PSYC 2740 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Personal Digital Assistant, Suicidal Ideation, Random Assignment

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16 Nov 2017
Personality January 17th
Sources of data: Self-Report (S-data)
2 forms most common
1. Structured
o Responses are set…
o Includes dichotomus (i.e., forced choice, true false), likert-ratings
(rate on a scale, the degree to which they agree to a statement)
o Limiting how they can respond, not open ended)
2. Unstructured
o Responses are not set
o Open ended questions; people can write as much as they want
Example: Dichotomous Response Schemes
1) I can be hard on myself; true or false
2) If I do well on an exam, I think that… I am a smart person the course is easy
Pros/Cons of structured vs. unstructured
o Standardized across every single person
o Use of stats (same questions and answer options for all participants, apply
statistics to analyze)
o Might limit responses
o May not be reflective of true personality because you have to choose
between one of two indicators on how much you agree, or true or false
o Limitations in accuracy
o Really detailed information about someone’s personality
o Not limiting what they say
o May not standardized; hard to compare
o Use of routine stats may be limited
Limitations of Self-Report Data
1. Honesty in responses
They can be motivated to be otherwise if it benefits them
2. Not having self-knowledge/ objectivity to response
People don’t want to admit; worry about what other people might think
Event sampling
Self-report that occurs over time to assess variables that might change in ‘real
One type is Ecological Momentary Assessment
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o Getting data about personality behaviour moot thoughts etc. and getting it
at multiple different time points
o Getting a sense that some things change; and if they do... what might be
leading to that change?
o Look at self-reports over time to assess variables that may change (mood)
o Do things change, what (events, people) may be impacting it
Nock et al., 2009
o 30 youth (12-19 years old) who self-injured or had thoughts about it in the
past 2 weeks (most had diagnosed psychiatric illnesses)
o higher risk group/high risk profile
o Do certain thoughts or feelings correspond more with self-injury thoughts
than suicidal thoughts
o Everyone used a personal digital assistant (PDA) over the next two weeks
(on each day) i.e., ecological momentary assessment
o Responses were collected via reminders (i.e., prompts from researchers)
& via self-initiated reports
Self initiated: when they wanted to they can take out device and
Text reminders: prompted at certain times to fill out questions
o Key data collected: self-injury thoughts/acts & suicidal ideation
2 types of responses: when they think of those thoughts and when
they are reminded to respond
do certain thoughts/life events cause thoughts if injury vs. suicide
Some Key Findings:
o Self-injury thoughts more frequent & intense vs. suicidal thoughts
o Self-injury often occurred when youth were alone
o Self-injury used to escape negative feelings & thoughts (e.g., rejection,
anger, self-hatred, feeling numb)
o Suicidal thoughts occurred more with sadness than self-injury thoughts
o Self-injury & suicide may have unique differences in antecedents &
features (e.g., frequency of thoughts) which may be useful to target in
o Self-injury often drive by difficulties in regulation affect and negative
thinking these are key parts of personality
Sources of Data: Observer (O-data)
Involves gathering data from other individuals (i.e., not the self) about the subject
or people you are most interested in
Example: asking family/friend
o Pros: access to unique data & multiple informants
Have people comment and report about how people may behave in
certain contexts
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