Haley ShermanStudent Research Spotlight - Haley Sherman

Haley Sherman won the Graduate Student Research Award for the College of Human Sciences during the 2020 Auburn Research: Virtual Student Symposium.

Hometown:  Pensacola, Florida
Major: Master's Degree in Human Development and Family Studies
College: Human Sciences
Department: Human Development and Family Studies
Class year: 2020
Faculty mentor: Mallory Lucier-Greer

Assessing Dimensions of Combat Exposure among Soldiers and Implications for Mental Health




What are you researching?
I research military families through the Military REACH lab on Auburn's campus. One of our goals is to translate research into practice and place it into the hands of military families, helping professionals, and policymakers. This specific study was unique in that I examined the psychometric properties of the Deployment Risk and Resilience Inventory, or DRRI. Basically, this means that I examined to see the interrelationships between items on this scale and, when different relationships emerged, I knew the scale could not be utilized as one construct, but rather, two.

How could the results benefit individuals, agencies or companies?
This research provides useful information for researchers in regard to the importance of examining how measures are used with their samples. In my area of research, most military combat exposure measures are conceptualized as uni-dimensional constructs. Yet, when I examined the psychometric properties of the Deployment Risk and Resilience Inventory, multiple components emerged, suggesting that combat exposure is a nuanced experience. Then when examining these different components (e.g., expected combat experiences and responsible for non-enemy deaths), each had unique impacts on service member mental health. This suggests the importance of examining measures with different samples before assuming all items in the measure reflect a single experience.

Tell us why you enjoy research.
I enjoy research because it provides me with an opportunity to give back to military families who sacrifice so much for our country, and it allows me to contribute to the academic and educational systems.

What advice would you give to other students considering doing a research project?
I would tell them to try it! When I was in undergrad, I had no interest in research, but one professor took interest in me, invited me into the lab and opened my eyes to the world of possibilities that research presents. There is never any reward without risk—take the risk, try research!

Tell us about any hobbies or activities you enjoy.
I am a very classic Floridian in the sense that I love the beach! I enjoy paddle boarding, kayaking and swimming. The beach is my happy place!

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