2018 Theses and Dissertations

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    Modeling autoimmune disease with differential equations
    (10/3/2018) Anderson, Jennifer Ann; Grigorieva, Ellina
    In this project, I will build a mathematical model of a developed autoimmune process considering cell autoimmunity that plays the main role in any autoimmune disorder using a system of three non-linear differential equations. As model variables, I will use the concentration of target cells not bearing damage, concentration of cytotoxic T- lymphocytes against given cells, and the concentration of the tissue-specific antigen formed because of the destruction of the target cells. All concentrations will be expressed in the moles per liter. We will investigate the model over the time interval [0, T] given either by months or days analytically as well as numerically.
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    Perceptions of fatherhood amongst African American fathers raised fatherless
    (3/28/2019) Hunter, Jade J; Petty, Karen; Armstrong, Joyce; Hwang, Shann Hwa; Brock, Linda J.
    JADE HUNTER PERCEPTIONS OF FATHERHOOD AMONGST AFRICAN AMERICAN FATHERS RAISED FATHERLESS DECEMBER 2018 The purpose of this qualitative study was to take a phenomenological approach to explore the perceptions of African American fathers who were raised fatherless. Role theory and Identity Theory were` used to guide this study. The study explored the following research question: How do African American fathers raised fatherless perceive fatherhood. Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted with men who self- identified as being raised as fatherless in the DFW area. Data obtained from this study were transcribed verbatim and analyzed through a three-step coding process that included: open, axial and selective coding. Triangulation of data analysis was used to ensure credibility. Four themes emerged from the data and included: (1) Being Present; (2) Ideal Dad; (3) Teaching; and (4) Spirituality. It also yielded three subthemes: (1) Interactive Engagement; (2), Warmth and Responsiveness; and (3) Restless journey. Results of the study were compared to existing literature and conclusions were drawn. Study implications for future research, implications for family therapists, limitations and disadvantages, and strengths of the study were all presented.
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    Nurse practitioner transition experience into independent practice after a student nurse practitioner internship
    (3/14/2019) Twine, Nicole L; Cesario, Sandra
    The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore and describe a new Nurse Practitioners (NPs)’ transition into their NP role after participating in a student NP internship, to obtain a better understanding of the transition time a new NP needs. The setting of the study was at a large academic research medical center in Houston, Texas. Purposive sampling was used to recruit study participants. The sample consisted of 14 ACNPs that participated in a pre-graduate internship program. Demographic data was collected and in depth one on one interviews were conducted using a semi-structured interview guide. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Colaizzi”s descriptive process for phenomenological data analysis was used. Four themes emerged from the analysis of the interviews. The themes included Putting on My NP Shoes, which describes participant’s statements about progression in their new role. We’re only as good as We Train, which describes participants statements regarding how NPs are trained to practice compared to other professional. My Internship Prepared Me, which describes participant statements about how additional education and exposure to an internship program prepared them for entry into practice and Relationships Provided Success, which describes participant statements about building collaborative relationships with physicians and staff that impacted their transition as a new NP. The findings from this phenomenological study will provide knowledge to develop or adapt educational programs for NPs and to further develop internship or post graduate residency programs for advance practice nurses.
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    The effect of whole red raspberry juice on body composition, physical activity, and serum inflammation biomarkers in postmenopausal osteopenic women
    (12/12/2018) Kubota, Junko; Juma, Shanil
    The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of red raspberry juice on body composition, inflammatory biomarkers, and physical activity in postmenopausal women with mild-to-moderate bone loss. A total of 57 women were recruited and randomized into two groups for a period of 6 months (180 days). The treatment group (n= 30) consumed 2 oz of red raspberry concentrate daily (reconstituted with 10 oz water). The placebo group (n = 27) served as the control and consumed 2 ounces of a placebo mixture equivalent to the red raspberry juice concentrate in appearance, energy, and sugar content (fructose and dextrose) devoid of red raspberries. Body composition was evaluated via DXA scans performed at baseline and final (180 days). Blood was obtained and self-reported physical activity questionnaires were completed at baseline, midpoint (90 days), and final visits. At the end of the 6 month study, there was a small reduction albeit not significant in visceral adipose tissue volume, visceral adipose tissue mass, android fat, gynoid fat, android to gynoid ratio, and total body fat observed in both raspberry and placebo groups. Serum leptin levels were higher in the placebo group compared to the raspberry group at the end of the study. There were no significant changes in recreational activity patterns for walking, moderate, and vigorous physical activity for either the raspberry or placebo group. The study findings suggest that inclusion of red raspberry in the diet of postmenopausal women may have a positive effect on body composition that may lead to reductions in inflammation and decrease disease risk.
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    Accuracy of water delivery in enteral nutrition pumps
    (10/3/2018) Toth, Erin Jade; Patterson, Mindy A.
    Background: Adequate delivery of both enteral formula and water in patients receiving enteral nutrition (EN) is critical in illness recovery and maintaining hydration status. Pump malfunction has recently been identified as a factor that impedes enteral formula delivery, however rarely is inadequate enteral water delivery investigated. The purpose of this study was to explore the accuracy of delivering 1 L of water by EN pumps using different flush volumes and hang heights. Methods: Three EN pumps were used in vitro to flush 1 L of water at 50 mL per hour for 20 hours and 500 mL every 4 hours for 8 hours, at 0” and 18” hang heights. Fifteen test runs were conducted at each volume and hang height per pump. Actual delivered enteral water, remaining volume in feed bags, and volume reported by the pump were recorded. Results: Hang height of 18” delivered a mean 3.91% (95% CI, 3.25 to 4.57) more water than bags hung at 0” (p < 0.0005). When delivering water in 500 mL increments, 1.57% (95% CI, 0.92 to 2.23) more water was delivered than when delivered in 50 mL increments (p < 0.005). Conclusion: Appropriate hang height recommendations improve enteral water delivery in patients receiving EN. The most accurate setting was 500 mL at 18”, resulting in adequate delivery in 97.8% of the test runs, while 50 mL at 0” delivered adequately 17.8% of the time. More research is needed to understand the implications of inadequate water delivery caused by EN pump inaccuracy.
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    Implementing the flipped classroom in principles of biology to determine effects on student academic performance.
    (10/3/2018) Gardner, Kacee; Westmoreland, Sandra
    The purpose of this study is to determine the effects of using the flipped classroom model on academic performance as opposed to using a traditional lecture style method. Moreover, this study examines if lower achieving students perform differently than high achieving students when the flipped model is implemented. Researchers used the 2015 fall semester as a control year and all topics in Principles of Biology at Texas Woman’s University were taught using traditional lecture. In the 2016 fall semester, two topics in Principles of Biology were taught using the flipped classroom model. Data from consenting participants were used from identical pre-and post-tests administered in both semesters. Results indicated that there was no significant difference in academic performance on the two topics taught traditionally in 2015 and using the flipped model in 2016. However, in 2016, participants did perform significantly better on test items taught traditionally as opposed to those taught using the flipped model. Results also indicated that lower achieving students improved at a significantly higher magnitude on topics taught using the flipped classroom model than did high achieving students.
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    Reducing novice baccalaureate nursing student test anxiety and improving test performance through a test-taking intervention: A pilot study
    (10/3/2018) Schrader, Patricia Kyle; Young, Anne
    The purpose of this experimental posttest only study was to examine the effectiveness of a three hour test-taking program, when compared to a presentation on professional nursing roles program, on test anxiety levels and test performance of junior undergraduate nursing students enrolled in a baccalaureate college of nursing. The Transactional Model of Test Anxiety by Zeidner (1998) guided the literature review and development a cognitive intervention to modify an individual’s personal variable of study skills in hopes of reducing test anxiety and improving test accuracy. The presentation was followed by 14-weeks of online activities to reinforce concepts and application of a systematic approach to answer test questions. The pilot study included a diverse sample of 57 subjects, from 20 to 47 years of age, who were randomized into either the intervention or control groups. The test anxiety scores, measured by the Test Anxiety Inventory by Spielberger et al. (1980), included total test anxiety (TAI-T), worry (TAI-W), and emotionality (TAI-E), were gathered immediately prior to the final exam. The final exam, accounted for 15% of the course grade was the HESI® fundamental specialty exam, served as the academic performance measurement. The results revealed first semester junior nursing students have a moderate (64.9%) to high (15.8%) propensity of test anxiety. A one tailed independent t-test was used to reject all four directional hypotheses. This educational intervention followed with 14 weeks of application activities did not decrease total test anxiety scores compared to the attention control group (p = 0.44). Nor did the test anxiety subscales of worry (p = 0.48) and emotionality (p = 0.37) differ significantly between groups. The slight improvement in the HESI® fundamental specialty exam mean score of 32.9 points in the intervention group was not statistically significant (p = 0.21). The effect size for this particular educational intervention was very small. A power analysis revealed larger sample sizes are needed for future research. Test anxiety is a complex construct which will require a much more robust holistic intervention to modify more than a few personal variables in order to improve academic performance.
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    Human glutathione synthetase reaction order and kinetics examined using spectroscopic and calorimeteric techniques
    (3/4/2019) Stopper, Anna Rachel; Anderson, Mary E
    Glutathione (GSH) is a tripeptide important in preventing cellular oxidative damage. Human glutathione synthetase (hGS) catalyzes the second stage of GSH biosynthesis. Homodimeric human glutathione synthetase is negatively cooperative with respect to its L-γ-Glu-Cys substrate. Although the allosteric effects of substrates binding to hGS have been studied, the order of substrate binding has not. GS in plants and prokaryotes are reported to exhibit opposing random ter and ordered ter ter reaction orders respectively; currently little is known about the reaction order in humans. Knowledge of the mechanism and reaction order of hGS is vital to understand how it contributes to the regulation of the levels of the limiting amino acid cysteine and of glutathione. Using ITC binding studies the mechanism of action and reaction order of hGS has been evaluated and suggests a semi-ordered reaction in human GS.
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    Help seeking behavior in multicultural communities
    (10/22/2018) Mohsin-Dhanani, Sheeza; Norton, Aaron, Ph. D., LMFT
    The study examined Help-Seeking likelihood and its association with Islamoprejudice and self-stigma in faith groups. Statistical analysis was completed to assess the effects of stigma against Help-Seeking Behavior. The perception of Islamoprejudice in Christian, Agnostic, Atheist and Muslim Americans was studied. The study looked at the perception of Islamophobia and its association with help-seeking likelihood behavior for the Muslim participants. Data was collected using various personal contacts and crowdsourcing tool Prolific (Peer, Samat, Brandimarte, & Acquisti, 2016), only from participants who live in the United States.
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    Communicative Composition
    (10/3/2018) Downs, Holli M; Busl, Gretchen Lynne
    The purpose of this study was to synthesize a working theory of composition for the enhancement of communication literacy. Communicative Composition was built on the four pillars of personal, process, collaborative, and creative. These guidelines are then married with a synthesized definition of communication literacy, and Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy to create a working list of learning objectives for contemporary composition classrooms.
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    Occupational adaptation in a stroke self-management program: A mixed methods study
    (11/13/2018) Kitchens, Riqiea F; Neville, Marsha
    Self-management programs that provide education, practical skills training can promote lifestyle and behavioral change and reduce the risk of recurrent stroke. Occupational Adaptation describes the use of meaningful occupations as a means to achieve adaptation in a desired role or occupation. This research explored the occupational adaptation process and personal experience of stroke survivors who participated in a stroke specific self-management program. Self-efficacy theory, self-management programming, and the theory of occupational adaptation served as the foundational theoretical concepts for this study. A sequential explanatory mixed methods design was used to analyze data gathered from a sample of five participants who were stroke survivors and had participated in a stroke self-management program. The study was conducted in the outpatient clinic of a large urban community owned hospital system. Quantitative data collected included the use of two standardized assessments, the Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile II (HPLP II) and a stroke specific version of the Perceived Medical Condition Self-Management Scale (PMCSMS). Descriptive statistics were conducted on the quantitative measures. An interview guide was developed to collect the qualitative interview data. The qualitative data were transcribed, coded, and analyzed for themes. Four key themes were identified: knowledge acquisition promoted a need for change, behavioral change and adjustment in routines, increase proactivity and personal responsibility, and physiological and emotional changes in health. Areas of data convergence included an increase in communication with health care providers and information seeking, increased engagement in productive and leisure activities, increased involved in novel tasks and activities, improved perception of personal health, confidence in caring for themselves, and managing stroke related aspects of health. All five of the participants discussed areas of improvement with self-managing aspects of their stroke-related health, such as an increased monitoring of vitals and adherence to medication regimen, as well as lifestyle modifications that included nutrition and an exercise regimen. The study is the first of its kind to explore the stroke survivors’ experience in a stroke self-management program through the lens of occupational adaptation.
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    Perioperative professional nurses' perceptions and experiences with robotic-assisted surgery
    (12/18/2018) Schuessler, Zohreh; Mancuso, Peggy
    The rapid introduction of technological innovations into health care systems creates new challenges for perioperative nurses. Especially, robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery has changed both the physical and social context of the surgical team’s work and subsequent surgical outcomes. Despite significant changes to perioperative nursing practice, the perceptions and experiences of the professional nurses who use this technology remain unexplored. This qualitative descriptive study used interviews to examine professional nursing experiences with robotic-assisted surgeries. This qualitative descriptive research was based upon the Determinants of Innovation Within Healthcare Organizations conceptual framework. Seventeen professional perioperative nurses (preoperative, intraoperative, postoperative nurses, and nurse anesthetists) were interviewed. These encounters provided rich information about professional nurses’ perceptions of robotic-assisted surgeries. Content analysis generated three overarching themes: surgical innovation, interprofessional practice, and outcomes with each theme composed of two categories. Nurse perception and workflow emerged as the categories within surgical innovation. Professional nurse perceptions were characterized by optimistic attitudes towards robotic surgery. They appreciated the improved visualization and dexterity that the robot provided the surgeon, despite increased surgical complexity and concerns for patient safety from prolonged Trendelenburg positioning. They also reported that robotic surgery affected workflow, with intraoperative staff experiencing demanding practice changes in order to accommodate the robot. Standards and teamwork emerged as the categories within interprofessional practice. Professional nurses reported that standards in education and clinical competency requirements were needed for effective, safe robotic surgery. Teamwork during robotic surgeries necessitated different communication strategies and changes in professional nursing roles. Patient outcomes and system outcomes emerged under the overarching theme of outcomes. Nurses reported that patient outcomes of robotic surgery improved for some, but not all diagnoses, and that optimal patient outcomes were determined by the surgeon’s skill with robotic-assisted surgery. Nurses noted that some patients (e.g. those with heart and respiratory disease or glaucoma) were not candidates for robotic surgery because of the required positioning. Nurses also described various issues that affected system outcomes, such as longer time needed between surgeries. Despite describing negative aspects associated with being part of the robotic surgery team, these professional nurses were positive about this innovation and overwhelmingly committed to providing safe care to their patients.
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    Financial literacy: Are young adults well equipped to face the current economic world?
    (1/7/2019) Ramoni, Francisca A; Armstrong, Joyce
    ABSTRACT FRANCISCA A. RAMONI FINANCIAL LITERACY: ARE YOUNG ADULTS WELL EQUIPPED TO FACE THE CURRENT ECONOMIC WORLD? DECEMBER 2018 Previous studies focused on college students and the misuse of credit cards. This study focused on the importance of financial literacy to the well-being of young adults. This study examined the overall financial literacy of young adults using quantitative data from a diverse sample. The sample of 150 young adults was obtained from four faith-based churches in the Dallas Fort Worth Metropolitan area. The population group was limited to 18-25 years of age, who had just finished (a) high school and entering college or attending college, (b) never married, and (c) no dependents. The data were collected using a financial literacy questionnaire. Specifically, the study examined financial knowledge, financial influences, financial attitudes, and financial behaviors as compared by gender and income. Social learning theory, theory of consumer socialization and financial socialization were used to explore this study. The study utilized two instruments a comprehensive questionnaire from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and only one section of the College Students’ Financial Literacy Survey (CSFLS). The Young Adult Financial Literacy Questionnaire is inclusive of two survey instruments which was organized by the researcher and included Development/International Network on Financial Education (OECD/INFE) questionnaire was designed to measure financial behavior, knowledge, and attitudes, while the College Students’ Financial Literacy Survey (CSFLS) was designed to measure the influences that may affect young adults’ financial literacy. The findings of this study found no significant differences between attitudes and behaviors as compared by gender and income. However, the study found micro-level influences of financial knowledge, parental influence, financial documents, and financial goals specifically with gender. Females were more likely to have a higher financial knowledge while males were more likely to have a budget. Females were more likely to have higher financial knowledge while males were more likely to have a budget. Both females and males reported that they kept receipts/copies of financial documents such as major purchases, minor purchases, bank statements, housing, rent or mortgage payments and tax records. The results of the study provided recommendations about promoting financial literacy by parents, educators, policymakers, and financial professionals.
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    Exposure to alcohol interrupts adipose cell maturation, attenuates adiponectin expression, and contributes to inflammatory markers in 3T3-F442 pre-adipocytes
    (12/20/2018) Shafiei, Mahnoush Sophia; Davis, Kathleen Elizabeth
    Drinking alcohol during pregnancy interrupts cellular development, which may have far-reaching health effects on the fetus in its embryonic state and later as a young child. Adipose tissue (AT) is an important target for alcohol action. Alcohol disrupts the synthesis of a wide variety of peptides and adipokines, as well as the endocrine activity of adipose tissue. Adiponectin is an anti-inflammatory and insulin-sensitizing adipokine that is involved in fatty acid breakdown; it is produced in adipose tissue. In this project, it is hypothesized that alcohol disrupts adipose cell development and reduces adiponectin (ApN) expression, concomitant with an elevation of pro-inflammatory cytokines and reduction in anti-inflammatory cytokines. The data suggest that alcohol exposure in 3T3-F442 pre-adipocytes reduces adipocyte proliferation. Pre-adipocytes were exposed to 0.0% (control), 0.25%, 0.5%, 1%, 1.5%, 2%, and 2.5% alcohol solution for 48 hours. Triglycerides and the expression of ApN and several pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines were measured. Nile Red (NR) staining was used for the detection of adipogenesis and adipocyte differentiation. The results show triglyceride reduction in 3T3-F442 adipocytes and a significant reduction in adipocyte differentiation in comparison with control (non-alcohol-treated) cells. Furthermore, ApN secretion was reduced in 3T3-F442 cells in response to alcohol. The pro-inflammatory cytokines, IL-6, IL-13, IL-1b, TNF-α, and INF-γ were increased, whereas the anti-inflammatory cytokines, including IL-4 and IL-10, IL-12, were reduced. In conclusion, exposure of alcohol reduced differentiation of 3T3-F442 pre-adipocytes to adipocytes. It was demonstrated in this project that alcohol impairs ApN secretion and increases pro-inflammatory cytokines. The results help to establish the potential role of alcohol in promoting inflammation and reducing adiponectin expression in developing pre-adipocytes, suggesting alcohol may be disruptive in metabolism by disruption of adipose cell differentiation.
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    Baby talk: Decision making conversations about first-time parenthood
    (10/25/2018) Shade, Kara M.; Buckley, Rhonda R.
    This study explored how 214 participants discussed, decided, and planned for first-time parenthood with their partners, and how conflict influenced that process. As predicted, higher scores on the communication danger signs scale were associated with lower perceived partner reciprocity and relationship dedication scores in general. Specifically, reciprocity and dedication were both significant predictors of constructive communication during participants’ decision making conversations about first-time parenthood. Reciprocity was the only significant predictor of self-demand/partner-withdraw (SDPW) behavior, and decision making self-esteem, dedication, and reciprocity were all significant predictors of partner-demand/self-withdraw (PDSW) behavior during these talks. Findings have implications for relationship educators and therapists, as protective factors were identified that may buffer couples through these often emotionally-charged discussions about first-time parenthood, which have the potential for heightened conflict, uncertainty, and stress.
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    The lived experience of fathers caring for their child with cystic fibrosis
    (1/2/2019) Shardonofsky, Jana; Cesario, Sandra
    Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-shortening genetic disease with many treatment requirements that necessitate the participation of a caregiver, especially if the patient is a child. Most studies of the quality of life of caregivers of children with CF have focused on the mental health of mothers, reflecting a biased underlying assumption that mothers are the primary caregivers. The aim of this study was to explore the experience of fathers caring for a child with CF. Twenty fathers of children with CF were studied by use of a semistructured interview using Husserl’s descriptive phenomenology. Six themes emerged from the interviews: feeling overwhelmed, feeling isolated, experiencing altered family dynamics, actively seeking resources, experiencing financial strain, and feeling hope. Fathers of children with CF reported distressing experiences in connection with their child’s diagnosis of CF and during the course of their child’s disease, but they also a had strong feelings of hope for the future.
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    Are older people really happier than younger people?
    (1/22/2019) Leone, Erica C; Yang, Philip Q.
    In recent years, quite a few studies and media reports have claimed that older people are happier than younger people. Although this argument may contain partial truth, I question the total validity of this claim. This study investigates several possibilities. I first examine how the effect of age on happiness varies by health status and economic status. I then investigate a possible non-linear effect of age over a life time. I also analyze the effect of generational cohorts and period on happiness. Data from General Social Surveys 1972-2016 and logistic regression are used to test the possibilities. The results show that the effect of age on happiness is moderated by health status and by income. This study also detects a significant nonlinear effect of age on happiness, namely, as people age they become less happy and least happy at the age of 52, and then gradually regain happiness. It is also found that later generations are happier than earlier generations and that the happiness of Americans has ebbed and flown with the peak in 1990. The findings of this study challenge the popular position that older people are happier than younger people and provide a more complete picture of the relationship between age and happiness. The findings also have significant implications for government policies and programs to improve the well-being of the elderly.
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    Effects of squatting speed on lower extremity kinematics and kinetics during stable and unstable squat
    (12/20/2018) Hasan, Mohammad Bader; Kwon, Young-Hoo
    The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of surface instability and movement speed on key kinematic and kinetic factors (ground reaction force, moment arm [MA], resultant joint moments) in the lower extremity joints (ankles, knees, and hips) during squat. A total of 30 healthy college students (8 males and 22 females) performed six different squat conditions based on 2 surfaces (stable and unstable) and 3 speeds (slow, moderate, and fast). Normalized peak resultant joint moments (RJM) of the lower extremity joints (i.e., hips, knees, and ankles) were extracted from each trial. Two two-way repeated-measure MANOVAs (2 x 3) were performed. The first MANOVA test was to compare resultant joint moment variables, whereas, the second MANOVA test was conducted to compare ground reaction force and moment arm variables with the speed and surface condition being the factors in both. The first MANOVA with RJM variables revealed a significant speed * surface interaction (p < .001). The fast speed condition showed significantly larger RJMs of the lower extremity joints than the moderate and slow speed conditions and the moderate speed condition showed larger RJMs than the slow speed condition in both surface conditions. Significant larger hip and ankle RJMs and lower knee RJM observed in the unstable surface condition across speed conditions. The second MANOVA with GRF and MA variables revealed no significant speed * surface interaction (p = .055). However, significant main effects of speed factor (p < .001) was observed in the ground reaction force (GRF) and surface factor (p < .001) was observed in the moment arm (MA). Significant larger GRFs observed on the fast speed condition than the moderate and slow speeds and the moderate speed condition showed larger GRFs than the slow speed condition in all joints. The unstable surface condition revealed larger hip and ankle MAs and significantly lower knee MA than the stable surface condition. Ensemble average normalized RJM patterns were analyzed. The overall shapes of the hip and knee RJM patterns were similar to those of the MA patterns and the trends were similar in both surface conditions. The surface conditions generated very different ankle joint MA patterns, whereas, the ankle RJM patterns were similar to the MA patterns. The peaks RJM of the lower extremity joints were observed hovering around the maximum knee flexion (MKF) of squat. Based on the results of this study, the unstable surface condition would induce larger force acting on the hip and ankle joints and lower force acting on the knee joint compare to the stable surface condition.
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    Acculturation, civic engagement, and help-seeking behaviors in the Latinx community
    (1/9/2019) Sierra, Josefina; Porras Pyland, Claudia
    This research study examined the impact of civic engagement and acculturation on the help-seeking behaviors of Latinx individuals living in the United States as well as examine civic engagement as a mediator between acculturation and help-seeking behavior. The likelihood of engaging in help-seeking behaviors is related to race and inversely related to acculturation, with White individuals and more acculturated Latinx individuals engaged in more help-seeking behaviors than less acculturated Latinx individuals (Sabina, Cuevas, & Schally, 2012b). Civic engagement entails a similar process as acculturation by forming social networks within a community and is typically less present in the Latinx community. A demographic form created by the researcher, the Acculturation Rating Scale for Mexican Americans-II, Civic Engagement Scale, the Digital Citizenship Scale, the researcher-created Informal Help-Seeking Questionnaire, and the Attitudes Towards Seeking Professional Psychological Help were administered through an online survey in PsychData. Ninety participants completed the survey of whom 90% identified as women and 10% identified as men. A series of regression analyses was used to analyze the hypotheses on acculturation, civic engagement, and help-seeking behaviors. Based on the results, it appeared that there is no significant positive relationship between acculturation and help-seeking behaviors for Latinx individuals. Civic engagement and acculturation did not appear to have a statistically significant positive relationship therefore, civic engagement was not shown to be a mediator in the relationship between acculturation and help-seeking behaviors. Limitations and implications for theory, research, and practice are discussed.
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    Strengthening families: The relationship between hope, spirituality, resilience, and attachment among parents following adverse childhood experiences
    (12/7/2018) Curtis, Amy L; Ladd, Linda, Ph. D.
    Faith-based ministries and non-profit organizations focused on strengthening families and family preservation may wrap services around families, but may underestimate the intergenerational impact of childhood adversity and trauma on the family system. Understanding the neurological, educational, and health outcomes as a result of adverse childhood experiences is key to developing evidenced-based, therapeutic programs to best assist clients in strengthening the internal protective factors of hope, resilience, spirituality, and attachment, in an effort to avoid harmful intergenerational beliefs, attitudes, actions, and habits following their exit from programs. The aim of this online, mixed methods study was to examine the relationship between adverse childhood experiences and the internal protective factors of hope, resilience, spirituality, and attachment, through the lens of Attachment theory (Bowlby, 1957) and Resiliency theory (Walsh, 1996). The data collected in this study were obtained through participants in the Buckner Children and Family Services, Inc. Family Pathways Program. Participants were single parents, enrolled in a higher education program, between the ages of 18-45 years of age, male or female, and a resident at one of eight Family Pathways locations in Texas. The voluntary, confidential study was accessed online and consisted of questions from: a demographic questionnaire; the Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (ACES-Q), the Adult Hope Scale (AHS); the Resilience Scale (RS); the Spiritual Well-Being Scale (SWBS); and the Revised Adult Attachment Scale (RAAS). In addition, a total of five qualitative questions, one after each of the quantitative inventories, gathered additional insight from the participant’s viewpoint and responses were coded into themes. Pearson product-moment correlation analysis was used to examine the relationship between adversity and the internal protective factors of hope, resilience, spirituality and attachment. A response rate of 38% was achieved from a total of 134 possible participants. Yet, their demographic variables were representative of the overall program demographics. The respondents scored higher than the national average (12.5%) in overall ACEs scores with 60.8% of the population scoring 4 or more. The results of the quantitative data revealed that those with higher ACEs scores also had increased attachment anxiety. In the domain of ACEs Abuse, those who suffered physical, verbal, or sexual abuse as a child had a weak to moderate negative correlation with Hope, the subscale of Hope Pathway, Spirituality, the subscale of Spirituality Existential, and a strong negative correlation with the subscales of Attachment Depend and Attachment Close. Those who experienced greater Household Dysfunction correlated positively with Resilience. Qualitative data identified strength-based themes of responsibility for self and others, sense of community, and personal relationship with God. Adversity-based themes included feeling unprotected and alone (primarily related to childhood Household Dysfunction), having few choices, and a lack of trust in self, others, and religious institutions. The implications of the data yielded from this study encourage counseling programs to focus on promotive factors in order to build on strengths, such as building attachment security, increasing the capacity for resilience and hope, increasing opportunities to engage positively with others, and psychoeducational programs aimed at providing trauma-informed interpersonal and intrapersonal awareness and best parenting practices.