• Understanding Nepali Youth’s Community Participation in the Post-Disaster Context

      Maharjan, Nabin; Department of Child and Youth Studies
      As Nepal witnessed the significant contribution of youth in the 2015 earthquake crisis, their community participation received nation-wide attention and acknowledgement (GoN, 2015, and Sherriff, 2016); however, a little attention has been paid to understand their participation practices and perspectives. Witnessing youth active participation in the community, this study has attempted to explore their engagement in the post-disaster context of Nepal by using Cornwall’s (2000a) situated practices, and Stammers’ (2009) paradox of institutionalization as conceptual frameworks. This study adopted Participatory Action Research (PAR) method to explore the nature of youth engagement, factors for their community (dis)engagement, and youth’s conceptualization of participation based on their own lived experiences. 36 Nepali youth, who were actively engaged in the community (seven as co-researchers and 29 as research participants), participated in this study. Data were collected using Cooperative Inquiry (CI) workshops, interviews and focus group discussions, field visits, and social media content analysis. Later, data were analyzed using thematic analysis; and five key themes emerged from the collected data. These themes not only illustrated how youth were engaged in complex and hybrid ways, but also revealed the influence of socio-cultural and economic situation, and institutional practices on youth (dis)engagement in the community. The study exhibits the necessity of incorporating youth’s perspectives on participation and changing youth participation practices rather than mere adult-centric narratives of youth participation or institution-driven, tokenistic and unsustainable youth mobilization practices in Nepal.
    • Understanding the Complex Mental Health Challenges of Children and Adolescents Seeking Community-based Care

      Gallant, Caitlyn; Department of Psychology
      Studies have shown that children and adolescents with neurostructural and/or neurodevelopmental challenges experience worse mental health outcomes than their neurotypical peers, including more extensive service use, more severe symptomatology, and greater functional impairment. Despite the poor prognoses of these children and adolescents, few studies have investigated the neurocognitive contributions to mental health complexity among those seeking community-based mental health services. At present, environmental/social and behavioural factors remain the primary focus of treatment plans and much of the research examining this complex population has targeted psychosocial determinants. However, interventions based on these factors alone are not always effective, as they fail to account for neurocognitive challenges, which can significantly contribute to psychiatric presentations. This dissertation involves two studies that aimed to address these gaps in the literature and inform current practices in paediatric community mental health settings. Using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM), Study 1 tested the generalizability of a path model predicting service use among those with (n = 66) and without (n = 97) neurodevelopmental disorders (NDs). As expected, those with NDs had higher levels of symptomatology and greater service use than those without, and there were notable differences in the predictive pathways across ND groups. Similar paths were found between externalizing challenges and service use among all children/adolescents; however, the paths from internalizing challenges, early life adversity, and sex were only significant among the ND group, indicating that neurodevelopmental status is an important moderator of outcomes. In Study 2, a mixed methods approach was employed to examine how neuropsychological information could help inform current practice. Qualitative results confirmed that neuropsychological factors are often overlooked when utilizing current approaches and that observable symptoms, rather than underlying causes, are a primary focus of treatment. Further, neurocognitive deficits were found to be associated with self-reported interpersonal difficulties and caregivers’ reports of externalizing; however, only caregiver-reported externalizing challenges correlated with poorer treatment outcomes. Importantly, neurocognitive challenges were associated with long-term treatment responses, suggesting that these factors may be an important therapeutic target. Collectively, these findings indicate that using an exclusively psychosocial treatment approach, without considering neuropsychological factors, may not be effective among complex cases.
    • Understanding the Intersection of Reformed Faith and Dutch Immigrant Culture in Ontario Independent Christian Schools: Principals’ Experiences and Perspectives

      Teeuwsen, Philip; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      In the aftermath of World War II, a wave of Dutch Reformed immigrants arrived in Ontario, many of whom joined the Christian Reformed Church. Following familiar cultural patterns, history, and their Reformed Christian faith, these immigrants settled in Ontario with remarkable institutional completeness (Breton, 1964). They quickly established independent, parent-operated Christian schools across Ontario. The primary purpose of the schools was to educate children through a comprehensive biblically based school program, yet this religious purpose often intersected with a Dutch immigrant ethnic culture. Van Dijk (2001) states that “the schools were the most important organization in maintaining the religious and ethnic identity of Calvinists” (p. 66). In this qualitative study I explore the intersection of Reformed faith and Dutch Canadian immigrant ethnic culture in Christian schools through the experiential and professional lens of eight retired principals. Employing a theoretical framework informed by Berger’s (1967) Sacred Canopy, I suggest that the intersection of faith and culture was experienced in the schools and was embodied by the schools themselves. Findings point to this intersection being located in the participants’ experience of (a) Dutchness, (b) the struggle for Christian education, (c) the ties that bound the school community together, and (d) the cloud of witnesses that founded and continues to support and encourage the Christian school community. The study offers insight into a Dutch Reformed immigrant group’s experience carving out a niche for themselves on the educational landscape in Ontario. This study also offers suggestions on how Christian schools can broaden their canopy and become more ethnically and denominationally diverse in the future.

      Abbas, Basma; Centre for Biotechnology
      Adenoviruses are the most commonly used in the development of oncolytic therapy. Oncolytic adenoviruses are genetically modified to selectivity replicate in and kill tumor cells. The p53 molecule is a tumor suppressor protein that responds to viral infection through the activation of apoptosis, which is inhibited by adenovirus E1B55kDa protein leading to progressive viral lytic cycle. The non-specificity of replication has limited the use of wild type adenovirus in cancer therapy. This issue was resolved by using an E1b deleted Ad that can only replicate in cells with a deficiency in the p53 protein, a common feature of most cancer cells. Although demonstrating a moderate success rate, E1b55kDa deleted Ad has not been approved as a standard therapy for all cancer types. Several studies have revealed that E1b deleted Ad replication was independent of p53 status in the cell, as the virus replicated better in some p53 deficient cancers more than others. However, this mechanism has not been investigated deeply. Therefore, the objective of this study is to understand the relationship between p53 status, levels and functional activity, and oncolytic Ad5dlE1b55kDa replication efficiency. Firstly, five transient p53 expression vectors that contain different regulatory elements were engineered and then evaluated in H1299, HEK293 and HeLa cell lines. Data indicated that vector that contains the MARs and HPRE regulatory elements achieved the highest stability of p53 expression. Secondly, we used these vectors to examine the effect of various p53 expression levels on the replication efficiency of oncolytic Ad5dlE1b55kDa. We found that the level of p53 in the cell had an insignificant effect on the oncolytic viruses’ replication. However, the functional activity of p53 had a significant effect on its replication, as Ad5dlE1b55kDa was shown to have selective activity in H1299 cells (p53-null). In contrast, a decrease in viral replication was found in HeLa cells (p53-positive). Finally, the effect of p53’s functional activity on the replication efficiency of oncolytic Ad5dlE1b55kDa was examined. Viral growth was evaluated in H1299 cells expressing number of p53 mutants. P53-R175H mutant successfully rescued viral growth by allowing the virus to exert its mechanism of selectivity. The mechanism entailed deregulating the expression of specific genes, cell cycle and apoptosis, in the p53 pathway to promote its production leading to efficient oncolytic effect. These results confirmed that oncolytic Ad5dlE1b55kDa sensitivity is mutation-type specific. Therefore, before it is applied clinically as cancer therapy for p53 deficient tumors, the type of p53 mutation must be determined for efficient antitumor effect.
    • Unique and unifying themes in the mechanisms regulating the expression of the arabidopsis thaliana PR-1 and Solanum tuberosum PR-10a inducible defense genes

      Boyle, Patrick; Centre for Biotechnology (Brock University, 2010-10-25)
      Arabidopsis is a model plant used to study disease resistance; Solanum tuberosum or potato is a crop species. Both plants possess inducible defense mechanisms that are deployed upon recognition of pathogen invasion. Transcriptional reprogramming is crucial to the activation of defense responses. The Pathogenesis-Related (PR) genes are activated in these defense programs. Expression of Arabidopsis PR-l and potato PR-10a serve as markers for the deployment of defense responses in these plants. PR-l expression indicates induction of systemic acquired resistance (SAR). Activation of SAR requires accumulation of salicylic acid (SA), in addition to the interaction of the non-expressor of pathogenesis-related genes I (NPRI), with the TGA transcription factors. The PR-10a is activated in response to pathogen invasion, wounding and elicitor treatment. PR-10a induction requires recruitment of the Whirly I (Whyl) activator to the promoter. This locus is also negatively regulated by the silencer element binding factor (SEBF). We established that both the PR-l and PR-10a are occupied by repressors under non-inducing conditions. TGA2 was found to be a constitutive resident and repressor of PR-l, which mediates repression by forming an oligomeric complex on the promoter. The DNA-binding activity of this oligomer required the TGA2 N-terminus (NT). Under resting conditions we determined that the PR-10a is bound by a repressosome containing SEBF and curiously the activator Pto interacting protein 4 (Pti4). In the context of this repressosome, SEBF is responsible for PR-10a binding, yet rWe also showed that PR-l and PR-10a are activated by different means. In PR-l activation the NPRI NT domain alleviates TGA2-mediated repression by interacting with the TGA2 NT. TGA2 remains at the PR-l but adopts a dimeric conformation and forms an enhanceosome with NPRl. In contrast, the PR-10a is activated by evicting the repressosome and recruiting Why! to the promoter. These results advance our understanding of the mechanisms regulating PR-l and PR-10a expression under resting and inducing conditions. This study also revealed that the means of regulation for related genes can differ greatly between model and crop s
    • University Faculty Members’ Understanding of Their Role: Identity, Power, and Silence

      Kumar, Rahul; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      This qualitative study was conducted to explore tenured faculty members’ understandings of their roles as professors. Tenure is an institutional means to enact academic freedom, which allows tenured faculty members to investigate topics of their choosing free from external influence. Academic freedom also enables faculty members to be public intellectuals who shape and critique social policies and make knowledge assertions. In effect, the faculty members are institutionally protected to speak truth to power. Purposeful sampling of 9 participants from 2 universities yielded 3 major themes: professorial identity (shaped by such factors as career stage, university culture, and faculty affiliation), professorial power (powers that participants experienced as well as the ways in which they exercised power), and professorial silencing (as a response to fiscal realities coupled with numerous governance issues). While participants were cognizant of the powers that affected their freedoms, they were less aware of the ways in which their position afforded them powers. Subtle but more potent forms of power were at play for tenured professors, but the participants saw themselves as having to work within institutional and financial constraints that limited their freedom to speak out on controversial issues. Faculty members were, thus, silenced and at times chose to self-silence. The context of the present-day university, governance models, and the financial issues affecting universities and departments worked in concert to silence this critical voice in society.
    • The Untried Path: Exemplary Elementary School Teachers’ Understanding of and Experiences with Classroom Assessment

      Beckett, Danielle; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      This qualitative phenomenological research study sought to describe teachers’ understanding of and experiences with AfL, AaL, and AoL when using 21st Century approaches to teaching, learning, and assessment. Purposeful sampling was used to select 4 exemplary Canadian elementary school teachers who had a history of using a professional blog for reflective practice. Data collection methods included elementary school teachers’ professional blogs and semi-structured interviews. Data analysis revealed exemplary elementary school teachers’ understandings and living examples of classroom assessment in a 21st Century context. Results also illustrated how technology-integrated assessment gave students the “power to create” and demonstrate their learning in unprecedented ways and provided teachers with rich assessments of student learning. The study discusses implications for classroom practice and educational research, and offers some initial thoughts on the interactions among the purposes of assessment. The study will be of particular interest to teachers who are interested in improving assessment practices in their classrooms and will provide teacher education programs with insight on how to best prepare teacher candidates for 21st Century education.
    • Unveiling Shi’i Religious Identities: Case Studies of Hijab in Culturally Homogeneous Canadian Schools

      Al-Fartousi, May; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2013-01-24)
      This qualitative case study explored 10 young female Shi’i Muslim Arabic-Canadian students’ experiences associated with wearing the Hijab (headscarf) within their home, community, and predominantly White Canadian public elementary school environments. The study integrated several bodies of scholarly theories in order to examine the data under a set of comprehensive lenses that more fully articulates and theorizes on the diversity of female Shi’i Muslim Canadian students’ experiences. These theories are: identity theories with a focus on religious identity and negative stereotypes associated with Muslims; feminism and the Hijab discourses; research pertaining to Muslims in school settings; and critical race theory. In order to readdress the dearth of information about Shi’is’ experiences in schools, this study provides an in-depth case study analysis in which the methodology strategies included 10 semi-structured in-depth interviews, 2 focus-group meetings, and the incorporation of the researcher’s fieldnotes. Data analysis revealed the following themes corresponding to participants’ experiences and values in their social worlds of home, community, and schools: (a) martyrdom and self-sacrifice as a means for social justice; (b) transformational meaning of the Hijab; (c) intersectionality between culture, religion, and gender; and (d) effects of visits “back home” on participants’ religious identities. Additional themes related to participants’ school experiences included: (a) “us versus them” mentality; (b) religious and complex secular dialogues; (c) absence of Muslim representations in monocultural schools; (d) discrimination; (e) remaining silent versus speaking out; and (f) participants’ strategies for preserving their identities. Recommendations are made to integrate Shi’i Muslim females’ identity within the context of Islam and the West, most notably in relation to: (a) the role of Muslim community in nondiverse settings as a space that advances and nurtures Shi’i Muslim identity; and (b) holistic and culturally responsive teaching that fosters respect of others’ religiosity and spirituality. This study makes new inroads into feminist theorizing by drawing conceptual links between these previously unknown connections such as the impact of the historical female exemplary role model and the ritual stories on the experiences of Muslim females wearing the Hijab.
    • The Use of Ipso-dihydrodiols Enzymatically Derived from Benzoic Acid in Enantioselective Synthesis. Appoaches to Total Synthesis of Vinca Alkaloids

      Adams, David; Department of Chemistry (Brock University, 2014-07-18)
      The present studies describe our recent progress in target oriented synthesis of complex organic molecules from aromatic precursors. The latest synthetic approaches toward vinca alkaloids are described and include the construction of model substrates for the investigation into Diels-Alder, radical cascade, and tandem Michael addition reactions as possible routes to the family of alkaloids. Also described are the chemoenzymatic syntheses of the natural product (-)-idesolide and unnatural polyhydroxylated pyrrolidines generated from the biotransformation of benzoic acid with Ralstonia eutropha B9.
    • Use of micro-computed tomography to evaluate changes to bone structure due to ovariectomy and polyunsaturated fatty acid intervention in a rat model of postmenopausal osteoporosis

      Longo, Amanda; Applied Health Sciences Program
      The testing of osteoporosis-related therapies and the investigation into their mechanism of action largely relies on the use of the preclinical model of postmenopausal osteoporosis, the ovariectomized (OVX) rat. Study 1 evaluated the time-course of changes to the trabecular and cortical microarchitecture of the proximal tibia of the Sham-control and OVX rat over a 3-month period following surgery at 3-months of age, a typical period used in the testing of nutritional and/or drug intervention. This study confirmed the use of the 3-month OVX rat as a model for trabecular microarchitecture changes, but did not support its use as a model for cortical bone changes. The OVX rat was also used to test its resistance to repeated radiation exposure from micro-computed tomography (μCT), a method necessary for the longitudinal evaluation of a single animal (Study 2). The method of μCT and its scanning parameters were also investigated to confirm their use in appropriately quantifying the 3-dimensional microarchitecture of the rat hind limb both in vivo and ex vivo (Study 3). Together, findings from these methodological studies led to its use in the evaluation of changes to bone structure in response to a nutritional intervention in the OVX rat (Study 4). Previous studies of growing rats and of OVX rats suggest a benefit to bone with supplementation with a lower n-6 to n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) dietary ratio, and to altered sources of n-3 PUFA, but no study has investigated the impact of these nutritional patterns over the life course. Therefore, Study 4 determined the effect of the dietary ratio and source of n- 3 PUFA on bone during periods of growth (1 through 3 months of age) and following Sham or OVX surgery (at 3 months of age). A low PUFA ratio with n-3 provided from flaxseed oil provided benefits to bone health during growth, but these changes were not maintained following OVX. These data suggest that dietary PUFA, at levels attainable in humans through a healthful diet, are not an adequate strategy for the prevention of the rapid and drastic bone loss induced by OVX.
    • Utilizing ESL Learners’ Socio-Cognitive Resources to Enhance General Academic Vocabulary Acquisition

      Makulloluwa, Enoka; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      This study examined the extent to which English as a Second Language Learner (ESL) graduate students’ socio-cognitive resources (the combination of culturally relevant imagery and first language (L1) facilitate their Second Language (L2) general academic vocabulary acquisition in a social learning setting. The study investigated whether the use of culturally relevant imagery and L1 translation equivalents facilitate retrieval of new general academic vocabulary. The study was informed by the following theories: Levels of Processing Theory (Craik & Lockhart, 1972), Vocabulary Learning Strategy Taxonomy (Gu & Johnson, 1996), Social Constructivist Theory (Vygotsky, 1978) and the Bilingual Dual Coding Theory (Paivio & Desrochers, 1980)—which assumes that bilinguals’ cognitive activity is mediated by their two verbal systems and the image system representing their knowledge of the world. Utilizing a sequential explanatory mixed method strategy, the study first explored the general vocabulary learning strategy (VLS) preferences of 41 ESL graduate students with a survey. Then with a sub-sample of nine ESL graduate students, in a collaborative setting. the study used a case study approach to determine the extent to which a VLS that utilizes the socio-cognitive resources of the bilingual might activate the connections in the verbal systems and image system that lead to deep processing and retrieval of new vocabulary. The findings of the study indicate that the ESL learners’ socio-cognitive resources have a positive impact on their general academic vocabulary acquisition. Outcomes of the study inform students and educators alike on how a VLS honouring ESL learners’ socio-cognitive resources can be utilized to enhance general academic vocabulary acquisition. It also contributes to a domain of teaching and learning where there is a dearth of literature
    • Violent Video Game Playing, Moral Reasoning, and Attitudes Towards Violence in Adolescents: Is There a Connection?

      Bajovic, Mirjana; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2012-10-11)
      In this study of 109 adolescents from the eighth grade of seven public elementary schools in Ontario, the relationship among adolescents’ violent video game playing patterns, habits and attitudes, their levels of moral reasoning, and their attitudes towards violence in real life was investigated. In addition, gender differences were addressed. The mixed-methodology was employed combining qualitative and quantitative data. The research results confirmed that playing video games in general is a very popular activity among those adolescents. Significant negative relationship was found between adolescents’ amount of time playing violent video games during the day and their scores on The Sociomoral Reflection Measure. Significant difference was also found between adolescents who play violent video games and those who do not play violent video games on their scores on The Attitudes Towards Violence Scale. Boys and girls significantly differed in the amount of playing video games during the day, the reasons for playing video games, their favourite video game choices, and their favourite video game character choices. Boys and girls also significantly differed on their choices of personality traits of selected video game characters, the identification with video game characters, and their mood experiences while playing video games. The findings are put into the educational context and the context of normal development, and suggestions are given for parents, for educators, and for future violent video game research.

      Pozzebon, Julie A.; Department of Psychology (Brock University, 2013-05-07)
      This dissertation addressed several questions relevant to vocational interests and personality characteristics, examining (a) the roles of personality, vocational interests, and sexual fantasies in defining a general factor of Masculinity/Femininity (M/F) (Study 1), (b) the validity of a new measure of vocational interests (Study 2), and (c) the individual difference characteristics that discriminate between students in various academic majors, and that predict academic outcomes (Study 3). In Study 1, vocational interests, personality, and sexual fantasies were examined to find whether these variables would yield a general Masculinity/Femininity (M/F) factor, and whether that factor would still emerge when controlling for participant sex. The results of Study 1 revealed that a general factor of M/F did emerge. When sex was removed, the loadings of vocational interests decreased from high to very low, suggesting that the link of vocational interests with other indicators of M/F is mainly due to sex differences in these variables. The purpose of Study 2 was to validate the Oregon Vocational Interest Scales (ORVIS), a new public domain vocational interests questionnaire designed to measure eight vocational interest scales. ORVIS scores obtained in a college and community sample were compared with those of two personality measures and two cognitive ability tests. Results from this study showed that the ORVIS scales were reliable and showed good construct validity. The purpose of Study 3, using the ORVIS along with the HEXACO-PI and tests of cognitive ability, was to examine the individual difference characteristics of students in different academic majors, and to use the congruence between a student's academic major and vocational interests as a predictor of academic outcomes, such as GPA, academic major change, and satisfaction with major. The results of Study 3 revealed that students in different academic majors show theoretically meaningful differences in personality, abilities, and interests. Conscientiousness and math ability were found to be the best predictors of academic outcomes. However, congruence between major and interests did not add significant predictive validity to any of these outcomes beyond personality and ability. Together, these three studies show the role of vocational interests in defming MlF and in predicting various academic outcomes.
    • Voices of the Undereducated in Adult Education and Training in Ontario: A Phenomenographic Approach

      Maingot, Carolyn A.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2012-08-28)
      This doctoral study was an exploration of the qualitatively different ways in which undereducated adults (at or below a high school level of formal education) reported their experiences of participation in adult education and training (AET) programmes offered by publicly funded school boards or their arms-length affiliate in the province of Ontario. In light of a low participation rate in the Canadian AET system by undereducated adults, the rationale was to examine whether or not AET programmes are meeting the needs of undereducated adults beyond a narrow focus on an instrumental approach associated with human capital development. This study was located in a theoretical framework consisting of (a) learning theory, (b) motivations for participation, (c) general barriers to participation, (d) structural barriers to participation, and (e) transformative learning. The purposive sample consisted of 11 participants between the ages of 18-58 who were drawn from service providers in 4 geographic regions of Ontario. Data collection consisted of (a) demographics, (b) voice recordings from face-to-face participant interviews, (c) participant weekly critical incident reports, and (d) researcher reflexive journal notes. Data were analyzed in accordance with a phenomenographic approach within a constructivist/interpretivist research paradigm. Findings revealed 4 qualitatively different ways in which undereducated adult learners reported their experiences of participation in AET and were reported as the voice of (a) security, (b) engagement, (c) relationship, and (d) competency. Implications to theory and practice and to further inquiry were outlined.
    • What's the difference under the gown? : new professors' development as university teachers

      Simmons, Nicola.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2007-05-28)
      This study explores how new university teachers develop a teaching identity. Despite the significance ofteaching, which usually comprises 40% of a Canadian academic's workload, few new professors have any formal preparation for that aspect of their role. Discipline-specific education for postsecondary professors is a well-defined path; graduates applying for faculty positions will have the terminal degree to attest to their knowledge and skill conducting research in the discipline. While teaching is usually given the same workload balance as research, it is not clear how professors create themselves as teaching professionals. Drawing on Kelly's (1955) personal construct theory and Kegan's (1982, 1994) model ofdevelopmental constructivism through differentiation and integration, this study used a phenomenographic framework~(Marton, 1986, 1994; Trigwell & Prosser, 1996) to investigate the question of how new faculty members construe their identity as university teachers. Further, my own role development as researcher was used as an additional lens through which to view the study results. The study focused particularly on the challenges and supports to teaching role development and outlines recommendations the participants made for supporting other newcomers. In addition, the variations and similarities in the results suggest a developmental model to conceptions ofteaching roles, one in which teaching, research, and service roles are viewed as more integrated over time. Developing a teacher identity was seen as a progression on a hierarchical model similar to Maslow's (1968) hierarchy of needs.
    • When and why is religious attendance associated with anti-gay bias? A justification-suppression model approach

      Hoffarth, Mark; Department of Psychology
      Even in relatively tolerant countries, anti-gay bias remains socially divisive, despite being widely viewed as violating social norms of tolerance. From a Justification-Suppression Model (JSM) framework, social norms may generally suppress anti-gay bias in tolerant countries, yet bias may be “released” by religious justifications among those who resist gay rights progress. I hypothesized that more frequent religious attendance would be associated with greater anti-gay bias, that this relation would be stronger in countries where anti-gay bias more strongly violates social norms of tolerance, and that the relation between religious attendance and anti-gay bias would be partially accounted for by religious justifications. In Part 1, I examined the relation between religious attendance and anti-gay bias in the US. In Part 2, I examined the relation between religious attendance and anti-gay bias across different countries. Finally, in Part 3, I examined religious justifications for anti-gay bias. Across large, nationally representative US samples and international samples (representing a total of 97 different countries), over 215,000 participants, and various indicators of anti-gay bias (e.g., dislike, moral condemnation, opposing gay rights), more frequent religious attendance was uniquely associated with greater anti-gay bias, over and above religious fundamentalism, political ideology, religious denomination, and other theoretically relevant covariates. Moreover, in 4 of 6 multilevel models, religious attendance was associated with anti-gay bias in countries with greater gay rights recognition, but was unrelated to anti-gay bias in countries with lower gay rights recognition. Google searches for a religious justification (“love the sinner hate the sin”) coincided temporally with gay-rights relevant searches. In U.S. and Canadian samples, much of the association between religious attendance and anti-gay bias was explained by “sinner-sin” religious justification, with religious attendance not associated with anti-gay bias when respondents reported relatively low familiarity with this justification. These findings suggest that social divisions on homosexuality in relatively tolerant social contexts may be in large part due to religious justifications for anti-gay bias (consistent with the JSM). Potential interventions building on these findings may include encouraging religious leaders to promote norms of tolerance and acceptance, increasing intergroup contact between frequent religious attenders and gays, and perspective-taking exercises.
    • Who Bullies and When? Concurrent, Longitudinal, and Experimental Associations between Personality and Social Environments for Adolescent Bullying Perpetration

      Farrell, Ann; Department of Psychology
      Increasing evidence suggests that bullying may be used by adolescents as a strategic, adaptive tool against weaker peers to obtain valued resources like social status and romantic partners. However, bullying perpetration may only be adaptive within particular environmental contexts that provide opportunities to obtain these resources at minimal costs. These environmental opportunities may be relevant for adolescents who possess particular personality traits and are motivated to exploit these contexts and power imbalances. Using an adaptive social ecological framework, the primary goal of my dissertation was to examine concurrent, longitudinal, and experimental associations between exploitative personality traits and broader social ecologies to facilitate adolescent bullying perpetration. In Study 1, I examined whether risky social environments filtered through antisocial personality traits to facilitate direct and indirect forms of bullying perpetration in a cross-sectional sample of 396 adolescents. In Study 2, I extended Study 1 by investigating the longitudinal associations among bullying, empathic and exploitative personality traits, and social environmental variables, in a sample of 560 adolescents across the first three years of high school. Given that Studies 1 and 2 were correlational, in Study 3, I explored whether bullying perpetration could be experimentally simulated in a laboratory setting through point allocations in the Dictator and Ultimatum economic games by manipulating power imbalances in a sample of 167 first-year undergraduate students. Results from all three studies largely supported the prediction that broader social ecologies filter through exploitative personality styles to associate with bullying perpetration. Exploitative adolescents are primarily likely to take advantage of particular contexts including power advantages, higher social status, and poorer school and neighborhood climates. The results of my dissertation demonstrate the complex reality of the social ecology of bullying, and the need for anti-bullying initiatives to target multiple contexts including individual differences.
    • Why are people liberal? : a motivated social cognition perspective

      Choma, Becky L.; Department of Psychology (Brock University, 2008-05-28)
      The present dissertation examined why people adopt or endorse certain political ideologies (i.e., liberal or conservative). According to a motivated social cognition perspective (Jost, Glaser, Kruglanski, & Sulloway, 2003a; Kruglansl<i, 1996), individuals adopt political ideologies to fulfill dispositional and situationally induced needs or motivations. Previous research has found that political conservatism is related to a number of psychological needs (e.g., Jost, Glaser et aI., 2003a). However, there is minimal research examining why individuals adopt political liberalism. By focussing on the political right and not considering the political left, there might be other motivational underpinnings of political orientation that have been overlooked. In four studies, the present dissertation ail)1ed to fill this gap by investigating what chronic and situationally induced needs underlie political orientation, with a focus on political liberalism. Based on psychological the9ries of ideology, research examining political conservatism, and experimental research examining differences between liberals and conservatives, it was proposed that four social-cognitive needs (Need for Inclusiveness, Need for Understanding, Need for Change, and Avoidance of Decisional Commitment) would be associated with liberalism. Moreover, research suggests that the relations between the needs and liberalism might be moderated by political sophistication (e.g., Converse, 1964). University students (Study 1; n == 201) and community adults (Study 2; n == 197) completed questionnaires assessing political liberalism, political sophistication, and individual differences 're~ective of the four proposed needs. As predicted, correlation and hierarchical regression analyses in both Studies 1 and 2 indicated that political liberalism was related to Need for Inclusiveness, Need for Understanding, and Need for Change. 11 Avoidance of Decisional Commitment uniquely predicted political liberalism in Study 2; however, contrary to predictions, it was unrelated to political liberalism in Study 1. Furthermore, some of these relations were moderated by political sophistication, such that among individuals with a greater knowledge of politics, the relation between certain needs and liberalism was positive. To explore the role of situationally induced needs on political liberalism, each of the four proposed needs were manipulated in Study 3. Participants (n == 120) completed one of five scrambled-sentence tasks (one for each need condition and control condition), measures of explicit and implicit political liberalism, political sophistication, and state and trait measures indicative of the four proposed needs. The ~anipulation did not successfully prime participants with the needs. Therefore, a replication of the analyses from Studies 1 and 2 was conducted on the dispositional needs. Results showed that Need for Inclusiveness, Need for Understanding, and Need for Change were linked with greater explicit and implicit political liberalism. Study 4 examined the effect of manipulated Need for Inclusiveness on participants' endorsement ofpolitical liberalism, independent of conservatism. Participants (n == 43) were randomly assigned to a Need for Inclusiveness or control condition, and completed separate measures of political liberalism and conservatism, and political sophistication. Participants in the Need for Inclusiveness condition reported greater liberalism than those in a control condition; this effect was not moderated by political sophistication. Generally, the findings from this dissertation suggest that there might be other needs underlying political ideology, especially political liberalism. Thus, consistent with others' (Jost, Glaser et aI., 2003a), individuals might adopt political liberalism as a way of gratifying certain psychological needs. Implications and future research are discussed.
    • Youth Involvement in Organizational Decision Making: The Connection to Youth Initiative and Organizational Functioning

      Ramey, Heather; Department of Psychology (Brock University, 2012-07-31)
      Studying positive adolescent development requires an examination of the mutually beneficial associations between youth and their environment. These youthcontext relations include both the contributions that youth make to others and society and the youth-context interactions that might predict positive youth outcomes. Community and youth-serving organizations, where youth may be involved in decision-making roles such as service delivery, advocacy, or on boards of directors, can provide one important context for youth contributions and for positive adolescent development. Research on the outcomes of youth involvement in organizational decision-making, however, is limited, and largely consists of exploratory qualitative studies. This dissertation is formatted as an integrated article dissertation. It begins with a review of the literature on contexts of structured youth activities and positive youth development. This review is intended to describe theory on development-context relations, in which development is considered an interactive process that occurs between individuals and their contexts, as it pertains the positive development of youth who are involved in various structured activities (e.g., volunteering). This description follows with a review of current research, and conclusions and rationale for the current studies. Following this theoretical and research background, the dissertation includes reports of two studies that were designed to address gaps in the research on youth involvement in organizational decision-making. The first was a qualitative research synthesis to elucidate and summarize the extant qualitative research on the outcomes of youth involvement in organizational decision making on adults and organizations. Results of this study suggested a number of outcomes for service provision, staff, and broader organizational functioning, including both benefits to organizations as well as some costs. The second study was a quantitative analysis of the associations among youth involvement, organizations' learning culture, and youth initiative, and relied on survey data gathered from adults and youth in community-based organizations with youth involvement. As expected, greater youth involvement in organizational decision making was associated with higher learning culture within the organization. Two dimensions of youth involvement, greater program engagement and relationships with adults, were related to greater youth initiative. A third dimension, sense of ownership, was not- .-.- associated with youth's level of initiative. Moreover, the association between relationships with adults and youth initiative was only significant in organizations with relatively low learning culture. Despite some limitations, these studies contribute to the research literature by providing some indication of the potential benefits and costs of youth involvement and by making an important contribution toward the early stages of context-level analyses of youth development. Findings have important implications for practitioners, funders, future research, and lifespan development theory.
    • The γ-tocopherol-like family of N-methyltransferases: A taxonomically clustered gene family encoding enzymes responsible for N-methylation of monoterpene indole alkaloids

      Levac, Dylan Edward Ryan; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2013-09-19)
      The plant family Apocynaceae accumulates thousands of monoterpene indole alkaloids (MIAs) which originate, biosynthetically, from the common secoiridoid intermediate, strictosidine, that is formed from the condensation of tryptophan and secologanin molecules. MIAs demonstrate remarkable structural diversity and have pharmaceutically valuable biological activities. For example; a subunit of the potent anti-neoplastic molecules vincristine and vinblastine is the aspidosperma alkaloid, vindoline. Vindoline accumulates to trace levels under natural conditions. Research programs have determined that there is significant developmental and light regulation involved in the biosynthesis of this MIA. Furthermore, the biosynthetic pathway leading to vindoline is split among at least five independent cell types. Little is known of how intermediates are shuttled between these cell types. The late stage events in vindoline biosynthesis involve six enzymatic steps from tabersonine. The fourth biochemical step, in this pathway, is an indole N-methylation performed by a recently identified N-methyltransfearse (NMT). For almost twenty years the gene encoding this NMT had eluded discovery; however, in 2010 Liscombe et al. reported the identification of a γ-tocopherol C-methyltransferase homologue capable of indole N-methylating 2,3-dihydrotabersonine and Virus Induced Gene Silencing (VIGS) suppression of the messenger has since proven its involvement in vindoline biosynthesis. Recent large scale sequencing initiatives, performed on non-model medicinal plant transcriptomes, has permitted identification of candidate genes, presumably involved, in MIA biosynthesis never seen before in plant specialized metabolism research. Probing the transcriptome assemblies of Catharanthus roseus (L.)G.Don, Vinca minor L., Rauwolfia serpentine (L.)Benth ex Kurz, Tabernaemontana elegans, and Amsonia hubrichtii, with the nucleotide sequence of the N-methyltransferase involved in vindoline biosynthesis, revealed eight new homologous methyltransferases. This thesis describes the identification, molecular cloning, recombinant expression and biochemical characterization of two picrinine NMTs, one from V. minor and one from R. serpentina, a perivine NMT from C. roseus, and an ajmaline NMT from R. serpentina. While these TLMTs were expressed and functional in planta, they were active at relatively low levels and their N-methylated alkaloid products were not apparent our from alkaloid isolates of the plants. It appears that, for the most part, these TLMTs, participate in apparently silent biochemical pathways, awaiting the appropriate developmental and environmental cues for activity.