Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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The Desire to Be Authentic
Authenticity has been demonstrated as an important factor in relationships and sexual health (Impett et al., 2006; Impett, Breines, & Strachman, 2010). Although authentic behaviour is generally beneficial, sharing our true thoughts, feelings, and desires may be especially difficult in sexual contexts. Existing research has demonstrated that individuals find sexual communication awkward, uncomfortable, and embarrassing and may avoid such discussions overall (Shumlich & Fisher, 2020). Despite the evidence that behaving authentically in sexual contexts is uniquely challenging, research has yet to explore sexual authenticity. A primary objective of this study was to develop a measure to assess individuals’ level of sexual authenticity. Study 1 involved performing several exploratory factor analyses on the 23 proposed items, which yielded a 15-item scale that loaded onto three factors: 1) Honest Sexual Communication, 2) Sexual Placating, and 3) Sexual Self-Doubt. These subscales were statistically associated with related constructs such as relationship authenticity, honesty, and sexual deception. In Study 2, confirmatory factor analyses were conducted on two independent samples which provided additional support for the model and evidence for generalizability for the scale. The resulting Sexual Authenticity Scale was then leveraged to examine the relationships between sexual authenticity and its proposed benefits. Overall, sexual authenticity was found to be associated with enhanced sexual communication, sexual consent behaviours, and higher sexual and relationship satisfaction. Author Keywords: authenticity, relationship satisfaction, sexual authenticity, sexual communication, sexual consent, sexual satisfaction
Help-Seeking Behaviours Of Individuals With Workplace Mental Health Injuries
The present study investigated the lived-experiences of individuals with workplace mental health injuries to better understand the thoughts, emotions, and behavioural processes that promote or inhibit help-seeking. This research investigated the interactions and relationships with relevant stakeholders and how they influence help-seeking. Qualitative methodology was employed by conducting semi-structured interviews with individuals (n=12) from various occupational classes who had experienced a workplace mental health injury. Interpretative phenomenological analysis and thematic content analysis were combined to analyze the data. Three main themes emerged: 1) self-preservation through injury concealment or distancing from workplace stressors 2) fatigue relating to complex help-seeking pathways, accumulation of stressors, and decreased ability in treatment decision-making, and 3) (mis)trust in the people and processes involved. These findings may help inform the mechanisms behind help-seeking for workplace mental health injuries, which may have implications for future research, policy development, and workplace processes to better facilitate a path to help. Author Keywords: help-seeking, mental health concealment, self-preservation, trust, workplace mental health, WSIB
Family Experiences in Nature
Children may be spending less time outdoors in nature than in previous generations, with one potential reason being parents in their role as ‘gatekeepers’ to the outdoors. This study investigated how families are spending their time during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how parents may influence children’s outdoor nature experiences. Parents (N = 121) from across Canada completed measures related to their family’s activities as well as their own connection with nature, attitudes about nature, and childhood nature contact. Results suggest that having easy access to nature, a greater connection with nature, believing in the importance of outdoor experiences, and doing outdoor activities in childhood may be associated with more current family time outside in nature. By understanding the reasons behind parental decisions regarding where and how families spend time outside, strategies can be developed to help parents increase their children’s nature time in the future. Author Keywords: children, family, nature, nature-relatedness, outdoors, parents
Social Anxiety, Theory of Mind, and Executive Function in Late Adolescence and Early Adulthood
Studies that have investigated the relation between social anxiety and theory of mind or executive function have shown that individuals with deficits in these cognitive processes have high levels of social anxiety. However, methodological problems make past findings questionable and difficult to interpret. The current study investigated whether deficits in theory of mind and executive function predicted symptoms of social anxiety in 99 older adolescents and young adults (18-29). On average, participants had moderate levels of social anxiety. Performance on measures of theory of mind and executive function did not predict symptoms of social anxiety. This lack of associations could be due to characteristics of the current sample, methodological differences in the current study compared to past studies, or the type of social anxiety and theory of mind measure used. Implications and directions for future research are discussed. Author Keywords: Early Adulthood, Executive Function, Late Adolescence, Social Anxiety, Theory of Mind

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Format: 2024/04/22