Recent Submissions

  • Experiences of healthcare workers working in COVID-19 isolation wards in Lesotho: a qualitative study

    Mahlelehlele, Bokang Amelia; Lebona, Maselobe; Murandu, Moses (Science Publishing Group, 2023-02-24)
    Background: Health and wellbeing of Healthcare workers impacts the health of the nation. COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light a number of challenges faced by Healthcare workers all over the world, affecting their psychosocial, financial, spiritual and physical well-being. There has been an alarming number of healthcare workers being affected by COVID-19 across the globe, some even succumbed to death as a result of COVID-19. Some identified reasons for this tragedy have been lack of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), insufficient knowledge about the disease, shortage of healthcare workers and the compromised welfare of the Healthcare workers. Few studies within Lesotho focused on the perceptions of healthcare workers on COVID-19 and there was none conducted on the experiences of healthcare workers working in the COVID-19 isolation wards therefore, the aim of this study is describe the experiences of Healthcare workers working in COVID-19 isolation wards in Lesotho. Material and Methods: A descriptive phenomenological research design was utilized and data was collected using unstructured interviews which were audio-recorded. The interviews were conducted amongst the nine Healthcare workers who were working in the COVID-19 isolation ward and they composed on one office assistant, two medical doctors and six registered nurses. Analysis: Colaizzi’s seven-step method of qualitative data analysis was followed in this study. Results: Findings revealed increased workload, significant amount of negative emotions in the early stages of the pandemic, positive emotions at the later stage as well as stigma and discrimination. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic placed a huge burden on the health care system. Health care workers, being in the front line, were significantly affected; they had to endure continued psychological distress because of the unique type of care required.
  • Barriers to lifestyle modification compliance among type 2 diabetic patients in Lesotho

    Malefu, Ts’osane; Mahlelehlele, Bokang Amelia; Murandu, Moses (SciVision Publishers, 2023-02-02)
    Diabetes mellitus (DM) has been considered a serious long-term condition which is one of the top 10 causes of death among adults and it has got a major impact on lives and well-being of individuals, families and societies. The most common type of DM in Africa is Type2 (T2DM). Diabetes being a major problem worldwide, healthy eating coupled with regular physical activity help in achieving a good glycemic control as well as delaying and reducing the onset of commonest diabetes complications. The current study aimed at exploring the barrier to lifestyle modification compliance among type 2 diabetic clients at Paki health center Lesotho. In this study, a quantitative descriptive design was applied in exploring the barriers of compliance to lifestyle modifications (diabetes self- management) among adults with type 2 diabetes. Data was collected using semi-structured questionnaires, which were administered to 40 study participants who were purposively selected for inclusion into study. The study revealed that among other factors, financial constraints 21participants (52.5%) is associated with non- compliance to healthy eating habits. Other reasons from non-compliance to healthy eating were identified as absence of written instructions, sickness, lack of stamina to exercise, laziness and lack of access to physical activity facilities with percentages 85%, 65%, 50% and 40% respectively. Thus, study findings reveal needs for continuous health education on health benefits of healthy eating habits and physical activity.
  • Effects of resistance exercise and whey protein supplementation on skeletal muscle strength, mass, physical function, and hormonal and inflammatory biomarkers in healthy active older men: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

    Griffen, Corbin; Duncan, Michael; Hattersley, John; Weickert, Martin O.; Dallaway, Alexander; Renshaw, Derek; Centre for Sport, Exercise and Life Sciences, Research Institute of Health and Wellbeing, Coventry University, Coventry, CV1 2DS, United Kingdom; Human Metabolism Research Unit, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, Coventry, CV2 2DX, United Kingdom. Electronic address: (Elsevier, 2021-12-20)
    Purpose: To determine the individual and combined effects of 12 weeks of resistance exercise (RE) and whey protein supplementation on skeletal muscle strength (primary outcome), mass and physical function, and hormonal and inflammatory biomarkers in older adults. Methods: Thirty-six healthy older men [(mean±SE) age: 67±1 y; BMI: 25.5±0.4 kg/m2] were randomised to either control (CON; n=9), whey protein (PRO; n=9), RE+control (EX+CON; n=9), or RE+whey protein (EX+PRO; n=9) in a double-blinded fashion. Whole-body RE (2 sets of 8 repetitions and 1 set to volitional failure at 80% 1RM) was performed twice weekly. Supplements (PRO, 25 g whey protein isolate; CON, 23.75 g maltodextrin) were consumed twice daily. Results: EX+CON and EX+PRO increased leg extension (+19±3 kg and +20±3 kg, respectively) and leg press 1RM (+27±3 kg and +39±2 kg, respectively) greater than the CON and PRO groups (P<0.001, Cohen's d=1.50–1.90). RE (EX+CON and EX+PRO groups pooled) also increased fat-free mass (FFM) (+0.9±0.3 kg) and 6-min walk test distance (+21±5 m) and decreased fat mass (−0.4±0.4 kg), and interleukin-6 (−1.0±0.4 pg/mL) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha concentration (−0.7±0.3 pg/mL) greater than non-exercise (CON and PRO groups pooled; P<0.05, Cohen's f=0.37–0.45). Whey protein supplementation (PRO and EX+PRO groups pooled) increased 4-m gait speed greater than control (CON and EX+CON groups pooled) (+0.08±0.03 m/s; P=0.007, f=0.51). Conclusion: RE increased muscle strength, FFM and physical function, and decreased markers of systemic inflammation in healthy active older men. Whey protein supplementation alone increased gait speed. No synergistic effects were observed. This study was registered at as NCT03299972.
  • Changes in lumbar muscle diffusion tensor indices with age

    Weedal, Andrew D.; Dallaway, Alexander; Hattersley, John; Diokno, Michael; Hutchinson, Charles E.; Wilson, Adrian J.; Wayte, Sarah C.; Radiology Physics, Department of Clinical Physics and Bioengineering, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, Coventry, CV2 2DX, United Kingdom. (Oxford University Press, 2024-01-13)
    Objective To investigate differences in diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) parameters and proton density fat fraction (PDFF) in the spinal muscles of younger and older adult males. Methods Twelve younger (19-30 years) and 12 older (61-81years) healthy, physically active male participants underwent T1W, T2W, Dixon and DTI of the lumbar spine. The eigenvalues (λ1, λ2, and λ3), fractional anisotropy (FA), and mean diffusivity (MD) from the DTI together with the PDFF were determined in the multifidus, medial and lateral erector spinae (ESmed, ESlat), and quadratus lumborum (QL) muscles. A two-way ANOVA was used to investigate differences with age and muscle and t-tests for differences in individual muscles with age. Results The ANOVA gave significant differences with age for all DTI parameters and the PDFF (P < .01) and with muscle (P < .01) for all DTI parameters except for λ1 and for the PDFF. The mean of the eigenvalues and MD were lower and the FA higher in the older age group with differences reaching statistical significance for all DTI measures for ESlat and QL (P < .01) but only in ESmed for λ3 and MD (P < .05). Conclusions Differences in DTI parameters of muscle with age result from changes in both in the intra- and extra-cellular space and cannot be uniquely explained in terms of fibre length and diameter. Advances in knowledge Previous studies looking at age have used small groups with uneven age spacing. Our study uses two well defined and separated age groups.
  • Kazakhstan can achieve ambitious HIV targets despite expected donor withdrawal by combining improved ART procurement mechanisms with allocative and implementation efficiencies

    Shattock, Andrew J.; Benedikt, Clemens; Bokazhanova, Aliya; Duric, Predrag; Petrenko, Irina; Ganina, Lolita; Kelly, Sherrie L.; Stuart, Robyn M.; Kerr, Cliff C.; Vinichenko, Tatiana; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2017-02-16)
    Background Despite a non-decreasing HIV epidemic, international donors are soon expected to withdraw funding from Kazakhstan. Here we analyze how allocative, implementation, and technical efficiencies could strengthen the national HIV response under assumptions of future budget levels. Methodology We used the Optima model to project future scenarios of the HIV epidemic in Kazakhstan that varied in future antiretroviral treatment unit costs and management expenditure-two areas identified for potential cost-reductions. We determined optimal allocations across HIV programs to satisfy either national targets or ambitious targets. For each scenario, we considered two cases of future HIV financing: the 2014 national budget maintained into the future and the 2014 budget without current international investment. Findings Kazakhstan can achieve its national HIV targets with the current budget by (1) optimally reallocating resources across programs and (2) either securing a 35% [30%-39%] reduction in antiretroviral treatment drug costs or reducing management costs by 44% [36%-58%] of 2014 levels. Alternatively, a combination of antiretroviral treatment and management cost- reductions could be sufficient. Furthermore, Kazakhstan can achieve ambitious targets of halving new infections and AIDS-related deaths by 2020 compared to 2014 levels by attaining a 67% reduction in antiretroviral treatment costs, a 19% [14%-27%] reduction in management costs, and allocating resources optimally. Significance With Kazakhstan facing impending donor withdrawal, it is important for the HIV response to achieve more with available resources. This analysis can help to guide HIV response planners in directing available funding to achieve the greatest yield from investments. The key changes recommended were considered realistic by Kazakhstan country representatives.
  • Evaluation of demand and supply predictors of uptake of intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in pregnancy in Malawi

    Odjidja, Emmanuel Nene; Duric, Predrag; Institute of Global Health and Development, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom. (MalariaWorld, 2017-12-08)
    This study assessed both the demand and supply factors contributing to higher dropout of IPT after the first dose. Optimal number of doses was pegged at a minimum of three in accordance with WHO recommendation. Data were analysed from the Malawi multiple indicator cluster survey (2015) and the service provision assessment (2014) of 6637 women (aged 15 – 49 yrs), 763 facilities and 2105 health workers. The sample was made up of pregnant women, health facilities and workers involved in routine antenatal services across all regions of Malawi. A composit e indicator was constructed to report integration of IPTp with ANC services and administration of IPTp - SP as DOT. Multivariate and logistic regression were conducted to determine associations. Regression analysis found that: 1. Age of women (women 35 – 49 yrs, AOR 1.98; 95% CI 1.42 – 2.13, number of children as well as the number of ANC visits were associated with optimal uptake of IPTp. 2. Administering IPT as DOT was higher in facilities in rural areas (AOR 1.86; 95% CI 1.54 – 1.92) than in urban areas. 3. Administration of IPTp as DOT was relatively lower in across all facilities with highest being facilities managed by CHAM (72.8%, AOR 1.40; 95% CI 1.22 – 1.54). Health system bottlenecks were found to present the main cause of low coverage with optimal doses of IPTp. Incorporating these results into strategic policy IPTp formulation could help improve coverage to desired levels. This study could serve as plausible evidence for government and donors when planning malaria in pregnancy interventions, especially in remote parts of Malawi.
  • A scoping review investigating the perspectives of people with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities on experiences of cyberbullying victimisation and its subtypes

    Clements, Fiona; Orchard, Lisa; Chadwick, Darren (SAGE, 2024-05-08)
    This scoping review examines cyberbullying victimisation in people with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities, focusing on specific types of cyberbullying behaviours, such as flaming, harassment, and stalking. A five-stage review of empirical research was conducted using 15 electronic databases, covering publications from October 1969 to January 2024. Twelve studies were selected, reporting cyberbullying victimisation rates ranging from 5% to 64%. Harassment was the most common behaviour experienced. However, flaming, cyber-stalking, griefing, and shaming have not been thoroughly investigated. The impact and coping strategies, including support mechanisms, also lack research. Further investigation is needed to understand the various types of cyberbullying experienced by people with intellectual disabilities and to develop coping and resilience strategies. Recommendations for future research and practice are provided.
  • General practitioners' views towards diagnosing and treating depression in five southeastern European countries

    Duric, Predrag; Harhaji, Sanja; O'May, Fiona; Boderscova, Larisa; Chihai, Jana; Como, Ariel; Hranov, Georgi L.; Mihai, Adriana; Sotiri, Eugjen; Institute for Global Health and Development, Queen Margaret University Edinburgh, Musselburgh, UK. (Wiley, 2018-10-02)
    Aim: To assess and compare general practitioners' (GPs’) views of diagnosing and treating depression in five southeastern European countries. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Albania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, and Serbia. The sample included 467 GPs who completed a hard-copy self-administered questionnaire, consisting of self-assessment questions related to diagnosing and treating depression. Results: The most common barriers to managing depression in general practice reported by GPs were: patients’ unwillingness to discuss depressive symptoms (92.3%); appointment time too short to take an adequate history (91.9%), barriers for prescribing appropriate treatment (90.6%); and patients' reluctance to be referred to a psychiatrist (89.1%). Most GPs (78.4%) agreed that recognizing depression was their responsibility, 71.7% were confident in diagnosing depression, but less than one-third (29.6%) considered that they should treat it. Conclusions: Improvements to the organization of mental healthcare in all five countries should consider better training for GPs in depression diagnosis and treatment; the availability of mental healthcare specialists at primary care level, with ensured equal and easy access for all patients; and the removal of potential legal barriers for diagnosis and treatment of depression.
  • "Treatment is of primary importance, and social assistance is secondary": a qualitative study on the organisation of tuberculosis (TB) care and patients' experience of starting and staying on TB treatment in Riga, Latvia

    Kielmann, Karina; Vidal, Nicole; Riekstina, Vija; Krutikov, Maria; van der Werf, Marieke J.; Biraua, Evita; Duric, Predrag; Moore, David A.J.; Engel, Nora; Institute for Global Health and Development, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom. (Public Library of Science, 2018-10-17)
    Background. Vulnerable individuals with tuberculosis (TB) struggle to access and stay on treatment. While patient-related and social barriers to TB treatment adherence are well documented, less is known about how the organisation and delivery of TB care influences adherence behaviour. Aim To examine the influence of TB service organisation and culture on patients' experience of starting and staying on treatment in Riga, Latvia. Methods An intervention package to support adherence to TB treatment amongst vulnerable patients in Riga, Latvia was piloted between August 2016 and March 2017. Qualitative observations (5), interviews with staff (20) and with TB patients (10) were conducted mid-way and at the end of the intervention to understand perceptions, processes, and experiences of TB care. Results The organisation of TB services is strongly influenced by a divide between medical and social aspects of TB care. Communication and care practices are geared towards addressing individual risk factors for non-adherence rather than the structural vulnerabilities that patients experience in accessing care. Support for vulnerable patients is limited because of standardised programmatic approaches, resource constraints and restricted job descriptions for non-medical staff. Conclusion Providing support for vulnerable patients is challenged in this setting by the strict division between medical and social aspects of TB care, and the organisational focus on patientrelated rather than systems-related barriers to access and adherence. Potential systems interventions include the introduction of multi-disciplinary approaches and teams in TB care, strengthening patient literacy at the point of treatment initiation, as well as stronger linkages with social care organisations.
  • Depression, anxiety and quality of life in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection in Vojvodina

    Kačavenda-Babović, Dragana; Duric, Predrag; Babović, Radomir; Fabri, Milotka; Ružić, Maja; Ignjatović, Vojislava Bugarski; 1Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Institute of Public Health, Sombor, Serbia; Histopathology Department, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, United Kingdom; 2Queen Margaret University Edinburgh, United Kingdom; Faculty of Medicine, University of Novi Sad, Institute of Public Health of Vojvodina, Novi Sad, Serbia; 3Department of Ophthalmology, James Paget University Hospitals, Gorleston-on-Sea, United Kingdom; 4Faculty of Pharmacy of Novi Sad, University Business Academy in Novi Sad, Serbia; 5Department of Infectious Diseases, University Clinical Centre of Vojvodina; Faculty of Medicine, University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia; 6Department of Neurology, University Clinical Centre of Vojvodina; Faculty of Medicine, University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia. (Sestre Milosrdnice University Hospital and Institute of Clinical Medical Research, 2021-12-01)
    The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence of depression and anxiety among patients with chronic hepatitis C and how depression and anxiety correlate with re-spective health-related quality of life (HRQoL) domains, sociodemographic factors, and clinico-epi-demiological characteristics. This prospective study involved 150 patients with chronic hepatitis C awaiting interferon treatment for hepatitis C and 150 healthy subjects. All individuals enrolled in the study completed the Short Form 36 (SF-36) questionnaire and Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale. The symptoms showed greater severity/score among patients with chronic hepatitis C for both depression (t=3.37; p<0.01) and anxiety (t=2.35; p<0.05). Regression analysis was used for estimating the relationship between depression and the set of predictors (domains of the SF-36 questionnaire). Three HRQoL domains (Physical Functioning, Vitality, and Mental Health) were found to have the stron-gest predictive contribution to the occurrence of depression. A series of Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney tests showed a significant difference in depression level between marital status categories (χ2(2)=7.86, p<0.05). Divorced participants had significantly higher scores compared to married participants (Z=-2.40, p<0.05) and single participants (Z=-2.75, p<0.01). Unemployment was associated with a higher degree of depression and anxiety. There was no association identified between duration of the disease, route of hepatitis C virus transmission, existence of cirrhosis, and depression or anxiety. The findings of this study can assist in developing a standard protocol for the management of chronic hepatitis C that will include psychological assessment and support.
  • Delivery of integrated infectious disease control services under the new antenatal care guidelines: a service availability and readiness assessment of health facilities in Tanzania

    Odjidja, Emmanuel Nene; Gatasi, Ghislaine; Duric, Predrag; Village Health Works, Bururi, Burundi. (BMC, 2019-03-11)
    Background: Tanzania remains among the countries with the highest burden of infectious diseases (notably HIV, Malaria and Tuberculosis) during pregnancy. In response, the country adopted World Health Organization's (WHO) latest antenatal care (ANC) guidelines which recommend comprehensive services including diagnostic screening and treatment for pregnant women during antenatal. However, as Tanzania makes efforts to scale up these services under the existing health system resources, it is crucial to understand its capacity to deliver these services in an integrated fashion. Using the WHO's service availability and readiness assessment(SARA) framework, this study assesses the capacity of the Tanzanian Health System to provide integrated Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV services. Methods: Composite indicators of the five components of integration were constructed from primary datasets of the Tanzanian Service Provision Assessments (SPA) under the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) programs. Chi-squared analysis, T test and ANOVA were conducted to determine the associations of each of the defined components and background characteristics of facilities/health workers. A logistic regression model was further used to explore strength of relationships between availability of service readiness components and a pregnant women's receipt of HIV, Malaria and TB services by reporting adjusted odds ratios. Results: Generally, capacity to integrate malaria services was significantly higher (72.3 95% CI 70.3-74.4 p = 0.02) compared to Tuberculosis (48.9 95% CI 48.4-50.7) and HIV (54.8 95% CI 53.1-56.9) services. Diagnostic capacity was generally higher than treatment commodities. Regarding the components of SARA integration, logistic regression found that the adjusted odds ratio of having all five components of integration and receiving integrated care was 1.9 (95% CI 0.8-2.7). Among these components, the strongest determinant (predictor) to pregnant women's receipt of integrated care was having trained staff on site (AOR 2.6 95% CI 0.6-4.5). Conclusion: Toward a successful integration of these services under the new WHO guidelines in Tanzania, efforts should be channelled into strengthening infectious disease care especially HIV and TB. Channelling investments into training of health workers (the strongest determinant to integrated care) is likely to result in positive outcomes for the pregnant woman and unborn child.
  • Addressing challenges in tuberculosis adherence via performance-based payments for integrated case management: Protocol for a cluster randomized controlled trial in Georgia

    Chikovani, Ivdity; Diaconu, Karin; Duric, Predrag; Sulaberidze, Lela; Uchaneishvili, Maia; Mohammed, Nuredin; Zoidze, Akaki; Witter, Sophie; Curatio International Foundation, 3 Kavsadze Str., 0179, Tbilisi, Georgia. (BMC, 2019-08-28)
    Background: Tuberculosis is one of the greatest global health concerns and disease management is challenging particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Despite improvements in addressing this epidemic in Georgia, tuberculosis remains a significant public health concern due to sub-optimal patient management. Low remuneration for specialists, limited private-sector interest in provision of infectious disease care and incomplete integration in primary care are at the core of this problem. Methods: This protocol sets out the methods of a two-arm cluster randomized control trial which aims to generate evidence on the effectiveness of a performance-based financing and integrated care intervention on tuberculosis loss to follow-up and treatment adherence. The trial will be implemented in health facilities (clusters) under-performing in tuberculosis management. Eligible and consenting facilities will be randomly assigned to either intervention or control (standard care). Health providers within intervention sites will form a case management team and be trained in the delivery of integrated tuberculosis care; performance-related payments based on monthly records of patients adhering to treatment and quality of care assessments will be disbursed to health providers in these facilities. The primary outcomes include loss to follow-up among adult pulmonary drug-sensitive and drug-resistant tuberculosis patients. Secondary outcomes are adherence to treatment among drug-sensitive and drug-resistant tuberculosis patients and treatment success among drug-sensitive tuberculosis patients. Data on socio-demographic characteristics, tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment regimen will also be collected. The required sample size to detect a 6% reduction in loss to follow-up among drug-sensitive tuberculosis patients and a 20% reduction in loss to follow-up among drug-resistant tuberculosis patients is 948 and 136 patients, respectively. Discussion: The trial contributes to a limited body of rigorous evidence and literature on the effectiveness of supply-side performance-based financing interventions on tuberculosis patient outcomes. Realist and health economic evaluations will be conducted in parallel with the trial, and associated composite findings will serve as a resource for the Georgian and wider regional Ministries of Health in relation to future tuberculosis and wider health policies. The trial and complementing evaluations are part of Results4TB, a multidisciplinary collaboration engaging researchers and Georgian policy and practice stakeholders in the design and evaluation of a context-sensitive tuberculosis management intervention. Trial registration: ISRCTN, ISRCTN14667607. Registered on 14 January 2019.
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and coexisting depression, anxiety and/or stress in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis

    Shea, Sue; Lionis, Christos; Kite, Chris; Lagojda, Lukasz; Uthman, Olalekan; Dallaway, Alexander; Atkinson, Lou; Chaggar, Surinderjeet S.; Randeva, Harpal S.; Kyrou, Ioannis; et al. (Frontiers Media, 2024-04-16)
    Background: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common chronic liver disease, affecting 25-30% of the general population globally. The condition is even more prevalent in individuals with obesity and is frequently linked to the metabolic syndrome. Given the known associations between the metabolic syndrome and common mental health issues, it is likely that such a relationship also exists between NAFLD and mental health problems. However, studies in this field remain limited. Accordingly, the aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to explore the prevalence of one or more common mental health conditions (i.e., depression, anxiety, and/or stress) in adults with NAFLD. Methods: PubMed, EBSCOhost, ProQuest, Ovid, Web of Science, and Scopus were searched in order to identify studies reporting the prevalence of depression, anxiety, and/or stress among adults with NAFLD. A random-effects model was utilized to calculate the pooled prevalence and confidence intervals for depression, anxiety and stress. Results: In total, 31 studies were eligible for inclusion, involving 2,126,593 adults with NAFLD. Meta-analyses yielded a pooled prevalence of 26.3% (95% CI: 19.2 to 34) for depression, 37.2% (95% CI: 21.6 to 54.3%) for anxiety, and 51.4% (95% CI: 5.5 to 95.8%) for stress among adults with NAFLD. Conclusion: The present findings suggest a high prevalence of mental health morbidity among adults with NAFLD. Given the related public health impact, this finding should prompt further research to investigate such associations and elucidate potential associations between NAFLD and mental health morbidity, exploring potential shared underlying pathophysiologic mechanisms.
  • Imposter phenomenon and the early career researcher

    Cureton, Debra; British Academy (Higher Education Policy Institute, 2024-02-29)
  • Negotiating with technology: advancing the virtual in qualitative research methods

    Kanjilal, Mahuya; Davis, Jennifer; Arnull, Elaine (Emerald, 2024-04-09)
    Purpose This study aims to describe key elements that are critical to virtual qualitative research especially while working with practitioners as participants. Design/methodology/approach This paper takes a reflexive researcher approach using a case study to explore how researchers adopted a qualitative research approach using digital technology. We use five principles suggested by Boland et al. (2022) as a framework to consider and reflect on our experiences as researchers and those of our participants. Findings We highlight the gatekeeper’s support, trusted relationship with the organisations, interpersonal skills of interviewers, stringent measures of securing data and shared experiences of interviewee and interviewers helped complete virtual research. We recommend that four key factors such as digital competency, feasibility, flexibility and resilience should be considered while undertaking or commissioning virtual, qualitative research studies. Originality/value Social care practitioners and qualitative researchers increasingly negotiate with digital technologies to undertake their work. In this paper, we evidence how online qualitative approaches can be effective provided challenges are dealt with diligently in each stage of the research process.
  • Implementation of learning management systems (Moodle): effects on students’ language acquisition and attitudes towards learning English as a foreign language

    Qaddumi, Husam; Smith, Matt (MDPI, 2024-04-18)
    Among the most popular learning management systems (LMS) available worldwide is Moodle. This current study examines how learners’ attitudes toward English as a foreign language (EFL) and their language proficiency are affected by Moodle’s interactive language-learning activities. Thirty-three undergraduate students participated in this study. We investigated the effects of engaging language-learning exercises that were practiced on Moodle using an experimental research design. To find out if the experimental and control groups differed significantly from one another on pre- and post-measures regarding the development of language skills and attitudes toward language classrooms, a number of statistical tests were employed. We conducted a data analysis using SPSS software. The results demonstrated that there were differences favoring the experimental group in the development of language skills and the attitudes of learners toward the language classroom. There were no apparent differences in forming structures, speaking, or listening compared to the control group’s learners. On the other hand, there were notable differences in the overall score, writing and reading skills, and lexical item mastery. Additionally, significant differences in the language acquisition growth of the experimental and control groups were found using an independent-sample t-test in the post-test, with the experimental group benefiting.
  • Using co-production to create culturally inclusive dementia resources

    Jutlla, Karan (Hawker Publications Ltd., 2023-09-11)
  • Can dance improve turning in people with Parkinson’s Disease?

    Haas, Aline Nogueira; Smith, Tina; Peyré-Tartaruga, Leonardo Alexandre; Fortes, Marlene Brito; Nagy, Fruzsina; Delabary, Marcela dos Santos; Koutedakis, Yiannis; Wyon, Matthew; Sport and Physical Activity Research Centre and School of Performing Arts, University of Wolverhampton, Walsall, UK (J.Michael Ryan Publishing Inc., 2024-04-08)
    Objective: To investigate the effects of a dance intervention on selected functional parameters during the 180° turning phase of the Timed Up & Go (TUG) test in people with Parkinson’s Disease (PwPD). Methods: Fifteen adults clinically diagnosed with idiopathic PD were allocated into dance intervention (DIG; n = 7 ; age 73 ± 2 years) and control (CG; n = 8; age 64 ± 5 years) groups. The dance intervention lasted for 3 months (1 hour, twice a week). At baseline, all participants completed the Unified PD Rating Scale–part III, the International Physical Activity Questionnaire-short form, and the Hoehn & Yahr scale. Pre- and post-intervention, the primary outcomes were measured (number of steps and time to complete the 180° turning phase of the TUG test) at 2 speeds (comfortable walking and as quickly and safely speed) while using the Xsens® 3D motion suit. The secondary outcome (girdle dissociation) was assessed by calculating the difference between pelvis and affected shoulder orientation in the transverse plane (dissociation angles) at each data point during the TUG test’s 180° turning phase. Results: At participant’s comfortable walking speed, the functionality during the 180° turning remained unaffected following the dance intervention. However, at participant’s fast speed, the dance intervention group significantly reduced the number of steps with a large effect size, and the total time taken to complete the 180° turning with a medium effect size. Post-intervention, most participants in the dance intervention group reduced the affected shoulder and pelvic girdle dissociation and turned more “en bloc.” Conclusion: Dance can improve selected functional parameters during the 180° turning at fast speed in PwPD. The current results should be considered in rehabilitation programs.
  • Tech4Teachers White Paper: Improving access and digital skills for teachers: challenges and opportunities

    Smith, Matt; Smale, Marc; Meade, Keelan (Digital Poverty Alliance, 2024-01-31)
  • Exploring the relationships between psychological variables and loot box engagement, part 2: exploratory analyses of complex relationships

    Spicer, Stuart Gordon; Close, James; Nicklin, Laura Louise; Uther, Maria; Whalley, Ben; Fullwood, Chris; Parke, Jonathan; Lloyd, Joanne; Lloyd, Helen; Community and Primary Care Research Group (CPCRG), ITTC Building, Davy Road, Plymouth Science Park, Derriford, Plymouth PL6 8BX, UK. (The Royal Society, 2024-01-03)
    In a pre-registered survey linked to this paper (Exploring the relationships between psychological variables and loot box engagement, part 1: pre-registered hypotheses), we confirmed bivariate associations between engagement with loot boxes (purchasable randomized rewards in video games) and measures of problem gambling, problem video gaming, impulsivity, gambling cognitions, experiences of game-related 'flow', psychological distress and reduced wellbeing. However, these variables have complex relationships, so to gain further insights, we analysed the dataset (1495 gamers who purchase loot boxes and 1223 purchasers of non-randomized content) in a series of Bayesian mixed-effects multiple regressions with a zero-inflation component. The results challenge some well-established results in the literature, including associations between loot box engagement and problematic gambling measures, instead suggesting that this relationship might be underpinned by shared variance with problem video gaming and gambling-related cognitions. An entirely novel discovery revealed a complex interaction between experiences of flow and loot box engagement. Distress and wellbeing are both (somewhat contradictorily) predictive of participants engaging with loot boxes, but neither correlate with increasing loot box risky engagement/spend (among those who engage). Our findings unravel some of the nuances underpinning loot box engagement, yet remain consistent with narratives that policy action on loot boxes will have benefits for harm minimization.

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