Recent Submissions

  • Law students with Dyslexia and their experience of academic assessment

    Newton, Jethro; Davies, Chantel; Healey, Ruth L.; Morrow, John W. (University of Chester, 2017-10)
    The research explores the experience that students with Dyslexia, on law degrees, have of academic assessment, and the environmental factors that influence their experience and perceptions. The research is situated in one HEI (the Research Institution), which has a student population of 18,800, of which 634 had declared a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) (including Dyslexia) during the academic year 2014/15. Previous research has shown that students with Dyslexia are disadvantaged by traditional forms of academic assessment. Whilst little research has been carried out on Dyslexia and law degrees, the predominance of traditional approaches to assessment is commonly believed to disadvantage students with Dyslexia. This potential disadvantage is explored within the Research Institution (RI). In light of their obligation under the Equality Act 2010 to take reasonable steps to alleviate such disadvantages, specific consideration is given to the RI’s response to potential disadvantages faced by such students. In order to facilitate this objective a multiple-methods approach has been utilised for gathering data. Data has been collected through questionnaires, focus groups and interviews, with law students with and without Dyslexia, with lecturers inside and outside the law school, and with student support staff and other professionals. The range of data was then analysed, utilising an inductive approach. Five main themes emerged, and were explored using a social model of Dyslexia and from an emancipatory perspective. The themes are: 1) diagnosis and categorisation of Dyslexia; 2) the students’ experience of academic assessment; 3) the students’ experience of adjustments to academic assessment; 4) the impact of the law school environment on the experience of students with Dyslexia, and 5) the effect of the wider institutional environment and institutional policy and practice on the experiences and perceptions of how students with Dyslexia, and how they are responded to. The data collected pointed to the fact that students with Dyslexia struggled with traditional academic assessment, to a more significant degree than students without Dyslexia. While reasonable adjustments were provided by the institution to help students with Dyslexia overcome such difficulties, and whilst these were helpful to some extent, their overall effectiveness was shown to be limited. The main reasons for the student experiences that emerged from the research were related to the fact that, due to their Dyslexia, the forms of assessment used by their department presented a direct difficulty for students. Traditional forms of assessment utilised on law degrees are therefore considered to be a ‘disabling barrier’, as they inhibit students with Dyslexia from fully demonstrating their academic ability. The thesis then presents pointers to how law degree providers can respond to this issue. It is argued that this can be achieved by adjusting assessment methods in a way that removes, or at least reduces, the ‘disabling barriers’ faced by law students with Dyslexia. The research suggests that this is made possible by utilising a broader range of assessment methods beyond those traditionally utilised in law degrees. It also details how the individualistic nature of Dyslexia means that the most effective means of improving inclusivity for all students is to provide them with elements of choice as to the form of assessment adopted. The research concludes with proposals for alleviating the disadvantage experienced by law students with Dyslexia in respect of their experience of the academic assessment process and academic assessment outcomes. It is argued that to enhance the quality of their learning opportunities, and in order to be inclusive, academic assessment policy and practice should be informed by/premised upon a social interpretation of Dyslexia.
  • An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the lived experience of traumatic bereavement on therapists’ personal and professional identity and practice

    Gubi, Peter; Mintz, Rita; Broadbent, Jeanne R. (University of Chester, 2015-10)
    The self of the therapist is widely recognised as being a crucial component in the therapeutic relationship. However, comparatively little is known about the therapist as a person, or of how life-changing events in therapists’ personal lives may impact on their professional identity and practice. The aim of this phenomenological study was to explore the impact of traumatic bereavement on the personal and professional lives of qualified humanistic therapists in order to shed further light on this under-researched area. Underpinned by a phenomenological-hermeneutic philosophy, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was selected as the methodology most appropriate to reveal participants’ lived experience. Purposive sampling was used to recruit a homogenous sample of eight humanistic therapists who had experienced traumatic bereavement while practising. Data comprised interview transcripts, participants’ reflective writing and researcher field notes. IPA’s idiographic approach facilitated the creation of a detailed and nuanced thematic analysis of the phenomenon, grounded in participants’ voices. Five super-ordinate themes were created from the interpretative phenomenological analysis, each of which provides a complementary ‘lens’ through which to view participants’ holistic experience: ‘Significance of context’, ‘Confronting a changed reality’, ‘Re-learning the world’, ‘Facing professional challenges’ and ‘Personal and professional reciprocity’. Findings reveal the unique contextual and multi-faceted nature of traumatic bereavement, and suggest that this experience can profoundly impact on therapists’ personal and social identities and beliefs. The professional challenges faced by grieving therapists are also highlighted. Findings illustrate that through a reciprocal process of personal and professional integration, the experience of facing, and living through grief, can lead to therapists’ increased self-knowledge, understanding, empathy and authenticity that informs and enhances their therapeutic practice. Supportive supervision and continued self-reflection are evidenced as significant mediating factors. The research demonstrates that the process of integrating the experience of traumatic bereavement into the therapist’s personal and professional life is a continuing and oscillating process. It is crucial that therapists carrying this burden have opportunities to reflect on this process in supportive supervisory relationships in order to pre-empt and ameliorate difficulties they may face in client work. A greater understanding of therapist bereavement is needed across the profession.
  • An inquiry into adult adoptees’ journeying with their sexuality

    Gubi, Peter M.; West, William; Sims, Michael C. (University of Chester, 2017-09)
    This multi-layered and multi-perspective inquiry focuses on adult adoptees’ sense-making of, and presentation of, their sexuality and self/identity. It is situated firmly within postmodern and social constructionist traditions, whereby both the personal/particular and social/shared dimensions of experiences are negotiated, disenfranchised/marginalised voices are privileged, and the distinctions between, research, art and therapy are disrupted. Due to the adoptees being placed in, and conceived as, marginalised group members, their local and marginalised voices are privileged within this thesis. The aims of this research were:  To gain access to, and gather, adult adoptee’s personal narratives/stories around the subject of their sexuality, their sexual identity and their adoption;  To give ‘voice’ to adult adoptees around the subject of sexuality and adoption;  To represent, and then present, these narratives/stories, honouring both the individual particulars of ‘lived experience’ and also to highlight any shared thematic qualities of the participants. A bricolage approach was used, using Kinchloe and Berry’s (2004) formalised theoretical concept of the ‘POET’ (the point of entry text). To capture the multiplicity of the research, and the POETs, a three-phase approach was applied. Phase one incorporated my auto-ethnographic account, of my lived experience of sexuality as an adoptee, through an analysis of my narratives and poems. Phase two explored the participants’ understanding, and presentation of, their sexuality from the analysis of their interview data. These data were analysed through a heuristic approach, developing individual depictions, a group depiction and then a final creative synthesis. In phase three, an interpretative phenomenological analysis, was applied to highlight thematic individual and shared themes of the participants’ data, to present a more structured and thematic representation. The data from phase one, two and three, highlighted the vulnerability, and cultural socio-political constructs, that can affect the self-formation and sexuality of an adoptee. The data from phase three established four superordinate themes: 1. Sexual attitudes, 2. Vulnerability, 3. The ‘Other’, and 4. The Feminine. The research demonstrates that adult adoptees, as vulnerable, are more open and susceptible to external influence regarding their sexuality and self-formation, and proposes an ‘inherent potential toward vulnerability’ within the adoptee. Therefore, there is a relationship between the adoptee, as inherently vulnerable, and how they constitute their sexuality and self-formation. Implications for practice require careful ethical consideration of the adoptees’ inherent vulnerability and how this impacts their sexuality and self-formation. These considerations for good practice/therapeutic intervention are underpinned by an awareness of potential ethical, political and social issues regarding the adoptee’s susceptible influence by the ‘other’. Therefore, an awareness of how ‘non-directive practice’ can be integrated ethically by the practitioner is emphasised. These implications are not always evident in counselling/psychotherapy training and supervision, and therefore need careful consideration by the practitioner at a personal level, and in relation to social policy, when working with adoptees.
  • The Church of England’s Influence on the Divorce Reform Act 1969

    Kay, Roger; Bolton, Mike; Sinclair, Rosemary M. (University of Chester, 2017-02)
    This study traces the Church of England’s influence on the development of the Divorce Reform Act 1969 from 1964, with the setting up of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s group to examine divorce law, to the end of the 1970s, by which time the special procedure was used in all undefended divorces. The first chapter analyses the Archbishop’s Group itself, its formation, membership, deliberations and conclusions, contained in its report, Putting Asunder: A Divorce Law for Contemporary Society. The second chapter examines the negotiations which took place between the Group and the Law Commission, from which emerged a document known as The Consensus. The third chapter demonstrates how The Consensus evolved, first into a draft bill, and subsequently into the Divorce Reform Act 1969, as a result of its passage through Parliament. The final chapter examines the statutory interpretation of the Act by the courts to assess how much of the recommendations of the Putting Asunder remained ten years after the law was implemented. The methodology used is that of a legal historian and thereby the work differs in emphasis from studies done on this legislation by theologians, historians and sociologists. It focuses primarily on a detailed analysis of the change in the law during that period, as influenced by the Church of England. Thus, it closely examines the workings of law reform groups, negotiations and drafting of the Bill, the Bill’s passage through Parliament, and statutory interpretation of the Act in the courts. It builds on the work of others, particularly that of Professor Stephen Cretney, an eminent academic lawyer who analysed the part the Archbishop Group’s Report played in the process of divorce reform. This work develops this theme but appraises that role of the Church of England more comprehensively. It uses some of the historical and legal materials used by others, but also some material not previously used such as the Dunstan Papers, the papers of D. R. Dunstan, a member of the Archbishop’s groups and biographical materials of other members of the Group and their own writings. This gives a more detailed understanding of why the Church of England contributed in the way it did. The thesis concludes that whilst the Church of England appeared a powerful influence on the Divorce Reform Act 1969, its influence was constrained by its agreement with the Law Commission. It did contribute to the Divorce Reform Bill becoming an Act, but was not able to safeguard the conditions on which its support for the new concept of law, irretrievable breakdown of marriage, was based.
  • A co-operative inquiry into counselling and psychotherapy trainers' inter- and intra-personal concerns and challenges in a higher education context

    Gubi, Peter M.; Carver, Elizabeth V. (University of Chester, 2017-03-26)
    Key Aim: The purpose of this study was to examine complex concerns and challenges encountered by counselling and psychotherapy trainers, and support them to deliver a consistent, relationship-centred learning approach within Higher Education (HE). Background: Counselling and psychotherapy training is central to regulating practice, however, studies conceptualising trainers’ concerns and challenges in the United Kingdom (UK) are sparse. Literature generally evaluates trainer challenges from a professional competence and/or gatekeeping perspective. Little evidence exists identifying problems connected with ‘professionalisation’. Aims and Objectives: The aim was to evaluate trainers’ multidimensional unease that can hinder working relationships. The intention was to: explore difficult patterns of behaviour and group dynamics in the ‘training alliance’; explore trainers’ perceptions and experiences when confronted with gatekeeping issues; collaboratively develop strategies to enhance trainers’ learning experience; examine the processes needed to sustain these strategies; and identify the lessons learnt to inform practice, education, and research. Approach and Methods: A qualitative, co-operative inquiry approach enabled trainers to question their situated and propositional knowledge, reconcile professional challenges, allay concerns about individual fitness to practice, and provide alternative responses to students, peers, and managerial hierarchies in HE and professional bodies. This approach has a political and social element, according with personal desire to make change. Thematic analysis uncovered new insights, expanded or modified principles and re-examine accepted interpretations during 8 inquiry sessions with 5 experienced trainers, and 3 associated workshops. A primarily iterative and inductive process of immersion, involved reflexive engagement, and sharing of data with trainer/practitioners. Findings: 6 overarching themes were identified: Trying to Make Sense of Significant Events; Negotiating Conflict and Incongruity in Training Groups; Navigating Inherent Challenges within Counsellor Training Teams; Teaching as a Never-Ending Challenge; Organisational Constraints and Challenges; and Contemplating Individual Connection in a Collaborative Context. Discussion and Conclusion: Findings supported previous research suggesting trainers require training, and that trainers’ concerns and challenges are interlinked; beginning with interpersonal challenges that subsequently impact on trainers’ professional and intra-personal sense of identity. Co-operative inquiry can benefit programme teams in terms of the co-construction of trainers’ realities and dynamic negotiation of meaning. Co-researchers’ knowledge and confidence in responding to potential conflict in training was enhanced. To achieve the best outcome, this knowledge needs implementing in practice; programme team involvement is a prerequisite, and support is required by professional bodies and HE to ensure ethical training practice in the face of student disgruntlement, management demands in HE and from professional accrediting bodies.
  • Sport coaching in a community setting: How do community youth sport coaches’ frame their role?

    Wheeler, Timothy J.; Lafferty, Moira E.; Ryrie, Angus (University of Chester, 2016-12)
    Community youth sport coaching is identified as a coaching domain tasked with delivering complex social outcomes. When coaching in this context, individuals can be expected to operate in multiple settings, as well as engage with, and support numerous participant types. To meet participant needs coaches are required to have a wide range of skills and competencies. Current research suggests how coaching roles emerge and competencies develop are not always clear. Therefore, to understand coach identity fully; there is a requirement to explore the meanings, values and importance placed upon coach roles. Past research illustrates that the manner in which coaches’ frame their role is instrumental to how they prioritise and organise critical moments of practice that warrant further reflection; thus allowing individuals to “construct the reality in which they function". This thesis intends to extend current knowledge on how sport coaches’ define, shape and “frame” their role in community youth sport settings. The research objectives are to: (a) examine the environmental conditions and personal views coaches’ hold with regard to community youth sport in the UK and, (b) evaluate elements that influence their role and individual approach towards coaching. In essence, (c) evaluate how community youth sport coaches’ shape and frame their role.
  • A qualitative exploration of therapists’ experiences as clients who prematurely terminated their therapy in England

    Gubi, Peter M.; Reeves, Andrew; Bonsmann, Christine F. (University of Chester, 2016-07-31)
    This qualitative study explored experiences of prematurely terminating adult individual therapy from the perspectives of therapists as clients in England. The aims of the study were to gain an overview of the experience of prematurely terminating therapy; to understand the experience of dissatisfaction when this is given as a reason for prematurely terminating therapy; and to inform and thus help improve practice. Rates of premature termination from counselling and psychotherapy remain high despite a considerable body of research into possible predictors of this phenomenon. Few studies have explored clients’ experiences of premature termination in depth. Clients often report dissatisfaction as a reason for premature termination, and this experience is under-researched. From practitioners’ perspectives, little is known about indicators of dissatisfaction, and how to manage premature termination if it occurs. The study was conducted in two stages. The purposeful sample were therapists who, as clients, prematurely terminated personal therapy after attending at least two sessions. Participants self-selected as having prematurely terminated therapy. Stage one used an online qualitative survey to gain an overview of participants’ experiences of premature termination, and the 40 usable responses were analysed inductively using thematic analysis. The survey was used to recruit participants for stage two. In stage two, six semi-structured interviews were carried out with participants who had prematurely terminated therapy for reasons of dissatisfaction. The data were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Overall, the major themes created were: feeling dissatisfied; client becomes unable to continue therapy; and communication about the premature termination. The findings confirm the importance of the working alliance in therapy, and illuminate how the alliance failed to develop in experiences of dissatisfaction. It is argued that understanding clients’ experiences could enable practitioners to recognise the presence of dissatisfaction, and adapt therapy, if appropriate, to minimise avoidable premature termination. The need for therapy to ‘add value’ was also identified. The findings indicate a failure by some therapists to act in a relational way when clients prematurely terminated therapy, thereby disrupting the dominant discourse about the importance of the therapeutic relationship. Clients’ needs at the point of premature termination were identified. The findings of this study are not generalisable but may be transferable. The study concludes that therapists’ management of how therapy ends is just as important as the management of how it begins, regardless of how it ends. This has implications for practice and training. Areas for further research are identified.
  • What Can Politics Academic Practice Learn from the Experience Politics Students Have of Expressing Their Political Views?

    D'Artrey, Meriel P. (University of Chester, 2015-11)
    The aim of the research is to identify implications for the practice of Politics academics from the experience their students have of expressing their political views. This exploratory study is set within the wider debate of power and performativity in the HE classroom. It is situated in a study of practice and perceptions in one Department at the University of Chester and conducted through a review of the literature and empirical qualitative research with both Politics students and Politics academics. The research found that while Politics students wish to express their political views, these may not be their actual political views. Politics students indicate that the Politics academic can affect their expression of political views. They prefer academics who express their own political views and they do not like politically neutral academics. They may wish to know an academic’s political views in order to gain advantage for themselves. Knowing an academic’s political views enables the student to avoid expressing political views which some Politics academics find offensive. The research highlights the part played by power and performativity in the expressing of the Politics student’s political views and identifies some of the complexities arising from this. The practice outcomes provide guidance on how Politics academics can approach the issue of the Politics student’s expression of political views. This single case study’s value lies in these contributions to wider practice. Research is identified which will explore the findings further.
  • The Unmet Psychosocial Needs of Haematological Cancer Patients and their Impact upon Psychological Wellbeing

    Swash, Brooke (University of Chester, 2015-01)
    Unmet psychosocial needs indicate a desire for additional support in cancer patients, having a direct clinical utility in directing the provision of supportive care. There is evidence in wider cancer groups that unmet needs relate to psychological wellbeing but this relationship has yet to be fully explored and factors that may explain or moderate this relationship yet to be examined. There has been little investigation of type or prevalence of unmet need in haematological cancer patients, however, haematological cancers are noteworthy for their high levels of associated distress. Understanding causality of distress is key to the effective implementation of supportive care services. This thesis aimed to highlight the unmet needs most relevant to haematological cancer patients and to explore their impact upon psychological wellbeing. This thesis comprises four interconnected research studies: a systematic review exploring existing knowledge of unmet needs; a qualitative exploration of patient experiences of unmet needs and their impact; a quantitative questionnaire study of unmet need and psychological wellbeing in newly diagnosed haematological cancer patients, placing a special emphasis on the difference between active treatment and watch and wait regimes; and, a second quantitative questionnaire study that explores unmet need, psychological wellbeing, and psychological flexibility as a potential moderator in their relationship in a sample of haematological cancer survivors. This thesis demonstrates a relationship between unmet need and psychological wellbeing in haematological cancer patients. Fear of recurrence, concerns about loved ones, being able to do the things you used to, and a need for information were all found to be of relevance. The qualitative study highlighted that patients feel that, as haematology patients, they are distinct from other cancer patients which impacts upon the perceived acceptability of support services and specific barriers to the accessing of support services are presented. Significant correlations between unmet need and key psychological outcomes such as anxiety, depression and quality of life were observed in both quantitative studies. In addition, the concept of psychological flexibility was found to moderate the relationship between unmet need and psychological wellbeing in haematological cancer survivors. This work has clear implications for both future research and clinical practice. Unmet needs assessment has the potential to be used as a screening tool for overall psychological wellbeing, a way to stratify and understand the specific causes of distress and poor quality of life for this patient group. In the UK, on-going support for cancer patients diminishes at the end of treatment, these findings suggest that further support is needed in order to meet the psychological needs of cancer survivors. Further research is needed to further explore the role of psychological flexibility in cancer-related distress: interventions that target psychological flexibility have the potential to improve both unmet need and distress.
  • Client Perspectives and Experiences of Congruence

    Savic-Jabrow, Pamela (University of Chester, 2015-04)
    This small scale enquiry looks at the value of Rogers’ concept of congruence from the perspectives and experiences of clients rather than those of the counsellor, as, it is the view of the author that the value of congruence is only established if it is perceived so by clients. It contributes to the debate about Rogers’ definition of congruence and offers a research informed perspective, relevant to a range of therapeutic interventions, of the nature and function of congruence in the counsellor-client relationship. The study involved me as the researcher and six participants from two cultural backgrounds who had responded to a leaflet after having experienced therapy with a qualified counsellor other than me. A pilot study was carried out followed by six semi-structured, face-to-face and telephone interviews that were transcribed and analysed using a qualitative, thematic analysis approach. A decision was made to divide participants into those who had experienced person-centred counselling and those who had experienced CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) or integrative therapy. This was not an original decision but one that was made during the study in order to compare the presence and the importance of congruence in different models of therapy. Results revealed that there were terms that were central to, related to and unrelated to Rogers’ definition of congruence. Factors that were centrally related to congruence were: connection and demeanour. Therapist facilitative factors that were tangentially related to congruence were: respect; understanding; empathy; self-disclosure; trust; body language; conveying emotion and caring. Participants also referred to non-related facets such as therapist competence. Due to the majority of codes being related to congruence, this led to the conclusion that participants held a wide definition of the concept, implied by proxy (as a substitute). Participants confirmed the value of congruence, suggesting that Rogers’ theory, that is, that therapist congruence is necessary for positive growth to occur in clients, is important in counselling (Rogers, 1957). Congruence therefore cannot be described as an outdated theory or professional ideology but as a key concept that is prized and valued in modern day therapy. This study offers an original contribution to knowledge and professional practice because it provides not professionals but clients with the opportunity to have their voices heard. It allows service-users to put into words their experiences, thereby offering a better understanding of the phenomenon of congruence. The study has therefore allowed the provision for a more empowering, research-informed counsellor-client experience. A second claim to the study being unique and a valid contribution to knowledge is that the research has a particular focus on Rogers’ definition of congruence and enquires if this is relevant for service-users as opposed to service-providers.
  • Choices for childbirth: The role of psychological and social factors in the nature and extent of women's decisions for labour and delivery and their influence on post-natal outcomes

    Hayes, Liane (University of Liverpool, 2014-01)
    Research into birth plans has considered women’s experiences of their usefulness as an aid to communicating preferences for childbirth. It has also evaluated implications for post-natal well-being based on the realisation of expressed preferences in labour and delivery. The current study aimed to identify the psychosocial profile of birth planners and to explore the outcomes for these women as compared with non-planners post-natally. It also compared the psychological constructs measured in the sample with a non-pregnant population to see differences between pregnant, post-natal and non-pregnant women on these dimensions. A sample of 140 women who had not been pregnant in the past year completed a questionnaire measuring: Age, occupational group; ethnic group; general health status, health knowledge, attitudes towards doctors and medicines; locus of control; coping style; perceived social support; and beliefs about pain control. A questionnaire was also given to 120 women in four antenatal clinics across a primary care trust in the North West of England. This questionnaire produced data on all of the variables in the comparison questionnaire, plus: Parity; antenatal education; birth plan use; medical conditions; information seeking; and childbirth self-efficacy. Women also described in text their preferences for birth. At least four weeks after delivery these women completed a further questionnaire consisting of the seven measures used in both the previous two questionnaires, plus: experience of birth; usefulness of birth plan; and post-natal depression. They also described in text their experience of birth. Results showed that birth planners were younger and had lower levels of internal health control than non-birth planners. Birth planners tended to use problem focussed coping styles, perceived less support from their significant other and perceived doctors as more powerful in pain control than non-birth planners. More positive psychological post-natal outcomes were experienced by women who valued their birth plans if they had one but overall birth planners experienced more negative psychological post-natal outcomes than non-birth planners. The non-pregnant sample was comparable in demographic terms to the pregnant sample but differed in most subscales across all measures to the pregnant sample pre-natally and to a lesser extent post-natally. The factors implicated in birth planning and psychological post-natal outcomes are discussed both in terms of the literature and possible implications for the training and practice of midwives.
  • Great expectations: A qualitative examination of restorative justice practices and victim interaction

    Dutton, Kathryn; Armstrong, Jac R. B. (University of Chester, 2012-10)
    This thesis presents original empirical research concerning a restorative justice practice currently operating within England. Specifically, it examines the expectations and experiences of victims participating in a restorative practice. It establishes the extent to which victims‘ expectations may impact upon their experiences of the restorative justice process. Throughout this research, original empirical data is presented which demonstrates that victims possess a limited understanding of restorative principles and practices, which persists despite preparatory meetings. This research suggests victims place almost exclusive reliance upon gatekeepers of the process, specifically the police or restorative facilitator, in both the formation of their expectations of the process and in their decisions to participate. This thesis argues that the existence of restorative practices as complex interactionary processes enables victims to experience aspects of the process negatively, whilst continuing to view the process as beneficial. It is submitted that negative experiences can arise from an expectation-reality gap, which the preparatory meetings fail to rectify. Throughout the restorative process, this research demonstrates that victims continue to possess a punitive perspective and continue to rely upon aspects of the traditional criminal justice system and courtroom imagery. Such reliance exists in contradiction to central themes of restorative justice theory, including victim rejection of an empowered decision making role during the process, and the irrelevance of offender remorse.
  • Dyslexia and time: A comparison of speed and accuracy of young dyslexics and non-dyslexics on time recognition and time management by adult dyslexics

    Wheeler, Timothy J.; Reynolds, David; Ellis, Antony R. (University of Chester, 2013-08)
    This research describes two invesitgations into temporal processing by dyslexics. Firstly, the accuracy and speed of response that dyslexic children and matched controls demonstrate on three types of time comparison task was explored. The participants were 96 boys and 24 girls, divided into three age bands: 7:0 - 7:11; 11:0 - 11:11 and 14:0 - 14:11 years of age of whom 60 were dyslexic and 60 non-dyslexic. Dyslexics in all age bads took longer and made fewer correct responses than non-dyslexics in time telling. Younger dyslexics were differentially disadvantaged when compared to older dyslexics in speed and correctness. Both groups showed improved accuracy and speed with age. The dyslexic cohort aged 14 years improved in accuracy from age 11, though with only marginal improvement in reaction time speed. Complex time perception proved most difficult for both groups. Reason for these differences are discussed with reference to limited sort-term memory problems affecting performance especially for dyslexics. The research substantiates particular theories of dyslexia and a new model helps to explain the process. Practical implications are suggested for parents, teachers and examiners concerned with dyslexic children. Secondly, the time management skills of dyslexic and non-dyslexic adults were examined for 43 dyslexic and 41 non-dyslexic particpants who answered an online questionnaire about their time management skills. The adult questionnaires revealed that dyslexics find time management, estimation, planning and sticking to a schedule particualrly difficult, resulting in task delay or incompletion, and heightened levels of stress as time pressures increase. Questions revealed lack of confidence in time management techniques amongst dyslexics. Many dyslexics had found these difficulties placed severe contraints on career choices, areas of employment and lifestyle. Possible reasons for these diffierenecs are discussed with an accompanying model that stresses the contraints caused by poor working memory.
  • Anxiety and depression symptomatology in adult siblings of disabled individuals: The role of perceived parenting, attachment, personality traits and disability types

    Murray, Lindsay; Scott, David; O'Neill, Linda P. (University of Liverpool (University of Chester)University of Chester, 2011-11)
    Objectives: (1) To ascertain whether adult siblings of disabled individuals are more prone to anxiety and depression symptomatology than a closely matched control group. (2) To examine the contribution that perceived parenting styles, attachment styles and personality traits play in the long-term affective outcome of these siblings. (3) To consider if the type of disability has a role in sibling affective outcome. Design: A cross-sectional, closely matched study design, with data collected through self-report. One-way ANOVAs, correlational analyses, moderation and mediation analyses were applied. Participants: Adult siblings of disabled individuals (SDI), were initially contacted through support groups, such as SIBS, the Down’s Syndrome Association, the National Autistic Society and the Prader-Willi Association (UK) and responded to a postal or e-mailed questionnaire; 150 participants returned the completed questionnaire. The 150 control group participants were closely matched on the variables of gender, age, marital status and when possible socio-economic status, in order to compare like with like. This group was contacted through friends, family, work colleagues and local businesses. Measures: All the participants completed a range of demographic questions; the SDI were additionally asked questions regarding their disabled sibling. The established measures used included the Hospital and Anxiety Depression Scale (Zigmond & Snaith, 1983), Experiences in Close Relationships (Brennan, Clark & Shaver, 1998), an adapted measure of the Descriptions of Parental Caregiving Style (DPCS, Hazan & Shaver, 1986) and the International Personality Item Pool (Goldberg, 1999). Results: The majority of SDI reported no increased anxiety or depression symptomatology, however, when compared the SDI did report higher levels of anxiety and depression symptomatology than the control group; also higher levels of perceived inconsistent mothering, attachment-related anxiety and neuroticism, with lower levels of extraversion than the control group. These variables mediated the path between having a disabled sibling and anxiety and depression, with the notable exception of perceived inconsistent mothering. This variable showed no association with any of the established measures for the SDI group; however, there were associations consistent with previous research for the control group. There was no moderation effect on anxiety or depression between the demographic variables and SDI. The autistic spectrum disorder siblings reported similar levels of anxiety symptomatology to Prader-Willi siblings but higher than Down’s syndrome siblings and the control group and they also reported the highest levels of depression symptomatology. Conclusions: The adult SDI’s higher propensity towards anxiety and depression is a cause for concern; particularly when explained through heightened levels of attachment-related anxiety, high levels of neuroticism and low levels of extraversion. The lack of association with perceived inconsistent mothering requires further investigation. These results can help guide interventions or clinical therapies; the emotional well-being of SDI is paramount as they will possibly be among the first group to assume responsibility for their disabled siblings.
  • Rural livelihoods and inequality under trade liberalisation: A case study of southern Vietnam

    Degg, Martin; Boran, Anne; Zhang, Heather; Evans, Martin; Besemer, Kirsten L. (University of Liverpool (University of Chester), 2012-03)
    The purpose of this mixed-methods case study research is to discover how, in relation to trade liberalisation in Vietnam's Mekong Delta, intangible assets affect livelihood outcomes of the ethnic majority Kinh and the ethnic minority Khmer people. Methods used include a random survey of 150 ethnic majority (Kinh) rice farmers combined with focus group data from Khmer ethnic minority people. Data shows that lack of access to information about the changing economic circumstances generated by trade reform has caused farmers to take sub-optimal decisions about the diversification of their crops. The economic outcomes on Khmer farmers have also been negatively affected by a lack of information, compounded by rigid gender roles, lack of education, discrimination, language problems and isolation from the majority ethnic group. These factors have contributed considerably to the negative outcomes of liberalisation, including loss of land, and have impeded people's ability to make use of emerging opportunities, including better access to markets and new ways of making a livelihood. This research shows that intangible assets interact with trade liberalisation to exacerbate existing inequalities.
  • An incongruous duality?: Care, control & the social world of the mental health worker

    Ogden, Cassandra A.; Morley, Sharon; Mason, Tom; Smith, Catrin; Taylor, Paul J. (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2011-01)
    The contemporary mental health profession is facing a crisis of recruitment and retention. Services provided are complex, practically and conceptually. On one hand, assessments and treatments are provided, but on the other, staff become responsible for the administration of coercive security discourses and arrangements. This complex phenomenon can leave mental health personnel vulnerable to criticisms in exactly how best they should discharge their duties within an occupational remit of duality. Working in the correct or most appropriate way is a constant challenge for staff as they must meet with approval from both managers and colleagues negotiating a path between formal rules and informal norms. This exploratory study was undertaken within a mental health NHS Trust in the North of England. It interviewed twenty participants from a range of areas of work, namely hospital wards, occupational therapy departments and the community setting. A narrative interviewing technique has been used to collect occupational histories and stories which have been used in an attempt to illuminate the contemporary issues facing clinical staff. Findings suggest that their contemporary care delivery is much more complex than previously known and that there is a diverse range of background and conceptual challenges which workers face in addition to their organisationally prescribed practical mandates of work. Six normative orders of work have emerged from data that has been collected; bureaucracy, risk management, competence, morality, physical environment and care versus control. Participant reflections on professional autonomy and responsibility shed light on the perceived rationality of policies and procedures and 'governance at a distance' taking place in response to bureaucratic and risk reduction imperatives. Indeed, such work is demanding and the management of a professional 'performance', and the self regulating and adaption of emotion have been seen to be an important dimension in the observation of occupational competence and work-based socialisation processes. Furthermore, personnel are engaged in a complex and fluid role duality where they must personally reconcile their role as care provider whilst also maintaining levels of physical security in a contemporary and technologically advanced healthcare environment. In this thesis, it is argued that these normative aspects of work typify the social nature of mental health work and, in addition, take place under the auspices of Goffmanesque theorisations of the 'total institution', 'mortification of self and 'social contamination'. These findings draw particular attention to an under acknowledged aspect of mental health based inquiry where the formal and informal spheres of work are observed to co-mingle within the environment of psychiatry. In doing so, questions arise over the rationality of some systems of work which 'shop-floor' staff are engaged within, yet, at times, have very little opportunity to shape as individual practitioners.
  • Social and environmental influences on the welfare of zoo-housed spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi rufiventris)

    Schaffner, Colleen; Davis, Nicolas (University of Liverpool (University of Chester)Chester Zoo, 2009-05)
    The aim of this thesis was to provide a better understanding of the needs of spider monkeys (genus: Ateles) kept in zoological parks in order to provide an appropriate environment, which enhances the physical and emotional wellbeing of the individuals. This series of studies adopted primarily a physiological approach that entailed measuring cortisol in urine samples collected over a seven year period to assess the impact of a variety of social and environmental conditions. My studies also involved behavioural observations and a questionnaire study to collect information from other zoological parks that maintain groups of spider monkeys. In order to address the aims of my research I first validated an enzyme immunoassay for urinary cortisol which allowed for the activity of the HPA axis to be measured to assess the physiological stress responses in spider monkeys. The first study assessed the impact of visitors on spider monkeys by comparing levels of urinary cortisol collected with visitor numbers and I found an increase in visitor numbers was associated with an increase in cortisol. This was the first time the physiological impact of visitors was investigated and supports behavioural researcher that visitors adversely impact on primates in zoos. The second study I carried out involved a questionnaires to investigate frequency, direction and intensity of aggression in zoo-housed spider monkeys in 55 other zoos around the world. The pattern of aggressions reported indicated severe and lethal aggression was relatively frequent among captive spider monkeys. Adult males were the most frequent actors of aggression and sub adult males were the most frequent targets, contradicting reports from wild spider monkeys. This aggression could be a condition of the management of spider monkeys in the zoos whereby males and normally transferred between zoos contradicting reports from the wild spider monkeys in which females would emigrate on reaching maturity. Next I investigated aggression, reproductive and separation stressors in the spider monkeys housed at Chester Zoo over a seven year period and measured their effects via changes in urinary cortisol prior to, at and following each event. Aggression had the largest effect, with targets and bystanders having the highest levels of cortisol on the day of aggression for severe and lethal aggression, respectively. When examining the reproductive events, cortisol levels were significantly elevated in the mother the week prior to and the day or birth, but were highest for bystander females on the day of birth. In the case of separations, cortisol was elevated when an individual was separated for longer than 24 hours for separations and less than 24 hours for reintroductions. Finally I investigated the replacement of the breeding male in the spider monkeys at Chester Zoo. Although a significant behavioural effect was identified in the adult females, there was little evidence of an increase in urinary cortisol among them. In addition, there were no instances of aggression between the adult males and the juvenile male in the group. Overall conclusions from this study indicate that the group of spider monkeys did demonstrate a varying stress response to a variety of social and environmental stressors associated with elevated cortisol levels and behavioural changes. However, there was no evidence of long term chronic stressors which are normally associated with poor welfare. This indicated that the environmental provided for this particular group of zoo-housed spider monkeys generally allowed for the individuals within the group to cope and adapt. In light these findings the study also makes a number of recommendations regarding the enclosure design, relocated of individuals and the gradual introduction of spider monkeys in zoos. The findings of this study are important as it contributes to our understanding of the physiological responses to stressors in a zoo environment and therefore has implications for animal management. It also identifies potential species specific requirements for the spider monkey that should be considered.
  • Correctness and speed of dyslexics and non-dyslexics on the four mathematical operations

    Miles, T. R.; Wheeler, Timothy J.; Turner Ellis, Sonia A. (University of Liverpool (Chester College of Higher Education), 2002-10)
    This research describes an investigation of the correctness and speed of response that dyslexic children and matched controls perform on mathematical calculations involving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The participants were 120 boys divided into three age bands ranging from 9:5 - 11:4, 11:5 - 13:4 and 13:5 - 15:4 years of age of whom 60 were dyslexic and 60 non-dyslexic. Two sets of 144 multiplication sums, two sets of 75 addition and 75 subtraction sums and one set of 144 division sums were presented. In the case of multiplication and division, the numbers ranged from 1 to 12; in the case of addition and subtraction two separate effects were examined, viz. sums involving high and low addends / subtrahends in combination with sums that did and did not cross the ten barrier. Results showed that dyslexics in all age bands took longer and made fewer correct responses than non-dyslexics on all four mathematical operations. The performance of the younger dyslexics was differentially disadvantaged when compared to non-dyslexics and older dyslexics on speed and correctness. The dyslexics performed less well when no obvious algorithm was available to them and when answering questions that involved crossing the ten barrier. The dyslexics were less able, in all age bands, than non-dyslexics to respond instantaneously. The overall trend with both groups was an increase in scores with age; however on some occasions the dyslexics in the old age band did not perform as well as those in the middle-age band suggesting practice and automaticity effects. The order of difficulty (from greatest to least) of the four mathematical operations for dyslexics, as judged by number of correct responses was: division, subtraction, multiplication and addition. For the non-dyslexics this was: subtraction, division, multiplication and addition. For speed the order for both the dyslexics and non-dyslexics was: subtraction, addition, division and multiplication.
  • The quaternary evolution of the Rio Alias southeast Spain, with emphasis on sediment provenance

    France, Derek; Maher, Elizabeth (University of Liverpool (University of Chester), 2005-12)
    This study aims to determine the late-Quaternary evolution of an ephemeral, transverse river system developed in southeast Spain, with particular reference to sediment provenance variation. The Rio Alias drains two inter-montane east-west orientated Neogene sedimentary basins; the Sorbas and Almeria basins. Pliocene to present transpressional tectonics has led to inversion of the sedimentary basins and incision of the developing fluvial system. Fluvial incision has led to the preservation of a suite of alluvial terraces recording the late-Quaternary development of the Rio Alias. Fluvial system inauguration began in the Plio-Pleistocene epoch. The primary fluvial system developed as a consequent river later becoming superimposed and transverse to structure. The drainage basin of the Rio Alias has been sub-divided into 4 sub-basins; The Lucainena, Polopos, Argamason and El Saltador sub-basins. Each basin is structurally controlled. The impact of climate, tectonics, river-capture and eustatic sea-level variation on the fluvial system evolution varies both spatially and temporally across the sub-basins of the Rio Alias. Across the region alluvial aggradation is thought to relate to global glacial periods and incision to interglacial periods. The Lucainena sub-basin is largely controlled by climatic variation related to glacial interglacial cycles with slight modification due to local small scale river-capture and regional epeirogenic uplift. The Polopos sub-basin is also largely controlled by climatic variation, however a major river-capture event c.70ka beheaded the Rio Alias of c.70% of its drainage area. Following the loss of drainage the beheaded Rio Alias system lost stream power, this is reflected in the decrease in size of bedform geometry and the reduced incisional capacity of the fluvial system of the post-capture terrace sequence. In the Argamason sub-basin the Rio Alias crosses the Carboneras Fault Zone, a left-lateral strike slip fault. Late-Quaternary tectonic activity has significantly modified the climatically generated signal. Large tortuous meanders developed in response to normal tectonic activity and continued tectonically driven base-level lowering led to abandonment of terraces and local incision. The El Saltador sub-basin is located at the seaward end of the system and the climate generated phases of aggradation and incision have been greatly complicated by eustatic sea-level variation related to glacial/interglacial cycles. The lowering of base-level due to sea-level regression initially led to pronounced incision along steep gradients and to the development of meander loops in the seaward end of the Rio Alias, during what regionally was a climate driven phase of aggradation. Analysis of the alluvial sediment using a combination of field based clast analysis and laboratory analysis (petrology, SEM, magnetic analysis) allows a detailed picture of sediment provenance variation to be established throughout the evolution of the Rio Alias. Provenance analysis provides information on the timing and extent of river-capture related loss of drainage area, the relative timing of local tectonic activity and also provides new information regarding sediment source area variation throughout the development of the fluvial system. Detailed analysis of the terrace sediments and the modern channel indicates that as the fluvial system incises, local input of sediment from the steepening valley sides grows increasingly dominant. The coupling between the hillslopes and the channel thus changes through time. Sediment provenance analysis has increased our understanding of the long-term fluvial evolution of the Rio Alias, identifying not only sediment provenance variation due to river-capture and changing geology but to fluvial system development.