Matlock's senior psychology project focuses on campus well-being

Release Date: 5/6/2013

Nichole (Shelton) Matlock, a senior psychology major from Jasper, Ark., decided to explore the sense of well-being on campus for her senior research project. Last Monday night, Matlock presented her findings to students, faculty, and staff.

"My research project involved the sense of well-being on campus and whether or not it was affected by gender, age, classification, major, sexual orientation, and ethnic background," Matlock said. To conduct her research, she worked with her advisor, Professor (Karen) Jones, to write a demographic survey looking for the specific characteristics she was researching. "The participants answered the survey, and then were asked to complete the Ryff scale of psychological well-being," she explained.

After analyzing all the results, Matlock defended her project during a presentation of her research.

"My research did show trends that could be studied further in future research, but I was surprised that there weren't significant differences in any of the areas. For example, I thought there would be a strong positive correlation between age and psychological well-being, but the correlation as very slight," Matlock explained.

According to Matlock's study, though the differences are slight, females on campus scored higher on the Ryff scale than males on campus. Also, students studying fine arts had the highest scores of any the majors sampled.

Matlock is deeply thankful for the opportunity to research and experience her field while at Ozarks.

"Ozarks has definitely prepared me for success after graduation. In the psychology department, the clinical experience requirement is one of the most enriching educational experiences that I could hope for and a valuable resume builder. Already, I have had two different potential employers comment on the experience I have had," Matlock said.

Matlock, who lives in in Clarksville, Ark. with her husband and young son, will graduate on May 11, and is already lining up job interviews.

"After graduation, I plan on getting a job in the social work field," she said. "Eventually, I plan to go to graduate school to get a master's degree in social work with an emphasis in health so that I can work in crisis intervention. My advice for all students is to never give up. Life gets in the way sometimes, but you have to push through it. Getting a degree is one the best things you can do for yourself and your family."