Graduate Theses & Dissertations

Fathering Experience of the Transition Into Parenthood
Men who become fathers undergo a transitional period during which they adjust to their new role as the caregiver of a child, a time that is usually viewed as a major life transition (Lamb, 2010). Much of the published literature focuses on fathers with identified issues (e.g., divorced fathers); therefore, there is a need for research that looks at the experiences of more typical fathers in the current Canadian context. To understand how fathers experience this transition, a series of focus groups were conducted with first-time fathers across the Peel Region of Ontario, Canada. Analysis of the focus group transcripts using an interpretative phenomenology framework identified four overarching metathemes: intrapersonal experiences, extrapersonal experiences, father’s role, and supports. Practical implications, theoretical implications, and limitations are discussed. Author Keywords: Fathering, Fathering Experience, First-Time Fathers, Transition Into Parenthood
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
The purpose of this study was to understand the lived experiences of mental health and illness in Kuwait. Twenty-six participants were interviewed, including mental health professionals, family physicians, and service users. Findings suggest that inequality, oppression, and human rights violations may drive mental health issues in Kuwait. However, rather than addressing these factors, many healthcare providers are endorsing psychological testing and psychiatric medication, which may be resulting in the same iatrogenic (physician-induced) drug dependence that is seen in North America. An analysis of mainstream psychological theory, research and practice is provided, along with a bioethical critique of the World Health Organization’s efforts to reduce the global ‘burden’ of mental disorders. This study cuts across disciplinary boundaries and 1) supports medical anthropologists’ criticisms of the ‘advancement’ of global mental healthcare; 2) provides participant-driven, community-based alternatives that are specific to Kuwait; and 3) informs culturally defined notions of ‘care’ and ‘ethics’. Author Keywords: Clinicians' narratives, Critical Psychology, Human rights, Kuwait, Qualitative research, Transcultural psychiatry
Money for Nothing
The strong relationship between poverty and poor health has been well-established for millennia; however, the mechanisms through which this relationship manifests are only recently becoming understood. Perceptions of relative wealth and status, chronic stress, and immunodeficiencies are implicated in recent research studying the social determinants of health. The purpose of the current study is to access the detailed and contextualized perceptions of these relationships and contribute evidence-based policy suggestions to improve the health of the Canadian population. A qualitative approach was employed to provide a unique perspective in addressing the concerns identified within the literature, and fifteen semi-structured interviews with relevant experts were conducted and evaluated using a Content Analysis. The results of the current study suggested a consensus among the participants with regards to the income-related social factors which determine poor health outcomes. A basic income was also perceived to moderate these mechanisms to a certain degree, but was not considered the most effective policy solution. Emulating the progressive tax policies of more economically equal countries was the preferred approach to addressing the issues of poverty and poor health in Canada (though a basic income was not excluded as a potential subsection of these policies). A lack of political will was perceived to be one of the primary obstacles preventing such policies from coming into practice, and it was the conclusion of this paper that virtuous and knowledgeable political leaders are a necessity in the successful pursuit of improving the health of the Canadian people. Author Keywords:
Sweat it out
Many consumers purchase sweatshop products, despite the hazardous conditions for workers. The psychological factors that influence (un) ethical garment purchasing are not well understood. Two studies explored consumers’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviour. University students (Study 1; N = 130) said they would pay more for ethically-labelled garments, particularly students who were community and future-orientated. Importantly, most students were unaware of where to purchase ethical garments. In Study 2, female undergraduate students (N = 74) were randomly assigned to read about a sweatshop collapse or garment care. Students who read about the disaster chose more ‘sweatshop-free’ garments in a virtual shopping task. All students spent similarly (clothes, accessories, and in general) in the week following the experiment, however. Students may buy ethically-made garments if clearly labelled, but sweatshop information in the media may not affect consumer behaviour. Changes in public policy and education about the human costs of overconsumption are needed. Author Keywords: Decision making, Ethical garments, Ethical purchasing, Materialism, Overconsumption
To be kind or not to be kind
Past research suggests that students who are more academically resourceful tend to attain higher grades and feel more socially and academically adjusted at university. These same studies also show that students’ general resourcefulness and academic self-efficacy are strong, positive and direct predictors of their academic resourcefulness. My thesis expands upon this line of research by investigating the six dimensions of self-compassion (i.e., self-kindness, common humanity, mindfulness, self-criticism, isolation, over-identification) within the framework of the academic self-control model. In Study 1, a mixed methods approach was used, whereby after completing a measure on general learned resourcefulness, 20 students were interviewed to describe in detail their experiences with academic success and failure. Across the continuum of resourcefulness, interviews were analyzed for usage of self-compassion, academic resourcefulness, and explanatory style. Four themes emerged illustrating, compared to the highly resourceful students, the less resourceful students demonstrated fewer instances of academically resourceful behaviour, believed academic successes should require little effort, focused on the product of getting a high grade versus the process, and were less socially adjusted and mindful, and more isolated, ruminative, and overly self-critical when describing academic disappointments. Study 2 employed a correlational design to examine the relationships between the dimensions of self-compassion and the variables of the academic self-control model, with a sample of 196 students. As expected, the six dimensions of self-compassion were more strongly related to general resourcefulness than academic resourcefulness, with mindfulness and common humanity being unique predictors of the former variable. The contribution of the six dimensions to academic resourcefulness was shared with general resourcefulness and academic self-efficacy. The bivariate relationships between the dimensions of self-compassion and students’ grades were largely non-significant. Two dimensions uniquely predicted students’ adjustment to university – isolation and common humanity – alongside general and academic resourcefulness. In summary, the dimensions of self-compassion uniquely related to the more general measures of the model. Future research should explore the usefulness of an academic-specific measure of self-compassion in the prediction of academic resourcefulness, explanatory style, and grades. Whether including training on how to be more self-compassionate, in conjunction with teaching resourcefulness strategies, is beneficial for students is discussed. Author Keywords: academic resourcefulness, adjustment, explanatory style, general learned resourcefulness, self-compassion, self-efficacy
Why not give up? A study on the role of resourcefulness in goal pursuit
Past research suggests that taking a process oriented approach, setting clear and concrete goals, and using both conscious planning and proactive coping are the best methods to be successful with goal pursuit. Also the literature has found that individuals scoring higher in general resourcefulness tend to be more successful at achieving goals than their less resourceful counterparts. My thesis looked at these goal pursuit behaviours under the lens of resourcefulness using a mixed methods approach. After completing Rosenbaum’s self-control scale (1980) assessing general resourcefulness, participants took part in a semi-structured interview asking them about a recent goal they had set and how they dealt with interfering obstacles. The hope was hearing differences about how highly and less resourceful people discuss their goals and setbacks would give a deeper understanding about the characteristics of success. The themes emerging from the interviews were: blame and excuses versus understanding and growth, internal versus external factors, living in the moment versus conscious planning and magical versus realistic thinking. In contrast to low-scoring participants, highly resourceful individuals grew from their setbacks, were internally driven, consciously planned, and thought realistically about their goals. Less resourceful individual, on the other hand blamed outside factors and made excuses, were only motivated externally, didn’t plan out their goals and believed their goals would just magically materialize over time. My discussion focuses on the ability to train lower resourceful individuals over longer interventions, and the applications of understanding and using resourcefulness as a lens in future studies. Author Keywords: Goal, Habits, Quitting, Resourcefulness, Self-Control, Success
Youth Justice in Canada
Strategies to reduce youth crime have been extensively researched and custody is not found to be effective. In the past, custody was a frequently used sentence, and while under the YOA the number of youth in custody was four times higher than that of adults in Canada. The use of custody sentences in Ontario has decreased in recent years, however; it remains above the Canadian average. Currently, alternatives to custody are also being implemented. This study aimed to gather lived experiences of those with firsthand experience in the youth justice system (offenders and staff). These individuals have working knowledge of effective practices for reducing recidivism. Eighteen semi-structured interviews were conducted. Interviews were coded and analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis. A number of themes emerged, including various views on the benefits of custody, the importance of relationships, challenges of the job and the need for increased focus on prevention. Author Keywords: Interpretive Phenomenology, Rehabilitation, Treatment, Youth Justice

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