Psychology Students and Professor Attend National Conference

HIGH POINT, N.C., April 25, 2014 – Students from the High Point University Psychology Department recently attended the Society for Research in Human Development (SRHD) conference held in Austin, Texas. The event, held biennially, brings together students and faculty from across the nation to discuss research advancements in the field of human development.

HPU students Jackie Tonkovich, a senior majoring in psychology, and Kaila Tuccio, junior majoring in education with a minor in psychology, and Dr. Kirsten Li-Barber, assistant professor of psychology, attended SRHD to present their original research poster, titled “Parental Involvement on Academic Entitlement in College Students: Exploring Gender Differences,” which examined the role of parental over-protection and involvement levels on students’ self-report of academic entitlement.

Tonkovich says presenting at the SRHD conference was invaluable in enhancing her professionalism and helping her gain skills as a presenter.

“The conference was a great teaching and learning experience,” says Tonkovich.  “I was able to teach others about academic entitlement and its connection to parenting, while at the same time learning about different studies and the ways to present. It was a great opportunity for me to expand my knowledge of how psychology affects our culture and how it is continuously growing.”

According to Li-Barber, conferences such as SRHD are not only educational, but also inspirational to student researchers.

“Research conferences like this provide our students with valuable experiences in presenting and networking, as well as the opportunity to see how the field of psychology is evolving, and to be inspired to develop their own line of research,” says Li-Barber.

The results of their research indicated gender differences in reports of entitlement, and the role that parents play. Females were more likely to report higher levels of entitlement with respect to academics. Additionally, fathers seemed to play a role in reports of entitlement, but not mothers. Higher levels of over-protection were associated with higher academic entitlement for females, and lower levels of father “care” were associated with higher academic entitlement in males.

“Being able to go to the SRHD Conference really brought our research full circle,” says Tuccio.  “It was such an awesome experience to be able to tell others about the research we conducted.  It was also very fulfilling to be able to see the current studies being addressed in the psychology world, and this experience was something I will never forget.”

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