Khanh “Kristen” Le ’20 has had her Honors project in psychological science accepted for publication in The Journal of Genetic Psychology, an academic journal dedicated to research and theory in the field of developmental psychology.
“Examining the reliability of various Interpersonal Acceptance-Rejection Theory (IPARTheory) measures among Vietnamese adolescents,” written with Associate Professor of Psychological Science Brien Ashdown, details Le’s research into the reliability of IPARTheory measures in Vietnam and the applicability of the theory itself among a Vietnamese sample. Le works as a developmental specialist at a pediatric clinic in Hanoi, Vietnam.
A major component of IPARTheory examines how parental acceptance-rejection affects an individual’s psychological adjustment. The abstract of Le and Ashdown’s paper explains that “perceiving one’s self as accepted by important others, such as parents, is fundamental and crucial for the well-being of each individual.”
Participants in the study, consisting of 162 students from a high school in Hanoi, were given three IPARTheory measures — Parental Acceptance-Rejection Questionnaire, Personality Assessment Questionnaire, Interpersonal Relationship Anxiety Questionnaire — as well as a demographics form designed specifically for the research. The abstract explains that “analyses show that psychological maladjustment significantly correlated with perceived paternal rejection, maternal rejection, and their subscales.”
“This project was pretty big in scope for an undergraduate student, but Khanh jumped in with both feet and made it work,” says Ashdown. “From translating surveys into Vietnamese, to collecting data in Vietnam and then analyzing the data and writing up the manuscript, she did a huge portion of the work independently and on her own initiative.”
The idea for the project came to Le when she worked with Ashdown on his IPARTheory research in Guatemala and became curious as to whether she would find similar relationships between the psychological concepts among the Vietnamese population. “Not only did I find support for the theory in Vietnam, but I also found evidence for several cultural phenomena through my data,” she says. “This research inspired me to study developmental psychology in cultural context, which I hope to do in graduate school.”
Le is grateful for Ashdown’s guidance throughout the project, including encouraging her to present a poster at the 2020 Annual Conference for Society of Cross-Cultural Research in Seattle, where she had the opportunity to discuss her results with the creator of IPARTheory, Dr. Ronald Rohner.
Psychology was virtually a non-existent field when Le was growing up in Vietnam. “Having a published article about a psychological theory in Vietnam solidified my professional ambition and inspired me to contribute to the understanding of the field in my own country,” she says. “It gave me a boost to strive even higher in my academic career.”
Le graduated cum laude with a major in psychology and minors in sociology, education and concentration in French. On campus, she was active in the International Students Association, America Reads, the Asian Student Union and the HWS Figure Skating Club. Le was the recipient of the Psychology Book Prize and a member of the Psi Chi International Honor Society in psychology. She is currently applying for graduate school with the goal of enrolling in a doctoral program in developmental psychology.