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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  • Links of adversity in childhood with mental and physical health outcomes: A systematic review of longitudinal mediating and moderating mechanisms

    Hales, George K.; Saribaz, Zeliha E.; Debowska, Agata; Rowe, Richard; University of Sheffield (SAGE Publications, 2022-02-28)
    Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been associated with causes of early death, addiction, mental illness, and poor health. However, studies investigating underlying mechanisms often rely on cross-sectional data or inappropriate study designs. To prevent the negative sequelae associated with ACEs, it is imperative to understand the mechanisms underlying the prospective relationship. The aim of this present review was to provide a synthesis and critical evaluation of the literature regarding the mechanisms underlying this relationship. A search in SCOPUS, MedLine via Ovid, PsycINFO via Ovid, and Web of Science was performed. Studies that utilised a prospective design assessing ACEs in childhood or adolescence, outcomes in adulthood, and analysed either a mediating or moderating relationship were included, unless the study relied on informant report or official records to assess childhood maltreatment types of ACEs. Twenty-two studies examining a longitudinal mediation or moderation were included in a systematic review. A review of the studies found links to psychopathology, delinquent and problem behaviours, poor physical health, and poor socioeconomic outcomes. A clear image of underlying mechanisms is not forthcoming due to (a) poor study design in relation to assessing longitudinal mechanisms, and (b) heterogeneity in the adversities, mechanisms, and outcomes assessed. Based on the review, several gaps and limitations are highlighted and discussed.
  • Comparison of person-centred and cumulative risk approaches in explaining the relationship between adverse childhood experiences and behavioural and emotional problems

    Hales, George K.; Debowska, Agata; Rowe, Richard; Boduszek, Daniel; Levita, Liat; University of Sheffield; University of Chester
    Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) commonly co-occur, and researchers often estimate their impact using a cumulative risk approach. The person-centred approach offers another approach to operationalise the co-occurrence of ACEs. This study aims to estimate latent classes of ACEs in a sample of UK children, examine their relationship with emotional and behavioural problems, and compare the explanatory value of the latent classes to cumulative risk scores. Data were collected among a general population sample of British 10-year-old children extracted from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (N = 601). Seven items characterised ACEs, comprising parent-report physical discipline, emotional abuse, supervisory neglect, maternal psychological distress, and child-report parental educational disinterest, bullying victimisation, and adverse neighbourhood. Outcome measures were derived from the self-report Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire including total difficulties, emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity, peer problems, and prosocial behaviour. Latent class analysis resulted in a 3-class solution: low ACEs, household challenges, community challenges. Compared to the other classes, the community challenges class scored substantially worse on total difficulties, emotional symptoms, and peer subscales. The cumulative risk score was associated with all outcomes except prosocial behaviour. Cumulative risk models accounted for a larger proportion of variance compared with the latent class models, except for peer problems which the person-centred model explained better. This study confirms that ACEs are associated with impairment in child functioning, and that both person-centred and cumulative risk approaches can capture this relationship well. Specifically, the person-centred approach demonstrated how co-occurring risks factors in the community challenges class produced particularly poor internalising outcomes.
  • The Process of Replication Target Selection in Psychology: What to Consider?

    Pittelkow, Merle-Marie; Field, Sarahanne M.; Isager, Peder M; van ’t Veer, Anna E; Anderson, Thomas; Cole, Scott N; Dominik, Tomás; Giner-Sorolla, Roger; Gok, Sebahat; Heyman, Tom; et al. (The Royal Society, 2023-02-01)
    Increased execution of replication studies contributes to the effort to restore credibility of empirical research. However, a second generation of problems arises: the number of potential replication targets is at a serious mismatch with available resources. Given limited resources, replication target selection should be well justified, systematic, and transparently communicated. At present the discussion on what to consider when selecting a replication target is limited to theoretical discussion, self-reported justifications, and a few formalized suggestions. In this Registered Report, we proposed a study involving the scientific community to create a list of considerations for consultation when selecting a replication target in psychology. We employed a modified Delphi approach. First, we constructed a preliminary list of considerations. Second, we surveyed psychologists who previously selected a replication target with regards to their considerations. Third, we incorporated the results into the preliminary list of considerations and sent the updated list to a group of individuals knowledgeable about concerns regarding replication target selection. Over the course of several rounds, we established consensus regarding what to consider when selecting a replication target.
  • Lockdown Diaries: merging fact and fiction in auto/biographical research

    Bennett, Julia; University of Chester
    From January to March 2021 the UK experienced its third Covid lockdown. By this time, 10 months after the first UK lockdown started, the scenario of staying at home, working from home and home schooling had become familiar. Towards the end of, so far, the final full lockdown in England, and on the day of the budget announcements, people from across the UK were asked to complete one day diaries for this project. The diaries, along with media accounts and other publicly accessible data, have been used to create a series of short fictionalised narratives of one day during the pandemic. Based on the autobiographical accounts the participants produced, the stories explore how people from different backgrounds, life stages and geographical areas spent their time during lockdown, highlighting both shared and very different experiences across and between places and age groups. The stories draw attention to mundane everyday lives during this time. The relatively experimental method of creating composite characters taken from real life also provides material for exploring how the use of fiction (here biographical fiction) in research can work to help to bring social science research into the public realm.
  • Sustainable and Inclusive Growth Commission Inclusive Economy Working Group Evidence Report

    Davies, Chantal; University of Chester
    This report sets out an overview of the evidence collated by the Inclusive Economy Working Group (IEWG) in line with the timetable provided by the Sustainable and Inclusive Growth Commission (SIGC). It commences with an outline of the IEWG remit as agreed following consultation. It then explores the nature of inclusive growth (IG) and the legislative context. The report then moves onto a discussion of the data collected on inequalities at a sub-regional, local authority and national level before setting out the activities which are already being rolled out in relation to the IG agenda at a local level. Finally, the report will set out exemplar approaches towards IG beyond the sub-region before exploring how the evidence collated will inform next steps for the IEWG feeding into the SIGC timetable for action and the SIGC Report which was launched in November 2022.
  • Reviewing the literature on scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL): An academic literacies perspective: Part 2

    Healey, Mick; Healey, Ruth L.; University of Gloucestershire; University of Chester (International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2023-01-16)
    There are few sources that critically evaluate the different ways of reviewing the literature on scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). We use an academic literacies perspective as a lens with which to explore the different ways that literature reviews may be undertaken. While reviewing the literature is often presented as a scientific, objective process; the reality is much messier, nuanced, and iterative. It is a complex, context-dependent procedure. We provide a practical, critical guide to undertaking SoTL literature reviews. By adopting an academic literacies perspective, we argue that undertaking a synthesis of the literature is a socially constructed process. There is no one way of reviewing the SoTL literature. We distinguish between embedded reviews that present a review contextualising the research that follows, as in most SoTL research articles; and freestanding reviews that synthesize research on specific topics. We discuss the nature of embedded reviews, and evaluate systematic and narrative review approaches to undertaking freestanding reviews. We contend that some of the claims of the superiority of systematic reviews are unjustified. Though critical of systematic reviews, we recognise that for the most part narrative and systematic reviews have different purposes, and both are needed to review the SoTL literature. We suggest that narrative reviews are likely to continue to dominate the SoTL literature, especially while most SoTL studies use qualitative or mixed methods. It is important that contextually-sensitive judgements and interpretation of texts, associated with narrative reviews, are seen as central to the reviewing process, and as a strength rather than a weakness. This article complements a separate one, where we apply an academic literacies lens to reviewing the literature on searching the SoTL literature (Healey and Healey 2023). Together they present a narrative review of searching and reviewing the SoTL literature undertaken systematically. We conclude the current article by discussing the implications for the further development of an academic literacies perspective to searching and reviewing the SoTL literature. We call for studies investigating the lived experiences of SoTL scholars as they go about searching and reviewing the literature. We illustrate this argument with an auto-ethnographic account of the often-serendipitous nature of our hunt for sources in preparing this review and the way our thinking and writing evolved during the writing of the two articles.
  • Searching the literature on scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL): An academic literacies perspective: Part 1

    Healey, Mick; Healey, Ruth L.; University of Gloucestershire; University of Chester (International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2023-01-16)
    There are few references that critically evaluate the different ways of searching the literature on scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL), or how these are related to researchers’ goals. We use an academic literacies perspective as a lens with which to explore the different ways that literature searches may be undertaken. While searching the literature is often presented as a scientific objective process; the reality is much messier, nuanced, and iterative. It is a complex, context-dependent process. We provide a practical, critical guide to undertaking SoTL literature searches and argue that these need to be seen as socially constructed processes. There is no one way of searching the SoTL literature. The academic literacies perspective leads us to emphasise the variety of different purposes for carrying out a literature search. We distinguish between using comprehensive tools and selective sources. We end by arguing that there is a need for SoTL researchers to be less insular and take purposeful steps to search for, cite, and amplify diverse voices. This article complements a separate one reviewing and synthesising the SoTL literature (Healey and Healey 2023).
  • Reinvigorating the drive to improve diversity across the legal sector through improved flexibility and targeted action

    Davies, Chantal; University of Chester
    An opinion blog on the need to ensure flexibility within the workplace to improve gender representation and diversity within the legal sector supporting the research carried out by LexisNexis on the future of law.
  • Working smarter, not harder, to address the gender pay gap in the legal profession

    Davies, Chantal; University of Chester
    Blog opinion piece discussing the need to work in a more nuanced and efficient manner to address the gender pay gap within the legal sector.
  • Transformation Hidden in the Sand; a Pluralistic Theoretical Framework Using Sand-Tray with Adult Clients

    Fleet, Doreen; Reeves, Andrew; Burton, Amy; DasGupta, Mani; University of Chester; University of Chester; Staffordshire University; Staffordshire University (Taylor and Francis, 2021-06-14)
    Jungian sandplay predominates the existing literature on sand-tray therapy. Although there is a small volume of literature on alternative approaches of using sand-tray with adults, most primarily focuses on children and adolescents. The study aimed to establish a sand-tray therapy framework to be utilized by practitioners who are not Jungian trained and intend to use this intervention with adult clients. The grounded theory multiple case study involved six client-participants receiving six sand-tray therapy sessions. The pluralistic model established incorporates inter-relational and intra-psychic dimensions. Concepts include phenomenological shift and two sand-tray specific mechanisms of phenomenological anchor and phenomenological hook, aiding ‘edge of awareness’ and unconscious processing. In this study, pluralistic sand-tray therapy was deemed successful based on improved CORE-10 clinical scores and the various participant feedback collected.
  • Remaining ‘in-between’ the divides? Conceptual, methodological, and ethical political dilemmas of engaged research in Critical Military Studies

    Massey, Rachel; Tyerman, Thom; University of Chester; University of Warwick
    Critical Military Studies (CMS) has emerged as an important subdiscipline in international security studies and an interdisciplinary field in its own right. In this article, we offer a close reading of foundational CMS literature to reveal its distinct approach to the critical study of military power. We argue this foundational literature is characterised by a commitment to a series of ‘in-between’ and 'engaged' positions on conceptual binaries between civilian and military spheres, questions of methodological proximity to or distance from military actors, and ethical political support for or opposition to militarism. While CMS makes important contributions to analyses of military power and security, we argue it too often re-centres white western male military subjects and agendas while marginalising antimilitarism. In this way, we argue, it reproduces a form of epistemic and ‘methodological whiteness’ that limits its potential to offer a sustained critique of the racialised structural inequalities and violent effects of militarism in world politics.
  • Motivations: a study of why some counsellors choose to become counsellors

    Barton, Heather; orcid: 0000-0003-2644-4729 (Informa UK Limited, 2023-01-12)
  • Anti-austerity politics and social media in the UK: political participation and non-traditional political organisations

    Bendall, Mark; Harris, Phil; Robertson, Christopher (University of Chester, 2022-03)
    This thesis examines how UK anti-austerity communities on Twitter have contributed to politics. The ‘age of austerity’ has embroiled much of the UK for over 10 years with little deviation from anti-austerity policies in governments occurring. It could be questioned what is the purpose of anti-austerity communities? Political researchers (e.g., Craddock, 2017, 2019, Harrison, 2020, 2021) have questioned ‘what is the point of anti-austerity activism on-the-ground’ and others have regularly attributed digital participation to pejoratively termed ‘slacktivism’ (Christensen, 2011, 2012, Rickett, 2013, Bendell, 2021). This thesis shifts attention to how anti-austerity communities communicate online and how digital publics receive and interpret these alternative messages. By constructing an original model entitled the ‘sixth-estate’, it is argued that anti-austerity communities online are chosen to be engaged with due to their provision of (1) an alternative perspective to mainstream agendas; (2), a desirable single-issue focus on subjectively salient issues; (3), the amplification of traditionally marginalised discourses and (4), they can affect political efficacy and foster political competence. The creation of this model is substantiated by data collected from a mixed-methods online survey and social network analysis conducted utilising the software NodeXL. The survey provided in-depth qualitative understanding as to why digital publics chose to engage with and consume information from digital anti-austerity communities. This was corroborated by social network analysis, where a semi-longitudinal quantitative dataset observed anti-austerity discourses to recognise how anti-austerity conversations were brokered, led, and what their purpose was. The social network analysis also featured a qualitative component, where applied thematic content analysis, mirroring the survey, was employed to unearth meaning within anti-austerity discourses and generate noticeable themes. In the period of study, these were (1) Twitter discourses contained a specific anti-austerity focus; (2) the presence of a pro-Corbyn, anti-Starmer agenda; (3), an evident anti-Tory sentiment; (4), explicit interconnection with COVID-19. This is underpinned by the theoretical framework of counterpublics (Fraser, 1990, Asen, 2000, Loehwing and Motter, 2009, Wonneberger, Hellsten and Jacobs, 2021). This is where political communities seek to contest dominant narratives and legitimise alternative discourses. Anti-austerity communities constitute visible counterpublics. This work contributed to knowledge on this area by recognising the subjective significance of anti-austerity communities and their democratically-significant contribution to UK politics.
  • Coping with Gendered Welfare Stigma: Exploring Everyday Accounts of Stigma and Resistance Strategies among Mothers Who Claim Social Security Benefits

    Evans, Nancy; University of Liverpool; University of Chester (Cambridge University Press, 2022-04-07)
    Drawing upon findings from a qualitative project exploring welfare stigma in the lives of women in Merseyside, this article examines experiences of stigma and resistance strategies among the mothers interviewed. The article provides insights into how gendered stigma manifests in the lives of mothers reliant on social security benefits in the present era of continued welfare reform. The mothers’ experiences of stigma are argued to revolve around the devaluation of caring labour, the perception that benefits are undeserved and the notion of ‘bad motherhood’. Furthermore, the article contributes to knowledge about stigma resistance strategies, including acknowledging the value of care and rejecting blaming narratives. Nonetheless, it is argued that owing to the power and pervasiveness of structurally-imposed stigma, individualised resistance strategies are limited and mothers must also engage in everyday stigma management techniques.
  • A Practical Toolkit: Eight Steps to Identifying, Supporting and Celebrating Student-Parents

    Todd, Andrea; University of Chester
    Unlike many cohorts attending university under the Widening Participation agenda, student-parents are not considered by the Office for Students to be an underrepresented group. They are not, therefore, required to feature in institutional Access & Participation Plans, meaning that student-parents, and their needs, frequently go undetected by their institutions and departments. The eight steps in this toolkit represent a practical (yet research-informed) approach to identifying, supporting, and celebrating this committed and motivated cohort. It includes some practical tips on how institutions and/or departments can complete each of the recommended steps.
  • Does authentic self‐esteem buffer the negative effects of bullying victimization on social anxiety and classroom concentration? Evidence from a short‐term longitudinal study with early adolescents

    Boulton, Michael J.; Macaulay, Peter J. R.; University of Chester; University of Derby (2022-12-22)
    Background: Bullying victimization is a risk factor for social anxiety and disrupted classroom concentration among young people. Self‐esteem has been implicated as a protective factor, but extant literature is sparse. Aims: Aim of present study was to test if a new measure of authentic self‐esteem can buffer the negative effects of bullying victimization on social anxiety and disrupted classroom concentration concurrently and across time. Sample: A short‐term longitudinal questionnaire design was employed with 836 12‐ and 13‐year‐olds. Methods: Peer nominations of bullying victimization and self‐reports of authentic self‐esteem were collected during winter term, and self‐reports of social anxiety and disrupted classroom concentration were solicited then and also 5 months later. Results: Hierarchical multiple regression models indicated that authentic self‐esteem moderated the association between bullying victimization and (i) social anxiety both concurrently and longitudinally and (ii) disrupted classroom concentration longitudinally. The Johnson‐Neyman technique identified where on its scale authentic self‐esteem had its buffering effects, and these were found to be at relatively low or moderate levels. Conclusions: Even moderate levels of authentic self‐esteem can mitigate the association between being bullied and (i) social anxiety and (ii) disrupted classroom concentration. Efforts to monitor and where necessary enhance the authentic self‐esteem of young people are warranted.
  • The roles of personality traits, AI anxiety, and demographic factors in attitudes towards artificial intelligence

    Kaya, Feridun; Aydin, Fatih; Schepman, Astrid; Rodway, Paul; Yetişensoy, Okan; Demir Kaya, Meva; Ataturk University; Sivas Cumhuriyet University; University of Chester; Bayburt University (Taylor and Francis, 2022-12-07)
    The present study adapted the General Attitudes toward Artificial Intelligence Scale (GAAIS) to Turkish and investigated the impact of personality traits, artificial intelligence anxiety, and demographics on attitudes toward artificial intelligence. The sample consisted of 259 female (74%) and 91 male (26%) individuals aged between 18 and 51 (Mean = 24.23). Measures taken were demographics, the Ten-Item Personality Inventory, the Artificial Intelligence Anxiety Scale, and the General Attitudes toward Artificial Intelligence Scale. The Turkish GAAIS had good validity and reliability. Hierarchical Multiple Linear Regression Analyses showed that positive attitudes toward artificial intelligence were significantly predicted by the level of computer use (β = 0.139, p = 0.013), level of knowledge about artificial intelligence (β = 0.119, p = 0.029), and AI learning anxiety (β = −0.172, p = 0.004). Negative attitudes toward artificial intelligence were significantly predicted by agreeableness (β = 0.120, p = 0.019), AI configuration anxiety (β = −0.379, p < 0.001), and AI learning anxiety (β = −0.211, p < 0.001). Personality traits, AI anxiety, and demographics play important roles in attitudes toward AI. Results are discussed in light of the previous research and theoretical explanations.
  • Do Divisia monetary aggregates help forecast exchange rates in a negative interest rate environment?

    Binner, Jane M.; Tong, Meng; Molinas, Luis A.; Central Bank of Paraguay; University of Birmingham; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2022-10-12)
    This paper contributes to the literature as the first work of its kind to examine the role and importance of Divisia monetary aggregates and concomitant User Cost Price indices as superior monetary policy forecasting tools in a negative interest rate environment. We compare the performance of Divisia monetary aggregates with traditional simple-sum aggregates in several theoretical models and in a Bayesian VAR to forecast the exchange rates between the euro, the dollar and yuan at various horizons using quarterly data. We evaluate their performance against that of a random walk using two criteria: Root Mean Square Error ratios and the Clark-West statistic. We find that, under a free-floating exchange regime, superior Divisia monetary aggregates outperform their simple sum counterparts and the benchmark random walk in a negative interest rate environment, consistently.
  • Housing market spillovers through the lens of transaction volume: A new spillover index approach

    Yang, Jian; Tong, Meng; Yu, Ziliang; University of Colorado Denver; Nankai University; University College London; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2021-10-13)
    This paper examines intercity housing market spillovers (HMS) in China using a novel dataset of daily transaction prices and volume from 32 Chinese cities. Based on intercity price-price, price-volume, and volume-volume dynamics, we propose a new spillover index to summarize price and volume information comprehensively in measuring cross-market spillovers. We find that: (1) the volume-volume dynamics plays a more significant role than price-price or price-volume relationships in intercity HMS; (2) fundamentals related to population and GDPs are among significant determinants of the index. Overall, these findings provide new evidence for a significant informational role of volume beyond prices in HMS.

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