Black Hills State University student Lexie Bendigo has received an undergraduate research grant of $1,500 to support an independent research project. The grant comes from Psi Chi, the International Honors Society in Psychology.  

A psychology and human services double major, Bendigo’s research project titled “The Effects of Childhood Trauma on Religiosity Later in Life,” will seek to examine the effects of childhood trauma on religiosity. “We are interested in seeing if those who report higher on the Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (ACEs) report lower levels of religiosity later in life. If they do not report lower levels of religiosity, we hypothesize that these individuals will report higher levels of general support,” Bendigo said.  

To conduct her research, Bendigo will recruit a sample of 350 participants through the online research participation website Prolific Academic. Participants will be assessed with measures such as the ACEs, Dimensions of Religiosity Scale, and the Religious Orientation Test.  

“The results from this study have specific implications for clinical psychological practice. It can greatly benefit clinicians in understanding the religious worldviews of young adults who are entering the world for the first time, especially after experiencing childhood trauma. Further, clinicians may also better understand the impact general support has for victims of childhood abuse later in life,” Bendigo said.  

Dr. Alissa Call, assistant professor of psychology at BHSU, also received a $1,500 faculty stipend for mentoring Bendigo’s project. This stipend is only awarded to the highest scoring applications submitted during the funding cycle.  

“These grants are highly competitive. The fact that Lexie won the award reinforces the notion that you don’t have to be in graduate school to win competitive grants; you can achieve these goals at the undergraduate level too,” Dr. Call said. “It shows the community that BHSU students are doing great things here at the university and tells the universities in the Psi Chi network that BHSU students are exceptionally bright and motivated.”  

Bendigo will also present the concept of her project at the 26th annual Black Hills Research Symposium being held on the BHSU campus March 26-28.