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An Evidence-Based Resource for Faculty Addressing Non-Course-Specific Student Needs

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The goal of this thesis was to create a resource addressing non-course-specific (NCS) student needs that College of Integrative Sciences and Arts (CISA) faculty can provide to their students when appropriate. Students attend faculty office hours for a variety of

The goal of this thesis was to create a resource addressing non-course-specific (NCS) student needs that College of Integrative Sciences and Arts (CISA) faculty can provide to their students when appropriate. Students attend faculty office hours for a variety of reasons, and not all are academic in nature. Data was collected in order to determine which resources were lacking in addressing these needs. Student need was identified through a 13-item survey regarding faculty perception of NCS student needs, including the primary reason for office hour visitation and the primary sources of stress, academic advising, and time management complaints from their students. Additionally, feedback was collected regarding faculty perception of available resources and likelihood of utilizing a new resource. Throughout the Downtown, Tempe, and Polytechnic campuses, 24 faculty responded. It was found that work stress, familial stress, academic advising requests, and students comments of being overwhelmed were the primary NCS student needs as perceived by faculty. Additionally, the majority of faculty reported not feeling fully equipped to address these needs. This information was used to create a resource compiling a list of University and off-campus tools that students can access to address these needs. The resource combined data from faculty and from the literature to address general and specific issues of stress, academic advising, feeling ‘off,’ and recovery and was created a double-sided handout to be used electronically or for print. It is currently available for faculty use. With further research, this resource could be expanded or refined to address the needs of a larger population of students in different colleges or on different campuses. Eventually, this could be used as a University-wide tool.

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2019-05

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A pilot study to examine the impact of a 7-day gratitude journal on perceptions of physical activity and happiness in the workplace

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Introduction: Less than half of U.S. adults meet the aerobic physical activity guidelines to exercise at least 150 minutes a week. An individual's decision to be physically active is influenced by their perceptions of physical activity. To address perceptions, interventions

Introduction: Less than half of U.S. adults meet the aerobic physical activity guidelines to exercise at least 150 minutes a week. An individual's decision to be physically active is influenced by their perceptions of physical activity. To address perceptions, interventions need to be implemented where adults spend one third of their day; the workplace. A number of physical activity interventions have been conducted and few have been successful at improving physical activity; therefore, there is a need to explore novel approaches to improve physical activity in the worksite. The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the impact of a seven-day gratitude intervention on perceptions of physical activity and happiness in the workplace. Methods: Full-time employees at two worksites participated in a seven-day online journaling study. Participants were randomized into the intervention (gratitude) or control group and were assessed for perceptions of physical activity and happiness at baseline, immediate post-test (day 7) and one-week follow-up (day 14). Results: Results of this study indicate that the seven-day gratitude intervention may not significantly improve perceptions of physical activity or increase happiness. Future research should consider assessing the individual's readiness for change at baseline, increasing the length of the intervention, testing participant level of gratitude at baseline and employing a larger sample size.

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2014

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Proprioceptive Activities to Lower Stress (PALS)

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A history of trauma can affect a child’s capacity to express emotions due to the neurological footprints left from neglect and abuse. Oftentimes, children do not have a caregiver as a protector which leaves them vulnerable to harm. In response,

A history of trauma can affect a child’s capacity to express emotions due to the neurological footprints left from neglect and abuse. Oftentimes, children do not have a caregiver as a protector which leaves them vulnerable to harm. In response, children use emotional survival strategies of either flight or fight to adapt to their stressful environment. Occupational Therapy Practitioners (OTP) are positioned to address social and emotional development; however, they often feel ill equipped to address the complexity of trauma and its impact on emotions. OTPs need to look at each sensory system from a nurturing/grounding perspective using movement-based strategies as inroads to address the child’s emotional capacity. A sensory integration intervention, Proprioceptive Activities to Lower Stress (PALS), was developed to study the effect on a six-year-old boy’s expressions of emotions using a single subject design. Three emotions were measured using a facial analysis system, Noldus FaceReader™. The emotions were happiness, sadness, and neutral. Neutral is defined as the level of emotional detachment. Results indicate a statistically significant improvement in the expressions of happiness and sad post the PALS program.

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2019

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Equine Assisted Learning: An Evidence-Based Intervention for Families

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Background: It is estimated that 50% of all mental illness arises prior to age 14, an incident attributed in part to disruptions and imbalances within the family system. Equine assisted learning is a complementary and alternative approach to family therapy

Background: It is estimated that 50% of all mental illness arises prior to age 14, an incident attributed in part to disruptions and imbalances within the family system. Equine assisted learning is a complementary and alternative approach to family therapy which is being used increasingly to promote mental health in both adults and children. This study sought to build and deliver an evidence-based, family-centered equine assisted learning program aimed at promoting family function, family satisfaction and child social-emotional competence, and to measure its acceptability and preliminary effect.

Method: Twenty families with children 10 years and older were recruited to participate in a 3-week equine assisted learning program at a therapeutic riding center in Phoenix, Arizona. Sessions included groundwork activities with horses used to promote life skills using experiential learning theory. The study design included a mixed-method quasi-experimental one-group pretest posttest design using the following mental health instruments: Devereaux Student Strengths Assessment, Brief Family Assessment Measure (3 dimensions), and Family Satisfaction Scale to measure child social-emotional competence, family function, and family satisfaction, respectively. Acceptability was determined using a Likert-type questionnaire with open-ended questions to gain a qualitative thematic perspective of the experience.

Results: Preliminary pretest and posttest comparisons were statistically significant for improvements in family satisfaction (p = 0.001, M = -5.84, SD = 5.63), all three domains of family function (General Scale: p = 0.005, M = 6.84, SD = 9.20; Self-Rating Scale: p = 0.050, M = 6.53, SD = 12.89; and Dyadic Relationship Scale: p = 0.028, M = 3.47, SD = 7.18), and child social-emotional competence (p = 0.015, M = -4.05, SD 5.95). Effect sizes were moderate to large (d > 0.5) for all but one instrument (Self-Rating Scale), suggesting a considerable magnitude of change over the three-week period. The intervention was highly accepted among both children and adults. Themes of proximity, self-discovery, and regard for others emerged during evaluation of qualitative findings. Longitudinal comparisons of baseline and 3-month follow-up remain in-progress, a topic available for future discussion.

Discussion: Results help to validate equine assisted learning as a valuable tool in the promotion of child social-emotional intelligence strengthened in part by the promotion of family function and family satisfaction. For mental health professionals, these results serve as a reminder of the alternatives that are available, as well as the importance of partnerships within the community. For therapeutic riding centers, these results help equine professionals validate their programs and gain a foothold within the scientific community. Additionally, they invite future riding centers to follow course in incorporating evidence into their programs and examining new directions for growth within the mental health community.

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2019-05-02