Last week, Amber Eagan ’15 and Amanda Faherty ’15, accompanied by Assistant Professor of Psychology Brien Ashdown, presented their recent research on “PARTheory” at the annual convention of the Association for Psychological Science (APS) in San Francisco.
“PARTheory posits that the way that people experience parental acceptance or rejection as children has life long consequences, and has been correlated with constructs such as relationship satisfaction, well-being, and other personality traits,” says Ashdown. “I do the bulk of my research in Guatemala, and I’m interested in exploring PARTheory there. But before we can do that, we have to make sure the surveys work in that culture. We did that, and that is the data we presented.”
Eagan and Faherty presented a poster, created with Ashdown and his colleague Carrie Brown of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Ga., that details portions of their research on the reliability of Parental Acceptance and Rejection theory (PARTheory) measures in Guatemala.
“In order to say that PARTheory-the idea that children need positive acceptance by caregivers-is universal it must be validated in a variety of different countries and contexts,” says Faherty. “Our research was the first to validate PARTheory in a Latin American country lending support to the idea that all children need and want positive acceptance from their caregivers.”
The APS Convention hosts thousands of psychologists and students presenting on various themes in every subfield and specialty in the discipline. The APS itself is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of scientific psychology and its representation at the national and international level. Its mission is “to promote, protect, and advance the interests of scientifically oriented psychology in research, application, teaching, and the improvement of human welfare.”
“It was a bit intimidating at first,” Faherty says. “The conference was so big and a lot of the researchers were very well known but once we were presenting our research, we both became more comfortable.”
“Scholarship and research in psychology is public,” says Ashdown. “Whether we publish articles or present our findings at conferences, it’s important for us to share our data and findings, conclusions and theories with others in order to receive feedback from others. Amanda and Amber are lucky to be able to start getting this kind of experience this early in their careers. The conference provides great networking opportunities,” which are “especially important for Amber and Amanda, who are preparing to apply for graduate school this fall.”