Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 363

Psychological and Behavioral Sciences

Influence of Sports Participation on Academic Performance among Afe Babalola University Student-Athletes

The web created by sport in academics has made it difficult for it to be separated from adolescent educational development. The enthusiasm expressed towards sport by students in higher institutions is quite enormous. Primarily, academic performance should be the pride of all students but whether sports affect the academic performance of student-athletes remain an unknown fact. This study investigated the influence of sports participation on academic performance among Afe Babalola University student-athletes. Ex post facto research design was used. Two groups of students were used for the study; Student-athlete (SA) and Regular Students (RS). Purposive sampling technique was used to select 224 student-athletes, only those that are regular in the university sports team training were considered and their records (i.e. name, department, level, matriculation number, and phone number) were collected through the assistance of their coaches. For the regular students, purposive sampling technique was used to select 224 participants, only those that have no interest in sports were considered and their records were retrieved from the college registration officer. The first and second semester examination results of the two groups were compared in 10 general study courses without their knowledge, using descriptive statistics of frequency counts, mean, and standard deviation. Out of the 10 compared courses, 7 courses result showed no significant difference between students-athlete and regular students while student-athletes perform better in 3 practically oriented courses. Sports role in academics is quite significant. Exposure to sports can help build the confidence that athletes need especially when it comes to practical courses. Student-athletes can perform better in academics if the environment is friendly and not intimidating. Lecturers and coaches need to work together in order to build a well cultured and intelligent graduate.

A Bio-Ecological Perspective on Risk Awareness and Factors Associated with Substance Use during Pregnancy in Communities of the Western Cape Province, South Africa

Substance use among pregnant women is a perennial problem in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. There are many influential elements related with substance use among women of childbearing-age. Factors associated with substance use during pregnancy were explored using qualitative research approach and bio-ecological theoretical framework was utilised to guide the study. Participants were selected using purposive sampling. Participants accessed from the Department of Social Development who met the inclusion criteria of the study were interviewed using semi structured interviews. Participants were referred for psychological intervention during the interview if deemed necessary. Braun and Clarke’s six phases of thematic analysis were used to analyse the data. The study adhered to ethical measures for the participants’ protection. Participants had been knowledgeable about the study earlier than the initiation of the interviews and the important points of their voluntary participation had been explained. The key findings from this study illustrate that social factors, individual area and romantic relationship are the major contributing factors to substance use among pregnant ladies in this sample. Recommendations arising from the study encompass that the stakeholders, rehabilitation centers, Department of Health and future researchers ought to act proactively against substance use all through pregnancy.

A Survey on Early Screen Exposure during Infancy and Autism

This survey was conducted to explore the hypothesis that excessive screen exposure combined with a subsequent decrease in parent-child interaction during infancy might be associated with autism. The main questions being asked are: Were children with autism exposed to long hours of screen time during the first 2 years of life? And what was the reason(s) for exposure at such an early age? Other variables were also addressed in this survey. An Arabic questionnaire was administered online (June 2019) via a Facebook page, relatively well-known in Arab countries. 1725 parents of children diagnosed with autism participated in this survey. Results show that 80.9% of children surveyed who were diagnosed with autism had been exposed to screens for long periods of time during the first 2 years of life. It can be inferred from the results of this survey that over-exposure to screens disrupt the parent-child interaction which is shown to be associated with ASD. The results of this survey highlight the harmful effects of screen exposure during infancy and the importance of parent-child interaction during the critical period of brain development. This paper attempts to further explore the connection between parent-child interaction and ASD, as well as serve as a call for further research and investigation of the relation between screens and parent-child interactions during infancy and Autism.

Creativity and Innovation in a Military Unit of South America: Decision Making Process, Socio-Emotional Climate, Shared Flow and Leadership

This study examined the association between creative performance, organizational climate and leadership, affectivity, shared flow, and group decision making. The sample consisted of 315 cadets of a military academic unit of South America. Satisfaction with the decision-making process during a creative task was associated with the usefulness and effectiveness of the ideas generated by the teams with a weighted average correlation of r = .18. Organizational emotional climate, positive and innovation leadership were associated with this group decision-making process r = .25, with shared flow, r = .29 and with positive affect felt during the performance of the creative task, r = .12. In a sequential mediational analysis positive organizational leadership styles were significantly associated with decision-making process and trough cohesion with utility and efficacy of the solution of a creative task. Satisfactory decision-making was related to shared flow during the creative task at collective or group level, and positive affect with flow at individual level.This study examined the association between creative performance, organizational climate and leadership, affectivity, shared flow, and group decision making. The sample consisted of 315 cadets of a military academic unit of South America. Satisfaction with the decision-making process during a creative task was associated with the usefulness and effectiveness of the ideas generated by the teams with a weighted average correlation of r = .18. Organizational emotional climate, positive and innovation leadership were associated with this group decision-making process r = .25, with shared flow, r = .29 and with positive affect felt during the performance of the creative task, r = .12. In a sequential mediational analysis positive organizational leadership styles were significantly associated with decision-making process and trough cohesion with utility and efficacy of the solution of a creative task. Satisfactory decision-making was related to shared flow during the creative task at collective or group level, and positive affect with flow at individual level.

Verification and Proposal of Information Processing Model Using EEG-Based Brain Activity Monitoring

Human beings perform a task by perceiving information from outside, recognizing them, and responding them. There have been various attempts to analyze and understand internal processes behind the reaction to a given stimulus by conducting psychological experiments and analysis from multiple perspectives. Among these, we focused on Model Human Processor (MHP). However, it was built based on psychological experiments and thus the relation with brain activity was unclear so far. To verify the validity of the MHP and propose our model from a viewpoint of neuroscience, EEG (Electroencephalography) measurements are performed during experiments in this study. More specifically, first, experiments were conducted where Latin alphabet characters were used as visual stimuli. In addition to response time, ERPs (event-related potentials) such as N100 and P300 were measured by using EEG. By comparing cycle time predicted by the MHP and latency of ERPs, it was found that N100, related to perception of stimuli, appeared at the end of the perceptual processor. Furthermore, by conducting an additional experiment, it was revealed that P300, related to decision making, appeared during the response decision process, not at the end. Second, by experiments using Japanese Hiragana characters, i.e. Japan's own phonetic symbols, those findings were confirmed. Finally, Japanese Kanji characters were used as more complicated visual stimuli. A Kanji character usually has several readings and several meanings. Despite the difference, a reading-related task and a meaning-related task exhibited similar results, meaning that they involved similar information processing processes of the brain. Based on those results, our model was proposed which reflects response time and ERP latency. It consists of three processors: the perception processor from an input of a stimulus to appearance of N100, the cognitive processor from N100 to P300, and the decision-action processor from P300 to response. Using our model, an application system which reflects brain activity can be established.

Classifications of Neuroscientific-Radiological Findings on “Practicing” in Mathematics Learning

Many people know ‘Mathematics needs practice!’ statement or similar ones from their mathematics lessons. It seems important to practice when learning mathematics. At the same time, it also seems important to practice how to learn mathematics. This paper places neuroscientific-radiological findings on “practicing” while learning mathematics in a context of mathematics education. To accomplish this, we use a literature-based discussion of our case study on practice. We want to describe neuroscientific-radiological findings in the context of mathematics education and point out stimulating connections between both perspectives. From a connective perspective we expect incentives that lead discussions in future research in the field of mathematics education.

District 10 in Tehran: Urban Transformation and the Survey Evidence of Loss in Place Attachment in High Rises

The identity of a neighborhood is inevitably shaped by the architecture and the people of that place. Conventionally the streets within each neighborhood served as a semi-public-private extension of the private living spaces. The street as a design element formed a hybrid condition that was neither totally public nor private, and it encouraged social interactions. Thus through creating a sense of community, one of the most basic human needs of belonging was achieved. Similar to major global cities, Tehran has undergone serious urbanization. Developing into a capital city of high rises has resulted in an increase in urban density. Although allocating more residential units in each neighborhood was a critical response to the population boom and the limited land area of the city, it also created a crisis in terms of social communication and place attachment. District 10 in Tehran is a neighborhood that has undergone the most urban transformation among the other 22 districts in the capital and currently has the highest population density. This paper will explore how the active streets in district 10 have changed into their current condition of high rises with a lack of meaningful social interactions amongst its inhabitants. A residential building can be thought of as a large group of people. One would think that as the number of people increases, the opportunities for social communications would increase as well. However, according to the survey, there is an indirect relationship between the two. As the number of people of a residential building increases, the quality of each acquaintance reduces, and the depth of relationships between people tends to decrease. This comes from the anonymity of being part of a crowd and the lack of social spaces characterized by most high-rise apartment buildings. Without a sense of community, the attachment to a neighborhood is decreased. This paper further explores how the neighborhood participates to fulfill ones need for social interaction and focuses on the qualitative aspects of alternative spaces that can redevelop the sense of place attachment within the community.

Matching Coping Strategies to Athletic Retirement Stressors among Japanese Female Athletes

Retirement from sport can be stressful to athletes for many reasons. Accordingly, it is necessary to match coping strategies depending on the stressors. One of the athlete career assistance programs for Japanese top athletes in Japan, the Japan Olympic Committee Career Academy (JCA), has focused on the service contents regarding occupational supports which can be said to cope with financial and occupational stress; however, other supports such as psychological support were unclear due to the lack of psychological professionals in the JCA. Tailoring the program, it is important to match the needs of the athletes at athletic retirement with the service contents. Japanese Olympic athletes have been found to retire for different reasons. Especially female athletes who competed in the Summer Olympic Games were found to retire with psychological reasons. The purpose of this research was to investigate the types of stressors Japanese female athletes experience as a result of athletic retirement. As part of the study, 44 female retired athletes from 13 competitive sports completed an open-ended questionnaire. The KJ method was used to analyze stress experienced as a result of retirement. As a result, nine conceptualized stressors were aggregated such as “Conflict with athletic identity”, “Desire to live as an athlete”, and “Career plan after retirement”. In order to match the coping strategies according to the stressors, each stressor was classified with the four types of adjustments; psychological, social, financial, and occupational changes. As a result, the stressor relating to psychological adjustment accounted for 69.0% of coping-related needs, the financial and occupational adjustment was 21.8%, and social adjustment was 9.2%. In conclusion, coping strategies according to the stressors are suggested.

Prevalence, Associated Factors, and Help-Seeking Behavior of Psychological Distress among International Students at the National University of Malaysia

Depression, anxiety, and stress are associated with decreased role functioning, productivity, and quality of life. International students are more prone to psychological distress as they face many stressors while studying abroad. The objectives of the study were to determine the prevalence and associated factors of depression, anxiety, and stress among international students, their help-seeking behavior, and their awareness of the available on-campus mental support services. A cross-sectional study with a purposive sampling method was performed on 280 international students at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) between the age of 18 and 35 years. The Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21) questionnaire was used anonymously to assess the mental health of students. Socio-demographic, help-seeking behavior, and awareness data were obtained. Independent sample t-test, one-way ANOVA test, and multiple linear regression were used to explore associated factors. The overall prevalence of depression, anxiety, and stress among international students were 58.9%, 71.8%, and 53.9%, respectively. Age was significantly associated with depression and anxiety. Ethnicity showed a significant association with depression and stress. No other factors were found to be significantly associated with psychological distress. Only 9.6% of the international students had sought help from on-campus mental support services. Students who were aware of the presence of such services were only 21.4% of the participants. In conclusion, this study addressed the gap in the literature on the mental health of international students and provided data that could be used in intervention programs to improve the mental health of the increasing number of international students in Malaysia.

The Greek Version of the Southampton Nostalgia Scale: Psychometric Properties in Young Adults and Associations with Life Satisfaction, Positive and Negative Emotions, Time Perspective and Wellbeing

Nostalgia is characterized as a mental state of human’s emotional longing for the past that activates both positive and negative emotions. The bittersweet emotions that are activated by nostalgia aid psychological functions to humans and are depended on the type of stimuli that evoke nostalgia but also on the nostalgia activation context. In general, despite that nostalgia can be activated and experienced by all people; however, it differs both in terms of nostalgia experience but also nostalgia frequency. As a matter of fact, nostalgia experience along with nostalgia frequency differs according to the level of the nostalgia proneness. People with high nostalgia proneness tend to experience nostalgia more intensely and frequently than people with low nostalgia proneness. Nostalgia proneness is considered as a basic individual difference that affects the experience of nostalgia, and it can be measured by the Southampton Nostalgia Scale (SNS); a psychometric instrument that measures human’s nostalgia proneness consisting of seven questions that assess a person’s attitude towards nostalgia, the degree of experience or tendency to nostalgic feelings and the nostalgia frequency. In the current study, we translated, validated and calibrated the SNS in Greek population (N = 267). For the calibration process, we used several scales relevant to positive dimensions, such as life satisfaction, positive and negative emotions, time perspective and wellbeing. A confirmatory factor analysis revealed the factors that provide a good Southampton Nostalgia Proneness model fit for young adult Greek population.

The Mechanism Underlying Empathy-Related Helping Behavior: An Investigation of Empathy-Attitude- Action Model

Empathy has been an important issue in psychology, education, as well as cognitive neuroscience. Empathy has two major components: cognitive and emotional. Cognitive component refers to the ability to understand others’ perspectives, thoughts, and actions, whereas emotional component refers to understand how others feel. Empathy can be induced, attitude can then be changed, and with enough attitude change, helping behavior can occur. This finding leads us to two questions: is attitude change really necessary for prosocial behavior? And, what roles cognitive and affective empathy play? For the second question, participants with different psychopathic personality (PP) traits are critical because high PP people were found to suffer only affective empathy deficit. Their cognitive empathy shows no significant difference from the control group. 132 college students voluntarily participated in the current three-stage study. Stage 1 was to collect basic information including Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI), Psychopathic Personality Inventory-Revised (PPI-R), Attitude Scale, Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), and demographic data. Stage two was for empathy induction with three controversial scenarios, namely domestic violence, depression with a suicide attempt, and an ex-offender. Participants read all three stories and then rewrite the stories by one of two perspectives (empathetic vs. objective). They would then complete the VAS and Attitude Scale one more time for their post-attitude and emotional status. Three IVs were introduced for data analysis: PP (High vs. Low), Responsibility (whether or not the character is responsible for what happened), and Perspective-taking (Empathic vs. Objective). Stage 3 was for the action. Participants were instructed to freely use the 17 tokens they received as donations. They were debriefed and interviewed at the end of the experiment. The major findings were people with higher empathy tend to take more action in helping. Attitude change is not necessary for prosocial behavior. The controversy of the scenarios and how familiar participants are towards target groups play very important roles. Finally, people with high PP tend to show more public prosocial behavior due to their affective empathy deficit. Pre-existing value and belief as well as recent dramatic social events seem to have a big impact and possibly reduce the effect of the independent variables (IV) in our paradigm.

A Taxonomy of Behavior for a Medical Coordinator by Utlizing Leadership Styles
This paper presents a taxonomy of non-technical skills, communicative intentions, and behavior for an individual acting as a medical coordinator. In medical emergency situations, a leader among the group is imperative to both patient health and team emotional and mental health. Situational Leadership is used to make clear and easy-to-follow guidelines for behavior depending on circumstantial factors. Low-level leadership behaviors belonging to two different styles, directive and supporting, are identified from literature and are included in the proposed taxonomy. The high-level information in the taxonomy consists of the necessary non-technical skills belonging to a medical coordinator: situation awareness, decision making, task management, and teamwork. Finally, communicative intentions, dimensions, and functions are included. Thus this work brings high-level and low-level information - medical non-technical skills, communication capabilities, and leadership behavior - into a single versatile taxonomy of behavior.
Multidisciplinary Approach to Diagnosis of Primary Progressive Aphasia in a Younger Middle Aged Patient

Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a neurodegenerative disease similar to frontotemporal and semantic dementia, while having a different clinical image and anatomic pathology topography. Nonetheless, they are often included under an umbrella term: frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). In the study, examples of diagnosing PPA are presented through the multidisciplinary lens of specialists from different fields (neurologists, psychiatrists, clinical speech therapists, clinical neuropsychologists and others) using a variety of diagnostic tools such as MR, PET/CT, genetic screening and neuropsychological and logopedic methods. Thanks to that, specialists can get a better and clearer understanding of PPA diagnosis. The study summarizes the concrete procedures and results of different specialists while diagnosing PPA in a patient of younger middle age and illustrates the importance of multidisciplinary approach to differential diagnosis of PPA.

An Exploratory Survey Questionnaire to Understand What Emotions Are Important and Difficult to Communicate for People with Dysarthria and Their Methodology of Communicating
People with speech disorders may rely on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technologies to help them communicate. However, the limitations of the current AAC technologies act as barriers to the optimal use of these technologies in daily communication settings. The ability to communicate effectively relies on a number of factors that are not limited to the intelligibility of the spoken words. In fact, non-verbal cues play a critical role in the correct comprehension of messages and having to rely on verbal communication only, as is the case with current AAC technology, may contribute to problems in communication. This is especially true for people’s ability to express their feelings and emotions, which are communicated to a large part through non-verbal cues. This paper focuses on understanding more about the non-verbal communication ability of people with dysarthria, with the overarching aim of this research being to improve AAC technology by allowing people with dysarthria to better communicate emotions. Preliminary survey results are presented that gives an understanding of how people with dysarthria convey emotions, what emotions that are important for them to get across, what emotions that are difficult for them to convey, and whether there is a difference in communicating emotions when speaking to familiar versus unfamiliar people.
A Qualitative Study of Health-Related Beliefs and Practices among Vegetarians

The process of becoming a vegetarian involves changes in several life aspects, including health. Despite its relevance, however, little research has been carried out to analyze vegetarians' self-perceived health, and even less empirical attention has received in the Romanian population. This study aimed to assess health-related beliefs and practices among vegetarian adults in a Romanian sample. We have undertaken 20 semi-structured interviews (10 males, 10 females) based on a snowball sample with a mean age of 31 years. The interview guide was divided into three sections: causes of adopting the diet, general aspects (beliefs, practices, tensions, and conflicts) and consequences of adopting the diet (significant changes, positive aspects, and difficulties, physical and mental health). Additional anamnestic data were reported by means of a questionnaire. Data analyses were performed using Tropes text analysis software (v. 8.2) and SPSS software (v. 24.0.) Findings showed that most of the participants considered a vegetarian diet as a natural and healthy choice as opposed to meat-eating, which is not healthy, and its consumption should be moderated among omnivores. A higher proportion of participants (65%) had an average body mass index (BMI), and several women even assumed having certain affections that no longer occur after following a vegetarian diet. Moreover, participants admitted having better moods and mental health status, given their self-contentment with the dietary choice. Relatives were perceived as more skeptical about their practices than others, and especially women had this view. This study provides a valuable insight into health-related beliefs and practices and how a vegetarian diet might interact.

Electroencephalography Activity during Sensory Organization Balance Test

Postural balance plays essential role throughout life in daily activities. Somatosensory, visual and vestibular inputs play the fundamental role in maintaining body equilibrium to balance the posture. The aim of this study was to find out electroencephalography (EEG) responses during balance activity of young people during Sensory Organization Balance Test. The outcome of this study will help to create the fitness and neurorehabilitation plan. 25 young people (25 ± 3.1 years) have been analyzed on Balance Master NeuroCom® with the coupling of Brain Vision 32 electrode wireless EEG system during the Sensory Organization Test. From the results it has been found that the balance score of samples is significantly higher under the influence of somatosensory input as compared to visual and vestibular input (p < 0.05). The EEG between somatosensory and visual input to balance the posture showed significantly higher (p < 0.05) alpha and beta activities during somatosensory input in somatosensory, attention and visual functions of the cortex whereas executive and motor functions of the cerebral cortex showed significantly higher (p < 0.05) alpha EEG activity during the visual input. The results suggest that somatosensory and attention function of the cerebral cortex has alpha and beta activity, respectively high during somatosensory and vestibular input in maintaining balance. In patients with balance impairments both physical and cognitive training, including neurofeedback will be helpful to improve balance abilities.

Building Resilient Communities: The Traumatic Effect of Wildfire on Mati, Greece

The present research addresses the role of place attachment and emotions in community resiliency and recovery within the context of a disaster. Natural disasters represent a disruption in the normal functioning of a community, leading to a general feeling of disorientation. This study draws on the trauma caused by a natural hazard such as a forest fire. The changes of the sense of togetherness are being assessed. Finally this research determines how the place attachment of the inhabitants was affected during the reorientation process of the community. The case study area is Mati, a small coastal town in eastern Attica, Greece. The fire broke out on July 23rd, 2018. A quantitative research was conducted through questionnaires via phone interviews, one year after the disaster, to address community resiliency in the long-run. The sample was composed of 159 participants from the rural community of Mati plus 120 coming from Skyros Island that was used as a control group. Inhabitants were prompted to answer items gauging their emotions related to the event, group identification and emotional significance of their community, and place attachment before and a year after the fire took place. Importantly, the community recovery and reorientation were examined within the context of a relative absence of government backing and official support. Emotions related to the event were aggregated into 4 clusters related to: activation/vigilance, distress/disorientation, indignation, and helplessness. The findings revealed a decrease in the level of place attachment in the impacted area of Mati as compared to the control group of Skyros Island. Importantly, initial distress caused by the fire prompted the residents to identify more with their community and to report more positive feelings toward their community. Moreover, a mediation analysis indicated that the positive effect of community cohesion on place attachment one year after the disaster was mediated by the positive feelings toward the community. Finally, place attachment contributes to enhanced optimism and a more positive perspective concerning Mati’s future prospects. Despite an insufficient state support to this affected area, the findings suggest an important role of emotions and place attachment during the process of recovery. Implications concerning the role of emotions and social dynamics in meshing place attachment during the disaster recovery process as well as community resiliency are discussed.

Fatal Road Accident Causer's Driving Aptitude in Hungary

Those causing fatal traffic accidents are traumatized, which negatively influences their cognitive functions and their personality. In order to clarify how much the trauma of causing a fatal accident effects their driving skills and personality traits, the results of a psychological aptitude and a personality test of drivers carelessly causing fatal accidents and of drivers not causing any accidents were compared separately. The sample (N = 354) consists of randomly selected drivers from the Transportation Aptitude and Examination Centre database who caused fatal accidents (Fatal group, n = 177) or did not cause accidents (Control group, n = 177). The aptitude tests were taken between 2014 and 2019. The comparison of the 2 groups was done according to 3 aspects: 1. Categories of aptitude (suitable, restricted, unsuited); 2. Categories of causes (ability, personality, ability and personality) within the restricted or unsuited (altogether: non-suitable subgroups); 3. Categories of ability and personality within the non-suitable subgroups regardless of the cause-category. Within ability deficiency, the two groups include those, whose ability factor is impaired or limited. This is also true in case of personality failure. Compared to the control group, the number of restricted drivers causing fatal accidents is significantly higher (p < .000) and the number of unsuited drivers is higher on a tendency-level (p = .06). Compared to the control group in the fatal non-suitable subgroup, the ratio of restricted suitability and the unsuitability due to ability factors is exclusively significantly lower (p < .000). The restricted suitability and the unsuitability due to personality factors are more significant in the fatal non-suitable subgroup (p < .000). Incapacity due to combination of ability and personality is also significantly higher in the fatal group (p = .002). Compared to the control group both ability and personality factors are also significantly higher in the fatal non-suitable subgroup (p < .000). Overall, the control group is more eligible for driving than drivers who have caused fatalities. The ability and personality factors are significantly higher in the case of fatal accident causers who are non-suitable for driving. Moreover the concomitance of ability and personality factors occur almost exclusively to drivers who caused fatal accidents. Further investigation is needed to understand the causes and how the aptitude test results for the fatal group could improve over time.

Music Aptitude and School Readiness in Indonesian Children

This study investigated the relationship between music aptitude and school readiness in Indonesian children. Music aptitude is described as children’s music potential, whereas school readiness is defined as a condition in which a child is deemed ready to enter the formal education system. This study presents a hypothesis that music aptitude is correlated with school readiness. This is a correlational research study of 17 children aged 5-6 years old (M = 6.10, SD = 0.33) who were enrolled in a kindergarten school in Jakarta, Indonesia. Music aptitude scores were obtained from Primary Measures of Music Audiation, whereas School readiness scores were obtained from Bracken School Readiness Assessment Third Edition. The analysis of the data was performed using Pearson Correlation. The result found no correlation between music aptitude and school readiness (r = 0.196, p = 0.452). Discussions regarding the results, perspective from the measures and cultures are presented. Further study is recommended to establish links between music aptitude and school readiness.

Personal Factors and Career Adaptability in a Call Centre Work Environment: The Mediating Effects of Professional Efficacy

The study discussed in this article sought to assess whether a sense of professional efficacy mediates the relationship between personal factors and career adaptability. A quantitative cross-sectional survey approach was followed. A non–probability sample of (N = 409) of which predominantly early career and permanently employed black females in call centres in Africa participated in this study. In order to assess personal factors, the participants completed sense of meaningfulness and emotional intelligence measures. Measures of professional efficacy and career adaptability were also completed. The results of the mediational analysis revealed that professional efficacy significantly mediates the meaningfulness (sense of coherence) and career adaptability relationship, but not the emotional intelligence–career adaptability relationship. Call centre agents with professional efficacy are likely to be more work engaged as a result of their sense of meaningfulness and emotional intelligence.

Pilot Trial of Evidence-Based Integrative Group Therapy to Improve Executive Functioning among Adults: Implications for Community Mental Health and Training Clinics
Objective: Executive functioning (EF) deficits underlie several mental health diagnoses including ADHD, anxiety, and depression. Community mental health clinics face extensive waitlists for services with many referrals involving EF deficits. A pilot trial of a four-week group therapy was developed using key components from Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and mindfulness with an aim to improve EF skills and offer low-fee services. Method: Eight adults (M = 34.5) waiting for services at a community clinic were enrolled in a four-week group therapy at an in-house training clinic for doctoral trainees. Baseline EF, pre-/post-intervention ADHD and distress symptoms, group satisfaction, and curriculum helpfulness were assessed. Results: Downward trends in ADHD and distress symptoms pre/post-intervention were not significant. Favorable responses on group satisfaction and helpfulness suggest clinical utility. Conclusion: Preliminary pilot data from a brief group therapy to improve EF may be an efficacious, acceptable, and feasible intervention for adults waiting for services at community mental health and training clinics where there are high demands and limits to services and staffs.
Food for Thought: Preparing the Brain to Eat New Foods through “Messy” Play

Many children often experience phases of picky eating, food aversions and/or avoidance. For families with children who have special needs, these experiences are often exacerbated, which can lead to feelings that negatively impact a caregiver’s relationship with their child. Within the scope of speech language pathology practice, knowledge of both emotional and feeding development is key. This paper will explore the significance of “messy play” within typical feeding development, and the challenges that may arise if a child does not have the opportunity to engage in this type of exploratory play. This paper will consider several contributing factors that can result in a “picky eater.” Further, research has shown that individuals with special needs, including autism, possess a neurological makeup that differs from that of a typical individual. Because autism is a disorder of relating and communicating due to differences in the limbic system, an individual with special needs may respond to a typical feeding experience as if it is a traumatic event. As a result, broadening one’s dietary repertoire may seem to be an insurmountable challenge. This paper suggests that introducing new foods through exploratory play can help broaden and strengthen diets, as well as improve the feeding experience, of individuals with autism. The DIRFloortimeⓇ methodology stresses the importance of following a child's lead. Within this developmental model, there is a special focus on a person’s individual differences, including the unique way they process the world around them, as well as the significance of therapy occurring within the context of a strong and motivating relationship. Using this child-centered approach, we can support our children in expanding their diets, while simultaneously building upon their cognitive and creative development through playful and respectful interactions that include exposure to foods that differ in color, texture, and smell. Further, this paper explores the importance of exploration, self-feeding and messy play on brain development, both in the context of typically developing individuals and those with disordered development.

Identification of Training Topics for the Improvement of the Relevant Cognitive Skills of Technical Operators in the Railway Domain

Technical operators in the railway domain are experts responsible for the supervisory control of the railway power grid as well as of the railway tunnels. The technical systems used to master these demanding tasks are constantly increasing in their degree of automation. It becomes therefore difficult for technical operators to maintain the control over the technical systems and the processes of their job. In particular, the operators must have the necessary experience and knowledge in dealing with a malfunction situation or unexpected event. For this reason, it is of growing importance that the skills relevant for the execution of the job are maintained and further developed beyond the basic training they receive, where they are educated in respect of technical knowledge and the work with guidelines. Training methods aimed at improving the cognitive skills needed by technical operators are still missing and must be developed. Goals of the present study were to identify which are the relevant cognitive skills of technical operators in the railway domain and to define which topics should be addressed by the training of these skills. Observational interviews were conducted in order to identify the main tasks and the organization of the work of technical operators as well as the technical systems used for the execution of their job. Based on this analysis, the most demanding tasks of technical operators could be identified and described. The cognitive skills involved in the execution of these tasks are those, which need to be trained. In order to identify and analyze these cognitive skills a cognitive task analysis (CTA) was developed. CTA specifically aims at identifying the cognitive skills that employees implement when performing their own tasks. The identified cognitive skills of technical operators were summarized and grouped in training topics. For every training topic, specific goals were defined. The goals regard the three main categories; knowledge, skills and attitude to be trained in every training topic. Based on the results of this study, it is possible to develop specific training methods to train the relevant cognitive skills of the technical operators.

Perspectives and Outcomes of a Long and Shorter Community Mental Health Program
The development of the 7-week Alberta Happiness Basics program was initiated in 2010 in response to the need for community mental health programming. This provincial wide program aims to increase overall happiness and reduce negative thoughts and feelings through a positive psychology intervention. While the 7-week program has proven effective, a shortened 4-week program has additionally been developed to address client needs. In this study, participants were interviewed to determine if the 4- and 7-week programs had similar success of producing lasting behavior change at 3, 6, and 9 months post-program. A health quality of life (HQOL) measure was also used to compare the two programs and examine patient outcomes. Quantitative and qualitative analysis showed significant improvements in HQOL and sustainable behavior change for both programs. Findings indicate that the shorter, patient-centered program was effective in increasing happiness and reducing negative thoughts and feelings.
Active Imagination: The Effective Factor in the Practice of Psychotherapy

The desire for unequivocal clarity is understandable, but this can make one forget that things of the soul are experiential processes, or transformations, which should never be designated unilaterally if it is not wanted to transform something that moves, a living thing, into something static. Among the so-called ‘things of the soul’ there are especially spontaneous fantasies, that emerge during the processes, as a result from the use of the active imagination technique, for when fantasy is not forced, violated, or subjugated by an illegitimate, intellectually preconceived idea, then it is a legitimate and authentic product of the unconscious mind. This is how one can gain access to unadulterated information about everything that transcends the conscious mind. However, it is vital to discern between ego and non-ego, because this principle will result in a release of energy and a renewal of life, which will come to have meaning. This study will deal with the active imagination as a knowledge that depends on the individual experience of the therapist because the patient will be taken just to reach where the unconscious of the therapist was assimilated to his own conscience. In this way, the therapist becomes the method itself, being his personality, a fundamental part of an effective factor.

How Children Synchronize with Their Teacher: Evidence from a Real-World Elementary School Classroom

This paper reports on how synchrony occurs between children and their teacher, and what prevents or facilitates synchrony. The aim of the experiment conducted in this study was to precisely analyze their movements and synchrony and reveal the process of synchrony in a real-world classroom. Specifically, the experiment was conducted for around 20 minutes during an English as a foreign language (EFL) lesson. The participants were 11 fourth-grade school children and their classroom teacher in a public elementary school in Japan. Previous researchers assert that synchrony causes the state of flow in a class. For checking the level of flow, Short Flow State Scale (SFSS) was adopted. The experimental procedure had four steps: 1) The teacher read aloud the first half of an English storybook to the children. Both the teacher and the children were at their own desks. 2) The children were subjected to an SFSS check. 3) The teacher read aloud the remaining half of the storybook to the children. She made the children remove their desks before reading. 4) The children were again subjected to an SFSS check. The movements of all participants were recorded with a video camera. From the movement analysis, it was found that the children synchronized better with the teacher in Step 3 than in Step 1, and that the teacher’s movement became free and outstanding without a desk. This implies that the desk acted as a barrier between the children and the teacher. Removal of this barrier resulted in the children’s reactions becoming synchronized with those of the teacher. The SFSS results proved that the children experienced more flow without a barrier than with a barrier. Apparently, synchrony is what caused flow or social emotions in the classroom. The main conclusion is that synchrony leads to cognitive outcomes such as children’s academic performance in EFL learning.

Evaluation of the Role of Advocacy and the Quality of Care in Reducing Health Inequalities for People with Autism, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals
Individuals with Autism, Intellectual and Developmental disabilities (AIDD) are one of the most vulnerable groups in society, hampered not only by their own limitations to understand and interact with the wider society, but also societal limitations in perception and understanding. Communication to express their needs and wishes is fundamental to enable such individuals to live and prosper in society. This research project was designed as an organisational case study, in a large secondary health care hospital within the National Health Service (NHS), to assess the quality of care provided to people with AIDD and to review the role of advocacy to reduce health inequalities in these individuals. Methods: The research methodology adopted was as an “insider researcher”. Data collection included both quantitative and qualitative data i.e. a mixed method approach. A semi-structured interview schedule was designed and used to obtain qualitative and quantitative primary data from a wide range of interdisciplinary frontline health care workers to assess their understanding and awareness of systems, processes and evidence based practice to offer a quality service to people with AIDD. Secondary data were obtained from sources within the organisation, in keeping with “Case Study” as a primary method, and organisational performance data were then compared against national benchmarking standards. Further data sources were accessed to help evaluate the effectiveness of different types of advocacy that were present in the organisation. This was gauged by measures of user and carer experience in the form of retrospective survey analysis, incidents and complaints. Results: Secondary data demonstrate near compliance of the Organisation with the current national benchmarking standard (Monitor Compliance Framework). However, primary data demonstrate poor knowledge of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, poor knowledge of organisational systems, processes and evidence based practice applied for people with AIDD. In addition there was poor knowledge and awareness of frontline health care workers of advocacy and advocacy schemes for this group. Conclusions: A significant amount of work needs to be undertaken to improve the quality of care delivered to individuals with AIDD. An operational strategy promoting the widespread dissemination of information may not be the best approach to deliver quality care and optimal patient experience and patient advocacy. In addition, a more robust set of standards, with appropriate metrics, needs to be developed to assess organisational performance which will stand the test of professional and public scrutiny.
Critical Psychosocial Risk Treatment for Engineers and Technicians

This study explores how management addresses psychosocial risks in seven teams of engineers and technicians in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution. The sample is from an ongoing quasi-experiment about psychosocial risk management in a manufacturing company in Sweden. Each of the seven teams belongs to one of two clusters: a positive cluster or a negative cluster. The positive cluster reports a significantly positive change in psychosocial risk levels between two time-points and the negative cluster reports a significantly negative change. The data are collected using semi-structured interviews. The results of the computer aided thematic analysis show that there are more differences than similarities when comparing the risk treatment actions taken between the two clusters. Findings show that the managers in the positive cluster use more enabling actions that foster and support formal and informal relationship building. In contrast, managers that use less enabling actions hinder the development of positive group processes and contribute negative changes in psychosocial risk levels. This exploratory study sheds some light on how management can influence significant positive and negative changes in psychosocial risk levels during a risk management process.

The Effectiveness of Therapeutic Exercise on Motor Skills and Attention of Male Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) involve myriad aberrant perceptual, cognitive, linguistic, and social behaviors. The term spectrum emphasizes that the disabilities associated with ASD fall on a continuum from relatively mild to severe. People with ASD may display stereotyped behaviors such as twirling, spinning objects, flapping the hands, and rocking. The individuals with ASD exhibit communication problems due to repetitive/restricted behaviors. Children with ASD who lack the motivation to learn, who do not enjoy physical challenges, or whose sensory perception results in confusing or unpleasant feedback from movement may not become sufficiently motivated to practice motor activities. As a result, they may show both a delay in developing certain motor skills. Additionally, attention is an important component of learning. As far as children with ASD have problems in joint attention, many education-based programs are needed to consider some aspects of attention and motor activities development for students with ASD. These programs focus on the basic movement skills that are crucial for the future development of the more complex skills needed in games, dance, sports, gymnastics, active play, and recreational physical activities. The purpose of the present research was to determine the effectiveness of therapeutic exercise on motor skills and attention of male students with ASD. This was an experimental study with a control group. The population consisted of 8-10 year-old male students with ASD and 30 subjects were selected randomly from an available center suitable for the children with ASD. They were evaluated by the Basic Motor Ability Test (BMAT) and Persian version of computerized Stroop color-word test and randomly assigned to an experimental and control group (15 students in per group). The experimental group participated in 16 therapeutic exercise sessions and received therapeutic exercise program (twice a week; each lasting for 45 minutes) designed based on the Spark motor program while the control group did not. All subjects were evaluated by BMAT and Stroop color-word test after the last session again. The collected data were analyzed by using multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA). The results of MANCOVA showed that experimental and control groups had a significant difference in motor skills and at least one of the components of attention (correct responses, incorrect responses, no responses, the reaction time of congruent words and reaction time of incongruent words in the Stroop test). The findings showed that the therapeutic exercise had a significant effect on motor skills and all components of attention in students with ASD. We can conclude that the therapeutic exercise led to promote the motor skills and attention of students with ASD, so it is necessary to design or plan such programs for ASD students to prevent their communication or academic problems.

Israeli Households Caring for Children and Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: An Explorative Study

Background: In recent years we are witnessing a welcome trend in which more children/persons with disabilities are living at home with their families and within their communities. This trend is related to various policy innovations as the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities that reflect a shift from the medical-institutional model to a human rights approach. We also witness the emergence of family centered approaches that perceive the family and not just the individual with the disability as a worthy target of policy planning, implementation and evaluation efforts. The current investigation aims to explore economic, psychological and social factors among households of families of children or adults with intellectual disabilities in Israel and to present policy recommendation. Methods: A national sample of 301 households was recruited through the education and employment settings of persons with intellectual disability. The main caregiver of the person with the disability (a parent) was interviewed. Measurements included the income and expense surveys; assets and debts questionnaire; the questionnaire on resources and stress; the social involvement questionnaire and Personal Wellbeing Index. Results: Findings indicate significant gaps in financial circumstances between households of families of children with intellectual disabilities and households of the general Israeli society. Households of families of children with intellectual disabilities report lower income and higher expenditures and loans than the general society. They experience difficulties in saving and coping with unexpected expenses. Caregivers (the parents) experience high stress, low social participation, low financial support from family, friend and non-governmental organizations and decreased well-being. They are highly dependent on social security allowances which constituted 40% of the household's income. Conclusions: Households' dependency on social security allowances may seem contradictory to the encouragement of persons with intellectual disabilities to favor independent living in light of the human rights approach to disability. New policy should aim at reducing caregivers' stress and enhance their social participation and support, with special emphasis on families of lower socio-economic status. Finally, there is a need to continue monitoring the economic and psycho-social needs of households of families of children with intellectual disabilities and other developmental disabilities.

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