Recent Submissions

  • A learning development-faculty collaborative exploration of postgraduate research student mental health in a UK university

    Delderfield, Russell; Ndoma-Egba, Mathias; Riches-Suman, Kirsten; Boyne, J. (2020-10)
    Mental ill-health is an escalating problem in higher education. Not only does this impact students’ ability to learn, it can lead to poor completion, with learners opting to withdraw from studies, even if attainment has been satisfactory. The aim of this study was to gain insight about perceptions of poor mental health from postgraduate research students in a diverse UK university and canvas opinion regarding how the University could improve this. A short, pragmatic survey with basic quantitative and qualitative responses was distributed. This was analysed by a team comprising the learning developer responsible for postgraduate researcher learning development, academics and a doctoral student. The study found that poor mental health was evident, with over three quarters of respondents reporting some experience of mental ill-health. We identified five areas in need of attention: University Systems, Supervisor Training, Well-being Monitoring, Building Networks, and Finance. Sources of University-based stress were finance, administrative support, and an environment where a perception that poor mental health was an expectation rather than a problem was experienced. Students preferred to access support outside the academic environment. This is the first study of its kind at a diverse, plate-glass UK university, to consider research student mental ill-health, with a staff-student team working with data, and the learning developer spear-heading changes across postgraduate research. These findings have already influenced university strategy, staff training, and induction practices. The synthesis of the five areas could be used to visualise where further work is needed to improve mental health in these learners.
  • Associations of observer’s gender, Body Mass Index and internalization of societal beauty ideals to visual body processing

    Cazzato, V.; Walters, Elizabeth R.; Urgesi, C. (Springer, 2021)
    We examined whether visual processing mechanisms of the body of conspecifics are different in women and men and whether these rely on westernised socio-cultural ideals and body image concerns. Twenty-four women and 24 men performed a visual discrimination task of upright or inverted images of female or male bodies and faces (Experiment 1) and objects (Experiment 2). In Experiment 1, both groups of women and men showed comparable abilities in the discrimination of upright and inverted bodies and faces. However, the gender of the human stimuli yielded different effects on participants’ performance, so that female faces, and male bodies appeared to be processed less configurally than female bodies and male faces, respectively. Interestingly, the reduction of configural processing for male bodies was significantly predicted by participants’ Body Mass Index (BMI) and their level of internalization of muscularity. Our findings suggest that configural visual processing of bodies and faces in women and men may be linked to a selective attention to detail needed for discriminating salient physical (perhaps sexual) cues of conspecifics. Importantly, BMI and muscularity internalization of beauty ideals may also play a crucial role in this mechanism.
  • Designing expert hearings: how to use deliberative research methods for public health evidence

    South, J.; Woodall, J.; Gamsu, M.; Branney, Peter; Bagnall, A-M.; Newton, R. (2019-09)
  • Championing mental health at work: emerging practice from innovative projects in the UK

    Robinson, M.; Tilford, S.; Branney, Peter; Kinsella, K. (2014-09)
    This paper examines the value of participatory approaches within interventions aimed at promoting mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. Specifically the paper explores data from the thematic evaluation of the Mental Health and Employment project strand within the Altogether Better programme being implemented in England in the Yorkshire and Humber region, which was funded through the BIG Lottery and aimed to empower people across the region to lead better lives. The evaluation combined a systematic evidence review with semi-structured interviews across mental health and employment projects. Drawing on both evaluation elements, the paper examines the potential of workplace-based 'business champions' to facilitate organizational culture change within enterprises within a deprived regional socio-economic environment. First, the paper identifies key policy drivers for interventions around mental health and employment, summarizes evidence review findings and describes the range of activities within three projects. The role of the 'business champion' emerged as crucial to these interventions and therefore, secondly, the paper examines how champions' potential to make a difference depends on the work settings and their existing roles, skills and motivation. In particular, champions can proactively coordinate project strands, embed the project, encourage participation, raise awareness, encourage changes to work procedures and strengthen networks and partnerships. The paper explores how these processes can facilitate changes in organizational culture. Challenges of implementation are identified, including achieving leverage with senior management, handover of ownership to fellow employees, assessing impact and sustainability. Finally, implications for policy and practice are discussed, and conclusions drawn concerning the roles of champions within different workplace environments.
  • Speaking pictures, silent voices: female athletes and the negotiation of selfhood

    Intezar, Hannah (2021)
    Combining Mikhail Bakhtin's (1990) theoretical position on Architectonics and Erving Goffman's (1979) writings on visual content analysis, the aim of this paper is to explore how female athletes are caught in a complex matrix of power, post - feminist neoliberalism, and self - presentation. The visual images they choose to portray are, therefore, perfect for determining how this cohort of women negotiates social discourses around identity and femininity. Appropriating the Bakhtinian notion of architectonic unity, not only provides an alternative theoretical lens for enquiries concerning the body, identity, and selfhood, but also initiates some thought provoking questions around neoliberal feminism and 'new femininity.' This paper advances on previous research by exemplifying how Serena Williams (considered the greatest female tennis player of all time) combines both her femininity and strong physicality to self - shape a myth - like persona, setting her apart from traditional stereotypes of femininity and 'femaleness.'
  • Race, Taste, Class and Cars - 21st Century Standpoints

    Alam, M. Yunis (Policy Press, 2020-07)
    Love them or hate them, most of us have an opinion about cars. If not the cars themselves, then it’s driver competence and behaviour that can offend us. And then there’s modification: alloy wheels, custom audio systems and bespoke paint jobs. For some, changing the look, feel and sound of a car says something about themselves, but for others, such enhancements signify a lack of taste, or even criminality. In subtle and complex ways, cars transmit and modify our identities behind the wheel. As a symbol of independence and freedom, the car projects status, class, taste and, significantly, embeds racialisation. Using fascinating research from drivers, including first-person accounts as well as exploring hip-hop music and car-related TV shows, Alam unpicks the ways in which identity is rehearsed, enhanced, interpreted.
  • The Nuclear Challenge: US-Russian strategic relations after the Cold War

    Bluth, Christoph (Routledge, 2019-11)
    A comprehensive and timely analysis of strategic nuclear arms policy in the United States and Russia and examines the collaborative efforts to reduce nuclear weapons through arms control and render nuclear weapons and fissile materials in Russia secure. He concludes that the end of the Cold War has created new and unprecedented dangers and that these dangers require a greater political will and cooperation which have so far been lacking.
  • Nuclear weapons in global security

    Christoph, Bluth, (2017-09)
  • Shadows of War: Arms Control and the Military Confrontation in Central Europe during the Cold War

    Bluth, Christoph (Xlibris, 2020-11-30)
    The military dimension of the Cold War was characterised by the strategic nuclear stand-off between the United States and the Soviet Union as well as the large-scale regional military confrontation in Central Europe. As part of the process of East-West détente there was an effort to address the risks of war in Europe by means of an arms control process referred to as MBFR (Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions). The true purposes and intentions of both sides (NATO and the Warsaw Pact) in these negotiations has so far not been fully understood. This book is based on path-breaking archival research that clarifies the objectives and tactics of the parties to the negotiations and the reasons for why the negotiations ended without an agreement. It makes a major new contribution to the understanding of Cold War History.
  • Burnout, eating behaviour traits and dietary patterns

    Chui, H.; Bryant, Eleanor J.; Sarabia, C.; Maskeen, S.; Stewart-Knox, Barbara (Emerald, 2019-11)
    Purpose: The purpose of this research has been to investigate whether burnout and eating behaviour traits were associated with food intake. Design/methodology/approach: Participants (n=109) 78 per cent female, mean age 39 years, were recruited from various occupations within a UK university to complete an on-line survey. Dietary habits were measured using Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ), burnout using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and eating behaviour traits using the Three Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ) R18. Findings: Principal component analyses of FFQ responses revealed four dietary patterns: fast/junk food (+chicken and low fruit/vegetables); meat/fish; dairy/grains; beans/nuts. Dietary patterns were examined using multiple regression analysis as outcome variables with age, gender, burnout and eating behaviour traits as explanatory variables. More frequent consumption of “junk/fast food” was associated with lower TFEQ-Cognitive Restraint, higher TFEQ-Uncontrolled Eating (UE), lower MBI-Emotional Exhaustion and higher MBI-Depersonalisation. More frequent consumption of beans/nuts was associated with higher TFEQ-UE and higher MBI-Emotional Exhaustion. Models for meat/fish and grains/dairy dietary patterns were not significant. Research limitations/implications: Burnout may need to be considered to reduce junk food consumption in higher education employees. Causality between burnout, eating behaviour traits and food consumption requires further investigation on larger samples. Originality/value: This appears to be the first study to have explored associations between burnout, eating behaviour traits and dietary patterns.
  • Exploring the association between mental wellbeing, health-related quality of life, family affluence and food choice in adolescents

    Davison, J.; Stewart-Knox, Barbara; Connolly, P.; Lloyd, K.; Dunne, L.; Bunting, B. (2021-03)
    Young people choose energy-dense, nutrient-poor diets, yet understanding of potential determinants is limited. Associations between food choices, mental wellbeing, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and family affluence were explored to identify targets for intervention to promote dietary health and wellbeing in young people. Adolescents were recruited via post-primary schools in the UK and surveyed at two time-points when aged 13-14 years and 15-16 years. The questionnaire enquired about mental wellbeing using the Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale, HRQoL using the KIDSCREEN-10, socio-economic status using the Family Affluence Scale and food choice by Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ). With missing and anomalous cases excluded, the sample comprised 1208 cases. Factor analysis on the FFQ indicated five food choice factors: ‘Junk Food’; ‘Meat’; ‘Healthy Protein’; ‘Fruit/Vegetables’; ‘Bread/Dairy’. Multivariate regression analysis indicated that frequent consumption of Junk Food was associated with being male and lower mental wellbeing. Frequent Meat intake was associated with being male and with lower HRQoL. Frequent choice of Bread/Dairy foods was more common among males and associated with higher wellbeing and greater affluence. Those who consumed Fruit/Vegetables frequently were more likely to be female, have higher HRQoL, higher mental wellbeing, and greater family affluence. These direct associations endured between time points. The dietary factors were not mutually exclusive. Those who frequently chose Junk Food were less likely to choose Fruit/Vegetables. Frequent choice of Meat was associated with more frequent choice of Junk Food and Healthy Protein. Intervention to improve dietary and psychological health in young people should target males, those in less affluent households, seek to reduce consumption of ‘junk’ food, and increase fruit and vegetable intake.
  • Covid-19 and the digital revolution

    Hantrais, L.; Allin, P.; Kritikos, M.; Sogomonjan, M.; Anand, Prathivadi B.; Livingstone, S.; Williams, M.; Innes, M. (Taylor and Francis, 2020)
    Since the 1980s, the digital revolution has been both a negative and positive force. Within a few weeks of the Covid-19 outbreak, lockdown accelerated the adoption of digital solutions at an unprecedented pace, creating unforeseen opportunities for scaling up alternative approaches to social and economic life. But it also brought digital risks and threats that placed new demands on policymakers. This article assembles evidence from different areas of social science expertise about the impacts of Covid-19 in digitised societies and policy responses. The authors show how the pandemic supported changes in data collection techniques and dissemination practices for official statistics, and how seemingly insuperable obstacles to the implementation of e-health treatments were largely overcome. They demonstrate how the ethics of artificial intelligence became a primary concern for government legislation at national and international levels, and how the features enabling smart cities to act as drivers of productivity did not necessarily give them an advantage during the pandemic. At the micro-level, families are shown to have become ‘digital by default’, as children were exposed to online risks and opportunities. Globally, the spread of the pandemic provided a fertile ground for cybercrime, while digital disinformation and influencing risked becoming normalised and domesticated.
  • Avoiding the Anthropocene: An Assessment of the Extent and Nature of Engagement with Environmental Issues in Peace Research

    Kelly, Rhys H.S. (2020)
    What is the nature and extent of engagement within peace research with the unfolding global environmental crisis, as captured in discourses about the ‘Anthropocene’(Bonneuil & Fressoz, 2017; Dalby, 2015)? Is the peace research scholarly community connecting with significant debates taking place in the earth sciences or among social and political movements? If it is, in what ways? Are concepts of violence and peace evolving in line with the major trends driving change this century, including climate change? This article seeks answers to these questions through a systematic survey and thematic analysis of publications in key peace-related journals and book series.What is the nature and extent of engagement within peace research with the unfolding global environmental crisis, as captured in discourses about the ‘Anthropocene’(Bonneuil & Fressoz, 2017; Dalby, 2015)? Is the peace research scholarly community connecting with significant debates taking place in the earth sciences or among social and political movements? If it is, in what ways? Are concepts of violence and peace evolving in line with the major trends driving change this century, including climate change? This article seeks answers to these questions through a systematic survey and thematic analysis of publications in key peace-related journals and book series.
  • India Pakistan Strategic Relations: The Nuclear Dilemma

    Bluth, Christoph; Mumtaz, U. (Ibidem Press, 2020-05)
  • Gendering Drug Policy

    Macaulay, Fiona (Emerald, 2020-11-19)
  • Trust in Organizations

    Costa, Ana-Cristina (Elsevier, 2017)
  • Trust at Work

    Costa, Ana-Cristina; Ferrin, D.L.; Fulmer, C.A. (SAGE, 2018)
  • Can adults with autism spectrum disorders infer what happened to someone from their emotional response

    Cassidy, S.; Ropar, D.; Mitchell, Peter; Chapman, P. (2014-02)
    Can adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) infer what happened to someone from their emotional response? Millikan has argued that in everyday life, others' emotions are most commonly used to work out the antecedents of behavior, an ability termed retrodictive mindreading. As those with ASD show difficulties interpreting others' emotions, we predicted that these individuals would have difficulty with retrodictive mindreading. Sixteen adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome and 19 typically developing adults viewed 21 video clips of people reacting to one of three gifts (chocolate, monopoly money, or a homemade novelty) and then inferred what gift the recipient received and the emotion expressed by that person. Participants' eye movements were recorded while they viewed the videos. Results showed that participants with ASD were only less accurate when inferring who received a chocolate or homemade gift. This difficulty was not due to lack of understanding what emotions were appropriate in response to each gift, as both groups gave consistent gift and emotion inferences significantly above chance (genuine positive for chocolate and feigned positive for homemade). Those with ASD did not look significantly less to the eyes of faces in the videos, and looking to the eyes did not correlate with accuracy on the task. These results suggest that those with ASD are less accurate when retrodicting events involving recognition of genuine and feigned positive emotions, and challenge claims that lack of attention to the eyes causes emotion recognition difficulties in ASD.
  • Using other minds as a window onto the world guessing what happened from clues in behaviour

    Pillai, D.; Sheppard, E.; Ropar, D.; Marsh, L.; Pearson, A.; Mitchell, Peter (2014-10)
    It has been proposed that mentalising involves retrodicting as well as predicting behaviour, by inferring previous mental states of a target. This study investigated whether retrodiction is impaired in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Participants watched videos of real people reacting to the researcher behaving in one of four possible ways. Their task was to decide which of these four “scenarios” each person responded to. Participants’ eye movements were recorded. Participants with ASD were poorer than comparison participants at identifying the scenario to which people in the videos were responding. There were no group differences in time spent looking at the eyes or mouth. The findings imply those with ASD are impaired in using mentalising skills for retrodiction.

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