Recent Submissions

  • Dynamic Configuration of Large-Scale Cortical Networks: A Useful Framework for Clarifying the Heterogeneity Found in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

    Kember, Jonah; Department of Child and Youth Studies
    The heterogeneity of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder(ADHD) traits (inattention vs. hyperactivity/impulsivity) complicates diagnosis and intervention. Identifying how the configuration of large-scale functional brain networks during cognitive processing correlate with this heterogeneity could help us understand the neural mechanisms altered across ADHD presentations. Here, we recorded high-density EEG while 62 non-clinical participants (ages 18-24; 32 male) underwent an inhibitory control task (Go/No-Go). Functional EEG networks were created using sensors as nodes and across-trial phase-lag index values as edges. Using cross-validated LASSO regression, we examined whether graph-theory metrics applied to both static networks (averaged across time-windows: -500–0ms, 0–500ms) and dynamic networks (temporally layered with 2ms intervals), were associated with hyperactive/impulsive and inattentive traits. Network configuration during response execution/inhibition was associated with hyperactive/impulsive (mean R2across test sets = .20, SE = .02), but not inattentive traits. Post-stimulus results at higher frequencies (Beta, 14-29Hz; Gamma, 30-90Hz) showed the strongest association with hyperactive/impulsive traits, and predominantly reflected less burst-like integration between modules in oscillatory beta networks during execution, and increased integration/small-worldness in oscillatory gamma networks during inhibition. We interpret the beta network results as reflecting weaker integration between specialized pre-frontal and motor systems during motor response preparation, and the gamma results as reflecting a compensatory mechanism used to integrate processing between less functionally specialized networks. This research demonstrates that the neural network mechanisms underlying response execution/inhibition might be associated with hyperactive/impulsive traits, and that dynamic, task-related changes in EEG functional networks may be useful in disentangling ADHD heterogeneity.
  • Measuring the Reading-Attention Relationship: Functional Differences in Working Memory Activity During Single Word Decoding in Children With and Without Reading Disorder

    Sinha, Niki; Department of Child and Youth Studies
    Working memory (WM) is linked to the development of reading skills and has been evidenced to contribute to reading comprehension difficulties in children with reading disorder (RD). Several converging models suggest WM to contribute to the development of foundational reading skills, but few studies have assessed this contribution in either typically developing readers (TD) or children with RD. In effort to bridge this gap, the current study identified whether a functional neuroimaging task could be used to identify changes in WM activity during single word reading in children with and without RD. Two groups of children (77 RD, 22 TD) aged 7-9 completed a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) task which paired reading and n-back trials to identify activation of a priori chosen regions of interest in the WM network during single word decoding. Trials consisted of words, pseudowords, and false font stimuli to assess WM activity between groups in relation to familiar words, unfamiliar words, and non-words. Exploratory analysis of behavioural WM correlates were assessed using measures of performance on the fMRI task as well as measures of verbal learning from the California Verbal Learning Test – Children’s version. Results show the fMRI task was able to identify WM network activity in both groups. In the RD group WM activity was indiscriminate to stimulus type and did not show any patterns of lateralization. In the TD group, WM activity was strongly left lateralized, and only detected during pseudoword reading, suggesting increases in WM activity during phonetic decoding only. Findings suggest the WM network may contribute differently to single word reading in children with and without RD and highlights the potential functional imaging may have in defining this relationship over the course of reading development.
  • Beyond the Headlines: Exploring Media Portrayal of Youth Climate Change Activists

    Hayes, Grayson; Department of Child and Youth Studies
    Climate change is the biggest global threat to our planet today and youth will bear the brunt of this threat (Currie & Deschênes, 2016). Recently, we have seen youth stand up and become activists for climate. This qualitative study was conducted on media representations of youth climate change activists because of its usefulness for exploring the complexity of youth voices, and how they are ignored. This research focuses closely on Swedish teen activist, Greta Thunberg, currently 18, and Autumn Peltier, 17, a Canadian Indigenous activist and Chief Water Commissioner of the Anishinabek Nation. By employing Foucault’s theory of discourse and power, the sociology of childhood, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989, herein UNCRC), this research provides new insight on our representations of youth activism. Through analysis, there were seven distinct discourses related to the research questions: adults as supporters, active actors, westernized viewpoints, lone and collective activism, media as a gatekeeper/catalyst, hierarchical and power relations, and dismissal of children. Findings showed that to change media’s perceptions of youth activism, we must first challenge the discourse of childhood innocence, while also still holding relative power in a non-authoritarian way. The UNCRC (1989) also needs to be integrated further within schools and policy implementation as even though childhood globally shares the same inherent rights, not all youth activists are being afforded the same opportunities that Swedish teen Greta Thunberg has been given.
  • The Christian Summer Camp as a Location for Queer Theoretical Inquiry

    Harding, Evan; Department of Child and Youth Studies
    This project presents a queer-theoretically informed analysis of the Christian summer camp environment, a minimally-researched recreational environment, relying in particular on Foucault’s understanding of surveillance and discourse, Butler’s concepts of performativity and intelligibility, Dyer’s conceptualization of queer futurity, and Messner’s identification of gender salience. After recruiting thirteen participants, twelve of whom worked at the same Baptist summer camp and one other who worked at a non-denominational Christian summer camp, each participant completed a short narrative discussing a gender-charged experience they encountered at camp. After this, ten of the thirteen participants agreed to complete interviews discussing those experiences further, as well as other topics surrounding how gender and sexuality were managed at camp. Findings were divided into three themes. The first theme foregrounds camp as a place where participants described acceptance and community as central pillars to the camp environment, while exclusionary practices complicated that understanding for many of the participants. The second theme highlights this exclusion and expands on who is excluded from camp and the methods of exclusion. The third theme discusses the responses and instances of resistance participants had to exclusionary camp policies, as well as the responses camp leadership had to violations of policy and instances of resistance. This has resulted in a better understanding of the locational salience of gender performance in the camp environment, as well as how gender and sexuality are taken up and negotiated on a personal and institutional level.
  • Examining Conceptualizations of Dance in Ontario University Athletic Contexts

    Tacuri, Natalie; Department of Child and Youth Studies
    This research examined perceptions surrounding dance as a sport, art, or combination of both in Ontario universities. Competitive dancers, dance coaches, and athletic department staff in postsecondary participated in online surveys and interviews to share their individual beliefs, knowledge, and understandings about competitive dance and the ways dancers can occupy spaces as artists and athletes. Perceptions of dance from each group of key informants proved to be dependent on a range of factors within universities and across individual participants. Most participants stated they viewed dance as both an art and a sport but demonstrated tension in how dancers occupied spaces as legitimate athletes within various institutions. While participants indicated openness to the idea of dance as a sport and dancers as athletes, the ways in which this was actually attainable at the university-level was hindered by various institutional and systemic barriers.
  • Uncovering the Narratives of the Rehtaeh Parsons Case: A Content Analysis of Canadian Newspapers

    Hogan, Lindsay; Department of Child and Youth Studies
    The present study provides insight into how the Rehtaeh Parsons case was conceptualized by Canadian news sources. Through the use of qualitative content analysis of Canadian newspapers, the present research involved an examination of how the media socially constructed the case with specific focus on how the issues of bullying and harassment were depicted in comparison to broader social inequalities within our society. This research is methodologically qualitative, informed by an intersectional conceptual framework and engages content analysis of media sources as key method. The purpose of this study was to examine how the Rehtaeh Parsons case was constructed by Canadian news sources, with specific focus on aspects of bullying and social inequalities that were discussed by the media in relation to the case, and subsequent reaction and response after the suicide of Rehtaeh Parsons. This analysis provided an in-depth understanding of how the case was conceptualized and the core components of the case that were discussed by news sources across Canada. Through the use of an intersectional framework and content analysis this study examined twenty-three selected Canadian newspapers articles that discussed the core components and issues surrounding the Rehtaeh Parsons case. More specifically, this study sought to address two major research questions: 1. How was the Rehtaeh Parsons case conceptualized by Canadian news outlets? 2. To what extent was the Rehtaeh Parsons case constructed as a case of bullying, harassment and sexual assault in comparison to broader social inequalities within society?
  • Natural Connections: Exploring the Role of Engagement in Outdoor Activities and Technology Use on Children’s Moral Concern for Wild Animals and Ecosystems

    Maynard, Allison; Department of Child and Youth Studies
    This exploratory study examined children’s moral concern about wild animals and nature and the association with children’s engagement in outdoor activities and their use of technology in outdoor spaces. Participants included 61 children (aged from 7 to 15 years) and their caregivers. Caregivers completed a demographic questionnaire, and children participated in semi-structured interviews. As hypothesized, this study’s findings showed a significant association between age and children’s justifications for not harming wild animals, with older children giving more complex biocentric justifications and younger children giving less complex, anthropocentric justifications. A significant association was also found between children’s reasons for not using technology outdoors and children’s reports of whether it is “okay” or “not okay” to harm ecosystems. Children who said that they did not use technology because it “decreased their engagement” were unanimous in their belief that it was “not okay” to harm wild animals. In contrast, children who said that they did not use technology because they were “not allowed” tended to endorse the position that “it depends” when they were asked if it was “okay” or “not okay” to harm ecosystems. Similarly, a significant association was found regarding children’s technology use and moral concern justifications for not harming wild animals. Children who reported using technology outdoors for “personal benefits” tended to mostly report less complex, anthropocentric justifications, whereas children who reported using technology to “capture memories” gave mostly more complex, biocentric justifications. Other significant associations and possible trends were noted among children’s moral concern and engagement in outdoor activities and technology use, and these are discussed. The implications of this study’s findings for the development of a curriculum related to humane or outdoor education are discussed.
  • The Mentor's Role: Exploring mentorship in a working-class neighbourhood's after-school program

    Joseph, Rebecca; Department of Child and Youth Studies
    Public schools in Ontario may be inadequate to deal with the needs of children and youth from working-class families, especially those who do not have available caretakers to guide them through the educational system or resources that help them master literacy and numeracy skills they may need in academic settings or in the workforce. After-school programs (and their staff) can fill in the gaps. This study looked at the traits of effective mentorship as depicted by youth enrolled in and adults working at an after-school program in low-income areas in the Niagara region. The study was completed in Ontario, a multicultural and diversely populated province, which illuminated the importance of incorporating strategies that are relevant to youth’s respective upbringings. Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of capital is employed to examine how individuals are expected to contribute to society. Supplementing this view, I also draw on Dr. Paulo Freire. His theory of critical pedagogy, which was introduced in the 1970s, is employed because it critically examines the scope of mainstream education. Teens who attended Space for Teens and staff (mentors) from the Boys and Girls Club in St. Catharines were interviewed and shared their views on mentorship in the context of their personal experiences. The teens saw mentors as caring friends who accepted them for who they are and who willingly engaged with them. The staff viewed mentorship as a process in which knowledge is shared to make mentees’ lives better. Mentors, overall, are seen to help youth cultivate valuable forms of social capital. The implication of my study is that although mentors should be clear on who they are as authority figures in the room, they are encouraged to present themselves as friends who actively care about the mentees (teens) they work with.
  • The Nature, Nurture and Networks of Mean Girls: Considering Evolutionary, Social Learning and Social Network Perspectives on Girls' Intrasexual Relational Bullying

    Al-Jbouri, Elizabeth; Department of Child and Youth Studies
    Prevailing research suggests that girls frequently engage in relational bullying directed towards other girls. The research also suggests that rates of bullying behaviors peak and intensify across the transition from childhood to adolescence. The purpose of my thesis was to investigate the individual and group-level social contexts that give rise to early adolescent girls’ perpetration of intrasexual relational bullying through the application of the three diverse yet complimentary lenses of evolutionary theory, social learning theory, and social network analysis. Early adolescent girls (N= 145, M=12.25 years) completed self-reports on parental attachment, neighbourhood violence, school climate, dating history, and self-perceived attractiveness, as well as peer nomination reports on friendship, perceived popularity, and relational bullying. My results indicate that girls’ intrasexual relational bullying perpetration is related to the environmental characteristics of school climate and the peer-valued characteristic of perceived popularity, but that social network characteristics such as centrality are less important than hypothesized. My findings suggest that evolutionary theory and social learning theory offer more complete explanations of girls’ intrasexual relational bullying than does social network theory. However, continued research may still be required to investigate the social network contexts that give rise to higher rates of girls’ intrasexual relational bullying perpetration.
  • “I Wanted to Do Everything Perfectly, Because I Knew I Couldn’t Be”: Critical Disability Studies, Learning Disabilities, and the Transition to University

    Peddigrew, Emma; Department of Child and Youth Studies
    To date, critical disability studies (CDS), learning disabilities (LD), and transition research have occupied completely different spaces. The transition from high school to university is a critical stage characterized by academic, social, and emotional challenges. The intersecting elements related to the post-secondary transition require resources and skills that are challenging for all students but pose a distinct challenge for those with LDs. CDS works to theorize a simple, yet powerful idea: disability is understood as a phenomenon, associated with the discrimination of people with physical, cognitive, and sensory impairments (Oliver & Barnes, 2012). Questions still remain how those with LDs experience their disability and how, crucially, others experience and respond to it as well. The current study fills the aforementioned gap by including the voices of those who are most academically and socially vulnerable. This study examined the transitional experiences from eight first year university students with a diagnosed LD. The results have several implications. By analyzing the results through a CDS framework it can be understood how disability is not an individual tragedy or flaw but a matter of public discourse. This study provides a space for the experiences and perspectives of students with LDs to be heard in an effort to make visible, and hopefully disrupt, systems of power and privilege that work to marginalize. The personal narratives will provide valuable knowledge to educators, parents, case workers, and other support staff members on the importance reclaiming and centering disability in order to provide a positive transition for students with LDs.
  • Exploring The Effect of Maternal Heroin Use: A Case Study on Long-Term Neonatal Learning Outcomes

    Maiuri, Jake; Department of Child and Youth Studies
    Heroin has become one of the most used opioid drugs by pregnant women and is an increasing concern to obstetricians. Heroin use has major social and medical implications and, when used during pregnancy, it has adverse effects on the mother, the fetus and the new-born child. Children who are exposed to maternal heroin use reveal a delay in cognitive function at 3 years of age, lower verbal ability, reading and math skills, and delayed acquisition of motor milestones. The current study explores the relationship of maternal heroin use on neonatal learning development and outcomes. A four-month illustrative case study was conducted with one nine-year-old male participant, who displayed significant learning deficits in reading, writing and mathematics. His biological mother was inducing heroin throughout her pregnancy and, at five weeks old, he was adopted and situated into a new home with his current adoptive mother. Interviews were administered to the child and adoptive mother, and a data analysis of medical records and elementary provincial academic report cards was conducted. The results suggest an evident negative effect of maternal heroin use on cognitive development but limited long-term effect due to early adoption and a significant amount of support systems. Overall, the results of this study influence adoptive parents, foster homes and any environments that a child who was prenatally exposed to heroin has now been situated in. This research also fills a gap in the current limited research on prenatal heroin exposure.
  • Effects of Sensory Processing Patterns on Inhibitory Control as a Function of ADHD-traits and Trait Anxiety

    Hare, Carolynn; Department of Child and Youth Studies
    Anxiety and ADHD (traits) have been shown to co-occur in both clinical and non-clinical populations. In addition, both anxiety and ADHD are independently associated with atypical sensory processing. However, there has been no previous research investigating their combined effects on cognitive functions. It is important to identify the nature of their interactions, because often the impact of multiple challenges in affective, social, and cognitive domains can be different from the impact of each individual condition. The dimensional models of mental disorders regard psychopathologies as continuous, interdependent conditions with symptoms existing as traits along a continuum in the population, rather than discrete diagnostic categories. Following this framework, the overarching goal of this event-related potential study is to investigate how individual differences in sensory processing patterns (SPPs), ADHD-traits and trait anxiety influence inhibitory control in 77 (final sample 60, ages 18-26) female and male non-clinical emerging-adults. It was expected that the effect of the SPPs on inhibitory control would depend on the level of ADHD-traits which are moderated by the level of trait anxiety. Two SPPs, low registration (LR) and sensory sensitivity (SS), ADHD-traits (inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity) and trait anxiety were measured using self-report questionnaires. Inhibitory control was operationalized as the maximum peak amplitude of N2, a neurophysiological response frequently associated with inhibition paradigms. In this study, N2 response was elicited during a 22-minute computerized distractor Continuous Performance Task (d-AX-CPT) with three inhibitory conditions (Go Distractor, NoGo Distractor, NoGo No Distractor). The research hypotheses were tested in moderated moderation models separately for LR and SS as focal predictors, N2 amplitude as the outcome, and ADHD-traits and trait anxiety as primary and secondary moderators, respectively. The results revealed that the levels of impulsivity, but not hyperactivity and inattention, and trait anxiety together moderated the effects of SPPs on N2 amplitude in Go Distractor and NoGo Distractor Conditions. In general, the findings of this study (1) highlight the importance of understanding the complex relationships among comorbid patterns that are frequently observed in diagnostic groups, (2) add new information to the existing literature on the relationship between SPPs, ADHD and anxiety using a dimensional framework.
  • Girl Bloggers: Posthumanism and Girls' Online Activism

    Sheppard, Lindsay C.; Department of Child and Youth Studies
    In this thesis, I explore the complexity of young women’s online activism through analysis of five blogs and online interviews with three of the bloggers. Informed by Karen Barad’s approach to posthumanism, I examine how specific material-discursive entanglements around girlhood, youth and activism co-constitute meanings and experiences of activism and activist subjectivities. Four themes and various subthemes emerged from my analysis. First, the blogging process is complex, involving various entangled materialities (e.g. art, wifi, laptops, notebooks), space, time and discourses around what makes a “good” blogger. Second, the format and content of the blogs, as well as the bloggers’ narratives, illustrate tensions and similarities between mobilizing an online gendered activist subjectivity and social media influencer (i.e. micro-celebrity) subjectivity within a broader neoliberal culture focused on entrepreneurship and individual success. The young women’s comments highlight the ways that neoliberal girl power narratives underpin expectations of activist bloggers. Third, young women engaged in activism on their blogs and on other connected social media accounts, where they represented activism through individualized approaches, and more rarely, as involving broader systemic critique. The young women conceptualized activism broadly, although their discussions of activist blogging and self-identification as activists were messy and contextual. The final theme considers how intersecting social positionings (e.g. gender, race, class, age, disability) shape access to and experiences with activist blogging. Overall, the aim of this project is to offer a rethinking of young women’s activism blogging that attends to the force of entangled material-discursive contexts.
  • Educational Professionals Awareness, Identification, and Support of Young Caregivers

    Mansell, Nicole; Department of Child and Youth Studies
    “Young carer” (YC) is a term used to describe youth under the age of 25 who take on caregiving roles to support a family member with a disability, illness, addiction, or language barrier (Aldridge & Becker, 1993; Charles et al., 2012; Stamatopoulos, 2015). Although the Ontario Ministry of Education mandates that educators ensure student success (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2014), the YC role continues to negatively influence attendance and curriculum engagement at school (Lakman et al., 2017). To ensure that YCs receive the support they need to be successful in school, an educator’s role must be considered. Therefore, this study’s research questions were, “In what ways are educators aware of young caregiving?” and “What role to educators perceive they have in identifying and supporting YCs?”. Through an applied research design, 8 teachers and 3 principals were individually interviewed for 90-minutes each. Inter-rater reliable thematic analysis resulted in three main themes of awareness, identification, and support. Although not all educators were aware of the YC term, all educators were aware of the caregiving role among children and youth. Consistent with OME mandate, educators reported that student success was important. Although educators felt they had a role in identifying and supporting YCs to ensure success, the majority did not perceive it was mandated. This finding was inconsistent with previous YC research that suggested YCs did not feel supported in school (Lakman et al., 2017). Therefore, the present findings encourage teacher training to ensure YCs receive the support they need. Key Words: Young Carer, Education, Awareness, Identification, Support
  • A Less Simple View of Reading: The Role of Inhibition and Working Memory in the Decoding-Comprehension Relationship

    McClure, Jane; Department of Child and Youth Studies
    The present study examines the influencing effect of executive functions, specifically inhibition and working memory, on the relationship between decoding and reading comprehension. The current research suggests that the decoding-comprehension relationship is likely more complex than past theoretical models have postulated. Recently, the idea that non-linguistic cognitive skills may be responsible for this relationship has gained traction. As a part of the NHLP, a longitudinal cohort study conducted in New Haven, Connecticut, 256 students were asked to complete reading and executive function measures, as the children progressed through grade 1 and 2. These measures included tasks independently designed to assess decoding, working memory, inhibition and vocabulary, as well as two separate measures of reading comprehension. Results showed that inhibition acted as a significant mediator in both the decoding-comprehension and vocabulary-comprehension relationships. The results also showed that working memory acted as a significant moderator of the direct effect in the decoding-comprehension relationship, but did not moderate the vocabulary-comprehension relationship. These findings support the idea that decoding and language alone are not solely responsible for reading comprehension performance, and that other non-linguistic factors must be taken into consideration. Better understanding the decoding-comprehension relationship has important implications for teaching practice, and early identification and intervention required for exceptional learners.
  • Dance with a B-E-A-T: Recreational Dance with Behaviour Analysis and Therapy for Children and Youth with Exceptionalities

    Staite, Nicole; Department of Child and Youth Studies
    While there is much research highlighting the positive benefits of recreational dance for typically developing individuals, there is considerably less research pertaining to individuals with unique needs, abilities and diagnoses (Burkhardt & Brennan, 2012). Evidently, there is a need for recreational dance programs that blend the proper interventions, supports and adaptations uniquely in order to support and include participants with varying abilities and challenges. The purpose of this research study was to pilot Dance with a B-E-A-T (Dance with Behavioral Analysis and Therapy), a recreational dance program with behavioral principles and therapeutic components for children and youth (7 to 12 years of age) with various exceptionalities such as neurodevelopmental disorders and/or anxiety disorders. This 8-week dance intervention program resulted in varying yet promising results across three primary domains for its three participants which were: (a) gross motor dance skills, (b) gross motor balance skills, (c) parent and child self-efficacy. Significant results showed improvements in gross motor skills across all three clients; with regards to self-efficacy however, results revealed significant changes in one out of three clients and two out of three of the client’s guardians. Further, consumer satisfaction results concluded a high level of satisfaction and program effectiveness across all three families. These findings are discussed in terms of the lack of previous research conducted within the field and the importance of therefore propelling such research in order to reach more youth with exceptionalities through alternative, enjoyable and empowering forms of therapeutic approaches.
  • Comparative Review of Mental Health Policies and Standards of Professional Practice in Ontario and Iran: Emphasis on a Cultural Framework

    Mirnasab Ghazani, Mir Mahmoud; Department of Child and Youth Studies
    Mental health systems require well-defined government regulations, acts and policies as well as ethical codes created by professional organizations and standards of practice established by regulatory bodies. Cross-cultural review studies can help to identify similarities, differences and cultural variations in the policies and standards of regulatory bodies that exist in different jurisdictions. With an emphasis on cultural framework, this review aimed to compare the policies and standards of professional conduct established by the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO) and the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) with those developed by the Psychology and Counseling Organization of Iran (PCOI). Data were collected from governmental documents, the organizational websites (CPO, CRPO and PCOI), and other relevant resources. The American Psychological Association’s Ethics Code (2017), the Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists (2017), documents from the Ontario Psychological Association (OPA) and the State Welfare Organization of Iran were also included in the analysis as complementary data where relevant. Results revealed that the standard of controlled acts (psychotherapy and communicating a diagnosis) and a quality assurance program for current members have not been included in the PCOI. Additionally, some standards (e.g., communicating client care, record-keeping and documentation) may have been detailed in the PCOI Code of Ethics. Some standards (e.g., referral and unnecessary treatment) may have been explained more thoroughly in the CPO’s document about Standards of Professional Conduct (2017). However, although not explicitly mentioned, CPO members follow related acts and regulations for these standards. Providing pro-bono may have been incorporated in the CRPO’s standards. In this review, cultural variations in administrating the standards under professional conduct and client-therapist relationships, as well as the standards of competency and clinical supervision were interpreted in detail. This research may help policy makers and field practitioners to improve the quality of mental health services. Implications for future studies are discussed.
  • Adapting to Parental Investment Uncertainty? The Role of Personality and Puberty

    Schiralli, Katerina; Department of Child and Youth Studies
    Early childhood experiences of parental investment uncertainty appear to influence later dating and sexuality in girls. Research has suggested that this relationship is mediated by the timing of pubertal development. This thesis investigated whether personality traits also mediated this relationship. A path model was tested with paths from indices of early parental investment uncertainty to dating and sexuality through pubertal development and personality. Results suggested that pubertal development did not mediate the relationship between early experiences of parental investment. However, there was some evidence that personality, specifically the trait Honesty-Humility, was associated with early experiences of parental investment uncertainty and dating and sexuality in girls.
  • A Qualitative Exploration of the Connections Among Quality of Relationships with Parent(s), Self-Compassion, and Academic Motivation in Young Adults

    Goldsworthy, Samara; Department of Child and Youth Studies
    Multiple studies have demonstrated a link between the quality of parent-child relationships and children’s capacity for self-compassion. In turn, children’s self-compassion has been linked to motivation for achieving academic success. However, research has not explored the connections among the quality of parent-child relationships, young people’s capacity for self-compassion, and young people’s academic motivation. This qualitative research study fills an important gap in the literature by holistically exploring the self-perceived connections among these three constructs among university students. This study included nine undergraduate students attending Brock University (across several disciplines and years). Participants completed a demographic section along with a self-compassion survey and a semi-structured interview. Findings suggest some participants perceived a connection between positive relationships with parents and high self-compassion and academic motivation when their parents extended compassion to them in difficult situations. Interestingly, some who did not perceive their parents as compassionate and supportive still reported having high self-compassion and being very motivated to achieve academic success. Findings can inform clinical practices that support young adults and university students as they strive to navigate the transition to university life and excel academically.
  • Thinking (and Thinking…) About Perfection: A Test of the Perfectionism Cognitions Theory

    Janssen, William F.; Department of Child and Youth Studies
    The current body of work examined the link between perfectionism cognitions and depressive symptoms and, importantly, tested a central mechanism by which rumination acts as an intervening pathway in this relationship. These relationships form the underlying framework of the Perfectionism Cognitions Theory (Flett et al., 2016), which, to date, had not been empirically tested. The current body of work consisted of two separate studies. Study 1 used a community sample of adults (N = 175, 53.3% men, Mage = 28.3 years old). Results of structural equation modeling in Study 1 offered support for the Perfectionism Cognitions Theory. It was found that rumination represented an indirect pathway explaining the relationship between perfectionism cognitions and depressive symptoms. Study 2 used a sample of emerging adult students (N = 53, 84.9% women, Mage = 19.9 years old) to test the Perfectionism Cognitions Theory. Study 2 also closely examined the link between perfectionism cognitions and cognitive flexibility, a behavioural index of rumination that was measured by performance on a set-shifting task. Results of a test of indirect effects in Study 2 replicated the findings of Study 1 by supporting the Perfectionism Cognitions Theory and showing evidence that rumination represents a mechanism by which perfectionism cognitions are related to poorer well-being. Results of regression analysis did not show a link between perfectionism cognitions and set-shifting, but perfectionism cognitions were related to self-reported cognitive flexibility. Together, the findings support Flett et al.’s (2016) Perfectionism Cognition Theory and have important implications for research and practice.

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