Saturday, October 31, 2009

The 10 Diagnostic Criterion of Doctoral Syndrome Disorder: Primary Leisure Behavior Type

You could be exhibiting the symptology of Doctoral Syndrome Disorder: Primary Leisure Behavior Type if…

1. You find yourself disagreeing with seminal textbooks within your field more often than you agree with them
2. You have the choice between being a pompous ass and a incompetent boob… and you choose pompous ass
3. You find yourself using primary reinforces, like going to the bathroom and lunch, to motivate yourself to work hard
4. You incite philosophical debates on facebook
5. You no longer have to tell the staff at Panera Beard Company what you want… they immediately start getting your food ready as soon as you walk up to the counter
6. You are completely fine if your car breaks down… but if you misplace your jump drive for even a second you are sent into an uncontrollable spiral of panic
7. You draw out your major research projects using stick figures and line drawings… and then frame the masterpiece (or use it as your profile picture on facebook)
8. You can correctly spell Csikszentmihalyi, but rudimentary algebra is beyond your scope
9. You refer to foundational researchers within your field as your buddies (i.e. As my buddy Bandura always says…)
10. You wake up Saturday mornings feeling like crap, not because of the immense quantities of alcohol your consumed the night before, but because of the crazy late night you spent in the library fueled by chocolate, caffeine, and the fear that you might never graduate (and thus concur the world)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

When life reminds us, why we do what we do

So, while the majority of this blog is dedicated to the humorous side of the doc program and the day-to-day struggles/successes/guffaws/and generally laughable moments that go along with pursuing a Ph.D. in Leisure Behavior, there are times that remind us of the reason we do what we do.

So I will take this out of the plural (and out of the humor realm) for a few moments to discuss one of the many reasons I went in to this field...

I recently found out that a friend of mine passed away. Now I'm relatively young, and admit to the occasional perception of invincibility (honestly, who doesn't??). So when a friend your age looses a battle with cancer, you stop and think. I don't intend to use this blog to memorialize this individual, just leave it to say, he was great and always smiling. What I do want to do is point to one of the reasons recreation, leisure, and this field are so important (at least to me).

Needless to say, this event took me by surprise. I took the day off. Now, I'll admit, I tried to keep working, but it wasn't going to happen. The friends I have here were an initial (and immediate support). With looming deadlines, the wonderful ladies that co-author this blog offered to spend time with me (though I couldn't in good faith take them up on it). Mutual friends of both me and the individual who passed came together to offer each other support via e-mail, phone calls, and instant messaging. The key here is, these friendships never would have been made without the leisure experiences in which the social interaction occurred. I spent my evening with a run, a few drinks, building coaster pyramids, and going to a local concert. The activities in themselves don't hold much meaning. However, the run allowed me to get inside my head and process what I was feeling without overwhelming myself. I am grateful for the friend who went for drinks with me; it was definitely the diversion I needed. And finally, for me, music often holds the ability comfort when my rational side gets in the way.

So while our field certainly extends beyond the coping mechanisms encompassed within this event, I am reminded of the greater importance of what it is we do.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

So, we're doctoral students. We read, we write, we discourse on the pressing topics within our field... and we take our work seriously. Very seriously. Here is a picture of the three of us... the future of therapeutic recreation... taking our work very seriously.

I know this looks like procrastination to the eye untrained in the arts of leisure behavior, but what you see here is an example of the negotiation of the structural constraints imposed upon us by our work. Seriously, notice the size of the cards, an adaptation to the spatial barriers imposed by the quantity of books the average doctoral student must carry, especially when they don't have an office. And the use of a textbook to empower all participants with equal access to the drawing and discard piles. Finally, note the research articles spread below the textbook, a useful technique for overcoming the intrapersonal constraint of guilt that can occur when the doctoral student is not immersed in scholarly development.

Oh… and it was fun. That’s always important!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bella! Get up off the forest floor: An exploration of codependent relationships in adolescent females

Aim: This study explores the impact of Stephanie Myer’s wildly popular Twilight Series on adolescent female’s romantic patterns of attachment. Traditionally, adolescent females place a high priority on the meaning of relationships; particularly dating relationships. Additionally, the rate of depression and post-traumatic stress is exceptionally high within this demographic group. Given the recent literary success of high school romance novels (i.e., Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series), the purpose of this project was to determine the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adolescent females involved in codependent dating relationships post breakup; and evaluate coping styles that may serve as a protective factor.

Methods: Using qualitative and quantitative inquiry methodology, female high school students in a small sized high school in the pacific northwest were interviewed to determine a) the rate of codependent relationships, b) the experience of PTSD, and c) coping mechanisms used post breakup. Coping mechanisms were measured with the Coping in Relationship, Youth (CRY) Inventory. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the participant post breakup and with her self-identified support network (e.g., friends and rebound boyfriends).

Results: In all, 67% of participants experienced clinically significant levels of PTSD. Participants identified wallowing, visual hallucinations, and periods of comatose behavior as coping mechanism. Friends identified feeling rejected and dissinvolved with the ‘dumped’ individual. Interviews with rebound boyfriends yielded no thematic results.

Conclusions: Owing to the already heightened levels of risk for depression, post-traumatic stress, and maladaptive coping mechanisms, we found that the romanticizing of codependency between the characters of Bella Swann and Edward Cullen has lead to an unrealistic expectations on romantic relationships for adolescent females within the “Twilight” cohort. This proliferation of unrealistic expectations has lead to maladaptive attachment styles within young relationships, causing increased incidence of depression, risk seeking behaviors, and vampirism within this cohort. Therefore, beyond the safe-sex versus abstinence debate, high school sex education classes have a requisite need to screen for PTSD and teach appropriate coping skills.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Professional (self) service (TIP: Read me first)

As social scientists, we are constantly influenced by our observations of the world around us. This section is dedicated to those social phenomenon, anomalies, trends, and such that desperately deserve our attention. However, we have neither the time, nor the passion (mainly it’s the time) to give them what they need.  So, in service of the larger leisure behavior (and social scientific) community we offer you Dissertations that should be written (but we would rather die than write).  Here we choose to mock-up these important topics with witty titles and brief abstract in hopes that other aspiring Doctors of Leisure will take on the task to conquer these projects, and of course, give us the requisite 'shout out' in your acknowledgments page (and by shout out we mean authorship, seriously, we need jobs too).