The Faculty offers an extensive portfolio of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, taught predominantly at the Chester Campus, but with provision in Public Relations and Policing taught at Warrington. A key feature of work in all four specialist subject areas below is the inter-relationship between social science and issues of everyday concern that have relevance for policy making.

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  • Recruiting cancer survivors into research studies using online methods: a secondary analysis from an international cancer survivorship cohort study.

    Hulbert-Williams, Nicholas J.; Pendrous, Rosina; Hulbert-Williams, Lee; Swash, Brooke; University of Chester
    Recruiting participants into cancer survivorship research remains a significant challenge. Few studies have tested and compared the relative use of non-clinical online recruitment methods, especially in samples of adult cancer survivors. This paper reports on the feasibility of recruiting a representative cohort of cancer survivors using online social media. Two-hundred participants with a cancer diagnosis within the past 12 months were recruited via social media (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit) into a longitudinal questionnaire study. Different methods of online recruitment proved to be more effective than others over time. Paid Facebook boosting, Reddit posts, and Twitter adverts placed by existing cancer charities proved most helpful in reaching our recruitment target (contributing 27%, 22% and 32% respectively). Recruiting online achieved a more demographically and clinically representative sample for our study: our sample was younger, less heteronormative, including those with a range of clinical diagnoses, primary and recurrence illness, and patients who had both completed and were still receiving treatment. This was certainly not a quick method of sample recruitment but that could have been optimised by focussing only on the three most effective methods describe earlier. Whilst we found that online recruitment is significantly lower cost than traditional recruitment methods, and can reduce some biases, there still remains the potential for some biases (e.g. excluding much older participants) and ethical/methodological issues (e.g. excluding those without access to the internet). We outline our recruitment strategy, retention rates, and a cost breakdown in order to guide other researchers considering such methods for future research in cancer survivorship.
  • Humanism and the Ideology of Work

    Rigby, Joe; Harrison, Katherine; Ogden, Cassie; Cox, Peter; Mercer, Samuel J R (University of Chester, 2018-08)
    This thesis argues that humanism, despite being subject to a sustained critique within the social sciences over the past fifty years or more, continues to limit the critical and explanatory power of the sociology of work, preventing a fuller understanding of the nature of work under contemporary capitalism. Developing Louis Althusser’s (1996) critique of humanism and ideology, humanism is shown to be an ideological problem for the sociology of work insofar as it brackets, obfuscates or mystifies key social relations of work and, by extension, the class struggles reflected in those relations. Humanism presents a persistent and pervasive problem for the sociology of work, as both an explanatory and critical framework. Because of the persistence of humanism in the sociology of work, the problems of contemporary work – and the proposed ‘solutions’ to these problems – are located not in an analysis of the social relations of these realities, but in ideological discourses of human alienation and human self-affirmation. The thesis explores the extent of this ideological problem across three contemporary debates within the sociology of work: ‘postcapitalist’ discourse (Srnicek & Williams, 2015) and the emergence of a contemporary post-work imaginary; feminist discourses on the ‘bioeconomy’ (Cooper & Waldby, 2014) and theories of social reproduction in the context of sex work, tissue donation and surrogacy; and the figuration of labour and work within contemporary social scientific discourses of the ‘Anthropocene’ (Bonneuil & Fressoz, 2016). In each of these areas, the thesis demonstrates how much of the sociology of work continues to rely on humanistic ideas to provide a normative theoretical foundation and a critical edge. If the sociology of work is to provide a genuinely critical orientation for understanding the changing world of work, this thesis argues, then the critique of humanism remains a central task.
  • Children and Environment

    Hayward, Bronwyn; Collins, Rebecca; Nissen, Sylvia (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2017-03-06)
  • Are Prisoners More Psychopathic than Non-forensic Populations? Profiling Psychopathic Traits among Prisoners, Community Adults, University Students, and Adolescents

    Boduszek, Daniel; Debowska, Agata; Sherretts, Nicole; Willmott, Dominic; Boulton, Mike; Kielkiewicz, Krzysztof; Popiolek, Katarzyna; Hyland, Philip (Informa UK Limited, 2019-09-12)
  • Mass Indebtedness and the Luxury of Payment Means

    Horsley, Mark; Lloyd, Anthony; University of Chester; University of Teesside (Routledge, 2020)
    Without the remarkable explosion of the credit industry since the early 1990s it’s almost inconceivable that late capitalism, in its neoliberal mode, could have maintained the vibrant and multifaceted consumer markets of the last few decades. Its capacity to create payment means by attaching contractual claims to prospective futures has allowed capitalism to transcend the decline of its material productivity, sustaining consumption against the upward concentration of wealth. In this chapter we consider both the source and the implications of that transcendence, tracing it from the rarefied confines of the financial industry into the lives of consumers to explore the implications of distributing payment means as a kind of ‘systemic luxury’ running counter to the material productivity of prevailing systems and processes.
  • Staff as mental health supporters: building confidence and capacity in helping students

    Reeves, Andrew; University of Chester (Sage, 2019-09-28)
    This chapter considers the factors staff working in higher education need to be aware of in supporting students who present with mental health problems. A range of skills and training resources and considered, including good practice indicators.
  • “It is not the same”: relationships and dementia

    Benbow, Susan Mary; Tsaroucha, Anna; Sharman, Victoria (Informa UK Limited, 2019-08-28)
  • Girls being Rey: ethical cultural consumption, families and popular feminism

    Wood, Rachel; orcid: 0000-0002-0053-2969; Litherland, Benjamin; orcid: 0000-0003-3735-354X; Reed, Elizabeth; orcid: 0000-0002-0885-2908 (Informa UK Limited, 2019-08-29)
  • An exploration of the ways in which feelings of ‘maternal ambivalence’ affect some women

    Gubi, Peter M.; Chapman, Emma; University of Chester; Private Practice (Sage, 2019-08-18)
    This study explores the ways in which feelings of “maternal ambivalence” affect women. Through semistructured interviews, four women spoke about their experiences that led to ambivalent feelings about their motherhood. The data gathered from these interviews were analyzed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis. This research found that these women experienced a loss of independence, relationships, and confidence when they became mothers. Together, these losses felt like a loss of “self” which led to many unexpected and unwanted feelings. They were shocked and confused when they experienced feelings of resentment towards themselves, others, and their children. They also experienced unexpected feelings of boredom and anxiety in relation to mothering. However, with time and perspective, these women experienced a reemergence of “self” through their ability to begin to balance parts of “self” and accept their ambivalent feelings towards motherhood.
  • Shared meaning in representational and abstract visual art: an empirical study

    Schepman, Astrid; Rodway, Paul; University of Chester (American Psychological Association, 2019)
    A longstanding and important question is how meaning is generated by visual art. One view is that abstract art uses a universal language whereas representational art is tied to specific knowledge. This view predicts that meaning for abstract is shared across viewers to a greater extent than for representational art. This contrasts with a view of greater shared meaning for representational than abstract art, because of shared associations for the entities depicted in representational art, as supported by recent empirical findings. This study examined the contrasting predictions derived from these two views. 49 nonexpert adult participants wrote brief descriptions of meanings that they attributed to 20 abstract and 20 representational artworks, generating a corpus of 1918 texts. Computational analyses (semantic textual similarity, latent semantic analysis) and linguistic analysis (type-token ratio) provided triangulated quantitative data. Frequentist and Bayesian statistical analyses showed that meanings were shared to a somewhat greater extent for representational art, but that meanings for abstract artworks were also shared above baseline. Triangulated human and machine analyses of the texts showed core shared meanings for both art types, derived from literal and metaphoric interpretations of visual elements. The findings support the view that representational art elicits higher levels of shared meaning than abstract art. The empirical findings can be used to enhance theoretical and computational models of aesthetic evaluation, and the rigorous new methodologies developed can be deployed in many other contexts.
  • Perceived stress and professional quality of life in nursing staff: how important is psychological flexibility?

    Kent, William; Hochard, Kevin D; Hulbert-Williams, Nicholas J; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2019-08-14)
    Objectives: Nurses are at high risk of chronic stress. Tailored, evidence-based stress-management interventions may minimise absenteeism and staff turnover, whilst at the same time promoting good quality patient care. Current literature for nurse-focused stress-management interventions is varied in quality, with little focus on data-driven intervention development. This study explores how process measures related to Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) are associated with perceived stress and professional quality of life in nurses, in order to guide intervention development. Design: A cross-sectional, online psychometric survey was implemented using LimeSurvey software. Methods: One-hundred and forty-two nurses were recruited from various specialties across four English National Health Service (NHS) Trusts. Questionnaires assessed demographic and work-related sample characteristics, ACT processes (mindfulness, acceptance, cognitive defusion, self-as-context, values and committed action), and four work-related wellbeing outcomes (perceived stress, burnout, compassion fatigue and compassion satisfaction). Correlation and regression models were used to analyse data. Results: All six ACT processes negatively correlated with perceived stress, burnout and compassion fatigue, and positively correlated with compassion satisfaction (all p<.05). In regression models, these same processes explained significant variance for all outcomes (R2 range=.36-.61), above and beyond that explained by socio-demographic and work-related factors. Acceptance (β range: -.25 to -.55), mindfulness (β range: -.25 to -.39), and values-based processes (β range: -.21 to -.36) were frequent independent contributors to work-related wellbeing. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that the ACT framework provides a promising platform from which to develop nurse-focused stress-management interventions. Interventions focusing on acceptance, mindfulness, and values-linked processes may be most effective.
  • The Psychological Impact of Cancer (PIC) Scale: development and comparative psychometric testing against the Mini-MAC© Scale in UK and Australian cancer survivors.

    Hulbert-Williams, Nicholas J; Hulbert-Williams, Lee; Whelen, Liz; Mulcare, Hunter; University of Chester; Western Health (Wolters Kluwer, 2019-09-20)
    Background: Clinicians and researchers make considerable use of both the Mental Adjustment to Cancer (MAC) Scale, and the shorter Mini-MAC, to measure psychological adjustment in cancer patients. The length of the scale is problematic when used clinically, and its psychometric properties have been criticized. This paper presents two studies leading to the development of a novel scale the Psychological Impact of Cancer (PIC) Scale using items drawn from the MAC. Methods: Study 1 used standard item-reduction techniques to shorten the Mini-MAC in a sample of 160 cancer patients of mixed diagnosis, recruited an average 46 days post-diagnosis. This resulted in a 12-item scale with a four-factor structure, similar to that derived from a 2012 re-analysis of the Mini-MAC. Study 2 presents confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) of this new measure and tests its construct validity and test-retest reliability in a sample of 183 mixed cancer survivors. Results: This study indicated that the shorter scale performed well on CFA indicators (RMSEA= .083; ECVI= .923; PNFI= .604; AGFI .857) and tests of internal consistency (all >.623); and comparable concurrent validity with longer versions. The four factors were labeled cognitive distress, cognitive avoidance, emotional distress and fighting spirit. Conclusions: Given its shorter length and acceptable psychometrics, the PIC offers a useful clinical and research tool to assess the psychological impact of cancer. Psychometric properties of one subscale (fighting spirit) remain poor, but no worse than in the original scale; directions for further development of the scale are described.
  • Excessive… but not wasteful? Youth cultures of everyday waste (avoidance)

    Collins, Rebecca; University of Chester (SAGE, 2019-08-26)
    This article contributes to ongoing debates around the cultural production of waste by arguing for a clearer distinction between concepts of ‘waste’ and ‘excess’, and by suggesting the benefits of this distinction for tackling the perceived consumer-cultural waste ‘problem’. Drawing on recent qualitative research with UK adolescents I consider how a range of (youth/consumer) cultural drivers, social norms and moral imperatives shape young people’s everyday material consumption practices in ways that reflect (and produce) varied ways of (de/re-)valuing no-longer-wanted possessions. By exploring the cultural projects within which the young participants and their material possessions were engaged, and by identifying their aims in employing specific keeping and ridding practices, noteworthy differences between ‘waste’ and ‘excess’ materialise. I suggest that the drivers of the ‘excesses’ identified – characterised here in terms of ‘outgrowings’ and ‘hedging’ – highlight a set of distinctly cultural challenges to be met if the slippage of materials from ‘excess’ into ‘waste’ is to be averted. I contend that acknowledging these challenges, and these conceptual distinctions, may prove beneficial in attempts to address some of the societal challenges (e.g. material novelty as a driver of social status) related to the production of waste.
  • Auto-ethnography: Managing Multiple Embodiments in the Life Drawing Class

    Collins, Rebecca; University of Chester (Manchester University Press, 2019)
    There has been growing interest in the role of sketching, drawing, and other forms of artistic and/or creative practice as a research method within (and beyond) the social sciences. In such projects researchers have been firmly, often deeply, embedded in their practice, either as long-standing practitioners of their chosen art or craft, or as curious newcomers. In this chapter I consider how auto-ethnography, as a state of ‘reflexive-thinking-being’, employed here within a space of artistic activity (life drawing classes), has enabled me to explore geographies of bodies, nudity, sexuality and intimacy by moving – physically, conceptually and recursively – between moments of the mundane to instances of the spectacular. Consideration of how touch, smell, gesture, as well as different kinds of looking – all of which are fundamental to the work and practice of a life class – is drawn into an analysis of how the act of (re)producing bodies, inside and outside the life class, mediates body-space relations.
  • Brief Engagement and Acceptance Coaching for Community and Hospice Settings (the BEACHeS Study): Protocol for the development and pilot testing of an evidence-based psychological intervention to enhance wellbeing and aid transition into palliative care

    Hulbert-Williams, Nicholas; Norwood, Sabrina; Gillanders, David; Finucane, Anne; Spiller, Juliet; Strachan, Jenny; Millington, Sue; Swash, Brooke; University of Chester; University of Edinburgh; Marie Curie Hospice Edinburgh (BMC, 2019-08-20)
    Background: Cancer affects millions of individuals globally, with a mortality rate of over eight million people annually. Although palliative care is often provided outside of specialist services, many people require, at some point in their illness journey, support from specialist palliative care services, for example, those provided in hospice settings. This transition can be a time of uncertainty and fear and there is a need for effective interventions to meet the psychological and supportive care needs of people with cancer that cannot be cured. While Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has been shown to be effective across diverse health problems, robust evidence for its effectiveness in palliative cancer populations is not extensive. Method: This mixed-methods study uses a single-case experimental design with embedded qualitative interviews to pilot test a novel intervention for this patient group. Between 14 and 20 patients will be recruited from two hospices in England and Scotland. Participants will receive five face-to-face manualised sessions with a psychological therapist. Sessions are structured around teaching core ACT skills (Openness, Awareness and Engagement) as a way to deal effectively with challenges of transition into specialist palliative care services. Outcome measures include: cancer-specific quality of life (primary outcome) and distress (secondary outcome), which are assessed alongside measures of psychological flexibility. Daily diary outcome assessments will be taken for key measures, alongside more detailed weekly self-report, through baseline, intervention and one-month follow-up phases. After follow-up, participants will be invited to take part in a qualitative interview to understand their experience of taking part, and acceptability and perceived effectiveness of the intervention and its components. Discussion: This study is the first investigation of using ACT with terminally ill patients at the beginning of their transition into palliative treatment. Using in-depth single-case approaches, we will refine and manualise intervention content by the close of the study for use in follow-up research trials. Our long-term goal is then to test the intervention as delivered by non-psychologist specialist palliative care practitioners thus broadening the potential relevance of the approach.
  • Convergent human and climate forcing of late-Holocene flooding in northwest England

    Schillereff, Daniel; MacDonald, Neil; Hooke, Janet; Welsh, Katharine E.; Piliposian, G; Croudace, Ian; Chiverrell, Richard; Kings College London; University of Liverpool, University of Liverpool, University of Liverpool, University of Chester, University of Liverpool, University of Southampton (Elsevier, 2019-07-30)
    Concern is growing that climate change may amplify global flood risk but short hydrological data series hamper hazard assessment. Lake sediment reconstructions are capturing a fuller picture of rare, high-magnitude events but the UK has produced few lake palaeoflood records. We report the longest lake-derived flood reconstruction for the UK to date, a 1500-year record from Brotherswater, northwest England. Its catchment is well-suited physiographically to palaeoflood research, but its homogeneous, dark brown sediment matrix precludes visual identification of flood layers. Instead, an outlier detection routine applied to high-resolution particle size measurements showed a >90% match, in stratigraphic sequence, to measured high river flows. Our late-Holocene palaeoflood reconstruction reveals nine multi-decadal periods of more frequent flooding (CE 510-630, 890-960, 990-1080, 1470-1560, 1590-1620, 1650-1710, 1740-1770, 1830-1890 and 1920-2012), and these show a significant association with negative winter North Atlantic Oscillation (wNAO) phasing and some synchrony with solar minima. These flood-rich episodes also overlap with local and regional land-use intensification, which we propose has amplified the flood signal by creating a more efficient catchment sediment conveyor and more rapid hillslope-channel hydrological connectivity. Disentangling anthropogenic and climatic drivers is a challenge but anthropogenic landscape transformation should evidently not be underestimated in palaeoflood reconstructions. Our paper also demonstrates that flood histories can be extracted from the numerous lakes worldwide containing organic-rich, visually homogeneous sediments. This transformative evidence base should lead to more reliable assessments of flood frequency and risks to ecosystems and infrastructure.
  • A personal journey of a long and winding road to Professorial status: An alternative pathway and the challenges, trials and tribulations.

    Lafferty, Moira E.; University of Chester (Springer: Palgrave, 2019-11-01)
    For many years, the awarding of a professorial title was seen as a realistic objective and target for those with a substantive international portfolio of research publications and grant income success. With the changing landscape in Higher Education and a drive within the UK for Universities to show much more social responsibility and engagement we are beginning to see much needed change. In this chapter, I reflect on my personal journey to professorship and how my numerous experiences and diverse portfolio of activity finally came together to have personal and professional meaning. In telling my story, I am to raise awareness of the numerous challenges I encountered as a female, from my early years entering higher education through to my professorial application and beyond. I also reflect on my thoughts and feelings and provide ideas about what we can do to help more women thrive and succeed within academia.
  • “It’s not just part of my life, it is my life”: The paradoxical identities of a community judo coach

    Ryrie, Angus; Lafferty, Moira E.; Liverpool John Moores, University of Chester (Manchester Metropolitan University Press., 2019)
    The aim of this chapter is to explore coaching identities and present a case study that captures the everyday realities and multifaceted roles a community judo coach undertakes. In doing so, it provides a platform to explore and discuss the identities exhibited; evaluate practice within contextually different settings to present a realistic appraisal of coaching in the “field.”
  • “All roads lead to Rome”, but “Rome wasn’t built in a day". Advice on QSEP navigation from the ‘Roman Gods’ of assessment!

    Eubank, Martin; Holder, Tim; Lowry, Ruth; Manley, Andrew; Maynard, Ian; McCormick, Alister; Smith, Jenny; Thelwell, Richard; Woodman, Tim; Lafferty, Moira E.; et al. (British Psychological Society, 2019-09)
    This article aims to explore assessors’ observations and experiences of QSEP in relation to trainee competence development and demonstration, and help QSEP trainees and supervisors to identify some of the potholes in the road and consider ways to avoid them. Specifically, assessors have written a short review of their QSEP observations and commentary about what they want to see more of in the future. Their views are forthright, but given in good faith in the spirit of providing advice to candidates, and guidance to supervisors, about the nature and scope of QSEP submissions.

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