective actionSex Roles
2004 Social identity theory suggests that feminist identity should predict engagement in collective action on behalf of women. We examined predictors of collective action by asking female college students (N = 215) to complete a set of questionnaires that measure life experiences, beliefs about feminism and collective action, feminist self-labeling, and involvement in women-focused collective activities. Life experiences (i.e., having a feminist mother, having taken a women's studies class, and having experienced sex discrimination), feminist attitudes and beliefs, feminist self-labeling, and belief in collective action were positively correlated with collective action, whereas conservatism was negatively correlated with collective action. A logistic stepwise regression revealed that the Synthesis stage of feminist identity development was the only variable that uniquely contributed to predicting feminist activism.
What makes a feminist? Predictors and correlates of feminist social identity in college womenPsychology of Women Quarterly
2003 What factors predict self-identification as a feminist? College women (N = 233) were given measures of feminist ideology, feminist identity development, evaluation of feminists, collectivism and individualism. Feminist identification was measured both as a dichotomous and a continuous variable. Measured dichotomously, feminist self-identification was predicted by not having conservative beliefs and having a positive general evaluation of feminists. In addition, self-identified feminists were more likely to believe in collective action, to hold liberal, radical, and womanist ideologies, and to endorse items in the Synthesis stage of identity development. They were less likely to believe a feminist is a lesbian, to endorse items in the Passive Acceptance stage, and to believe in the existence of a meritocracy. Measured continuously, degree of feminist identity was predicted by having a positive general evaluation of feminists, not having conservative beliefs, and endorsing items in the Revelation and Embeddedness/Emanation stages of identity development. The two measures of feminist identity were not entirely congruent, underlining the importance of methodological differences in measuring social identity.
Executive functioning in high-functioning children with autismJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
2001 Executive functioning was investigated in 34 children (24 boys and 10 girls) with developmental language disorder (DLD) and 21 children (18 boys and 3 girls) with high-functioning autistic disorder (HAD) matched on Full Scale IQ, Nonverbal IQ, age (mean age 9 year, 1 month), and SES. The DLD group had a Verbal IQ that was 10 points higher than the HAD group. These children were given the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST), the Mazes subtest from the WISC-R, the Underlining test, and the Rapid Automatized Naming test. In addition, these children were given the Vineland Scales of Adaptive Functioning and the Wing Diagnostic Symptom Checklist in order to assess severity of autistic symptomatology. Results indicated that the only significant difference between the two groups on the cognitive tasks was perseverative errors on the WCST; there was no significant difference on total number of categories achieved or total number of errors on the WCST or on the other executive function measures. There was also significant overlap in the scores between the two groups and the difference in perseverative errors was no longer significant when Verbal IQ was partialled out. Executive functioning was strongly related to all IQ variables in the DLD group and particularly related to Verbal IQ in the HAD group. Although there was a relationship in the HAD group between executive functioning and adaptive functioning, as well as between executive functioning and autistic symptomatology, these relationships were generally no longer significant in the HAD group after the variance due to Verbal IQ was accounted for. The results are interpreted to indicate that although impaired executive functioning is a commonly associated feature of autism, it is not universal in autism and is unlikely to cause autistic behaviors or deficits in adaptive function.
Predictors and correlates of adaptive functioning in children with developmental disordersJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
2001 Autism is a developmental disorder marked by impairments in socialization, communication, and perseverative behavior and is associated with cognitive impairment and deficits in adaptive functioning. Research has consistently demonstrated that children with autism have deficits in adaptive functioning more severe than their cognitive deficits. This study investigates the correlates and predictors of adaptive functioning as measured by the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales in high- and low-functioning children with autism and their age and nonverbal IQ matched controls. Thirty-five 9-year-old children with high-functioning autism (HAD) were compared with 31 age-matched children with developmental language disorder (DLD), and 40 9-year-old children with low-functioning autism (LAD) were compared with 17 age-matched children with low IQ on adaptive functioning, IQ, autistic symptomology, and tests of language and verbal memory. Results indicate that both groups with autism were significantly impaired compared to their matched controls on Socialization and Daily Living, but not Communication and that these impairments were more pronounced in the HAD group than in the LAD group. Adaptive behavior was strongly correlated with autistic symptomology only in the HAD group. Regression analyses indicated that IQ was strongly predictive of adaptive behavior in both low-functioning groups, but tests of language and verbal memory predicted adaptive behavior in the higher functioning groups. Results suggest that IQ may act as a limiting factor for lower functioning children but higher functioning children are impaired by specific deficits, including autistic symptomology and impaired language and verbal memory.