Skip to main content
Moravian College

Michelle Hanna '12

2011-2012 Honors Student

Michelle Hanna '12

Name:  Michelle Hanna '12 
Honors in: Psychology
Hometown: Macungie, Pa.
Major/minor: Psychology/Sociology

Title of project: Optimism and Twelve-Step Recovery from Sex Addiction

Project advisor: Dr. Stacey Zaremba

Abstract or brief description: For my honors thesis I studied which components of the Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) twelve-step program facilitated optimism in recovery from sex addiction. Components studied included: meeting attendance, program activities (making coffee, chairing a meeting, etc.), working the twelve-steps, sponsorship, and program literature. Within my topic, I explored literature on optimism, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and addiction recovery. Results demonstrated that there is a strong relationship between optimism and program literature, program activities, and working the twelve-steps. This implies that the more involved in the SLAA components, the higher the optimism. It was also found that those sex addicts who have a sponsor have significantly higher optimism scores than those addicts who do not have a sponsor.

How did you get interested in your topic? I think what interested me in the topic was that sex addiction is something that is not really talked about in our community. When I met with Dr. Zaremba to do an independent study and she explained the topic, I was instantly drawn to the research. Previously, in my independent study Zaremba, Citivello, Hrebin, & Hanna (2011) found that optimism facilitates greater sexual sobriety and recovery which led me to my honors thesis topic.

Do you intend to research your topic further? If so, how? I definitely plan on continuing to research sex addiction as the literature is continuing to grow. At this point, I cannot be sure of how I will continue to research the topic, but hope that my ideas for future studies will be implemented.

How did you benefit academically by conducting research/participating in honors? Doing an Honors project benefited me in so many ways. The project improved my writing and researching in the psychology field and academically made me look more appealing to graduate schools. It made me feel as if I have experienced something unique and has provided me with a well-rounded academic experience at Moravian.

How has the department (or faculty advisor) prepared you for the future? I cannot thank the psychology department enough for all the opportunity and support they have given me. I definitely am more than prepared to take on my future endeavors due to the classes I took and the help I received from the professors.

What advice do you have for other students interested in Honors? If I could do it again, I would. If you are even considering it, talk to your professors or to someone who went through it already. Get all of the help you need from the resources that Moravian provides, pick something that you really enjoy learning about or are very interested in understanding. I would say that I have not experienced anything more rewarding than feeling as if I contributed to the psychology field and did research that I can call my own.

My future plans: I plan on attending graduate school for my Master's in mental health counseling and continuing on in the field of psychology.