NotreDame Resources

Author: Dennis Brown and William Gilroy

Notre Dame ReSources
December 4, 2001

Please feel free to call the following Notre Dame faculty for additional comment on these people and events in the news: <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />

Holiday stress: The usual stress of the holiday season may be even more pronounced than usual this year, according to two staff psychologists in the University Counseling Center at Notre Dame. “Many of us anticipate increased levels of stress in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks,” says Dr. Wendy Settle , a specialist in stress management and the treatment of anxiety disorders. “This may be true, especially for those who were more directly affected by the attacks and those who have suffered a traumatic event prior to Sept. 11. Most people respond to trauma with resilience and they cope with even multiple stresses quite well. You can give your resiliency a boost this holiday season by taking care of yourself, reducing your expectations for doing too much, practicing relaxation techniques, and finding meaning in prayer, meditation or song.” Dr. Len Hickman adds: “During the holiday season, if possible, do what is most familiar, with perhaps one exception: Be kind to yourself and others by not having unrealistic demands for the perfect holiday. Focus on reasonable goals and on those things over which you realistically have control. Put the events of Sept. 11 in perspective. We as a nation have a long history of perseverance. We can deal with this successfully. We as individuals can also cope successfully and become more resilient. For those of us not experiencing deep grief, this is also a time to consider what is truly important and to be both thankful and appropriately joyous.” Dr. Settle can be reached for further comment at Dr. Hickman is at p. p. Kashmir: The long-running conflict in Kashmir, the bifurcated region between India and Pakistan, is one of several worldwide that can be “best addressed now, as part of a wider attempt of the United States and other Western countries to rise to the challenge of making a safer world,” says Cynthia Mahmood , a senior fellow of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and associate professor of anthropology at Notre Dame. “Military solutions alone will not achieve this goal. Conflict resolution in Israel/Palestine, Sudan, Chechnya, Kashmir and other places where radical Islamists are involved can and must be pursued in tandem. We have to ensure that Kashmir is not yet another site where violent options appear to the desperate as the only choice. Attention to such longstanding disputes is not ‘negotiating with terrorists,’ but is the only rational strategy through which the United States can contribute to justice, and hence assure a future of peace rather than war.” Professor Mahmood can be reached for further comment at (219) 631-7604 or p. p. Catalytic converters: A study conducted by researchers from the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Environmental Science and Technology (CEST) suggests that catalytic converters on automobiles are dispersing potentially toxic elements along U.S. roadsides. Published in the American Chemical Society’s journal Environmental Science&Technology, the research is the most detailed study of roadside contamination by catalytic converters to date. Catalytic converters have been in use on U.S. automobiles since 1975 to remove gaseous pollutants, such as carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, from exhaust. The devices promote chemical reactions that change these pollutants into less harmful emissions.p. The material used to speed up these reactions is filled with platinum, palladium and rhodium, known as platinum-group elements, or PGEs. The PGEs are emitted as microscopic particles from an automobile’s tailpipe. The amount and rate of PGE release from catalytic converters is affected by a number of factors, including the speed of the automobile and the type of engine and fuel additives. The Notre Dame researchers collected soil samples from urban roads and side streets in and around South Bend, Ind., where Notre Dame is located. They also traveled to sites along Interstate 80 between South Bend and Chicago and collected roadside and soil samples at 5, 10 and 50 meters from the road. The study showed that potentially harmful levels of PGEs are being dispersed on roadsides, and as far as 55 meters from the roads. Platinum is highly allergenic and consistent exposure to it at even low levels can lead to asthma, sensitive skin or other symptoms. More research needs to be done on the harmful effects of palladium and rhodium.p. p. Job searchers: A new study coauthored by Robert D. Bretz , Giovanini Professor of Management at Notre Dame, finds that employed business managers who are smart, agreeable and imaginative ? as well as those who are neurotic ? are most inclined to search for new jobs. In “Personality and Cognitive Ability as Predictors of Job Search Among Employed Managers,” published in the journal Personnel Psychology, Bretz and three colleagues examined how the enduring individual characteristics of intelligence and personality ? as contrasted to such variables as salary, tenure or job satisfaction ? affect a person’s propensity to search for a job. They found that of five major personality traits ? conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism and openness to experience ? the latter three, along with cognitive ability, are exhibited by people most likely to engage in job search activities. They also reported that the relationship between extroversion and the tendency to search for a new job becomes significant and positive when the situational factor of job satisfaction comes into play. Bretz said the findings do not mean that employees who search for new jobs are more likely to leave. Some do, of course, but many others job search in order to establish contacts in their field, determine their own market value so as to leverage their current employer, or to simply reassure themselves that their current job is attractive. Professor Bretz is available for further comment at (219) 631-9821 or

TopicID: 2278