• “I too matter”. The experience and impact of a brief online self-compassion intervention for informal carers of those with a life-limiting or terminal illness: A mixed methods study

      Reeves, Andrew; Gubi, Peter; Diggory, Catherine J. (University of Chester, 2020-09)
      Aims: Being an informal carer of someone with a life-limiting or terminal illness (‘Carer’) often results in marked levels of depression, anxiety and stress. Yet, Carers have little available free time to devote to lengthy, well-being interventions offered outside the home. Carers also struggle to prioitorise their self-care, a factor which may help buffer some of the negative impacts of being a Carer. The aim of this research was to gain insight into Carers’ views and perceptions of the impact of a brief, four module, online self-compassion intervention for Carers which was created to improve wellbeing, increase self-compassion and develop self-care among Carers. In so doing, the research addresses gaps in the literature relating to self-compassion interventions for Carers and targeted self-care initiatives for Carers. Design: This predominantly qualitative study was undertaken in two phases. In Phase One semi-structured interviews with nine participants of a four module, one to one self-compassion intervention (iCare), delivered in person, were conducted and data subjected to a reflexive thematic analysis within a critical realist framework. Additionally, descriptive statistics were collected. The findings from Phase One provided a theoretical basis for the design and content of the online version of iCare, the intervention studied in Phase Two. Seven Carers completed the four module online self-compassion programme. Data were collected through individual module feedback, post-intervention online qualitative questionnaires and descriptive statistics. Findings: The reflexive thematic analysis of the data generated four overarching themes: The Myth of SuperCarer; Get with the programme!; ‘Being kinder to myself’; and Everyone’s a winner. These explored how participants approached iCareonline, the impact engaging with it had on their well-being and highlighted how participants developed self-care through gaining permission to recognise their own needs. Improvements in psychological well-being and increases in self-compassion were reflected in the quantitative findings. In line with critical realist methodology, a causal mechanism was proposed explaining the development of self-compassion and conscious self-care among participants based on a cyclical model of Carer self-compassion. Implications: This study has relevance for: healthcare practitioners as the findings suggest that these professionals have a key role in legitimising Carer needs and fostering permission in Carers to practise self-care; counselling and psychotherapy professionals who work with Carers who are well-placed to challenge barriers Carer-clients may erect in the face of encouragement to practise self-care and self-compassion. Some of the content of iCare may prove useful to those therapists adopting a pluralistic approach when working with clients who are carers. Finally, teachers of mindful self-compassion could note the importance of the permission-giving aspects of a self-compassion intervention and the role it plays in developing conscious self-care in participants.
    • Limb preference and personality in donkeys (Equus asinus)

      Diaz, Sergio; Murray, Lindsay Elaine; Rodway, Paul; University of Chester; Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
      Interhemispheric laterality has often been linked to different behavioural styles. This study investigates the link between limb preference and personality in donkeys. The sample consisted of 47 donkeys (Equus asinus), 30 males and 17 females. Limb preference was determined using observation of the leading limb in a motionless posture and personality was measured using the Donkey Temperament Questionnaire (French, J. M. (1993). Assessment of donkey temperament and the influence of home environment. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 36(2), 249–257. doi:10.1016/0168-1591(93)90014-G) completed by the donkeys’ keepers. A Principal Component Analysis obtained two components: Agreeableness and Extraversion. Age showed a positive relationship with Agreeableness, echoing trends in humans Donkeys did not show a population-level preference towards either side. Limb preference significantly predicted the trait difficult to handle: donkeys with a preference to keep the right foot forward when motionless were harder to handle. This study presents the first investigation into limb preference and personality in donkeys, although more research is needed to clarify whether there is a population-level limb preference bias in donkeys, and the relationship between limb preference and Agreeableness.
    • Professional Development Implications for Counsellors Who Have Worked in The English Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Programme

      Reeves, Andrew; Gubi, Peter; Mason, Richard (University of Chester, 2020-12)
      Background: Prior to the implementation of the IAPT programme by NHS England in 2008, counsellors were commonly employed to deliver psychological therapy in English NHS Primary Care Mental Health (PCMH) services. Pre-IAPT, professional development for PCMH practitioners, like the therapeutic approaches they offered, was non-standardised. Post-IAPT, PCMH provision became standardised, utilising manualised therapies alongside a commitment to outcome data completion. IAPT operates a highly structured approach to PCMH provision, arguably a treatment paradigm, in which ontological and epistemological entities are controlled. The model allows minimal flexibility in relation to what should, and how it should be treated; what data should, and how it should be gathered, and how outcomes should be interpreted. Clinical Commissioning Groups, contract to deliver IAPT services to any qualified providers, using IAPT data to determine performance. Arguably, IAPT has franchised PCMH in England. Professional development of IAPT practitioners is confined to training that supports the delivery of its aims. Consequently, service investment in training is focussed towards NICE approved approaches that are considered to be evidence-based. These approaches are epistemologically nomothetic, creating ideological challenges to counsellors who are epistemologically idiographic. This incommensurability between the IAPT treatment paradigm and counsellors, can affect professional development. Objectives: This research focusses on implications for professional development of counsellors who have worked in IAPT. Conducted amongst ex-IAPT counsellors, to explore: the degree to which counsellors engage in IAPT professional development opportunities; how facilitative IAPT service is to professional development; how counsellors conceptualise and respond to those professional development opportunities. Method: Semi-structured interviews of eight participants who had worked in different IAPT services across England were completed and analysed utilising an Applied Thematic Analysis. Findings: Three themes were identified, exposing many implications for counsellor professional development, influenced by: the IAPT Business and Clinical Models, and Participants Responses to those influences, reflecting both external and internal ideological challenges towards professional development. Conclusions: Ideological incommensurability, can result in both positive and negative professional development outcomes. Business and clinical models contributed to the struggle to identify, secure, or adapt to formal opportunities that are ideologically incompatible. However, participants capitalised on informal professional development opportunities. Exposure to the IAPT program, and the working environment of primary care mental health, enhanced knowledge and experience, administrative competence, and provided valuable exposure to wide-ranging variety of type and complexity in clinical presentation. This was identified as contributing to the development of a notable level of pluralistic practices. Participants did not disclose planned professional development strategies (appearing to respond intuitively to opportunity), suggesting that professional development was lacking intent. Therefore, counsellors are encouraged to reflect upon the type of psychological therapist they wish to become; contemplate the benefit of a structured professional development plan to achieve that aim; recognise the rich potential IAPT offers, and consider how IAPT might contribute to their professional development.
    • Benefits of musical training on implicit memory and learning in healthy older adults and individuals with dementia

      Cousins, Margaret; Bramwell, Ros; Thorpe, Lisa (University of Chester, 2021-03)
      Ageing is linked to a variety of health issues, but perhaps the most well documented feature of growing older is that it is associated with memory decline (Ward, Berry & Shanks, 2013). It is well established that explicit memory declines with age, with the rate of decline being an important predictor of the diagnosis of dementia (Ward et al., 2013). Implicit memory is involved in everyday tasks that, with practice, become largely automatic. The process of implicit learning is generally defined as the ability to acquire knowledge unconsciously. An effective way of improving health in older adults is through music. Making music is one of the essential skills that requires the use of implicit knowledge. Procedural learning is one type of implicit knowledge that focuses on the learning of a skill through repeated performance and practise. To become a professional musician takes years of skill training, for example, practising scales improves finger patterns in pianists, which over time becomes an implicit motor skill that helps with musical performance. Previous research that has looked at implicit memory in musicians, has focused on young adults and found that both musicians and non-musicians performed equally on implicit knowledge tasks (Bigand et al. 2001). This thesis aimed to look at whether musical training is associated with better performance in implicit memory in healthy older adults and individual with dementia. To do this implicit memory tasks including an adaptation of the Phoneme Monitoring Task (Bigand et al., 2001), Serial Reaction Time Task (Nissen & Bullemer, 1987) and The Word Completion tasks (Tulving, Schacter & Stark, 1982), were completed by healthy older adults and individuals with dementia both musicians and non-musicians. Overall, results showed that musicians, both older adults and individuals with dementia, performed better than non-musicians on procedural learning tasks (Serial Reaction Time Task) but there was no difference on implicit tasks such as priming. Although both musicians and non-musicians with dementia showed reaction times that would suggest procedural learning for repeated sequences, only musicians showed a significant difference between repeated and novel sequences, suggesting that musical training benefits procedural learning. Overall, both health older adult musicians and musicians with dementia performed faster than non-musicians on both the Serial Reaction Time Task and the Adapted Phoneme Monitoring task. However, results did not reach significance on the Adapted Phoneme Monitoring Task. The results suggest that musical training benefits procedural learning in musicians, which could have positive implications for future learning in older adults and individuals with dementia.
    • Resilience through flood memory– a comparison of the role of insurance and experience in flood resilience for households and businesses in England.

      Bhattacharya Mis, Namrata; Lamond, Jessica; University of Chester; University of West of England
      Resilience to flooding is influenced by adaptations or behavior that address risk reduction at all stages of the disaster cycle. This includes: physical adaptation of buildings to limit damage; individual preparedness and business continuity planning; and provision of resources for reinstatement through insurance or recovery grants. In the UK implementation of such strategies lie mainly with private property owner and their private insurer while government policy promotes greater uptake by these actors as part of an integrated strategy. In the context of increased flood events the provision of affordable insurance has been increasingly challenging and in 2016 a new insurance arrangement (Flood Re) was put in place to support transition to affordable market based insurance. However, Flood Re is specific to residential property and excludes many categories of property previously guaranteed coverage including small businesses. The research used a survey of frequently flooded locations in England to explore the different experiences and behaviors of households and businesses at risk from flooding with respect to insurance and recovery in this evolving scenario. The results show distinct differences between households and businesses that could point to greater opportunities for enhancing resilience if policy and practice recognized those differences.
    • Impact Assessment of Holiday Provision in Cheshire West and Chester, Halton and Wirral – Summer 2020: Assessment of Provision and Coordination under Covid19

      Fernandez, Rosa Maria; orcid: 0000-0002-0444-7999; email: r.fernandez@chester.ac.uk; Dunne, Seona; White, Holly; University of Chester
      This report is an evaluation of the activities undertaken by Edsential and Partners during the summer of 2020. Edsential and its consortium were one of ten providers awarded funding by the Department of Education to coordinate activities and food provision in England, receiving £1.8 million of the £9 million allocated for 2020. Compared to the summer of 2019, the area of the provision under the care of Edsential has significantly increased, including Cheshire West and Chester, Wirral and Halton. The provision was organised through Partnership Boards created for each local area, and this report not only provides an impact assessment of the holiday food and activity provision, but also an evaluation of the partnerships and their functioning. The context of the provision has been affected by the Covid19 pandemic, and as such, researchers have also analysed how Covid19 has affected families, particularly during lockdown restriction periods, and the provision of activities.
    • (Custodial) spaces to grow? Adolescent development during custodial transitions

      Price, Jayne; orcid:; Turner, Jennifer; University of Chester; University of Oldenburg, Germany
      Drawing on empirical data from two individual research projects, this paper extends the literature on child and youth incarceration and offers a previously unexplored analysis of experiences and transitions through institutional environments for young people. Different penal environments have different operational practices and treatment according to arbitrary age-determined constructions of childhood, youth and young adulthood, evidenced by decreasing safeguards. This article demonstrates the reduction of operative and supportive investment in those held, and the shifting perception from children that require ‘training’ to young people and young adults who are managed and whose particular needs are neglected. The arbitrary nature of transitions presents a paradox between developmental maturity as an individualistic ongoing process and arbitrary age-determined transitions. As such, it is argued that there should be a more developmental approach to caring for young people across penal environments which accounts for their ongoing maturity and complex needs.
    • Transitioning to Organic Rice Farming in Thailand: Drivers and Factors

      Miller, Servel; Seerasarn, Nareerut; Wanaset, Apinya; University of Chester; Sukhothai Thammathirat; Open University
      The Thai government has made it part of the long-term strategy to produce more organic rice, particularly for the Chinese market, to sustain Thai economic growth. However, whilst there has been an increase in organic rice farming, the rate has been relatively slow compared to conventional methods. This research focuses on determining the drivers and factors that influences conversion to organic rice farming in order to better inform local and national policies. It provides an insight into the processes in the decision-making process of famers and the practices they use. Questionnaire and interview data from farmers from the leading rice production region, Surin was analyzed using logistic regression to understand the driver for of organic rice farming and well as the barrier and challenges of adopting to this practice. The findings highlight the critical role of extension farm officers in promoting, educating and motivating farmers to take on organic farming. The ability to access (affordable) loans through local cooperative and land-ownership were also key motivational factors. Young people (under 25) are not engaging with farming generally and this is a major barrier to long-term growth in the organic rice industry in Thailand.
    • Managing Risk Online

      McGarry, Amanda; Reeves, Andrew; University of Chester
      This article considers the professional considerations in working with clients at risk of suicide in an online therapeutic environment.
    • Student authored atlas tours (story maps) as geography assignments

      Treves, Richard; Mansell, Damien; France, Derek; Queen Mary University London; University of Exeter; University of Chester
      Atlas Tours consist of collections of animated maps and other elements woven together to make a narrative, they are a commonly used format on the web. Recent developments in software platforms such as Esri Story Maps have made producing them possible by Geography students. The study uses student written feedback and focuses groups about a module where stu- dents produce an Atlas Tour as an assignment. This is used to advocate the use of student-produced Atlas Tours in Geography teaching, the main argument proposed is that Atlas Tours are an excellent format to enable students to learn and practise graphical literacy (graphicacy). Despite this educational opportunity, Atlas Tours can cause practical problems for students and suggestions are made to mitigate this issue. Two other pedagogical strands are also advocated: Students being empowered to exercise creativity in creating Atlas Tours and how Atlas Tours are particularly well suited to fieldwork assignments.
    • Trauma and Crisis

      Reeves, Andrew; Buxton, Christina; University of Chester
      This chapter seeks to understand the nature of crisis and trauma in the context of mental health delivery and offers some key practice indicators for counsellors in the field.
    • Displacement in Casamance, Senegal: Lessons (Hopefully) Learned, 2000–2019

      Evans, Martin; Coventry University
      The paper reflects on fieldwork conducted since 2000 with displaced communities in Lower and Middle Casamance, Senegal, amid arguably West Africa’s longest-running civil conflict. While this is a small conflict in a geographically confined space, Casamance presents a microcosm of dynamics common to other displacement situations in Africa. In this context the paper explores how the understandings, lived experiences and practices of the displaced transcend normative categories used by aid actors to define and manage such situations. Five thematic areas are examined: enumeration of the displaced; complex mobilities, both rural-urban and transnational; historiographic understandings of displacement; political manipulation of displacement situations; and the dynamics of return and reconstruction. The paper concludes by summarising failures of understanding in these areas among much of the aid community, and their consequences. It argues that well-grounded and socially nuanced understandings of displacement may inform more effective aid interventions and enhance the peace process.
    • Political Management. The Dance of Government and Politics

      Robertson, Christopher; University of Chester
      A book review of Jennifer Lees-Marshment's book 'Political Management. A Dance of Government and Politics.'
    • Rethinking Public Relations. Persuasion, Democracy and Society

      Robertson, Christopher; University of Chester
      A book review of Kevin Moloney and Conor McGrath's book 'Rethinking Public Relations. Persuasion, Democracy and Society.'
    • Philosophy and public administration: An introduction ( second edition) By Edoardo Ongaro:  Edward Elgar Publishing, 2020. 334 pages. Hardback. £85.00. ISBN: 9781839100338

      Robertson, Christopher; University of Chester
      A book review of Edoardo Ongaro's book 'Philosophy and Public Administration: An Introduction'
    • Great Games and Keeping it Cool: New political, social and cultural geographies of young people’s environmental activism

      Collins, Rebecca; University of Chester
      Drawing on recent framings of young people’s environmental activism as a ‘game’, alongside long-standing characterisations of youth as responsibilised environmental change-agents, in this Viewpoint I identify fertile research opportunities in the liminal spaces between moments of young people’s action and the political and socio-cultural spaces through which those actions (might) diffuse. I argue that youth geographers should take care to engage critically with young activists’ actions, as well as wider political and cultural responses to them, in order to avoid furthering problematic ‘sustainability saviour’ framings of youth.
    • Re-naming and re-framing: Evolving the ‘Higher Education Research Group’ to the ‘Geography and Education Research Group’

      Healey, Ruth L.; West, Harry; University of Chester; University of the West of England
      Editorial for special issue of Area about the evolution of the Higher Education Research Group to the Geography and Education Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society.
    • Building a voice of influence: Supporting social science doctoral students with disabilities

      Taylor, Paul; Reeves, Andrew; University of Chester
      This chapter draws together experience from two supervisors on the subject of supporting social science doctoral students with disabilities. Our aims here are to illuminate the structural obstacles that students may encounter, and how supervisors might assist their students in navigating the terrain of ‘poor listeners’, unsubstantiated criticism, and views that are expressed that serve to suppress the voice and influence of the doctoral scholar. It is not our intention here to render the doctoral student as a powerless individual whose identity is one of deficit, on the contrary; rather in identifying structural and disciplinary barriers, supervisors, and their students may better prepare from what they may experience.
    • The history of the Higher Education Research Group of the UK Royal Geographical Society: The changing status and focus of geography education in the academy

      Healey, Ruth L.; France, Derek; Hill, Jennifer; West, Harry; University of Chester; University of Gloucestershire; University of the West of England
      The opening paper in our special section sets the scene for the discussions that follow by evidencing and reflecting upon the history of the Higher Education Research Group. We report on the purpose of the Group when it was established in the late 1970s as the Higher Education Learning Working Party, and trace its development to late 2019 when its members voted to change the name of the Group to the Geography and Education Research Group. Through a systematic analysis of the annual reports published in Area (from 1980 to 1994) and the minutes of the Annual General Meetings (from 1998 to 2019), alongside personal correspondence with former members of the Committee, we explore the history of the Group. We contend that the Group has passed through four distinct phases related to the broader geography and education context. The recent re-naming of the Group to publicly codify and celebrate the diversity of links between geography and education represents a fifth phase in the Group’s evolution. Throughout its history, the Group has had strong connections with geographies (and geographers) of education across a range of sectoral levels, indicating that this fifth evolutionary phase aligns well with the Group’s original purpose and vision.
    • Persistent millennial-scale climate variability in Southern Europe during Marine Isotope Stage 6

      WILSON, GRAHAM PAUL; FROGLEY, MICHAEL; HUGHES, PHILIP; ROUCOUX, KATHERINE; MARGARI, VASILIKI; JONES, TIM; LENG, MELANIE; TZEDAKIS, POLYCHRONIS; University of Chester; University College London (Elsevier, 2020-11-11)
      Exploring the mode and tempo of millennial-scale climate variability under evolving boundary conditions can provide insights into tipping points in different parts of the Earth system, and can facilitate a more detailed understanding of climate teleconnections and phase relationships between different Earth system components. Here we use fossil diatom and stable carbon and oxygen isotope analysis of lake sediment deposits (core I-284) from the Ioannina basin, NW Greece, to explore in further detail millennial-scale climate instability in southern Europe during Marine Isotope Stage 6 (MIS 6; ca. 185‒130 ka). This interval correlates with the Vlasian Stage in Greece and the Late Saalian Substage in northern Europe, which were both characterised by extensive glaciations. The new dataset resolves at least 18 discrete warmer / wetter intervals, many of which were associated with strong Asian Monsoon events and North Atlantic interstadials. A number of cooler / drier intervals are also identified in the I-284 record, which are typically associated with weaker Asian Monsoon events and North Atlantic stadials, consistent with a variable Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. Unlike the subdued changes in tree populations that are observed at Ioannina during mid-to-late MIS 6, the diatom record contains frequent high-amplitude oscillations in species assemblages, pointing to its sensitivity at a time when the lake system must have been close to environmental thresholds. Millennial-scale variability in diatom species assemblages continues into late MIS 6 at Ioannina, contributing important evidence for an emerging picture of frequent and persistent climate instability even at times of high global ice volume.