Speaker: Dr. Ryan Hong

 Title: A common core vulnerability to emotional disorders

Date: Thursday October 15, 12-1 pm

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room)


Cognitive theories of emotional disorders posit that maladaptive patterns of cognitions confer elevated risks to individuals in the development of anxiety and mood symptoms.  Several distinct cognitive vulnerabilities have been identified – some postulated to predict depression (i.e., pessimistic inferential style, dysfunctional attitudes, and ruminative style) while others different forms of anxiety (i.e., anxiety sensitivity, intolerance of uncertainty, and fear of negative evaluation).  The crucial question of whether these supposedly distinct risk factors share common transdiagnostic elements was addressed using meta-analytic confirmatory factor analysis.  Results indicated a common core vulnerability factor underlying these variables in adults.  A developmental perspective was also taken to examine the validity of a common core vulnerability in children age 8-11 years (N = 302) in a longitudinal design.  Latent class growth analysis identified 4 distinct classes of trajectories – Low-Increasing (14%), Moderate-Stable (52%), High-Decreasing (19%), and High-Increasing (15%).  These trajectories were differentiated in terms of outcomes and developmental origins.  Overall, these findings provide novel evidence for a transdiagnostic core vulnerability that bears directly on the etiology and treatment of emotional disorders.  

About the Speaker:

 After receiving his honors (1999) and masters (2002) degrees in psychology from the National University of Singapore, Dr. Hong had a short stint at the Department of Psychology as a teaching assistant (2001-2003).  He then worked with Professor Sampo Paunonen at the University of Western Ontario before obtaining his Ph.D. in personality psychology in 2007.  Broadly speaking, Dr. Hong’s research interests include personality and its assessment (e.g., the Big Five), psychopathology (e.g., mood, anxiety, and disinhibitory disorders), and the interface between these two areas.

Dr. Hong is particularly interested in delineating personality vulnerabilities to psychopathology using dispositional-trait and social-cognitive perspectives of personality.  One domain of research he is currently working on is to explore linkages between broad dispositional traits (e.g., Neuroticism and Conscientiousness) and specific social-cognitive vulnerabilities to common psychopathology (e.g., depressogenic inferential style, ruminative style, anxiety sensitivity, poor self control/regulation).  It is hoped that through this research, current understanding regarding the etiology and development of psychopathology may be enhanced.

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