• Obesity in chronic inflammation using rheumatoid arthritis as a model: definition, significance, and effects of physical activity & lifestyle

      Koutedakis, Yiannis; Stavropoulos-Kalinoglou, Antonios (University of Wolverhampton, 2009)
      Background: Inflammation is the natural reaction of the body to an antigen. In some conditions, this reaction continues even after the elimination of the antigen, entering a chronic stage; it targets normal cells of the body and causes extensive damage. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is such a condition. It associates with significant metabolic alterations that lead to changes in body composition and especially body fat (BF) increases. In the general population, increased body fat (i.e. obesity) associates with a number of health disorders such as systemic low grade inflammation and a significantly increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Both effects of obesity could have detrimental effects in RA. Increased inflammation could worsen disease activity while obesity could further increase the already high CVD risk in RA. However, obesity in RA has attracted minimal scientific attention. Aims: The present project aimed to: 1) assess whether the existing measures of adiposity are able to identify the changes in body composition of RA patients, 2) if necessary develop RA-specific measures of adiposity, 3) investigate the association of obesity with disease characteristics and CVD profile of the patients, 4) and identify factors that might affect body weight and composition in these patients. Methods: A total of 1167 volunteers were assessed. Of them 43 suffered from osteoarthritis and 82 were healthy controls. These, together with 516 RA patients were used in the first study. Their body mass index (BMI), BF, and disease characteristics were assessed. In the second, third, fourth and fifth studies a separate set of 400 RA patients was assessed. In addition to the above assessments, their cardiovascular profile and more detailed disease characteristics were obtained. For the final study, 126 RA patients were assessed for all the above and also data on their physical activity levels and their diet were collected. Results: Assessments of adiposity for the general population are not valid for RA patients. Thus, we proposed RA-specific measures of adiposity. These are able to better identify RA patients with increased BF. We were also able to find associations between obesity and disease activity. Both underweight and obese RA patients had more active disease compared to normal-weight patients. Obese patients had significantly worse CVD profile compared to normal-weight. The newly devised measures of adiposity were able to identify those at increased risk. However, not all obese individuals were unhealthy and not all normal-weight healthy. Among our patients we were able to identify subtypes of obesity with distinct phenotypic characteristics that warrant special attention. Finally, we were able to identify factors that influence body weight and composition. Cigarette smoking protected against obesity while its cessation associated with increased adiposity. Physical activity was also found to be protective against obesity while diet or inflammation of the disease failed to produce any significant results. Conclusions: Obesity is a significant threat to the health of RA patients. The measures of adiposity developed herein should be used to identify obese RA patients. Physical activity seems like the sole mode for effective weight management in this population. Health and exercise professionals should actively encourage their patients to exercise as much as they can. This study has created more questions than it answered; further research in the association of obesity and inflammation, as well as in ways to treat it, is essential.
    • Oil and gas contracts: a law in context analysis using Nigeria as a case study

      Haynes, Andrew; Adebayo, Jamiu Olohundare (University of Wolverhampton, 2018-12-31)
      The legal and regulatory framework of the oil and gas industry and the contracting obligations arising thereof have evolved over time in many forms across oil producing states. Given the peculiarities of each of these oil producing states, the framework is constantly changing. The changing face of politics, climate and rapidly developing technology are changing the landscape of the industry, demanding a fundamental need for petroleum resource-endowed states to take a strategic view and choose what legal framework and contracting approaches are likely to deliver their ultimate objective: optimum production with topmost financial gains. The idea behind the exploration and exploitation of natural resources is to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) into developing states with the anticipation that such investment will put them on the centre stage of global economics and lead to an improvement in research and technology transfer that would sustain economic growth and development. However, the objective of transnational corporations is to maximise their profits. Ultimately, it is the exploration licensing contracts that states use to implement oil exploration and exploitation policies. The present research therefore seeks to look at the dynamics of the legal and regulatory framework of the oil and gas industry focussing on its everchanging contract types and nature. The research attempts to look at the causes of the imbalance in international oil and gas contracts with an eye on the observation that one of the causes of the imbalance are the investment treaties because they focus on a state’s obligations with little or no focus on obligations from transnational corporations towards the states. Some critical clauses that need to be taken into account by parties to the contract are also explored because it is argued that contractual clauses are also among the causes of imbalance in international oil and gas contracts. This research therefore addresses the causes of imbalance by looking at the problems associated with investment treaties and the long-term contractual relationship between the host states and the transnational corporations, particularly the associated risks with oil and gas contracts such as; political, economic, natural and technical risks. Essentially, the study will narrow down on the processes, technicalities, case studies and the features of four main types of oil and gas contracts namely, Production Sharing Agreement, Joint Ventures, Service Contracts and the two Concessions, (Old and New). The research also attempted to answer the following questions: what is the current structure of oil contracts and to what extent can parties’ commitments be altered to ensure the sustenance of economic stability? Which type of contract is the best for development and financial purposes? What are the causes of imbalance in the oil contract and to what extent have the principles of international environmental law been utilised at a state level and whether developing countries have been able to overcome the pressures from transnational corporations on the issue of environmental law? The research will address these questions through its five chapters.
    • “Old habits persist” Change and continuity in Black Country communities: Pensnett, Sedgley and Tipton, 1945-c.1970

      Gildart, Keith; Henderson, P.; Watkiss Singleton, Rosalind (University of Wolverhampton, 2010)
      This thesis examines continuity and change in the three Black Country localities of Pensnett, Tipton and Sedgley between 1945 and c1970. The dominant historiography of the period suggests that the prosperity of post-war British society, the safety-net of state welfare provision and unprecedented levels of consumer spending mostly eradicated the inter-war behaviour patterns of individuals, families and communities. Utilising the oral testimony of sixty residents from the three localities, and supplemented by a range of primary sources, the thesis demonstrates that growing affluence impacted only marginally upon the customary social mores of the lowermiddle and working-class inhabitants. Whilst aspirations to new housing and increased consumption affected perceptions of status and social standing, the economic strategies of the pre-war period prevailed. The thesis evaluates the effect of affluence upon earning, spending and saving. It questions assumptions that the support of kinship networks, matrilocality and community cohesion disappeared as slums were replaced with new housing estates. It demonstrates that the Welfare State impacted little upon attitudes to income and employment and that the wages derived from formal employment were augmented by informal work, penny-capitalist ventures and illicit activities. It shows that despite embracing the consumer society, families within these localities adhered to traditional methods of shopping and the financing of consumption. The thesis challenges the work of a range of historians who have emphasised change over continuity in characterisations of British society in the post-war period and endorses Hoggart’s claims that despite post-war innovations “old habits persist”
    • On informing the creation of assistive tools in virtual reality for severely visually disabled individuals

      Nahar, Vinita; Loizides, Fernando; Aggoun, Amar; Pollard, Andrew; Weir, Kurtis; School of Mathematics and Computer Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-05)
      Virtual Reality (VR) devices have advanced so dramatically in recent years that they are now capable of fully immersing users in experiences tailored to fit a multitude of needs. This emerging technology has far reaching potential, yet is primarily contained to the entertainment or gaming market, with limited considerations made for disabilities and accessibility. Identifying this gap, evaluating these newer VR devices for their suitability as accessibility aids is needed, and clear standards for successful disability VR design need to be defined and promoted to encourage greater inclusively going forward. To achieve this, a series of ophthalmology-informed tests were created and conducted against 24 participants with severe visual impairments. These tests were used as comparative benchmarks to determine the level of visual perception impaired users had while wearing a VR device against natural vision. Findings suggest that, under certain conditions, VR devices can greatly enhance visual acuity levels when used as replacements to natural vision or typical vision aids, without any enhancement made to account for visual impairments. Following findings and requirements elicited from participants, a prototype VR accessibility text reader and video player were developed allowing visually disabled persons to customise and configure specialised accessibility features for individualised needs. Qualitative usability testing involving 11 impaired participants alongside interviews fed into a iterative design process for better software refinement and were used to informed the creation of a VR accessibility framework for visual disabilities. User tests reported an overwhelmingly positive response to the tool as a feasible reading and viewing aid, allowing persons who could not engage (or, due to the difficulty, refusing to engage) in the reading and viewing of material to do so. Outcomes highlight that a VR device paired with the tested software would be an effective and affordable alternative to specialist head gear that is often expensive and lacking functionality & adaptability. These findings promote the use and future design of VR devices to be used as accessibility tools and visual aids, and provide a comparative benchmark, device usability guidelines, a design framework for VR accessibility, and the first VR accessibility software for reading and viewing.
    • 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.
    • ‘One thing I’d never stand for in a relationship is violence, so when she tried to kill me, that was it’: The impact of heteronormativity and assimilation on Domestic Violence and Abuse in same sex women’s relationships

      Morgan, Angela; Paniagua, Hilary; Kelly-Teare, Vik (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-08)
      Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) is most commonly spoken of as a heterosexual issue and as such it remains hidden within the lesbian community both from the inside and the outside. In the era following civil partnership and same sex marriage legislation, it may be logical to assume that speaking out about abuse would be easier. However, this study suggests that the politics of assimilation has entrenched the hidden nature of domestic violence and abuse in same sex relationships between women making it more and more difficult to recognise or speak out about. Whilst recent research in the area has highlighted these issues, this study foregrounds, through the women’s lived experience, the importance of structural, social and cultural contexts for women’s identities resulting in limited recognition of abuse and consequential action on it. The study contributes to the developing and existing body of literature through the exploration of the impact of heteronormativity on domestic violence and abuse in relationships between women in a specific age cohort (of one generation) who identify as gay. The results are presented in a narrative ethnographic thematic form, providing three women’s in-depth stories of experiencing and surviving abusive relationships. From within these stories, it focuses on the use of identity in abuse, set against the backdrop of increasing political, legislative and social assimilation. Using the COHSAR Power and Control Wheel to inform the coding framework the study presents a theoretical conceptualisation of physical and emotional abuse as coercive control and focuses on the difference of experience. The results enabled a theoretical conceptualisation of identity abuse and enabled the development of a new model for understanding identity abuse in relation to intersectional identities. Four key tactics areas emerged in relation to identity abuse: the known self (personal and public identity), intimacies, threats and false allegations. These key tactical areas are weaponised in personal, social and cultural, and structural domains of life. The critical inquiry presented is methodologically grounded in analytic autoethnography (with the researcher as full member participant) and utilises standpoint theory and intersectionality as conceptual framework. The study promotes the use of a new practitioner and educator model for understanding identity abuse to be used in conjunction with the COHSAR Power and Control Wheel and the stories themselves may also be used as tools for learning. In an era of assimilation, research on the lived experience of domestic violence and abuse is key in understanding the nuances of experience based on identity; without this, practitioners and educators are limited in their ability to resource, raise awareness of, and assist those experiencing domestic violence and abuse.
    • One transition: three journeys

      Chen-Wilson, J.; Brown, Z.; Watkins, Cheryl (2019-04)
      The focus of the research was to explore the transition period from primary to secondary education for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, their parents’ and the professionals’ perspectives. This would facilitate future recommendations of the challenges faced and alterations to improve current procedures to make the process smoother. The analysis followed Charmaz’s (2006) constructivist grounded theory approach. Semi-structured interviews with five adolescents, seven mothers and eight professionals were conducted to ascertain their transitional experiences. The findings developed three theories of the transition period. The Mothers’ theory ‘the transitional emotional rollercoaster’ encapsulated the core category emotional response. For the mothers the sense of being prepared and involved with the transition and the choice of school were significant factors in feeling emotionally balanced. The central storyline for the adolescents’, ‘weighing up the transitional balance’, related to the emotional reaction during the transition. The adolescents wanted to be informed of their new school, with information on timeframes and support to prepare them, alongside meeting peers to increase friendships and interactions. The professionals storyline, the ‘nitty gritty’, referred to achieving a smooth transitional process by being a prominent figure in the bigger transitional process, ensuring and facilitating the needs of the adolescent, parents and professionals. The professionals desired to be equipped with an awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder, to understand the needs of the adolescent and to have resources to manage the adolescent efficiently in the education setting. All of the populations referred to being powerless in the transition process, so future focus would benefit on empowering all entities through inclusion. Counselling Psychologists would benefit from the findings to support the different populations. Future development of working together as a collective to form a robust support network, good planning, communication and distribution of information would enable a smoother and more successful transition for all.  
    • Online social marketing: website factors in behavioural change

      Thelwall, Mike; Cugelman, Brian (University of Wolverhampton, 2010)
      A few scholars have argued that the Internet is a valuable channel for social marketing, and that practitioners need to rethink how they engage with target audiences online. However, there is little evidence that online social marketing interventions can significantly influence behaviours, while there are few evidence-based guidelines to aid online intervention design. This thesis assesses the efficacy of online interventions suitable for social marketing applications, presents a model to integrate behavioural change research, and examines psychological principles that may aid the design of online behavioural change interventions.The primary research project used meta-analytical techniques to assess the impact of interventions targeting voluntary behaviours, and examined psychological design and adherence correlations. The study found that many online interventions demonstrated the capacity to help people achieve voluntary lifestyle changes. Compared to waitlist control conditions, the interventions demonstrated advantages, while compared to print materials they offered similar impacts, but with the advantages of lower costs and broader reach. A secondary research project surveyed users across an international public mobilization campaign and used structural equation modelling to assess the relationships between website credibility, active trust, and behavioural impacts. This study found that website credibility and active trust were factors in behavioural influence, while active trust mediated the effects of website credibility on behaviour. The two research projects demonstrated that online interventions can influence an individual’s offline behaviours. Effective interventions were primarily goal-orientated: they informed people about the consequences of their behaviour, encouraged them to set goals, offered skills-building support, and tracked their progress. People who received more exposure to interventions generally achieved greater behavioural outcomes. Many of these interventions could be incorporated into social marketing campaigns, and offer individually tailored support capable of scaling to massive public audiences. Communication theory was used to harmonize influence taxonomies and techniques; this proved to be an effective way to organize a diversity of persuasion, therapy, and behavioural change research. Additionally, website credibility and users’ active trust could offer a way to mitigate the negative impacts of online risks and competition.
    • Optimised solder interconnections in crystalline silicon (c-Si) photovoltaic modules for improved performance in elevated temperature climate

      Ekere, Nduka Nnamdi; Amalu, Emeka H.; Ogbomo, Osarumen O. (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-02)
      The operations of c-Si PV modules in elevated temperature climates like Africa and the Middle East are plagued with poor thermo-mechanical reliability and short fatigue lives. There is the need to improve the performance of the system operating in such regions to solve the grave energy poverty and power shortages. Solder interconnection failure due to accelerated thermo-mechanical degradation is identified as the most dominant degradation mode and responsible for over 40% of c-Si PV module failures. Hence the optimisation of c-Si PV module solder interconnections for improved performance in elevated temperature climate is the focus of this research. The effects of relevant reliability influencing factors (RIFs) on the performance (thermo-mechanical degradation and fatigue life) of c-Si PV module solder interconnections are investigated utilising a combination of ANSYS finite element modelling (FEM), Taguchi L25 orthogonal array and analytical techniques. The investigated RIFs are operating temperature, material combination and interconnection geometry. Garofalo creep relations and temperature dependent Young’s Modulus of Elasticity are used to model solder properties, EVA layer is modelled as viscoelastic while the other component layers are modelled using appropriate constitutive material models. Results show that fatigue life decays with increases in ambient temperature loads. A power function model 𝐿=721.48𝑇−1.343, was derived to predict the fatigue life (years) of c-Si PV modules in any climatic region. Of the various ribbon-contact material combination models investigated, Silver-Silver, Aluminium-Aluminium, Silver-Aluminium and Aluminium-Silver are the top four best performing solder interconnection models with low deformation ratios, 𝛿𝑅, normalised degradation values, 𝑁𝑑𝑖<1, and normalised fatigue life 𝑁𝑓𝑖>1. Further findings indicate that only the solder layer demonstrates good miniaturisation properties while the standard dimensions for ribbon and contact layers remain the best performing geometry settings. Additionally, from the Taguchi robust optimisation, the Aluminium-Silver ribbon-contact material combination model (ribbon = 180μm, solder = 56μm, contact = 50μm) demonstrated the best performance in elevated temperature climate, reduced solder degradation by 95.1% and is the most suitable substitute to the conventional c-Si PV module solder interconnection in elevated temperature climate conditions – in terms of thermo-mechanical degradation. These findings presented provide more insight into the design and development of c-Si PV modules operating in elevated temperature climates by providing a fatigue life prediction model in various ambient conditions, identifying material combinations and geometry which demonstrate improved thermo-mechanical reliability and elongated fatigue life.
    • Parameterized monads in linguistics

      Le, An Ha; Viet, Ha Bui (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-06)
      This dissertation follows the formal semantics approach to linguistics. It applies recent developments in computing theories to study theoretical linguistics in the area of the interaction between semantics and pragmatics and analyzes several natural language phenomena by parsing them in these theories. Specifically, this dissertation uses parameterized monads, a particular theoretical framework in category theory, as a dynamic semantic framework to reinterpret the compositional Discourse Representation Theory(cDRT), and to provide an analysis of donkey anaphora. Parameterized monads are also used in this dissertation to interpret information states as lists of presuppositions, and as dot types. Alternative interpretations for demonstratives and imperatives are produced, and the conventional implicature phenomenon in linguistics substantiated, using the framework. Interpreting donkey anaphora shows that parameterized monads is able to handle the sentential dependency. Therefore, this framework shows an expressive power equal to that of related frameworks such as the typed logical grammar and the dynamic predicate logic. Interpreting imperatives via parameterized monads also provides a compositional dynamic semantic analysis which is one of the main approaches to analysing imperatives.
    • Parents of children with cerebral palsy: their experiences and perspectives of Conductive Education

      Owens, Moira (University of Wolverhampton, 2000)
      Some parents of children with cerebral palsy choose a non-traditional programme of education for their children - Conductive Education. Many countries appear to have welcomed not only research into Conductive Education but also the practice of this alternative programme of education for children with cerebral palsy (Lebeer, 1995; Weber, 1995; Cooper, 1986; Sigafoos, Elkins, Hayes, Gunn, Couzens and Roberts, 1991; Dowrick, 1993; Bochner, Center, Chapparo and Donnelly, 1996 and Hass, Takuziner, Hendelsman, Ginzberg and Ornoy, 1997). In the U. K., whilst Conductive Education has, for some years, been largely ignored by the professional and academic world (Sutton, 1998), the current national position suggests an increase in academic interest due to emerging training schemes and also, paradoxically, because of increased awareness outside of the U. K. The most rigorous study to date (Bairstow, Cochrane & Hur, 1993) although receiving much criticism regarding its design and methodology (Stukat 1995, Catonese 1995, Lie & Holmes 1996) rapidly assumed the status of the definitive statement on Conductive Education and as a consequence Llewellyn, Owens & Hogan (1997) highlight the need for research to move away from the effectiveness or parents' satisfaction with a programme of Conductive Education to explore their perceptions. In order to add to the body of knowledge in this field, the perceptions of parents on Conductive Education are explored through the application of two methodologies - Grounded Theory (Strauss & Corbin, 1990) and Discourse Analysis (Potter & Wetherell, 1994). Parents from eleven family units, who had enrolled their children on a programme of education at The National Institute for Conductive Education in Birmingham, were interviewed. Unstructured, in-depth, tape-recorded interviews were parent-led with regard to location and duration. A structured application of the grounded theory method of enquiry is applied to the data and the theoretical implications that emerge highlight a temporal shift in the data leading to parents becoming experts in issues related to childhood disability and programmes of education. Parents reclaim ownership of the decision-making process (which they have hitherto perceived to be out of their control) and orchestrate the identity of their children by choosing a programme of Conductive Education as practised at the National Institute for Conductive Education in Birmingham. Application of Discourse Analysis to documentation in relation to the decision-making process to further extend the theoretical implications revealed three discourses in 'operation - objectivity versus subjective experience, negativity versus positivity and current disability versus potential ability. The theoretical implications related to these discourses are concerned with parents as equal partners in the decision-making process and the differential between parents and Local Education Authorities on the fundamental underpinnings of an appropriate programme of education for children with cerebral palsy. The findings from the application of each methodology are brought together for discussion and conclusions drawn. Theoretically it is argued that positivistic approaches to research in this area which either exclude the voices of parents or, if included, restrict the voice to issues of satisfaction with a programme of Conductive Education, serve to ensure that education for children with special needs is pathologised. It is argued that the pathologising of education for children with special needs serves the interests of existent dominant government providers of programmes of special education.
    • Paths in education: how students make qualification choices at Level 3 and what influences these choices

      Lavender, Peter; Lewis, Zoe Helen; School 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).
    • Pedogenesis on the Sefton Coastal Dunes, NW England

      Booth, Colin A.; Fullen, Michael A.; Trueman, Ian C.; Millington, Jennifer A. (University of Wolverhampton, 2010)
      This work examines the use of pedo-properties to identify dune soil system responses to environmental change on the Sefton coast, based on the development of conceptual pedogenic models. Previous environmental change and shoreline dynamics are determined through O.S. maps and aerial photographs, while present day processes are investigated through a dune-toe photographic survey and seasonal monitoring by fixed point photography. Topsoil (0-5 cm) physico-chemical characteristics are presented in a series of baseline GIS maps, displaying spatial pedo-property variation across the dune landscape. Combined with vegetation data, topsoil analysis identifies 10 distinct pedo-environments. Physico-chemical characteristics of associated National Soil Resources Institute (NSRI) soil profile classifications and an exposed stratigraphic section are presented graphically in a proposed sequence of development. Topsoil and soil profile samples are analysed for soil pH, soil organic matter (SOM) content, particle size, geochemical composition and mineral magnetism. Significant differences (p <0.05) are apparent for the suite of topsoil characteristics collated, indicating discrete dune environments are influenced by specific soil properties. Distinct down-profile variations in soil characteristics are also apparent between dune environments, highlighting pedological dynamism. Multivariate Factor analysis groups bare sand and mobile dune communities into ‘frontal dunes’ and fixed dune community, pasture, scrub, deciduous woodland and coniferous plantations into ‘hind dunes’, separating these topsoil environments from heath and slack communities. Factor analysis also identifies linkages between pedo-characteristics within soil profile horizons, suggesting pedogenesis on the Sefton dunes initiates as raw sand, progressing to sand-pararendzinas through leaching of nutrients. Desalinization and decalcification processes lead to brown earth development, followed by increased acidicification, subsequently, resulting in micro-podzol formation. Groundwater gley soils are associated with dune slacks, where drainage is inhibited and anaerobic conditions prevail. Analysis of buried soils suggests such pedo-environment formations are cyclic, responding to phases of shoreline regression/transgression, dune activity and stabilization. Conceptual models are designed to graphically demonstrate pedogenesis under both erosion and deposition regimes on the Sefton coast. Regression equations and correlation coefficients between pedo-properties and distance from mean high water are used as a proxy for soil age, which represent lateral soil maturity from the unstable frontal dunes to the stable hind dunes inland. The models simulate formation and process of the full array of soil properties, accounting for geomorphological impacts and anthropogenic influences. This has great implications for dune managers by raising awareness of pedogenesis as an integral part of nature and associated habitats, which could be incorporated in future shoreline management plans (SMPs).
    • Perceptions of mental illness in south-eastern Nigeria: causal beliefs, attitudes, help-seeking pathways and perceived barriers to help-seeking

      Ikwuka, Ugo (2016)
      To provide empirical basis for mental health interventions in the deprived sub-Saharan African region, this study explored the perspectives of the Igbo people of south-eastern Nigeria on four dimensions of mental illness: causal beliefs, attitudes towards sufferers, preferred treatment pathways and perceived barriers to accessing formal psychiatric care. Mixed sampling methods were used to select participants who completed quantitative questionnaires. The number of participants varied between 200 and 706 in the exploratory studies but remained constant (n = 1127) in the confirmatory studies. The study found mixed endorsements of the supernatural, biological and psychosocial causal explanations with supernatural causations being significantly more endorsed. The study also found mixed treatment preferences with formal psychiatric care being significantly more preferred to the spiritual pathway which was in turn significantly more preferred to the traditional pathway. Significant negative attitudes and desire for social distance from persons with mental illness were observed across groups. Barriers to accessing mental healthcare were also significantly perceived with ideological barriers being significantly more perceived than instrumental barriers. Systematic associations were found between causal beliefs and treatment preferences: supernatural causal belief predicted preference for the spiritual and traditional treatment pathways while psychosocial causal belief predicted preference for both formal psychiatric care and the traditional treatment pathway. Mixed causal attributions and treatment preferences reflect holistic view of health and healing and calls for the evolution of complementary model of care that would incorporate people’s spiritual and cultural needs. The prospect is supported in psychosocial causal beliefs being associated with preference for the traditional treatment pathway. Significant negative attitude is a contradiction in the traditionally communitarian and predominantly Christian culture, and is deserving of intervention in the context where the solidarity of the social network should compensate for the inadequate mental healthcare. Significantly more ideological than instrumental barriers have crucial policy implication; improved conceptualizations of mental illness should precede improvement of facilities and services or else these could be underused. Demographic correlates of causal beliefs, negative attitudes, pathway preferences and barriers to accessing formal mental healthcare care were determined for targeted interventions.
    • Perceptions of the influence of Adults other than Teachers on PE and School Sport in West Midlands Primary Schools

      Benton, Victoria (2015-01)
      What is the perceived influence of Adults other than Teachers on PE and School Sport in West Midlands Primary Schools? – By Victoria Benton. Over the last decade a body of academic literature has emerged, suggesting that PE is in a state of neglect. As a result of this, numerous researchers state that the National Curriculum for Physical Education (NCPE) is therefore being delivered ineffectively in primary schools. This thesis makes a contribution to the knowledge produced by recent studies by examining the perceived influence of Adults Other Than Teachers (AOTTs) in West Midlands Primary Schools on PE and school sport. The data were collected within the West Midlands area between January and July 2011. Nine schools and nine coaching companies participated in the study and data were collected using questionnaires and follow up interviews for selected participants. In keeping with previous studies on PE and school sport, foundation chapters are concerned with the factors affecting teacher’s confidence and competence to teach PE and school sport and the consequent increase in the number of AOTTs to combat this. Closer scrutiny highlights a number of emergent themes which provide basis for more detailed discussion later in the study. Data indicates that the use of AOTTs is perceived to impact PE and school sport in the West Midlands area and in support of previous research, the use of coaches continues to be widespread. Similarly, like previous research, key factors such as poor childhood experiences, lack of motor ability, poor Initial Teacher Training (ITT), insufficient content knowledge and a negative attitude towards the subject remain issues surrounding the implementation of AOTTs. With an ever changing curriculum, schools are facing constant battles to achieve set curricular demands. This research therefore suggests how teachers and coaches, in this case study, could best be utilised to ensure a high quality of PE and school sport is delivered in their schools in the future.
    • Performing school nursing: Narratives of providing support to children and young people.

      Sherwin, Sarah (2016-06-29)
      Background: Child and adolescent mental health is an important public health issue within the UK. Providing support to young people, to help them cope with everyday life, is a key aspect of the school nurse’s role. Yet there is a paucity of published research within the UK and internationally about how this support is provided. Methodology: Using a narrative inquiry approach, presented as a performative text, this study set out to address the following research question, ‘How do school nurses provide support to young people?’ Stories were gathered from eleven school nurses to explore their experiences of providing support to young people using purposive sampling. The stories were analysed using an adapted version of the interpretivist-interactionist model (Savin-Baden, 2004). Poetic re-presentations were used to tell the stories of individual school nurses; an approach seen to be a novel in school nursing research. Using Soja’s (1996) spatiality theory as a framework the stories were analysed collectively, to explore different spaces used when providing support to young people. Findings: This study extends school nursing current literature about what it means to provide support. The importance of regular support and building trusting relationships is identified. Yet challenges exist in terms of the amount of emotional investment required by the nurses, as well as a lack of workforce capacity and organisational demands. It provides an original contribution to the body of school nursing knowledge by using an approach new in school nursing research, and distinguishing different and new spaces in which they perform to provide support to young people. Recommendations: Further research is necessary to gather stories from young people themselves. Additional support and training is recommended to enhance school nurses’ knowledge and skills in providing support. Findings should be conveyed to commissioners to provide insight into the school nurses’ role.
    • Personality as a predictor of facebook engagement

      Fullwood, Chris; Morris, Neil; Galbraith, Niall; Orchard, Lisa J (University of Wolverhampton, 2013-03)
      Research suggests that personality may dictate specific Internet behaviours or preferences. However, literature to date has been piecemeal and has tended to focus on generic use. One area that remains relatively unexplored is the influence of personality on engagement with social networking sites (SNSs). The current thesis aims to fill this gap by exploring the influence of personality on motivations for using SNSs and behavioural patterns within them. Eysenck’s EPQ-R short form (extraversion, neuroticism and psychoticism) and Beck’s SAS (sociotropy and autonomy) were used to explore personality, both globally and specifically. Phase one of the thesis employs a ‘uses and gratifications’ framework to investigate how personality may predict motivations for using SNSs. Principal component analysis identified ten distinct motivational components, which were then successfully predicted by personality variables through regression analyses. It is therefore suggested that differing personality types vary greatly in their reasoning behind SNS usage. Results support theoretical assumptions. Phase two of the research looked at Facebook behaviours and profile construction. A content analysis of participant profiles was conducted with the help of questionnaire methodology. Data analysis suggests that personality was not a particularly strong predictor of self-presentational differences in this context; although subtle differences were present. The final phase of the research explored the perceived Facebook experience of users. A thematic analysis of an online student discussion board was conducted in order to generate distinct themes surrounding Facebook outcomes. These were used within Q Methodology to generate a concourse, through which Q sort statements were derived. Results generated four shared viewpoints of the Facebook experience, which were subsequently associated with personality through the use of traditional R methods. Again, although not particularly strong, theoretically supported associations can be seen. The thesis explores personality within SNS use in a depth previously unexplored. The conclusion makes theoretically-sound assumptions surrounding personality and SNS use as a media choice.
    • Personality as a predictor of visual self-presentation and motivations for photo sharing via social media

      Khansari, Azar Eftekhar (2018)
      A growing body of research provides evidence that it is possible to accurately predict personality traits from online activities on social media, Facebook in particular. Despite the popularity and importance of photo sharing, there is little known about whether it is possible to study the expression of personality in Facebook using visual communication data (e.g. the content of uploaded photos). Therefore, this thesis aims to identify the quantity and quality of personality- relevant information from photo-related behaviours on Facebook. Furthermore, since personality traits and motivations are integrated constructs, this thesis also explores the role of personality in determining specific motivations for photo sharing on Facebook to better understand the visual manifestation of personality traits in the online environment. These main objectives of this project are pursued in three empirical studies. Study One (phase one) employed a content analysis approach and was designed to identify which elements of the Big Five personality traits could be a good predictor of certain photo related behaviour (e.g. number of self-generated photo albums). Multiple regression analyses showed that all of the tested features/behaviours were significantly predicted by at least one of the five traits or by the Facebook membership length. Study One (phase two) aimed to gain a deeper understanding of the role of the Big Five in users’ photo uploading behaviours by examining whether it is possible to find personality cues from themes and content of photos such as self-portraits, photos of others, and nature/animals. From the content analysis of photos and conducting multiple regression analyses, the results showed not only can the Big Five personality traits be predicted from certain photo themes (e.g. the more cartoons as tagged photos, the less Agreeable the users), but also traits can be predicted from the location of uploaded photos (e.g. cover section). Study Two investigated possible motivations behind photo sharing on Facebook via qualitative thematic analysis of focus groups. Results revealed that motives for the general use of Facebook can differ from motives for the use of particular features. As ‘self-expression and self presentation’, ‘keeping and sharing memories/ life documentation’, and ‘preference for visual communication’ appeared to be three unique factors encouraging users to share photos. While the other three motives, including ‘relationship maintenance’, ‘social/peer pressure’, and ‘enjoyment and entertainment’ were similar to previously identified motives for the general use of Facebook. The final study of this thesis aimed to use, validate and extend the findings from the last three studies. In particular, a photo-sharing motivations scale was devised based on the key themes extracted from Focus group discussions in Study Two. Principal component analysis identified seven distinct motivational components. The motivations were successfully predicted by Narcissism and the Big Five personality traits through a series regression analyses. Therefore, it is suggested that users with different personality traits pursue photo-sharing goals that are in line with their personality needs. This thesis extends research on online expressions of personality and visual self-presentation. The findings support several theoretical assumptions, such as self- presentation, online manifestation of personality, the uses and gratifications model, and the extended real-life hypothesis. Additionally, the results offer some practical implications.
    • Pharmacological and Molecular Characterisation of P2Y Receptors in Endothelial and Epithelial Cells

      D’Souza, Vijay Kenneth (University of Wolverhampton, 2007)
      In light of the significant modulation of receptor activity previously shown by a peptide (designated L247), designed to mimic the third extracellular loop of the human P2Y2 receptor, the aim of this study was to use this peptide as an immunogen to generate and fully characterise polyclonal rabbit antibodies to the P2Y2 receptor. Other aims of this study were to characterise epithelial and endothelial cells for a thorough expression profile of P2Y receptor mRNA transcripts in order to provide a rapid screen for the molecular determinants of these receptors in these cells. These studies also aimed to confirm previously published pharmacology, thus, to set the basis for western blot studies using P2Y receptor antibodies. Bovine aortic endothelial cells that co-express P2Y1 and P2Y2 receptors; EAhy926, a human endothelial fusion cell line, that express P2Y2 receptors; and ECV304 human bladder cancer cell line, known to express P2Y2-like and P2Y11-like receptors were used in this study. The dose dependent accumulation of inositol phosphates and cAMP response to potent P2Y11 agonists and RT-PCR studies confirmed the functional expression of both P2Y2 and P2Y11 receptors in ECV304 cells. Likewise, the dose dependent accumulation of inositol phosphates in response to potent P2Y2 and P2Y6 agonists and the presence of mRNA transcripts confirmed the expression of functional P2Y2/4- like and P2Y6- like receptors in EAhy926 cells. Polyclonal antiserum raised against L247 peptide was affinity purified and the purified fractions showed strong immunoreactivity with immobilised immunogenic antigen in ELISA. In western blot analysis L247 rabbit polyclonal anti-P2Y2 antibody detected strong bands in ECV304 and EAhy926 cells. On pre-absorption with the immunogenic peptide these responses were abolished suggesting that this antibody is antigen specific. Agonist induced P2Y2 receptor desentisation studies in ECV304 cells showed that prolonged agonist incubation caused the receptor sequestration. The loss of bands caused by P2Y2 receptor desensitisation and sequestration in membrane enriched fractions of agonist incubated ECV304 cells confirmed the specificity of L247 antibody. This antibody also showed no immunoreactivity in 1321N1 human brain astrocytoma cells devoid of any P2Y receptor subtypes cells. Deglycosylation studies revealed that the P2Y2 receptors are glycosylated in ECV304 cells. The polyclonal rabbit anti-P2Y2 receptor antibodies obtained from commercial sources produced completely different immunoreactive profiles with multiple bands even in 1321N1 cells. Furthermore, in comparison to L247 anti-P2Y2 antibody the commercial antibody showed no difference between normal and agonist incubated cells suggesting that this antibody may not be recognising the P2Y2 receptors in ECV304 cells. Likewise polyclonal rabbit antibodies to other P2Y receptors either showed no response or showed strong immunoreactive profile with multiple bands even in 1321N1 cells suggesting that these antibodies may not have been extensively characterized. Furthermore, immunofluorescence studies with commercial anti-P2Y2 antibodies showed that they may be only recognising non-denatured receptors. These studies suggest that the L247 anti-P2Y2 antibody raised against peptide designed to mimic specific region in the third extracellular loop of human P2Y2 receptor is highly specific and sensitive and provides an important tool to study endogenously expressed P2Y2 receptors in both non-denatured and denatured state. These studies indicate that this strategy of generating antibodies may be used to generate highly specific antibodies to other P2Y receptor subtypes.
    • Physical activity and breast cancer

      Metsios, George.; Lahart, Ian (University of Wolverhampton, 2014-05)
      Background: Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and a leading cause of cancer death among females, both worldwide and in the UK. Although, UK incidence of breast cancer is rising, breast cancer mortality rates are falling, due largely to early detection and improved treatment. As a result there are more women living with a diagnosis of breast cancer than ever before. Due mainly to side-effects of adjuvant therapy, breast cancer patients may require diagnostic, therapeutic, supportive or palliative services many years post-diagnosis, which poses a major challenge to already stretched healthcare services. Accordingly, effective and inexpensive interventions that can alleviate treatment side-effects, improve health, quality of life and potentially reduce risk of early mortality are required for breast cancer patients. Awareness of the positive influence that physical activity can have on breast cancer development and outcome is an important determinant of physical activity levels. A higher level of physical activity before and after breast cancer diagnosis is related to a lower risk of all-cause and breast cancer-related mortality. Randomised controlled trials have reported beneficial effects of physical activity interventions on outcomes relating to health, quality of life and mortality risk among breast cancer survivors. Aims: The present project aimed to: 1) assess awareness of the role of physical activity on breast cancer risk and the sufficiency of physical activity undertaken in women attending the NHS breast screening programme (NHSBSP), 2) compare physical activity levels of women at different stages of breast cancer pathway, 3) investigate the effects of a low-cost six-month home-based physical activity intervention on physical activity, body mass, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), insulin resistance and blood lipid profiles of breast cancer survivors and 4) assess the effects of our home-based intervention on cardiorespiratory fitness in a subset of breast cancer survivors. Methods: A total of 309 volunteers (188 NHSBSP attendees, 41 breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and 80 post-treatment breast cancer survivors) participated in the current project. Physical activity was assessed via the International Physical activity Questionnaires (IPAQ). In studies one and two, Body mass and body mass index (BMI) were assessed directly in chemotherapy patients and breast cancer survivors, and indirectly from self-reported values in NHSBSP attendees. While in study three, body fat percentage was measured via bioelectrical impedance analysis, HRQoL was assessed using the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast (FACT-B) questionnaire and fasting blood samples were taken to measure lipid, glucose and insulin concentrations at baseline and post-six month home-based physical activity intervention. In study four, a random subsample of 32 breast cancer survivors undertook an exercise tolerance test to establish peak oxygen uptake values. Results: A high proportion (70%) of NHSBSP attendees engaged in low-moderate levels of physical activity and performed low amounts of recreational physical activity. Attendees demonstrated high awareness (75%) of the role of physical activity in reducing breast cancer risk but those categorised as “low activity” were significantly unaware of insufficiency of activity (p<0.05). Chemotherapy patients and breast cancer survivors had significantly lower levels of total physical activity than NHSBSP attendees (p<0.001 and p<0.05, respectively). The randomised controlled trial revealed significant improvements in total physical activity, body mass (p<0.05), BMI (p<0.05) HRQoL (breast cancer subscale, p<0.01; trial outcome index, p<0.05) and total (p<0.01) and low-density lipoprotein (p<0.05) cholesterol concentrations in the intervention group compared to usual care, and significant improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness (p<0.05) in a subsample of breast cancer survivors allocated to intervention. Conclusions: Physical activity interventions that incorporate strategies aimed at increasing awareness of recommended physical activity guidelines may be required in populations at risk of breast cancer. A relatively large proportion of women at risk of breast cancer may not be sufficiently exposed to the potential benefits of physical activity on breast cancer outcomes. Post-treatment breast cancer patients may be more receptive to physical activity interventions as the negative effects of chemotherapy begin to resolve, and therefore, may benefit from physical activity interventions. Results suggest that a low-cost home-based physical activity intervention with counselling and telephone support can improve the health and HRQoL of breast cancer survivors, which may in turn potentially reduce risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease-related mortality. Given the encouraging results and its highly portable and feasible nature, our intervention represents a promising tool for use in health and community settings to benefit large numbers of breast cancer survivors. The current project supports the inclusion of physical activity promotion as an integral component for the management and care of breast cancer survivors