Touro College South Students and Faculty Present Significant Research Findings in Boston and Chicago

Date: April 03, 2008
Touro College South students Atara Raab, Ruchie Gross and Shify Niman at their presentation at the Eastern Psychological Association conference in Boston, March 13-16, 2008
Touro College South students Atara Raab, Ruchie Gross and Shify Niman at their presentation at the Eastern Psychological Association conference in Boston, March 13-16, 2008
Media Contact:

Alan Ciner
Vice President, Touro College South
305-535-1066 x5101

New York, N.Y. - Four Touro College South psychology students presented significant findings on adolescent development at the 79th annual Eastern Psychological Association conference in Boston, March 13-16, 2008. The conference, which brought together several hundred participants from across the Northeast, was held at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel.

One paper, by undergraduates Atara Raab, Shify Niman, and Ruchie Gross, was based on the students' work on the dating attitudes of ultra-Orthodox Jewish women. Titled: A Phenomenological Examination of Dating Attitudes in Emerging Adult Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Women, the paper identified numerous themes related to marriage, religiosity, dating experience, and general societal pressure. A second paper, co-authored by student Esther Neuman and titled Parenting Variables and Eating Attitudes in an All-Girls' Middle School, was based on a survey of 114 girls in a local Jewish day school regarding their social network and health-promoting behaviors.

"Their findings were unique and significant," said Dr. Avidan Milevsky, associate professor, chair of the psychology department, and the students' supervisor. "The concept of studying dating attitudes in specialized populations is an emerging area of research. Their findings will assist culturally sensitive clinicians in understanding the unique experiences of ultra-Orthodox women and assist in achieving successful interventions."

Dr. Milevsky said among the students' findings were that dating is achieved primarily through matchmaking, a system the interview population was satisfied with; dating is viewed exclusively for marriage; religiosity weighs heavily in the choice of a dating partner; social experience with men prior to dating was non-existent; there exists an undercurrent of societal pressure from religious and community leaders to date with the goal of marriage; and that men have an unfair advantage because of a larger dating pool, creating some added pressure on the women to "like the guy."

The students' research was funded by a grant from the Dr. Edward and Judy Steinberg Center for Spirituality and Well-Being at Touro College South.

Dr. Milevsky also presented a paper, at the biennial conference of the Society for Research on Adolescence in Chicago March 6-9, 2008. Titled: Religiosity and Social Support: A Mediational Model of Adjustment in First Year College Students, Dr. Milevsky's paper was based on a study that examined the mediating effects of social support on the relationship between religiosity and well-being. The conference focused on the theoretical, empirical, and policy research issues of adolescence.

"This exciting research by our students and faculty is indicative of the environment we have created at Touro College South since we opened in September 2006," said Rabbi Alan G. Ciner, Vice President of Touro College, who is leading the recently established campus in Miami Beach. "We encourage our students, as well as our faculty, to actively pursue research opportunities."