• Can cardiac rehabilitation fix a broken heart? Effect of aerobic exercise on myocardial function in patients with coronary artery disease: A systematic review

      Fallows, Stephen; Vasileiadi, Konstantina (University of Chester, 2008-09)
      The benefits of an exercise-based cardiovascular rehabilitation program were well manifested. Psychological aspects of quality of life are important in secondary prevention and quality of life is considerably affected, especially during the initial recovery phase after a cardiac event. A supervised exercise programme should be included in the standard rehabilitation protocol for patients recuperating after myocardial infarction since regularly supervised and prolonged aerobic exercise training improves cardiorespiratory fitness, psychological status, and quality of life and enhances exercise tolerance in patients of all ages, including those older than 75 years and as old as 86 years, who have been excluded from most randomised controlled trials. Modification of lifestyle behaviours such as smoking, eating abundant quantities of fats, sedentary habits, and methods of dealing with stress, can significantly reduce risk of coronary heart disease. Exercise training has a marked effect on the functional status of the patients with acute myocardial infarction and rehabilitation after such an event is aimed at speeding up the patient’s return to an active and productive life. Exercise-based programmes have been shown not to only affect physical exercise capacity. They also have implication on every day life by positively affecting the musculoskeletal system, improving osteoporosis, joint flexibility, muscle strength and endurance as well as balance.
    • Can Friendship Quality, Resilience, Social Anxiety and Victimisation Predict Self-Esteem?

      Boulton, Mike; Simpson, Hannah (University of Chester, 2017)
      Self-esteem is regarded as being fundamental for child and adolescent development. Self-esteem has been found to be at its lowest among young people and tends to fluctuate throughout adolescence. Despite this, little is known about the specific factors which may lead to a change in levels of self-esteem among youths. Current research aimed to investigate the relationship between four predictor variables (friendship quality, resilience, Social Anxiety and victimisation) and the dependent variable (self-esteem). Data was collected from school students aged between 10 and 16 years, from various schools across the United Kingdom. Students’ completed and online questionnaire, responding to statements using a Likert-scale response system. Data was analysed using a multiple regression, which was used to examine whether as a collection, the predictor variables could predict self-esteem. Which was followed by a series of four hierarchical multiple regression tests. The hierarchical regression tests allowed researchers to examine the unique contribution each predictor variable made towards the variance shared with self-esteem. Social Anxiety was found to be the most important unique predictor of self-esteem, accounting for 6% of the variance. It was therefore highlighted that Social Anxiety should be the first factor schools consider in their attempts to increase student levels of self-esteem. Intervention needs to be tailored towards individual needs. Future research should include moderation analyses in order to examine the relationship between the predictor variables and dependent variable (for example, age and gender).
    • Can open plan working prove beneficial?

      Page, Steve; Gratton, Vilma (University of Chester, 2009-06)
      This research uses social identity theory as a lens when examining whether open plan working can prove beneficial, bringing together several disciplines in one office. The research finds that benefits are evident but cannot be guaranteed in all circumstances. Similar benefits may not be replicated if a similar exercise were carried out elsewhere. The research finds that the main benefits lie in an easing of the tension between process and practice and faster and improved communication. Additionally, learning about one’s colleagues due to increased interaction can increase tolerance levels and improve relations. However, the starting sub-groups are found to persist through time and this can affect the standing of the newly created group. Leadership of the new group is also a cause for concern. Further opportunities for research are identified. Placing deviant employees within an open plan environment can help mediate their behaviour (although the employee does need to possess a desire to remain a member of the ingroup and this desire is not something which can be easily manipulated). The benefits of possible behaviour modification of “difficult” employees warrants further investigation into how this outcome can be guaranteed. Additionally, the research indicates that there may be a possible link between low global self-efficacy, high organisational self-efficacy and citizenship behaviours and expended effort.
    • Can physiotherapy breathing exercises improve lung function and quality of life in patients with heart failure?

      Fallows, Stephen; Collins, Susan K. (University College ChesterLeighton Hospital, 2005-11-16)
      The purpose of the study was to determine whether it is possible to increase lung function and quality of life in patients with diagnosed heart failure, by teaching the active cycle of breathing technique (ACBT), traditionally used by physiotherapists for patients with respiratory conditions. Eleven participants were recruited, seven males and four females with an average age of 74 years for the repeated measures study. Participants were taught and performed the ACBT three times a day for eight weeks. Lung function and quality of life was assessed pre and post intervention using a vitalograph, for five variables of lung function and the short form 36 (SF36) questionnaire for physical and mental scores respectively. The data generated was statistically analysed using a paired t-test for lung function and Wilcoxon test for SF36. The results for lung function and physical SF36 were statistically significant, therefore proving the hypothesis that ACBT can affect lung volume and quality of life in heart failure patients. Although, not statistically significant there was a percentage increase in the mental SF36 scores. The conclusions drawn demonstrate the benefits of using ACBT in this group of patients and the positive implications this could have in the management of the symptoms of heart failure and indicates a service development need for physiotherapy input, using ACBT, in this group of patients, in conjunction with traditional pharmacological modalities.
    • Can procurement deliver strategic value? An exploratory study within the UK higher education sector

      Ward, Anthony J.; Yu, Ai Chuin (University of Chester, 2017-10)
      Since the turn of the 21st century, the UK higher education (HE) sector has been facing increased political and fiscal pressures brought about by economic uncertainty, austerity and enhanced student expectations. By giving rise to a hypercompetitive environment, it is posited that today’s HE institutions seek to fulfil their societal responsibilities by achieving teaching excellence and ensuring long-term and financial sustainability. This paper postulates that the sector’s quest is attainable by realising value of strategic relevance (SV) and that it is axiomatic for the role of procurement to deliver it. To determine whether procurement can achieve this, this study examines its role and the concept, relevance and influencing forces of SV. This research comprises a cross-sectional exploratory study with procurement influencers, leaders, practitioners and senior stakeholders representing 14 organisations within UK HE. The research methodology is based on a subjective ontology that follows an interpretivist epistemology allied to pragmatism. The conceptual nature of the research problem is examined through a qualitative research design. Review of literature facilitates appreciation of the enigma of the research problem whilst empirical findings gathered through a series of 23 semi-structured interviews, emphasise the symbiotic relationship between the role of procurement and its stakeholders. Conclusions reveal that the ability of procurement to deliver SV within UK HE is significantly influenced by stakeholders’ perceptions of its role. Moreover, it is contingent on institutions’ ascription of SV and overcoming internal challenges that are affected by the dynamic juxtapositioning of macro-environmental forces outside the influence of individual institutions. In exploring a number of attributes, this study makes recommendations as to how the role of procurement within UK HE may be enhanced to deliver SV. It is envisaged that this study may supplement existing research or contribute towards future discussions on the role of procurement within the UK HE sector.
    • Cardiovascular risk in first degree relatives of patients with premature coronary heart disease

      Dhillon, Ranjit K. (University of Chester, 2009-09-30)
      Context: In most parts of the United Kingdom current cardiac services neglect assessment and primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in first degree relatives of patients with proven premature coronary heart disease. First degree relatives are at a higher risk than the general population by virtue of shared lifestyle risk and genetic factors to index cases. Objectives: This study aimed to identify first degree relatives of patients with proven coronary heart disease and assess their cardiovascular risk, using various cardiovascular risk assessment tools. We also aimed to assess the effectiveness of cardiovascular risk reduction services on the cardiovascular risk of the individual. Design, Setting, and Participation: A qualitative study was conducted at Sandwell Hospital. 43 participants aged 18- 74years were recruited. Results: The mean age of the cohort was 42(±4). 66% were under the age of 40years. At the baseline appointment 30% of the cohort, had a systolic blood pressure greater than 140mmHg, mean 140(±14.8) mmHg and 28% had a diastolic blood pressure greater than 90mmHg, mean 94(±2.12) mmHg. 82% of south Asians had a BMI greater than 23 Kg/m2. 63% of non south Asians had a BMI greater than <25 Kg/m2. 37%. 61% of the cohort’s total cholesterol was greater than 5mmol/l, mean 7.1(±1.8) mmol/l. 64% had triglycerides greater than 2.0mmol/l, mean 2.75(±0.49) mmol/l. The high density lipoprotein for males, 11% had a level greater than less than 1.0mmol/l, mean 1.2(±0.2) mmol/l, 4% of females had a level less than 1.2mmol/l, mean 1.4(±1) mmol/l. The cardiovascular tools QRISK, ETHRISK CVD, Framingham CVD identified over 10% of the cohort as high risk at the baseline appointment, and at the review appointment there was no change using QRISK. However, ETHRISK CVD and Framingham CVD demonstrated a risk reduction in the cohort. The tools varied in their selection of high risk, moderate risk and low risk. ETHRISK CHD and Framingham CHD and BNF identified 7% as high risk. Referral to specialist services was initiated with 14% referred for investigations, 21% commenced on medication or was altered. 12% of smokers were referred to a smoking cessation services. 25% referred to weight management service. 32% were referred to Cardiologist or Lipidologist. 19% referred to exercise on prescription. Conclusions: The study identified risk factors in individuals who would not conventionally access the current National Health Service Health Checks programme and should therefore be seen as complementary to NHS Health Checks. 66% were under the age of 40years who accessed the service. This population would not be able to access the systematic Health Checks programme provided by the National Health Service. This study therefore, illustrates the benefits of providing a tailored service for young individual’s potentially high risk and susceptible to premature CVD. This service enabled first degree relatives to choose a healthier lifestyle to reduce their risk of cardiovascular event in the future.
    • Care in Trinity: A paradigm for pastoral care

      Walker, Mark; Battye, Lisa (University of Liverpool (Chester College of Higher Education), 1999-10)
      Care in Trinity answers the question, "What makes care pastoral?" It tests the hypothesis that the doctrine of the Trinity can be applied to the question in such a way that a paradigm for pastoral care emerges. The context for the study was the author's need for a working model for her own practice when ordained. It therefore employs a postmodern epistemology. It proceeds by correlating the results of a literature search in three areas and basing its conclusions on the result. The areas examined are The Trinity, contemporary anthropology and pastoral care. All are found to be inherently relational. Their shared relationality is taken to support the claims that human relationships may be patterned on divine relationships, and that (Christian) pastoral care should display the core features of Trinitarian life. Three core features of Trinitarian life are then ascertained by examining the features of a diagrammatic representation of Trinity that has been adopted in the course of the argument. When translated into the language of human behaviour these are Encounter Empathy and Empowerment. 'By-products' of the research process include critique of the use of gendered language for God and of an immanent-transcendent dualism. It is also recommended that the category 'being for' should be added to 'being' and 'doing' when describing pastoral conduct, and that all three parameters in the new pastoral care paradigm will ideally be present in a balanced form.
    • A case study of business intelligence applications for business users

      Zlosnik, John; Taylor, Beverley (University of Chester, 2009-10)
      This research is conducted in two parts, with the first part reviewing the standard industry approach to providing organisations with business intelligence (BI) architecture. The discussion begins with a brief history of the evolution of data warehouses and business intelligence (DW/BI) systems. The generic approach to developing a DW/BI is described and the interfaces and features of BI applications are explored as to how they support the various user roles within an organisation e.g. executive, business user and business analyst. The discussion is presented using references to the Zachman Framework. The second part of the research focuses on a case study examining an organisation's implementation of a bespoke BI solution which is supporting its business managers with decision support, reporting and analysis. Where today's business intelligence is about giving business users the tools to get the information they need out of the data warehouse and thus reducing the reliance on IT departments, the bespoke solution studied puts the reliance on IT staff to support their business intelligence requirements. The BI requirements are compared and contrasted against the features of third party BI tools to reach a conclusion as to whether they support the reporting needs of the planning group in the case study or whether their needs are so specific that a bespoke solution is the best option and thus reliance on IT departments is still necessary to support the delivery of business intelligence. The findings from the first part of the research are the view that for the successful development of BI applications the BI user's needs should be addressed from the requirements stage, and the development of BI applications should run as a parallel activity alongside the data warehouse development activities. The BI applications should be developed by BI developers who have knowledge of the business, rather than technical IT staff. This view is supported by leading DW/BI authors such Kimball et al. (2008). The research also found the needs of the BI application users can be analysed by grouping them into one of five classifications of user - Tourists, Farmers, Explorers, Miners and Operators and that different user interfaces are needed to support their needs. The case study in the second part of the research found that the implementation of the DW/BI system in SAP using SAP BEx software fails to provide planning staff with BI applications that meet with all their reporting and analysis needs and has therefore led to the development of bespoke applications. The findings suggest that this may be because the planning staff were not involved at the scoping and planning stage of developing the DW/BI. The investigations found that most of the features in the bespoke BI system could be developed using a third party solution and that they are available in the SAP family of products. The level of expertise needed to develop the features ranged from easy to technical. The adoption of a third party tool could be used to develop the reports by the BI application developers identified by Kimball et al. (2008) and provide the planning managers with an intuitive and flexible user interface that can be easily customised and maintained. It was also found that SAP BusinessObject's Crystal Reports provide a rich user interface that is easy to use to support most of the BI features.
    • A case study of Liverpool City Council's Speke One Stop Shop and South Liverpool Housing partnership arrangement: Is it successful from an employee's viewpoint?

      Yates, Shelia (University of ChesterLiverpool City Council, 2005-05)
      In 1999 a new Chief Executive was appointed to Liverpool City Council (LCC). The nine original directorates were stream lined into the five current portfolio areas. LCC has dramatically changed and improved the way it delivers its services to the customer, which has been developed through the introduction of the Customer Contact Strategy (CCS) Through the CCS there are a number of contact channels, which give a first point of contact choice of access to a citizen. A key component of the strategy is the development of a network of fourteen One-Stop Shops (OSS's) across the city. There are currently ten in operation. The Shops provide face-to-face contact for customers for council and partner services. This study focuses its attention on the partnership arrangement between the Speke OSS and South Liverpool Housing (SLH), who are a registered social landlord (RSL). Staff based in the Speke OSS share the same building and counter facility with staff from SLH. Both organisations are located in the Parklands Building, which is a Public Finance Initiative (PFI). This is a unique partnership in England and Wales and the first of its kind in delivering "joined up" services. From the findings of the initial research, the author proposes and introduces a model named the "CHANGED" model. A contrasting merger between Chester College and Warrington Collegiate Institute is examined as a case study in appendix 7. In order to further test the validity of the aforementioned model, the author has carried out further research with a focus group of LCC 2nd year MBA students. The findings of which are described in Chapter Five. Adopting both qualitative and quantitative research methods, this research aims to treat the partnership arrangement as a "case study" to establish the success of the partnership: where success is taken to mean a process beneficial to staff in meeting organisational goals. The research aims and questions that are to be explored in this study are: 1. How has the partnership arrangement managed to enable staff to provide a seamless service in dealing with customers? 2. What evidence is there to suggest that a single culture has developed between staff from both organizations? The study illustrates the investigation and analysis of data, tests the data against established theory, discusses the findings and uses the results as a basis to identify possible recommendations. These recommendations could be incorporated into the development of a tool kit (CHANGED model) or similar model, which may be adopted in the success of future partnership arrangements which LCC may choose to embark upon.
    • A case study of performance appraisal in a small public sector organisation: The gaps between expectations and experience

      Warhurst, Russell; Mooney, John (University of Chester, 2009-12)
      The research project sets out to identify the gaps between expectations and experiences of performance appraisal in a small public sector organisation. The document explains how Passenger Focus, the rail watchdog, has undergone a successful corporate transformation from the previous federal network of regional committees into a new credible consumer body. The organisation has a new vision, and robust business planning processes have been introduced. However, there is a need to improve performance management through a new performance appraisal system. The overall purpose of the research is to assess the gaps between expectations and experiences in order to inform a new system. The literature review explains the background to the development of performance and its measurement in the public sector. It includes a detailed analysis of thinking on performance appraisal. The literature review concludes that performance appraisal can greatly benefit organisations, but appears to not be delivering in many cases. A conceptual model is developed to frame the empirical research. The research takes the form of a case study, and the findings are collated through qualitative interviews. A focus group was conducted, which framed the issues of concern, and these were explored in much more detail through semi-structured interviews. The findings revealed that there was a high level of understanding from staff of the need for performance appraisal. The largest gap between expectations and experiences lay in the current system, with respondents particularly concerned about the lack of training and over-simplistic documentation. Non-measurement of competencies was also a concern. Respondents were generally positive about recent experiences of appraisal. The findings suggest that motivated managers have made the system work for them, despite concerns about process, and respondents believe fairness is generally achieved. More attention is required to appraise team effort. There was little appetite for a system that links appraisal to financial reward. The conclusions of the research have informed the main recommendation, to develop a new system that is much more comprehensive, and incorporates training and guidelines. That new system should be developed through engagement with staff.
    • A case study on the potential to improve service delivery by introducing a 'virtual' contact centre

      Trevor, Jennifer (University of Liverpool (University College Chester), 2004-10)
      The piloting of a 'Virtual' Contact Centre (VCC) was identified at Flintshire County Council as a priority for an Access To Services Review. This would offer the customer an alternative method of contacting the Council, to request service and information. What did not necessarily follow was that the actual service received would be to the improved satisfaction of the customer. The research topic was therefore to determine whether improved access to services by means of a Virtual' Contact Centre actually improved service delivery. The research was undertaken using a 'pilot' Case Study of an implementation in Flintshire County Council between 2002 and 2004. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collated through consultation and interview, and investigated and analysed in tandem with a literature review. The main finding of the study was that the 'pilot' Case Study had not produced significant evidence to wholly support the claim. However, the analysis of the data had indicated that the VCC provided a welcome alternative means of contacting the Council. It was clear from the study that the VCC facility was being used, though it would appear that some access channels had been more popular than others. Thus, although the hypothesis was not fully proven, there was clear evidence of the potential for improvement in customer satisfaction being realised through a VCC. Recommendations are proposed to address the issues.
    • A case study to critically explore one tutor's use of questions to promote interactive teaching on a PGCE programme

      Rush, Linda; Roberts, Joy (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2005-12)
      Interactive teaching involves an increased interchange between teachers, students and the lecture content. The use of interactive teaching can promote active learning, heighten motivation, give feedback to teachers and students and increase satisfaction for both. Questioning is probably one of the most frequently used interactive teaching techniques used by teachers. The aim of this "small scale" research is to explore my use of questions as a means to develop a more interactive style of teaching on a one year programme of study. The Professional Development Education (PDE) course on the Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) Programme in the School of Education at the University of Chester has a prescribed curriculum content which has to be taught and assessed within this one year time frame. This case study is an attempt to explore the reasons for asking questions, to analyse the different types of questions asked and evaluate the ways of asking questions that promote active and reflective learning. It took the form of a questionnaire, a transcript of one hour's teaching on the PDE course and semi structured interviews with a group of the students. There are fifteen students on the PGCE programme and fourteen out of the fifteen students agreed to participate in the study. Fourteen questionnaires were completed and returned. The questions that were asked in an hour's teaching were taped and transcribed. On the same day that the teaching session was recorded I conducted seven individual semi-structured interviews with students. Relevant literature was reviewed focusing on the central theme of questioning. Research dating from the early twentieth century reveals that there are many ways to ask a question and some ways are more effective than others. Thinking about the types and levels of questions that can be asked or even preparing specific questions prior to a teaching session often leads to more effective classroom discussions. Although many studies have failed to find any relationship between the "level" of question and student achievement, many others have shown that students learn more in classrooms where teachers use a mix of analytical and evaluative questions than in those classrooms where teachers ask students mainly to recognise or recall facts. This case study focused on the following key questions: • Why ask questions? • What type of questions are most commonly asked? • How are questions asked? • What are the effects of a questioning approach to teaching on students' attitudes? The major findings to emerge from the case study were: • Students believed that a questioning approach to teaching encouraged interaction in the classroom • Findings from the questionnaire, the transcript and the semi-structured interviews showed that questions were a way of checking students' understanding and knowledge as well as sharing experiences. • Students believed that questions were used to extend their knowledge despite this not correlating with the transcript of the teaching session • Questions which were part of a sequence of four or more questions centred on a similar topic • Positive relationships between students and students and teacher were important factors when using a questioning approach to teaching. • That there is scope for further research on how students' answers are responded to by each other and the teacher. Recommendations based on the results of the research were made. Firstly, that there is a need to prepare fewer and better questions. These questions need to include those which require students to be more analytical and evaluative and which encourage students to question each others' answers as well as questioning the teacher. Secondly, how questions are distributed to the group and individuals needs to be considered more carefully by the teacher. Thirdly, more time for students to respond to questions before rephrasing the question or answering the question oneself needs to be given. Lastly that this research be seen as a starting point for future research by individuals and colleagues in the School of Education on how to improve questioning to develop a more interactive approach to teaching. The major conclusion from this case study is that I must be more aware of the reasons for asking the questions and the type of questions I am asking and develop my use of the effective questioning practices discussed.
    • A case study: ICT shared services

      Harrison, Susan (University of Chester, 2010-06)
      This explanatory case study attempts to understand the effects of Local Government Reorganisation on ICT Shared Service. Firstly, it identifies the type of change and investigates how these changes have impacted on the Shared Service. This forms the basis of enquiry by looking at the higher elements of transformation, Leadership, Culture, Vision and Strategy. (Hayes 2007, p123) Secondly Burke and Litwin (1992, p.528) casual model of change show how certain elements can affect the higher factors of transformational change and the individual performance and psychological contract due to the interconnectivity and relative impact. The research then assesses alternative ways to deliver ICT services, Public Private Partnership, outsourcing and shared and seeks to discover whether the ICT Shared Service will remain as a Shared provision.
    • Causes and Consquences of Victimisation: Associations between Social Anxiety, Self-Esteem, Friendship Quality and Gender.

      Boulton, Mike; Breen, Cara J. (University of Chester, 2017)
      Bulling in schools is a worldwide issue and its consequences have been found to be detrimental to young people’s lives (Anderson et al, 2015). To provide a further insight into victimisation, the current study specifically looked at social anxiety, self-esteem and friendship quality as possible consequences and risk factors for being a victim of bullying. To accomplish this, 654 participants consisting of 327 females and 281 males from 6 schools across the U.K and Gibraltar engaged in an online questionnaire. It was concluded that not only does victimisation contribute to levels of social anxiety and low self-esteem, but also that social anxiety, low self-esteem and friendship quality predicts victimisation. As a result, demonstrating that these variables are both consequences and risk factors of victimisation and suggests a possible “cycle” involved. Gender differences in victimisation were also explored. Although no significant gender difference was found for overall victimisation, there were clear differences in the various subtypes of bullying. Specifically, that males were more likely to suffer from physical bullying whereas females were more at risk of indirect and cyberbullying. A practical implication of the results concluded in this investigation is the need for intervention strategies that aim to target the victim’s well-being, such as anxiety levels and self-esteem. As a result, this will in turn help to weaken the victimisation cycle.
    • The cerebral rainforest: How the aftermath of the discovery of the gorilla influenced literature and culture, and altered evolutionary understanding and racial theory in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

      Rintoul, Richard (University of Chester, 2014)
      ‘The Cerebral Rainforest’ is a study of the gorilla’s considerable influence in literature, culture and science in the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries. It charts the gorilla’s troubled history with mankind and the thinning barriers between the two species – the title refers to the existence of a primal self, buried within in the human brain, which, in some of the works analysed in this dissertation, come to light when faced with gorillas or gorilla-like creatures, ultimately leaving us as wild and exposed as they are. It seeks to establish and understand the image built up around the gorilla during this time, and why it was – and has to some extent remained – a figure all at once terrifying and magnificent, unsettling in its proximity to us. It will engage with evolutionary and racial theories influenced by these animals. The dissertation is therefore divided into three primary chapters, along with an introduction and conclusion, which each deal with a primary focal point – the first chapter; ‘Deep Jungle’, deals with the initial discovery of the gorilla, Nineteenth Century accounts of hunting, the troubled figure of Paul du Chaillu and all those he influenced. The issues explored in this chapter will lead on to the second; ‘A World of Possibility’, which will focus on Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century speculative science fiction and fantasy. The third chapter; ‘The Inner Ape’, will explore the disturbing rise of scientific racism brought about by the breaking down of barriers between animal and human. Ultimately, the dissertation will explore the effect the gorilla had on humanity as a whole – and the unfortunate repercussions this double-edged relationship had on the gorilla.
    • Charles Dickens and national identity: Poverty, Wealth and Empire

      Stubbs, Jonathan (University of Chester, 2015)
      This dissertation examines the concepts of poverty, wealth and empire in the work of Charles Dickens. The concepts are widely known and have been the subject of countless books and academic studies since Charles Dickens’s death in 1870. Yet what seems to have been given less attention is a close analysis of how these concepts were inextricably linked and bound together in Dickens’s novels, and in the society they reflected. This study aims to address that deficit. The concepts of poverty, wealth, and to a lesser extent, empire formed the bedrock of all Dickens’s novels, and it was Dickens’s close observation of these aspects of society that formed the basis of his work’s clarion call for major social reform in the nineteenth century. This study establishes Dickens’s credibility in accurately portraying these concepts by analysing the influence of social reformers of the time, such as Friedrich Engels, Henry Mayhew, Thomas Carlyle, and Edwin Chadwick. Some of Dickens’s novels are omitted due to the sheer scale of his output, but the study closely examines the novels Oliver Twist (1838), Bleak House (1853), Hard Times (1854), Little Dorrit (1857), Great Expectations (1861), and Our Mutual Friend (1865), as well as Dickens’s periodicals, Household Words (1850-1859) and All the Year Round (1859-1870). This study aims to demonstrate how poverty, wealth and empire, and their intricate, closely-bound relationship, as reflected in the work of Charles Dickens, formed the nucleus of British national identity of the time, and informed national policy and decision-making at every level of society.
    • A child's death: A heuristic exploration of mothers' grief

      Mintz, Rita; Ashton, Gail C. (University of Liverpool (University of Chester), 2006-11)
      The death of a child is one of the most difficult losses that can have complicated, intense and long-lasting effects upon a bereaved parent. This qualitative heuristic study explored the grief experience of mothers after the death of their children, considering how or whether bereaved mothers' world-view was changed, how they rebuilt 'self whilst adapting to a new and changed life and exploring the importance and value of remaining connected to and continuing the bond with their child. Post-traumatic growth was also explored in addition to any existential, spiritual or life changes that resulted during the mothers' grieving. The experience of the researcher, a bereaved mother and counsellor, remained visible within the research, integrating her own personal and professional experience alongside the participants' stories. Data for analysis included interview transcripts with five bereaved mothers together with rich data such as poetry, narratives and photographs. This data was analysed using an inductive approach and Moustakas's (1990) heuristic process of data analysis. The constant comparative method informed this process. The findings not only highlighted the intensity and lifelong process of grief following the death of a child, but also significant changes in world-view, perspective on life and personal values, alongside personal growth and a changed view and altered level of understanding and valuing of people. Significant changes in self and attitudes were described such as a new enthusiasm for living, pride in self, contentment, strength, confidence and a new sense of enrichment, joy and pleasure, alongside the continuing pain of loss and an ongoing relationship with the child. The ways in which child death can be experienced and what can enable bereaved mothers to reconnect and rebuild their lives after such a devastating loss was additionally highlighted. The implications and findings of this study are discussed and potential further areas of study indicated.
    • Childhood Imaginary Companions and Their Effect on Childhood Fantasy Play Predisposition, and Shyness and Rejection Sensitivity in Adulthood

      Kirkham, Julie A.; Rafferty, Sarah (University of Chester, 2017)
      The current study was conducted to investigate the effects of having an imaginary companion in childhood on fantasy play predisposition in childhood, and shyness and rejection sensitivity in adulthood. The relationships between childhood fantasy play predisposition, and adult shyness and rejection sensitivity were also investigated. These areas have seen very little previous research in an adult population, and those conducted in childhood have shown mixed results. Various studies have previously shown that children with an imaginary companion are more likely to show a predisposition toward fantasy play, though this has not been investigated recently. A sample of 64 participants were asked about recalled imaginary companions, and completed self-report measures of childhood fantasy play predisposition, and adulthood shyness and rejection sensitivity. Participants who recalled having an imaginary companion in childhood showed significantly higher scores than those who did not on the fantasy play scale, but participant groups did not differ significantly in terms of shyness or rejection sensitivity. Adult shyness and rejection sensitivity were found to have a significant predictive relationship, though childhood fantasy play did not significantly predict adult shyness nor rejection sensitivity. The results from this study suggest that childhood imaginary companions do not have an effect over time from childhood to adulthood on shyness and rejection sensitivity, but that future research is necessary to add to the knowledge base in this area. Additionally, shyness and rejection sensitivity may be changing constructs over time, but continue to share a relationship into adulthood.
    • Chimera

      Wall, Alan; Simon, Christine A. (University of Chester, 2006-09)
    • 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.