Title

Desperate for a Measure: Validation for a Measure of Desperation

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Graduate

Major

Psychology

Minor

Biology

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Jana Hackathorn, PhD

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

After scouring the psychological literature for preconstructed measures of desperation and only coming up with measures specifically focused on clinically-based illnesses (i.e. desperation as is related to depression) it was decided that a more general measure of desperation was needed. We believe that desperation is an important factor in the decision-making process especially in certain situations of high stress or perceived loss of control. We predicted that desperation and coping strategies would be correlated, the idea being that individuals with high desperation should employ coping mechanisms to gain some semblance of control over a situation. Intuitively, we also predicted that desperation would be positively correlated with negative affect and negatively correlated with positive affect (a test of convergent validity) given the very nature of desperation as both a form of motivation and an emotion.

Two pilots were conducted by pooling a list of items related to desperation from participants and testing these items for face validity. We found our measure of desperation (N=153) to be correlated with coping (r=.067, p < .001), positively correlated with negative affect (r=.780, p < .001), anxiety (r=.432, p < .001), stress (r=.610, p < .001), and low self-esteem (r=.569, p < .001). Finally, Positive affect (r=-.236, p=.003; divergent validity) was negatively correlated when compared to our desperation emotion subscale within the measure. Thus, all hypotheses were supported, and the measure found to be validated both convergently and divergently.

Affiliations

Psychology: Completed Projects

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Desperate for a Measure: Validation for a Measure of Desperation

After scouring the psychological literature for preconstructed measures of desperation and only coming up with measures specifically focused on clinically-based illnesses (i.e. desperation as is related to depression) it was decided that a more general measure of desperation was needed. We believe that desperation is an important factor in the decision-making process especially in certain situations of high stress or perceived loss of control. We predicted that desperation and coping strategies would be correlated, the idea being that individuals with high desperation should employ coping mechanisms to gain some semblance of control over a situation. Intuitively, we also predicted that desperation would be positively correlated with negative affect and negatively correlated with positive affect (a test of convergent validity) given the very nature of desperation as both a form of motivation and an emotion.

Two pilots were conducted by pooling a list of items related to desperation from participants and testing these items for face validity. We found our measure of desperation (N=153) to be correlated with coping (r=.067, p < .001), positively correlated with negative affect (r=.780, p < .001), anxiety (r=.432, p < .001), stress (r=.610, p < .001), and low self-esteem (r=.569, p < .001). Finally, Positive affect (r=-.236, p=.003; divergent validity) was negatively correlated when compared to our desperation emotion subscale within the measure. Thus, all hypotheses were supported, and the measure found to be validated both convergently and divergently.