• An Exploration of the Benefits of Animal-Assisted Activities in Undergraduate Students in Singapore

      Muckle, Jolene; Lasikiewicz, Nicola; University of Chester; James Cook University, Singapore (Wiley, 2017-07-03)
      The rise in psychological problems, attrition and suicide rates of university students has been linked to the stressful challenges faced during university life. To buffer this, Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) may assist in improving psychological and physiological well-being in students, however, to date, there is little empirical evidence for their effectiveness. Consequently, this study explored the psychological and physiological benefits of AAA in a sample of undergraduate students. Sixty-two students from two local universities participated in an hour-long AAA session delivered by Therapy Dogs Singapore (TDS). Measures of perceived stress, anxiety, state self-esteem, and blood pressure (BP) were taken before and after the sessions. The results indicated that students experienced significant decreases in state anxiety, systolic and diastolic BP post AAA, and when compared to a quiet reading comparison session. State self-esteem increased post AAA and, further, was found to moderate the change in anxiety in addition to perceived stress, whereby, perceived anxiety reduced more in those with low state self-esteem and high perceived stress. These results suggest that AAA can be an effective intervention for stress among undergraduate students, which utilizes a novel, easy to implement and enjoyable approach for Singaporean students.
    • The Integrated Psychosocial Model of Criminal Social Identity (IPM-CSI)

      Boduszek, Daniel; Dhingra, Katie; Debowska, Agata; University of Huddersfield, Leeds Beckett University, University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2016-04-22)
      The integrated psychosocial model of criminal social identity attempts to synthesize, distil, and extend our knowledge and understanding of why people develop criminal social identity, with a particular focus on the psychological and social factors involved. We suggest that the development of criminal social identity results from a complex interplay between four important groups of psychosocial factors: (1) an identity crisis which results in weak bonds with society, peer rejection, and is associated with poor parental attachment and supervision; (2) exposure to a criminal/antisocial environment in the form of associations with criminal friends before, during, and/or after incarceration; (3) a need for identification with a criminal group in order to protect one’s self-esteem; and (4) the moderating role of personality traits in the relationship between criminal/antisocial environment and the development of criminal social identity. The model produces testable hypotheses and points to potential opportunities for intervention and prevention. Directions for future research are discussed.
    • Modifying self-blame, self-esteem, and disclosure through a cooperative cross-age teaching intervention for bullying among adolescents

      Boulton, Michael J.; Boulton, Louise; University of Chester (Springer, 2017-05-17)
      Bullying is common among school students, and some victims hold self-blaming attributions, exhibit low self-esteem, and do not seek social support. A wait-list control pre/post-test experimental design, with random allocation, was used to assess the effects of a novel cross-age teaching of social issues intervention (CATS) on the latter three variables among peer-identified victims of bullying (N = 41, mean age = 14.5 years). In small co-operative groups of classmates, participants designed and delivered a lesson to younger students that informed them that bullies not victims are in the wrong, victims have no reason to feel bad about themselves and that seeking help can be beneficial. CATS led to a significant improvement on all three dependent variables with mostly large effect sizes, these positive effects were even stronger with a bigger dose of intervention (six versus four hours), and changes in self-blame, and separately changes in self-esteem, mediated the positive effect of the intervention on help-seeking. The theoretical and practical implications of these results were discussed, especially in terms of supporting a highly vulnerable sub-group of adolescents.
    • Psychological benefits of weight loss following behavioural and/or dietary weight loss interventions. A systematic research review

      Lasikiewicz, Nicola; Myrissa, Kyriaki; Hoyland, Alexa; Lawton, Clare; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2014-01-01)
      It is generally accepted that weight loss has significant physiological benefits, such as reduced risk of diabetes, lowered blood pressure and blood lipid levels. However, few behavioural and dietary interventions have investigated psychological benefit as the primary outcome. Hence, systematic review methodology was adopted to evaluate the psychological outcomes of weight loss following participation in a behavioural and/or dietary weight loss intervention in overweight/obese populations. 36 Studies were selected for inclusion and were reviewed. Changes in self-esteem, depressive symptoms, body image and health related quality of life (HRQoL) were evaluated and discussed. Where possible, effect sizes to indicate the magnitude of change pre- to post- intervention were calculated using Hedges’ g standardised mean difference. The results demonstrated consistent improvements in psychological outcomes concurrent with and sometimes without weight loss. Improvements in body image and HRQoL (especially vitality) were closely related to changes in weight. Calculated effect sizes varied considerably and reflected the heterogeneous nature of the studies included in the review. Although the quality of the studies reviewed was generally acceptable, only 9 out of 36 studies included a suitable control/comparison group and the content, duration of intervention and measures used to assess psychological outcomes varied considerably. Further research is required to improve the quality of studies assessing the benefits of weight loss to fully elucidate the relationship between weight loss and psychological outcomes.
    • Understanding self-respect and its relationship to self-esteem

      Clucas, Claudine; University of Chester (Sage, 2019-10-21)
      The concept of self-respect has received little attention in the psychological literature and is not clearly distinguished from self-esteem. The present research sought to empirically investigate the bases of self-respect by manipulating adherence to morals together with interpersonal appraisals, or task-related competence, in hypothetical scenarios (Studies 1a and 1b) and a situation participants relived (Studies 2 and 3). Participants’ levels of state self-respect and self-esteem were measured. Studies 1-3 found main effects of adherence to morals on self-respect, with self-respect mediating the effect of adherence to morals on self-esteem, but little support for competence and interpersonal appraisals directly influencing self-respect. Self-respect uniquely contributed to anticipated/felt self-esteem alongside competence or interpersonal appraisals. The pattern of results supports the conceptualisation of self-respect as a component of self-esteem associated with morally principled conduct, distinct from performance and social self-esteem. The findings have implications for our understanding of self-esteem and moral behaviour.