Posts in PhD Dissertations
The wellbeing of First Nations children: an exploration of indicators and evaluation of a new measure - Alexandra Drawson (2018)

The purpose of this project was to create, implement, and evaluate a tool designed to measure the wellbeing of First Nations children in the Robinson Superior Treaty Area. This project followed a community-based participatory research approach and was overseen by a research advisory made up of employees from the partner organization. Interviews were conducted with community members in the Robinson Superior Treaty Area and analyzed to identify indicators of wellbeing for children. This analysis was utilized to generate items for a pilot version of the measure. This pilot version was administered by two mental health intake workers to the parents and caregivers of 91 children who were seen through intake for service at Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, along with the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths measure (Lyons et al. 2003). Following piloting, interview with the mental health intake workers, and measure refinement, a principal component analysis was conducted and three factors emerged: General Wellbeing, Traditional Activities, and Social Engagement. This measure represents one of few created and validated for use specifically with a First Nations population and aligns with the literature regarding the importance of engagement in traditional activities and understanding of culture for the wellbeing of Indigenous people.

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Personality, Motives, and Polydrug Use in Undergraduates - Suzanne Chomycz (2017)

Heavy alcohol and marijuana use are common in undergraduates and are associated with numerous use-related problems, whether one drug is consumed on its on (i.e., monodrug use) or if two or more are taken together at the same time (i.e., polydrug use). Several personality traits (i.e., anxiety sensitivity, sensation seeking, impulsivity, and hopelessness) are known to differentially relate to alcohol and marijuana use. Further, the literature suggests that substance use motives (i.e., enhancement, coping, social, and conformity) and depressive symptoms are associated with mono- and polydrug use. Study 1 (N = 361) investigated the relationship between heavy episodic drinking (HED), personality traits, and motives and found that each personality trait at Wave 1 was differentially related to motives for drinking at Wave 2. However, only coping-anxiety, coping-depression, and enhancement motives predicted HED (i.e., five or more drinks for men, or four or more drinks for women, during one occasion). Hopelessness and anxiety sensitivity predicted depressive symptoms, athough depressive symptoms, in turn, did not predict HED. Study 2 (N = 57) investigated personality traits and motives associated with one form of polydrug use known as simultaneous polydrug use (i.e., use at the same time or in close temporal proximity). Results revealed that hopelessness was the only personality trait to predict a motive for simultaneous polydrug use (i.e., coping-depression motives). No motives were predictive of simultaneous polydrug use. Both hopelessness and anxiety sensitivity were predictive of depressive symptoms. In summary, individuals who engage in either mono- or simultaneous polydrug use may be more likely to have sensation seeking as a prominent personality trait. Those who specifically engage in the simultaneous polydrug use of alcohol and marijuana may also be more likely to endorse different personality traits and motives for use than monodrug users.

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The Consequences of Alcohol Measure: Psychometric Evaluation of a New Measure of Positive and Negative Consequences of Alcohol Use - Sarah Sinclair (2016)

Alcohol is a widely used substance among university students. There are several measures that are used to assess the consequences of alcohol consumption. However, current instruments fail to capture several behavioural consequences established in literature. Negative consequences missing from existing measures are related to sexual behaviour, suicidal and non-suicidal self-injury, and criminal and delinquent behaviour. In addition to negative consequences, positive consequences have been neglected from these measures. The goal of this research was to develop a new measure that addresses these gaps. In Study One, items from current and widely used measures in research and clinical applications, as well as newly developed items, were administered to a sample of undergraduate students. Factor analysis and item performance indices (e.g., item to total scale correlations, item variance, relationship to desirable responding) were used to construct a new scale. In Study Two, the new scale was administered to assess indices of reliability and validity. Although many of the new behavioural consequences (e.g., suicidality, eating behaviours, and aggression) were eliminated from the scale through empirical methods of item retention, the final scale was found to perform well across nearly all indices; there was strong evidence of construct, concurrent, and convergent validity. The final scale was comprised of positive and negative consequences, with an index for valence ratings.

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