Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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Rural Older Adult Transitions in Care
Aligning health services with aging populations is the fundamental issue of modern Canadian health policy, yet rural older populations still experience compromised patient safety and poor-quality care as they transfer between care settings. As such, contemporary scholars acknowledge that more contextually sensitive studies are needed to better understand the unique health and care experiences of this vulnerable population across the care continuum. Informed by inquiry in critical gerontology, health services and human geography, my dissertation attends to this gap in research by revealing the interplay between older adult health construction and the influence of multidimensional contexts on rural older adult transitions in care. Using a community-based approach, I conduct a case study on Haliburton County that encompasses three phases (e.g., a rural community inventory, go-alongs and semi-structured interviews) and focuses on two types of transitions in care (when an older adult is transferred from a hospital to a long-term care home and when an older adult is transferred from a hospital to a home in the community). In total, 19 patients, 24 informal supports, 51 front-line staff and five administrators/managers participated in my dissertation, resulting in 99 total participants being included in 19 go-alongs and 85 semi-structured interviews. My results indicate that multi-leveled facets of the rural care context continually attend to and hinder rural older adult health during transitions in care. In particular, sectored divisions, urban centrism, biomedicine and ageism inhibit rural care providers from leveraging their strengths to attend to the heterogeneity of rural older adult health and the nuances of rural care contexts. I then argue the need for macro health systems reform to embrace the relationality of rural older adult transitions in care and to capitalize on the strengths inherent in rural communities. To foster knowledge mobilization of my findings, I provide a foundation of information and recommendations for the community partners (Haliburton Highlands Health Services and Seniors Care Network) as well as questions to inform research, policy and practice. Establishing the first study of rural older adult transitions in care where a researcher accompanies older adults and their informal supports across care settings, my dissertation will help prepare Canada for the impact of the aging population and transform transitional care provision to meet the needs of all Canadians in the 21st century. Author Keywords: Canada, Geriatric Care, Health Care, Older Adult Health, Rural Health Care, Transitions in care
"Non-compliance" in the system
This thesis examines how co-creators Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro’s 2014 graphic work, Bitch Planet, is in all conceivable ways a seminal and prescient example of — to use their term — “non-compliance” in the comics form and industry. From its inception as a feminist dystopia, written by a white woman and illustrated by a Black man, in an industry that is over-represented by white men, Bitch Planet is a prime example of activist comics that is situated perfectly within the “Blue Age” of comics, to use the term coined by comic scholar Adrienne Resha. This is evident in the main narrative of Bitch Planet in which, in an industry still over-represented by white characters, the main cast of characters are four Black women and one Japanese-American woman, each of whom we see come up against a theologically patriarchal white supremacist system that imprisons them for crimes that are gendered, racialized, classist and ableist. DeConnick and De Landro’s collaboration with other artists extends from Laurenn McCubbin’s satirical paratextual in-universe advertisements on the back page of each comic which complement Bitch Planet’s main narrative to an invitation to world- building to the greater comic community, allowing creators with marginalized identities to craft short comic stories that satirically and deeply explore the socio-political issues developed in the main narrative of Bitch Planet. The final act of “non-compliance” comes out of the expansion of authorship of Bitch Planet to the readership via the letters pages, and beyond: highlighting readers’ Twitter messages, connecting with them through Tumblr, and posting pictures of fan “non-compliant” tattoos within the pages of Bitch Planet. Author Keywords: Bitch Planet, comics, critical race studies, dystopia , gender studies, intersectional feminism
Uplifting Her Voice
This thesis creates an adaptation of act five, scene three of William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus that reshapes the play by focusing on female empowerment through the character Lavinia. Specifically, by using other Shakespearean characters’ dialogue that can speak towards her situation, I have written a monologue and stage directions for Lavinia. The same patriarchal superstructures which existed in the West during the time of Shakespeare and at the time of the play’s setting—and which still exist today—ensure that Lavinia remains silenced. Through my adaptation, I aim to challenge these structures in a meaningful way by returning both voice and agency to Lavinia. Author Keywords: Adaptation, Agency, Metamorphosis, Patriarchy, Revenge, Voice
Ripe for the Taking
This thesis considers the fanfiction genres of slash-fiction, and Alpha/Beta/Omega fiction through an analysis of fandom’s embedded gift economy structures. Previous research on fanfiction and fandom structures have often characterized the gift economy nature of these spaces as countercultural and as separate from the frequent exploitation inherent in economic-based systems. There has been less attention paid to considering the potential disruptions that can come with unregulated and large-scale sharing. This thesis undertakes a critical discourse analysis of Alpha/Beta/Omega slash-fiction with a focus on commodity fetishism to reveal how the subgenre’s relationship with the fanfiction gift economy complicates and at times counters the conception of these spaces as a ‘queer utopia.’ The purpose of this research is to dismantle traditional archetypes within Alpha/Beta/Omega fanfiction by exploring how male Omegan characters become fetishized cultural commodity objects internally through interactions with Alpha characters and externally through the desires of fanfiction readers and writers. Author Keywords: Alpha/Beta/Omega, Commodity Fetishism, Fanfiction, Gift Economy, Queer Theory, Slash-fiction
Impacts of Cover Crops on Soil Health, Soil Nitrogen Dynamics, and Cytokinin Profiles
In Ontario, the dominant cash crop rotations consist of soybean (SB), which is a leguminous crop grown in rotation with maize (MZ) and winter wheat (WW). In addition to these crops, some farmers integrate cover crops (CC) into crop rotation, especially during the fallow period and winter seasons, to reduce nitrogen (N) losses via nitrate (NO3-) leaching and emission of N2 and the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O). This thesis focused on understanding the impact of crop phases in a MZ-(SB-WW)-CC rotation on the abundance of N-cycling bacterial communities that mediate nitrification and denitrification pathways. In addition, the influence of CCs on soil cytokinin (CK) profiles, which are plant growth-promoting hormones, were studied in a greenhouse trial to assess their potential impacts when integrating CCs into crop rotations. In particular, the relationship between traditional soil health parameters and the soil CK profiles was studied to understand how CKs might reflect biotic interactions and soil vitality. Results indicate N fertilizer application mono ammonium phosphate (MAP) and starter N:P: K (24:6:24) during WW planting in fall largely supported nitrifying bacterial communities (amoA) and potentially contributed to NO3- leaching. Management of MZ, which included spring-applied MAP resulted in larger denitrifying (nirK) bacterial communities, increasing the potential risk of N-loss via emission of dinitrogen gas (N2) and greenhouse gas N2O. However, CC soils had significantly lower nirK than MZ, reflecting the importance of strong and deep root systems of CCs, which have a higher ability to scavenge the substrates for denitrifying communities (NO3-). This highlights the importance of growing CCs in reducing the potential risk for N-loss via leaching and denitrification. Additionally, in the greenhouse trial, the ability of CCs to affect CK was detected, highlighting the importance of integrating CC in crop rotations. This is particularly noteworthy, given that total CK profiles showed strong associations with traditional soil health parameters such as labile or active carbon and soil microbial community diversity. It was concluded that total soil CK can be used as a novel and dynamic soil health measure. Future research on quantifying N2O fluxes and levels of NO3- in leachates would provide a more precise understanding of the impact of different crop rotation phases on N-dynamics in these fields. Further studies on single or combined measures of soil CKs are warranted to develop its potential as a practical and effective soil health parameter. Author Keywords: Cover crops, Crop rotations, Cytokinin hormone, Nitrogen Cycle, qPCR, Soil health
Nutrient Management in Forest Management Planning
This research evaluates the degree to which nutrients are included in forest management planning. First, the thesis evaluates forest management plans globally to determine the extent to which countries consider key nutrients (N, P, Ca, Mg and K) in their forest management plans. This is followed by a case study in Muskoka, Ontario, of a pilot wood ash recycling program with the goal of restoring calcium and other nutrients in the forests. This pilot project aims to evaluate the benefits of using wood ash as a forest fertilizer, as evidence that the practice merits approval by the provincial government. A text-based literature analysis of current regulations and the Environmental Compliance Approval (appendix 3) submitted to the provincial government for this project was undertaken as this project is currently a not approved practice by the government. Interviews were completed with key stakeholders and experts in the field to understand the benefits and policy hurdles of this program. Based on the documents analysed in this study, it was concluded that both globally and in Canada, nutrient management is not the focus of forest management plans. With respect to the pilot wood ash program, this thesis concluded that there is not enough data published to make the government departments comfortable with approving wood ash as a soil fertilizer. Nevertheless, there is much community support and many perceived benefits to this project, but more supporting data is needed. Author Keywords: Forest, Nutrients, Sustainability, Wood-ash
Effect of Attending a Virtual Oncology Camp on Childhood Cancer Patient's Pyshcosocial Functioning and Parental Stress - A Pilot Study
Objectives/purpose: The current study examined whether attending a 1-month virtual oncology camp (VOC) improved resilience and hope in childhood cancer patients and parental/caregiver stress. Methods:Childhood cancer patients/survivors and their parent/caregivers enrolled for VOC, participated in an online anonymous survey: before, after and 3-months after VOC. The survey included the Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM) and the Snyder’s Children’s Hope Scale (CHS) for the childhood cancer patients/survivors and the Pediatric Inventory for Parents (PIP) for parent/caregivers. Results:CYRM scores increased from T1 to T2 (d=0.86). Compared to T1, at T2 CHS scores also increased (d=1.33). Both CHS and CYRM scores remained higher at T3 compared with T1 (d=1.34; d=0.86). There were no changes in PIP scores between any time points. Conclusion and significance: Our study demonstrated that participation in a VOC improved children’s resilience and hope but did not change parental stress. Highlighting the clinical significance of these VOCs and the impacts they have on childhood cancer patients/survivors. Author Keywords: cancer, children, hope, parental stress, resilience, virtual oncology camp
Vulnerability and resilience
The Minority Stress Model proposes that LGBTQ+ people experience stressors unique to their identity that negatively impact their mental well-being. The model also outlines that, in the case of the LGBTQ+ community, two minority coping resources - social support and connection to the LGBTQ+ community – may act as potential minority stress buffers; however, research has been unable to determine if these are effective buffers. The current study used multiple regression and multilevel modelling to test the processes of the Minority Stress Model among 451 LGBTQ+ people over 25 timepoints during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although minority stressors and coping resources were associated with psychological distress in the expected directions, an interesting interaction between the two measures of minority stress was revealed and neither minority coping resource was found to buffer the association between minority stress and distress. In conclusion, the present study found partial support for the Minority Stress Model using longitudinal data but highlights the complex nature of these processes and how they are conceptualised in research. Author Keywords: identity concealment, LGBTQ+ community, mental health, minority coping, minority stress model, social support
Anishinaabemowin Teacher Perspectives of Indigenous Language Instruction in Nogojiwanong Public Schools
This thesis explores the importance of Indigenous languages and their revitalization, as well as the roles and responsibilities of schools through the perspective of Anishinaabemowin public school teachers in the Nogojiwanong, Peterborough ON, area. Three teachers were interviewed and have shared valuable insight into how they became teachers, how the language is taught in their schools, and the challenges associated with teaching these classes in these settings, as well as who should be learning and how these languages will bring us forward. From this information, recommendations for schools, school boards, and policy makers are included to better support instructors and students. Author Keywords: Anishinaabemowin, Indigenous, Indigenous Languages, Language Revitalization, Public Schools, Schools
Exploring Vulnerability to Food Insecurity
Addressing the issue of food insecurity effectively within a region in a way where interventions reflect the variability of food insecurity levels across subgroups of the population is important. It is a unique challenge and requires specific data. This study took in this direction by conducting an exploratory statistical analysis of a community-representative dataset of Inuit Seniors’ food (in)security. The analysis was theoretically sensitive as well as knowledge-user-directed.Results show that 52.7% of all Seniors in Nain and Hopedale, Nunatsiavut, are food insecure, and that food (in)security is associated with age group, education status, health status, mobility status and household financial situation. Further, younger Seniors aged 55-64 are more likely to be food insecure than their older peers. This study is among the first to provide an analysis of quantitative associations between variables that characterize food (in)security among a specific subgroup in the Inuit population. Author Keywords: Arctic, Case study, Food security, Inuit health, Seniors, Vulnerability
Organic Matter and Total Mercury in Acid-Sensitive Lakes in Ireland
The following study measured dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and total mercury (THg) concentrations in acid sensitive lakes in the Republic of Ireland. Sixty-eight upland lakes and 48 lowland lakes were sampled for DOC; the upland lakes were additionally sampled for THg. Spatial variability of DOC was explained by regional precipitation and soil organic matter. A subset of lakes was tested for long-term trends and in contrast to reports of rising DOC in European surface waters, changes in DOC were minor. Spatial variability in THg was explained by DOC and organic matter aromaticity. Long-term THg concentrations increased, likely caused by inputs of terrestrial THg. A subset of lakes was sampled for sediment and soil and the results suggested soils drove THg variation in lake water and sediment. Lake water and sediment THg was low and consistent with background regions, while soil THg was relatively high due to high organic content. Author Keywords: Dissolved Organic Carbon, Lakes, Organic Matter, Soil, Total Mercury, Water
Active layer thermal regime in subarctic wetlands at the southern edge of continuous permafrost in Canada
The fine-scale controls of active layer dynamics in the subarctic at the southern edge of continuous permafrost are currently poorly understood. The goal of this thesis was to understand how environmental conditions associated with upland tundra heath, open graminoid fen, and palsas/peat plateaus affected active layer thermal regime in a subarctic peatland in northern Canada. Indices of active layer thermal regime were derived from in-situ measurements of ground temperature and related to local measurements of air temperature, snow depth, and surface soil moisture. Active layer thaw patterns differed among landforms, with palsas and tundra heath having the least and greatest amount of thaw, respectively. Tundra heath thaw patterns were influenced by the presence of gravel and sandy soils, which had higher thermal conductivity than the mineral and organic soils of fens and palsas. Vegetation also influenced thaw patterns; the lichen cover of palsas better protected the landform from incoming solar radiation than the moss, lichen, and low-lying shrub cover of upland tundra heath, thus allowing for cooler ground temperatures. Air temperature was the most significant predictor of active layer thermal regime. Surface soil moisture varied among landforms and greater surface soil moisture reduced the amount of active layer thaw. These findings improved understanding of how landform and climate can interact to affect the active layer. Author Keywords: Active layer thermal regime, Active layer thickness, Climate change, Peatland, Permafrost, Subarctic

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Format: 2023/02/05