• Stressful life events and deliberate self-harm: Exploring the specificity of stressful life events and emotion regulation facets

      Boyda, David; Mcfeeters, Danielle; Hitchens, Danielle; Institute of Human Sciences, Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2021)
      Objective: The current study aimed to examine if specific emotion regulation facets mediated the relationship between different stressful life events and deliberate self-harm. It examined both the cumulative and specific effects of stressful life events. Methods: A quantitative correlational survey method was adopted using several questionnaires to explore the relationship between stressful life events, emotion dysregulation and self-harm engagement. The sample included 164 individuals who were seeking support from a secondary care NHS service. Analysis was conducted using Mplus 6 and involved two mediation models. Results: The results demonstrated that different types of stressful life events were significantly associated with engagement in deliberate self-harm. This varied depending on the stressful life event, in which some stressful life events decreased self-harm engagement. In isolation the number of stressful life events was not significantly associated with self-harm, indicating that there was no cumulative effect of stressful life events on engagement in deliberate self-harm. However, experiencing more stressful life events was significantly associated with deliberate self-harm through specific emotion regulation facets. Conclusions: Results indicated that stressful life events are more likely to contribute to the engagement in deliberate self-harm when they coexist. The current findings contribute to a deeper understanding of the mediating processes between stressful life events and deliberate self-harm. They specifically demonstrate that particular pathways to deliberate self-harm are not determined by the presence of stressful life events, but the ways in which emotion regulation ability is refined and developed during their presence, which subsequently effects the individuals need to use deliberate self-harm as a means of managing their distress.
    • Expressions of psychological stress on Twitter: detection and characterisation

      Thelwall, Mike; Gopalakrishna Pillai, Reshmi; School of Mathematics and Computer Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-11)
      Long-term psychological stress is a significant predictive factor for individual mental health and short-term stress is a useful indicator of an immediate problem. Traditional psychology studies have relied on surveys to understand reasons for stress in general and in specific contexts. The popularity and ubiquity of social media make it a potential data source for identifying and characterising aspects of stress. Previous studies of stress in social media have focused on users responding to stressful personal life events. Prior social media research has not explored expressions of stress in other important domains, however, including travel and politics. This thesis detects and analyses expressions of psychological stress in social media. So far, TensiStrength is the only existing lexicon for stress and relaxation scores in social media. Using a word-vector based word sense disambiguation method, the TensiStrength lexicon was modified to include the stress scores of the different senses of the same word. On a dataset of 1000 tweets containing ambiguous stress-related words, the accuracy of the modified TensiStrength increased by 4.3%. This thesis also finds and reports characteristics of a multiple-domain stress dataset of 12000 tweets, 3000 each for airlines, personal events, UK politics, and London traffic. A two-step method for identifying stressors in tweets was implemented. The first step used LDA topic modelling and k-means clustering to find a set of types of stressors (e.g., delay, accident). Second, three word-vector based methods - maximum-word similarity, context-vector similarity, and cluster-vector similarity - were used to detect the stressors in each tweet. The cluster vector similarity method was found to identify the stressors in tweets in all four domains better than machine learning classifiers, based on the performance metrics of accuracy, precision, recall, and f-measure. Swearing and sarcasm were also analysed in high-stress and no-stress datasets from the four domains using a Convolutional Neural Network and Multilayer Perceptron, respectively. The presence of swearing and sarcasm was higher in the high-stress tweets compared to no-stress tweets in all the domains. The stressors in each domain with higher percentages of swearing or sarcasm were identified. Furthermore, the distribution of the temporal classes (past, present, future, and atemporal) in high-stress tweets was found using an ensemble classifier. The distribution depended on the domain and the stressors. This study contributes a modified and improved lexicon for the identification of stress scores in social media texts. The two-step method to identify stressors follows a general framework that can be used for domains other than those which were studied. The presence of swearing, sarcasm, and the temporal classes of high-stress tweets belonging to different domains are found and compared to the findings from traditional psychology, for the first time. The algorithms and knowledge may be useful for travel, political, and personal life systems that need to identify stressful events in order to take appropriate action.
    • The impact of natural and synthetic zeolite when used in cementitious based systems

      Williams, Craig; Hodgkiss, Conner; School of Architecture and Built Environment, Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-11)
      The production of Portland cement, the most commonly used binding material in the construction and maintenance industry, is one of the principle carbon dioxide emission contributors. Indeed, up to 85% of the cement quantity produced is discharged into the atmosphere. As a result, efforts are being made to introduce new and advanced alternative construction materials to combat this adversity. Despite the recent introduction of new advanced materials such as polymer rubbers and alternative mineral sands, the overall percentage emission of carbon dioxide has not decreased. Improvement of cement mortar characteristics and the reduction of carbon emissions is of keen interest to researchers and industry experts in the field of construction materials engineering. Interestingly in the literature, zeolite minerals have the ability to absorb carbon dioxide and thus aid in reducing the concentration levels present in the atmosphere. Zeolites are very stable solids that are resistant to environmental conditions that challenge many other materials. They possess high melting points and can exhibit resistance to temperatures exceeding 1000°C. They can also resist high pressure, do not dissolve in water or inorganic solvents and their unreactive nature means that they exhibit no harmful environmental impacts. I believe that this makes them an ideal investigative compound to consider in terms of being adopted as a cement replacement in construction material. Zeolites have been used as a supplementary cementitious material in the construction industry and both natural and synthetic zeolites have shown interesting properties as mineral additions, notably increased compressive strength, resistance to sulphate attack and favourable leaching properties. However, there has been minimal research carried out on synthetic zeolites in this area in contrast to the abundance of natural zeolite study and notably research considering using zeolites as replacements for rather than in addition to cement. In this research programme, synthetic and natural zeolites were used to partially replace cement in mortar samples. Synthetic zeolites 3A, 4A and 13X were used to replace 5, 10 and 15% of the total cement mass in the mortar specimens with chabazite, mordenite, natrolite and philipsite chosen as a selection of natural zeolites. Ordinary Portland cement was used with a water-cement ratio of 0.40 and a sand-cement ratio of 1:3. All specimens were water-cured at 20°C before a suite of laboratory tests were performed, comprising of; specific gravity, ultrasonic pulse velocity, compressive strength testing, scanning electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. All test results were determined at ages of two, seven, twenty-eight and seventy curing days. The research study demonstrated that mortar samples produced with zeolite incorporation as a replacement of cement demonstrated comparatively good engineering and chemical compositional properties when compared to control mixes. Encouraging data was recorded namely for the utilisation of mordenite and philipsite zeolite types, in that the zeolites demonstrated increased compressive strength in comparison to the control mortar as well as having decreased density and increased compactness. Notably, mordenite and philipsite can be utilised as a way of decreasing the cement content needed in a given mortar mix, indeed replacement of cement at 10 and 15% both produced increased compressive strength recordings when compared to both the control and synthetic zeolite incorporated samples.
    • ‘A matter of persistence’: Lessons learnt by the British Expeditionary Force and its operational development following The Battle of Festubert, 15-25 May 1915

      Badsey, Stephen; Woods, Michael; Faculty of Social Sciences (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-11)
      This thesis assesses the learning process of the British Expeditionary Force by its participation in The Battle of Festubert 15 – 25 May 1915.The study of this battle offers an important insight in the development of the BEF during this period, despite it being neglected in much of the historiography concerning the British Army in the First World War. It focuses on how well the BEF’s First Army, commanded by General Haig, was organised and equipped upon entering the battle. It draws upon First Army’s experience of two previous battles, one in March 1915 and another only six days before commencing offensive action again, to determine what knowledge had been gained and used in developing their battle tactics. Its central argument is that there was very much to learn from this previous action and great effort was made to modify the tactics at Festubert, particularly from the obvious failure on 9 May. The thesis relies on primary source material created by the units at the time, such as army and divisional records and battalion war diaries. It also examines some secondary literature and personal memoirs of key political figures and those that took part, to examine the effect of both coalition and national strategy and the pressure that placed on the shoulders of the BEF’s commander Sir John French as Festubert was taking place. This thesis argues that this pressure interfered with the ability of General Haig to fully realise the lessons of combat gained at Festubert, as he was pushed soon afterwards to launch in an even larger attack in the Battle of Loos (25 September – 8 October 1915), using tactics that contradicted what had just been learnt at Festubert. It will argue that some of the contribution to the learning process by key figures, such as Sir William Robertson and Major General Richard Haking has been missed in the historiography. This thesis asserts that despite not achieving any type of significant breakthrough at Festubert, the experience served the BEF well in that it supported the French Army as it fought in the Second Battle of Artois and it trialled new methods which would be further developed as the war progressed. Unfortunately for the BEF, by the time of the next Anglo-French offensive, the Battle of the Somme, German countermeasures had largely negated some of the lessons of Festubert and this has played a part its lack of examination in modern studies of the BEF’s operational development.
    • A comparison of German and British therapists’ explicit and implicit reasoning about white and non-white clients – a vignette study

      Galbraith, Niall; Chen-Wilson, Josephine; Bisconti, Maria; Landmann, Sophie; Department of Psychology, Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-09)
      Objectives – This doctoral study explored the impact of a client’s ethnic background on the perception and chosen therapeutic approach of UK and German therapists. This study sought to identify how a therapist’s held explicit and implicit biases influence their practise with clients of various ethnic backgrounds. Methodology – A sample of 51 therapists from the UK and Germany was recruited to take part in this online study. Participants were randomly allocated to either ‘Condition Caucasian’ or ‘Condition Diverse’ and first presented with three vignettes accompanied either by a photo of a person with European ethnic background or a person with African or South-Asian ethnic background. The participants then answered nine questions about their potential approach with each presented client, which were designed to identify explicit bias. In the second step, all completed a modified race implicit association test (IAT) that further quantified the therapists’ implicit and explicit bias towards individuals of various ethnicities. Results – Multivariate Analysis of the vignette data found no statistically significant differences between the two conditions; thus, no explicit bias was found within this sample. A subsequent comparison between the two nationalities was impaired due to uneven sample sizes, yet differences between the scores became visible. The analysis of the IAT data found slight implicit pro-white bias in the complete sample, as well as indicators for a priming effect in participants assigned to ‘Condition Caucasian’. The IAT study replicated previous research findings of implicit pro-white bias and the inconsistency between the tested implicit and the self-reported explicit bias within a therapist sample. Discussion – While explicit bias could not be identified within this sample, implicit pro-white bias was uncovered. It was concluded that therapists are as fallible to implicit bias as other healthcare workers, though they may be better at masking its conscious impact. Steps towards a less biased practise were outlined. Follow-up research will have to determine whether all findings, and in particular the cross-cultural comparison, can be replicated with a larger sample.
    • Listening to the voices of boys in dance

      Matheson, David; Keane, Helen; Institute of Education, Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-06)
      This thesis examines how child-centred research illuminates complex and intertwined social dynamics for boys in dance. Male involvement in dance has been compared to effeminacy and homosexuality (Owen and Riley, 2020b), which has marginalised male participation. In doing so, dance has been distanced from orthodox masculinity, which is framed in heterosexuality, homophobia, and anti-femininity identities. The pressure to perform within such boundaries has impacted upon gendered and sexual identities. Nonetheless, an attitudinal revolution under the guise of inclusive masculinity theory (Anderson, 2009) maintains more liberal masculine identities are emerging. My research questions therefore ask: (i) what evidence of inclusive masculinity is present in primary aged boys? (ii) how do primary age boys perform masculinities in dance? (iii) What do boys aspire for within lessons to encounter meaningful dance through PE? These questions were answered through data from two case study schools in the West Midlands region of England. The study built on the ‘write, draw, show and tell’ (WDST) method (Noonan et al., 2016) and added the innovative use of ‘emojis’ to create the write, draw, show, tell and emoji’ (WDSTE) approach. Over a four month duration, observations, focus group interviews using WDSTE, and photo-elicitation, with 18 Year Five and Six (ages 9-11) boys were deployed. The boys’ visual and verbal data was thematically analysed (Braun and Clarke, 2006) giving insight into three themes, including the freestyling of masculinity, embodying inclusive masculinity and inquiry, and embodied learning in dance. Boys resisted hegemonic ideals, instead displaying increasing normalcy of homosocial tactility with other boys (Anderson and McCormack, 2014) as a means to cope in dance. The data demonstrated desired ownership over the content and increased social connectedness through collaborative activities. My thesis illustrated that contemporary masculinity is continuing to evolve and boys are not trapped by the stigmatisation of their interest in dance or physical closeness with other boys. I argue with, and for, boys, who saw a need to vocalise for more equitable practices in dance, where they aspired to be supported meaningfully to become competent. This thesis draws attention to the interest that boys hold towards dance and the need for educational purposes of dance to be mindfully considered to support holistic growth in primary school dance.
    • Paths in education: how students make qualification choices at Level 3 and what influences these choices

      Lavender, Peter; Lewis, Zoe Helen; Institute of Education, Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-12)
      This study is an investigation into how young people make choices between the ages of sixteen to eighteen about the qualifications they study at Level 3 and the impact these choices have on further progression. Often, the reasons for their choices tend to be obvious and straightforward and are career driven. However, what about those students who may not know about progression routes or how to make informed choices? Given the potential impact on students’ lives, it seems vital that we understand how students make their choices, and whether any aspects of the current decision-making process could be improved. There is increasing interest in the provision of information, advice and guidance focussing on how students are making choices regarding careers and progression to higher education in the United Kingdom (Diamond et al., 2014). However, to date, the majority of research into qualification choice has been focused instead on choice into Higher Education contexts or choices made about GCSE options, thus leaving a gap in literature surrounding Further Education. Since it is now compulsory for students to be in education to the age of eighteen, it is crucial to ask why research is still invisible on student choice into further education, whereas student choice into higher education has the lion’s share of the research attention (Elliot, 2016). This thesis explored the factors that influence the choices made by students who have decided to study on a Level 3 qualification, and to understand how students may go about making these choices. It has been argued that many students are poorly prepared when it comes to making the choices about the qualifications they study post-16 (Leatherwood, 2015). This study has found this is still true for young people today. A mixed methods approach was used which combined a mixture of surveys and interviews. All the research took place in a single sixth form college. At the heart of the study were the stories that students disclosed of what influenced their own qualification choices. Seventeen semi-structured interviews and fifty questionnaires were used. Five main influences and themes emerged from the research as being central to qualification choice. These were peer influence; career aspirations; parental or family influence; advice from careers advisors; media influences. In addition, an emerging theme was the potential role played by schools in shaping qualification choice. These factors played a significant role in the choice of qualifications for students, to the point where it was effectively a ‘non-choice’ for some of them. One implication from the study is that young people need both good impartial information but they also need good advice and guidance in how to use this information, rather than anything offered being seen as a ‘token gesture’. This research shows that students are making key decisions about future qualifications without seeking professional guidance. Instead, decisions are more likely to be based on hearsay from friends or social media. These decisions can be partially explained by examining the kind of career advice students receive in school: only eighteen per cent of students surveyed said that they received enough information to ‘make an informed decision’ (Palmer, 2016).
    • Deep learning based semantic textual similarity for applications in translation technology

      Mitkov, Ruslan; Ranasinghe, Tharindu; Research Institute of Information and Language Processing (University of Wolverhampton, 2021)
      Semantic Textual Similarity (STS) measures the equivalence of meanings between two textual segments. It is a fundamental task for many natural language processing applications. In this study, we focus on employing STS in the context of translation technology. We start by developing models to estimate STS. We propose a new unsupervised vector aggregation-based STS method which relies on contextual word embeddings. We also propose a novel Siamese neural network based on efficient recurrent neural network units. We empirically evaluate various unsupervised and supervised STS methods, including these newly proposed methods in three different English STS datasets, two non- English datasets and a bio-medical STS dataset to list the best supervised and unsupervised STS methods. We then embed these STS methods in translation technology applications. Firstly we experiment with Translation Memory (TM) systems. We propose a novel TM matching and retrieval method based on STS methods that outperform current TM systems. We then utilise the developed STS architectures in translation Quality Estimation (QE). We show that the proposed methods are simple but outperform complex QE architectures and improve the state-of-theart results. The implementations of these methods have been released as open source.
    • Chronic cardiac diseases and patients’ mental health: Exploring the impact of improving mental health on chronic heart failure prognosis and adherence to treatment behaviour in primary care based patients

      Morrissey, Hana; Ball, Patrick; Ahmed, Mariam; School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-08)
      Introduction: Heart failure is a complex clinical syndrome. In this study, the clinical area of focus is chronic heart failure (HF). The average age of chronic HF onset is 77-years-of-age, with most patients likely to be exposed to polypharmacy and to display poor adherence to therapy. HF management depends upon symptomatic treatment and cardiac-respiratory rehabilitation. Chronic conditions are known to increase the risk of mental ill health, which can increase the risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes and poor self-caring behaviour including poor adherence to therapy. Aim: This study aimed to explore whether improving mental health and medication adherence behaviour, could improve heart failure prognosis. Methods and design: This was a mixed-methods study, where HF patients were reviewed face to face at 3-monthly intervals. Consultations included screening for medication adherence, depression, and anxiety; diagnostics and laboratory results review, referral to specialist services as required, and conversation with the patients regarding their medical conditions and medications. Results: Non-adherence was present in 28% (n=17) of the cohort. The prevalence of depression and anxiety was 31.1% (n=19). There was a 14.7% improvement of baseline blood pressure over the course of 6-months. Smoking was identified to have a significant negative impact on blood pressure over the course of the study (p < 0.05). There was a significant improvement in mental illhealth, and medication adherence behaviour (p < 0.05). Depression was found to have a significant impact on overall wellbeing (p < 0.01). Depression and anxiety were also found to have a significant effect on medication adherence behaviour (p < 0.001 and p < 0.05), respectively. Conclusion: This study draws the attention to the need for introduction of a new pathway for the management of patients diagnosed with HF. It is recommended that there should be concurrent screening and management of the patients’ mental health, wellbeing, and adherence to therapy in addition to the traditional HF management.
    • Emerging trends in construction law at the confluence of academia and industry

      Chinyio, Ezekiel; Charlson, Jennifer (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-07)
      Engineering UK’s 2018 report on the state of engineering records that in 2016, engineering enterprises generated 23.2% of the UK’s total turnover of £5.3 trillion (£1.23 trillion) and construction had a turnover of £171.91 billion, representing 14.0% of the total turnover produced within the engineering sectorial footprint. The congruence and distinction between the law underpinning construction and engineering in academia and industry is uncertain. The research aim therefore is construction and engineering law compared and contrasted from academia to industry. The author adopted a constructionist or subjective epistemology and relativist ontological stance. Constructivist and pragmatic philosophical paradigms and qualitative methodologies were selected including document analysis, interviews, case studies and focus groups. The construction and engineering law required by professional institutions to be taught in academia to undergraduates were analysed. Some similarity between the legal topics mandated by engineering and construction professional institutions was identified; for example, the legal framework, contract, environmental and health and safety law. The differences are that engineering bodies also require intellectual property awareness and construction institutions incorporate dispute resolution and land law. It was also argued that the importance of European Law should be recognised. Guidance for construction expert witnesses, who are engaged in dispute resolution, arising from three relevant significant documents that were published in 2014 by the Civil Justice Council, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Society of Construction Law was researched. The following were suggested as barriers affecting experts: regulations, budgetary controls, availability of evidence and deadlines. Construction-specific legal risks relevant to SMEs in Europe with a view to manage them were identified. The study confirms that the relevant legal risks for construction SMEs in Italy are: procurement, building regulations, construction contract and dispute resolution. The civil engineering SME case study touched on contract terms, regulations and dispute resolution and the additional issue of intellectual property protection was recognised. Environmental law issues surrounding the regeneration of brownfield land including contaminated land, waste management, water pollution, regulators, environmental impact assessment issues were investigated. Contractors’ standard of design responsibility in current standard forms of contract was analysed and recent relevant case law was reviewed. In conclusion, the overlap in academia, between construction and engineering law of legal topics including legal framework, contract, environmental and health and safety law has been identified. They differ in that engineering bodies additionally require intellectual property awareness and construction institutions include dispute resolution and land law. These findings in academia are reflected in industry. Although framed in a construction law context, the research on expert witnesses also applies to engineering expert witnesses. However, as identified by the accrediting professional bodies, there is a greater requirement for dispute resolution in the construction industry. Environmental law is relevant to both engineering and construction industries. Similarly, current standard forms of contract and recent case law are pertinent to both industries. The congruence and distinction between the law underpinning construction and engineering in academia and industry has been clarified. Subsequent research developed a design, manufacture and construct procurement model for volumetric offsite manufacturing in the UK housing sector and examined the introduction of Brownfield Land Registers in England. Topical and timely research examined the impact of BREXIT and the COVID-19 pandemic on construction law
    • Teaching itself: a mythology of learning in theory and practice

      Jopling, Michael; Bennett, Pete (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-05)
      What I attempt in this dissertation is to make coherent sense of a body of work produced with others over a period of ten years. This was a decade in which the progressive principles that inform my work were being progressively pushed back by an increasingly nihilistic neoliberalism across the Western world and a peculiarly retrogressive manifestation (The Govist turn) in the UK. In the most extreme case a book that was conceived as creatively and playfully reimaging Media Studies ‘after the subject’ turned out almost to be the subject’s epitaph as its survival at A level turned out to be a close run thing. I hope in passing to consider the impact of this context but also to argue that the context of writing this commentary, at the time of a global pandemic, has probably added more significantly to its value, which I measure only pragmatically, of ideas being produced in a way that is useful to other people. As the pandemic has exposed our flawed models of education far more powerfully than I could myself, indeed have myself, so it has also provided an imperative for affirmative critical action. I hope this work can make a small contribution to that process in suggesting ways in which we might fundamentally perform the educational ‘act’ differently. For that reason there is a more heavily weighted focus on the ways in which my more recent publications constitute a hardly intended deconstruction of the dominant educational paradigm and tentative presentation of an alternative in four steps. As this has been an interpretation of the work inspired by this process alone, I have tried also to make the creation of the commentary an active element of the final version. In this I am partly acknowledging the influence of Barthes’ famous book lengthy critical study of his own work, ‘RB by RB’. I would like to think that the structures, fluidity and playfulness of the commentary also convey something of the whole project.
    • Once a man, twice a child: a phenomenological study of women of Jamaican heritage caring for a relative living with dementia

      Murandu, Moses; Bailey, Janet (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-12)
      Little research has been done into the lived experience of caregivers of Jamaican heritage providing care for family members with dementia. Socio-cultural traditions in Jamaican families assign nurturing and caring roles to women, so that when a family member develops dementia it is females who take up the role. The aim of the present study was to explore the lived experience of caregivers of Jamaican heritage living in both England and Jamaica. This study offers a unique and original contribution to our knowledge base as currently there is no published qualitative study that focuses on dementia caregiving in Jamaican families. Using a phenomenological methodology, data were collected in England and Jamaica over a period of twelve months by semi-structured interviews with ten women of Jamaican heritage caring for a family member living with dementia. Participants were interviewed in Birmingham, England and Kingston, Jamaica. Findings revealed six themes relating to how women of Jamaican heritage experience and understand dementia caregiving. (1) strength and resilience; (2) a labour of love; (3) picking sense out of nonsense; (4) I’m not a carer - I’m family; (5) the role of the Church and (6) Jamaicans don’t do that. The insight gained from these findings provided rich information about the participants’ experiences of caregiving. This study revealed that cultural values and upbringing within Jamaican families are important factors that support caregivers in dealing positively with the demands of caregiving. The main implications for practice from this study suggests is that the willingness and commitment of women of Jamaican heritage to provide long-term care within family units in order to maintain the dignity of their elders, as opposed to admitting them to care facilities, needs affirming and supporting. Also, there is a need for commissioners of services and support in England and Jamaica to recognise the importance of voluntary community groups and Black majority churches, when collating and disseminating information.
    • The development and validation of a new instrument to assess the role of social media in college adjustment for undergraduate students

      Attrill-Smith, Alison; Stenson, Audrey (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-09)
      Undergraduate university and college students are increasingly using social media to overcome college adjustment challenges such as creating social networks, maintaining old friendships and confronting academic pressures. Areas that remain unexplored in the college adjustment literature comprise of contemporary views of how college adjustment challenges have changed since the pre-social media era, and consequently the influence of personality on these challenges. Moreover, most college adjustment research has not taken diverse social media sites into consideration, such as WhatsApp, Snapchat and Instagram. The current research addresses these issues as well as the dearth of appropriate measures to gauge the role of social media in contemporary college adjustment. Using existing offline adjustment scales such as the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (Baker & Siryk, 1989) and the College Adjustment Test (Pennebaker et al., 1990), the current work follows recommendations for the development of the Student Adjustment Scale to assess the role of social media as a facet of college adjustment for undergraduate students (Feldt et al., 2011a; Taylor & Pastor, 2005). The first study employs a thematic analysis of student group interviews and identifies five overarching themes associated with contemporary college adjustment issues. The second study involves devising a set of items, based on the five overarching themes, for the Student Adjustment Scale by using a principal components analysis (PCA). This results in a reliable scale with six distinct components. The third study involves a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) but returns to an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to further reduce the dimensions of the scale to five factors. The final study explores personality and student adjustment. Data analysis reveals that facets of the Student Adjustment Scale are predicted by personality variables where those who have a baseline of emotional stability will more likely adjust to college. Differences in data patterns across studies suggest that college adjustment may be considered both state and trait based. The overall findings illustrate that college adjustment is best considered a multi-faceted construct. Social media use is a facet of the Student Adjustment Scale but can be a distraction from time management and academic endeavours. The current work illustrates the complexity and multi-facets of college adjustment for undergraduate students in a social media era, which was previously unexplored in the context of scale development and personality. To conclude, some practical recommendations are suggested for faculty and student experience teams
    • Virtual voices and contrapuntal melodies: exploring the liminal experiences of part-time, adult learners as they embark on undergraduate, online study

      Traxler, John; Hayes, Sarah; Lawton, Megan; Johnson, Kara (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-09)
      Using liminal spaces as a heuristic tool, this study explores the experiences of fifteen adult learners as they complete the first academic module of their part-time, online degree. Online undergraduate programmes enable adult learners to make decisions of how their aspirations are best met. The convenience and flexibility of hybrid spaces, enables them to take control of their learning. However, these benefits are reliant upon negotiating new ideas, technologies, constructs of learning and emergent identities which may sit at the counterpoint of existing roles, responsibilities and experiences. For some, this period of transition can consequently be characterised by disorientation and liminality. The findings provide new insights into the context of the decision to study online, highlighting the extent of the emotion and entanglement between an individual’s choice to participate in learning and their personal lifeworld. It shows how online learning provides a degree of agency for some students where participation in other settings could be difficult. This research conceptualises the decision to return to study, in order to identify the interplay of the personal, institutional and circumstantial domains which shape these early encounters. It uses a narrative approach to explore participant experiences in forging their emergent identities, the opportunities and challenges presented by hybrid online spaces, the importance of networks and a sense of belonging and what tools and strategies are deployed in negotiating boundary encounters. Although the data for this study was collected and analysed before the Covid-19 pandemic, the study examines what we, as educator-researchers, can learn from their narratives and how this might inform our professional practice in the Covid-19 context. It makes a methodological contribution to the literature in the growing field of online research methods through its innovative use of online reflective journals and Skype interviews alongside examining the implications of the findings for both policy and practice.
    • Judicial politics in the Privy Council: a legal analysis of its impact on the constitutionality of the death penalty in the Commonwealth Caribbean

      Haynes, Andrew; Edwards, Vincel Anthony (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-08)
      An institution such as the Privy Council is the supreme judicial body for some Commonwealth countries. The main objective of this research is to understand the extent to which the Privy Council decision making on the constitutionality of the death penalty in the Commonwealth Caribbean influenced by judicial politics. This issue is extant to the Commonwealth Caribbean society and therefore a legal analysis of it is necessary to generate new insights into the judicial politics of the Privy Council. Therefore, the decision making on the constitutionality of the death penalty is the vehicle used in this research to present explanations in response to this issue. This is demonstrated through the theories of judicial behaviour in the perspectives of the legal model, the institutional model and the attitudinal model of such behaviour. It worth noting that in some Commonwealth Caribbean States the death penalty is the punishment prescribed by law for persons guilty of the crime of murder. However, there are serious concerns with the application of this punishment. A case law analysis of the death penalty in the Commonwealth Caribbean from a policy perspective will be pursued. Also, of major concerns in this regard is that it is hypothesized that the constitutionality of the death penalty in the Commonwealth Caribbean is influenced by judicial politics. This research will focus on exploring, evaluating and explaining the hypothesis on the death penalty in the area of judicial politics. It involves examining the structure, nature and the relationship between the concept of judicial politics and that of the constitutionality of the death penalty. Wider issues such as an analysis of judicial reasoning by the Privy Council involving the death penalty and also human rights issues have been pursued. Thus this research also necessitates assessing the jurisdiction and jurisprudence of the Privy Council and the Caribbean Court of Justice in evaluating the judicial attitude towards the issue of cruelty of the death penalty in the Commonwealth Caribbean.
    • Reflections beyond words: using auto-driven photo-elicitation to explore the pain management programme journey

      Cureton, Debra; Lawton, Megan; Ward, Gavin; Roberts, Suzanne (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-05)
      In the UK, around one-third to one-half of the population are estimated to be affected by persistent pain, a long-term complex condition which can have serious implications for an individual’s everyday functioning and quality of life. A biopsychosocial approach to care and pain management programmes can be adopted as a treatment option. A growing body of research supports the effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy based pain management programmes. This research, however, is based on analyses of pre-post changes in pre-defined outcome measures. Limited qualitative research has focused on programme evaluation and the notion of acceptance. This study aimed to explore the individuals’ everyday experience of change as they progressed through a pain management programme to enhance understanding of the change process from the individuals’ perspective. This study also aimed to establish how auto-driven photo-elicitation can support participants to articulate their pain management journey. Nine participants who were part of a six-week online pain management programme were asked to generate weekly images representing a meaningful change in their pain management. These images were discussed in photo-elicitation interviews at week two, four and six of the programme. Transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis. The findings represented the way participants created meaning associated with changes in their pain management across the three timepoints of data collection. The significance of these time points in relation to pain management were constructed as: (1) Insight and Awareness, (2) Integration and (3) Reframing. All participants described a shift in their perspective towards pain, which appeared to be facilitated by factors of ‘acceptance’ and ‘empowerment’. Auto-driven photo-elicitation was found to ‘invite reflection’ and held ‘therapeutic value’ which facilitated the change process. Photography was found to be an engaging and valuable method for helping individuals articulate their pain management journey. This provides support for the adaptability of pain management programmes and the use of photography to create therapeutic opportunities.
    • Establishing an ex vivo model of acanthamoeba keratitis and investigating the phenotypic similarities between the protozoan acanthamoeba and human macrophages

      Heaselgrave, Wayne; Al-Antary, Noor Tawfiq Mohamad (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-04)
      Acanthamoeba is a small free-living amoeba found in tap water and soil with two life stages: the trophozoite and cyst. Acanthamoeba species are opportunistic pathogens of humans that cause two main diseases including a potentially blinding infection of the cornea called Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) in immunocompetent individuals, and a fatal granulomatous encephalitis in the immunocompromised. In this study, an ex vivo model of AK was developed to better understand the pathophysiological processes that occur in this disease. The model has several applications such as studying the interaction of Acanthamoeba with cells of innate immunity, investigating the efficacy of different pharmaceutical products in stopping the progression of the disease beside using the model to correlate between in vivo and ex vivo confocal microscopy findings of various morphologies of Acanthamoeba cysts and trophozoites. Furthermore, the study evaluated the phenotypic similarities between Acanthamoeba and cells of the innate immune system mainly macrophages using flow cytometry analysis to enhance the understanding of how immune cells interact with Acanthamoeba Porcine corneas were used to establish a reproducible ex vivo model which was maintained for four weeks and optimised by the supplement of CO2 and the use of air – liquid interface rocking system that mimics natural eye blinking. Once the model was established, Acanthamoeba trophozoites and cysts were added to the corneal model to evaluate the pathogenesis of Acanthamoeba keratitis, and the study successfully demonstrated the development of the infection in the model. This study was also able to demonstrate that the addition of macrophages and neutrophils to the AK model did not limit the process of the infection as these cells were phagocytosed by Acanthamoeba. The model was also used to investigate the efficacy of doxycycline and polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB) in stopping the disease progression and the results demonstrated the ability of PHMB to inactivate Acanthamoeba trophozoites with minimal toxicity to the corneal epithelium. Doxycycline was not found to have any major antimicrobial effect on the viability of Acanthamoeba. The model was also utilized to study the ex vivo confocal microscopy (EVCM) features of various forms of Acanthamoeba and correlate these findings to in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) images from culture positive AK cases. The study demonstrated similarity in the morphological features of Acanthamoeba in both ex vivo and in vivo confocal microscopy images, which makes EVCM images a reliable reference to validate IVCM findings. Finally, this study evaluated the phenotypic similarities between Acanthamoeba and macrophages using flow cytometry analysis which identified various degrees of positive reactivity of amoebic cell surface to a limited number of anti-human monoclonal antibodies. This suggests some structural and functional similarities in protein surfaces between amoeba and macrophages which can potentially offer a future tool for screening.
    • Intentional forgetting of emotional memories in the item-method directed forgetting task

      Mercer, Tom; Hinton, Danny; Darby, Richard; Ahmed, Sumera (University of WolverhamptonFaculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing, 2021-07)
      Forgetting is often viewed as a nuisance, but research has indicated that forgetting is an adaptive process that works to remove irrelevant information (Bjork,1989). Such 'intentional’ forgetting concerns the active removal of information from memory, with evidence coming from the Think/No-Think paradigm (Anderson & Green, 2004) and most importantly the Directed Forgetting paradigm (Bjork, 1970). The Directed Forgetting paradigm assesses intentional forgetting through the use of two cues (Remember and Forget) and a majority of studies suggest a successful inhibition of the 'Forget' items in comparison to the 'Remember' items. However, there is a long-term dispute within research in regard to valence and intentional forgetting. Specifically, it is unclear whether directed forgetting is reduced for emotional stimuli, in comparison to neutral stimuli. In the current thesis, Directed Forgetting was tested in six experiments and consistently reported when retrieval was assessed through free recall. The Directed Forgetting effect also applied to emotional material. However, valence differences for the 'Remember' cue (positive vs negative) were greater than the differences found for the 'Forget' cue. This suggests that both positive and negative words can be successfully forgotten. Additionally, factors such as time (Chapters 2, 3 and 5), individual differences (Chapters 4 [sex differences] and 5 [mood and emotional reactivity]) and stimuli characteristics (Chapters 5 [concreteness] and 7 [word type]) had a minimal impact on Directed Forgetting. The experiments within this thesis have been successful in highlighting DF within free recall. Yet when a cued recall procedure was used, the DF effect was abolished, and there actually seemed to be a form of inverted DF for negative words. Lastly, limitations, theoretical implications and future directions are considered in Chapter 8 (the general discussion).
    • An investigation of client loyalty in the construction professional services sector

      Hampton, Paul; Williams, Nicholas Michael (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-02)
      Construction professional services (CPS) suppliers perform several vital roles in the construction industry. Arguably, their success (and, in hard times, their survival) is determined by the loyalty of their clients. Loyal clients provide a reliable stream of revenue and help generate new business for CPS suppliers by providing recommendations and referrals. However, prior to this research, there were no known empirical studies which investigated CPS client loyalty. Using evidence obtained from a literature review, a conceptual model was developed that identified the key-candidate service-related antecedents of client loyalty. A phase of qualitative research was carried out using purposeful and snowball sampling. Semi-structured interviews were arranged with 20 respondents, with these being a mix of CPS clients and suppliers. The resulting data were subject to thematic analysis, and the conceptual model of CPS-client loyalty was refined based on the findings. A phase of quantitative research was carried out to test the degree to which the qualitative research findings could be generalised to the wider CPS-client population. This involved a survey, and analysis of the data using factor analysis and hypothesis testing using multiple regression. This was itself followed up using a phase of member checking with a group of experts to validate and help explain some discrepant findings. This research has made several contributions to knowledge. It provides empirical support for the existence of a multidimensional form of commitment in a CPS supplier-client context. It is the first known research to identify what CPS suppliers should focus on to be able to build and benefit from client loyalty. The results showed that service quality was the antecedent most strongly associated with loyalty. Affective commitment was found to be next in importance. A weak-but-significant relationship with locked-in commitment was also identified. It should be noted that sampling during both qualitative and quantitative phase of research was restricted to respondents from the UK Midlands. Therefore, there are limits to which the findings can be generalised beyond this geographical region. In summary, CPS suppliers are advised to focus first and foremost on fulfilling their clients’ rational desire for a high level of service quality. However, to achieve optimum levels of client loyalty, they should be mindful of the power of personal relationships between their employees and their clients. In this respect, they are advised to avoid rotating their account representatives where healthy relations and rapport are evident.
    • Nurses’ views on compassionate care: a study using Q methodology

      Gutteridge, Robin; Bond, Carol; Philp, Ann (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-06)
      Compassion and compassionate care are identified as essential elements in nursing. They enhance quality care, wellbeing, and the overall quality of patients’ lives. However, incidents of substandard care have highlighted inherent tensions between competing professional and organisational demands in a rapidly changing workplace. This research investigated nurses’ views of the promoters and inhibitors of provision and maintenance of compassionate care. Participants were third year student nurses and qualified nurses in a large inner-city Trust hospital. An integrative literature review revealed three overarching themes that impact on nurses’ ability to provide and maintain compassionate care. Sumner’s (2008a) Moral Construct of Caring in Nursing as Communicative Action Theory (MCCNCAT) was applied as the theoretical framework. Q methodology supported the investigation of subjectivity within an interpretive design. 54 statements were developed from the literature review and focus group participation, representing the breadth of debate on compassion and compassionate care. Participants (n=30) rank-ordered these statements onto a quasi-normal distribution grid (the Q sort). They provided post Q sort data via Report Sheets and semi-structured interviews; thematic analysis was used to explore interview data. Completed Q sorts were analysed using correlation and by-person factor analysis, resulting in two distinct factors. Some participants shared commonalities across factors and did not contribute to the construction of the factor estimates. Remaining participants (n=18) included student nurses (n=10) and qualified nurses (n=8). Compassionate care was found to be complex, interconnected, and multifaceted. There was consensus from student nurses and qualified nurses in the three overarching themes: • Personal/relational – Improved patient outcomes impact positively on patients and motivate nurses to provide compassionate care. Satisfaction gained from providing compassionate care creates a virtuous circle, enhancing wellbeing, personal motivation, professional commitment, and job performance. It supports collegial relationships and positive patient outcomes. • Organisational – Organisations must promote compassionate care, supporting nurses and providing necessary resources. Managers, leaders, mentors, and colleagues should demonstrate compassion towards patients and staff. Developing and supporting a culture of compassion can counter factors that inhibit compassionate care. Nurses should be encouraged to develop self-compassion, which promotes their own wellbeing. • Educational – Nurses’ clinical experiences should be connected to teaching and learning. This means replacing inappropriate didactic, classroom-based education with approaches that are experiential and creative, using strengthened links with practice, so that learning is relevant to the reality of clinical practice. These findings were incorporated in an explanatory diagram, underpinned by MCCNCAT (Sumner 2008a) which makes visible the dynamics involved and strategies that build and sustain compassionate care.