Education, Faculty of

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    Accuracy of horse affect assessments: a comparison of equine assisted mental health professionals, non-equine assisted mental health professionals, and laypeople
    (Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 2023) Fox, Sebastian A.; University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education; Greidanus, Elaine
    In order to know whether a horse’s welfare has been compromised, the professional needs to be able to assess the animal’s behaviour and meaningfully interpret it. Misinterpretation of a horse’s mental state may lead to further misunderstandings of the animal’s behaviour, breakdowns in horse-human communication, and jeopardized wellbeing (Gronqvist et al., 2016; see also Horseman et al., 2016; Mcbride & Long, 2001; Merkies et al., 2018). This study investigated the abilities of (EAMHPs) to assess the affective states of horses. First, an instrument for measuring accuracy was developed by showing a panel of 12 equine behaviour experts 20 videos of horses and asking them to describe the emotional states of the animals. Using the QBA and FCP method, the 10 videos with the highest inter-observer consensus and their associated terms (used to create answer keys) were retained. In the prediction testing phase, those 10 videos were shown to EAMHPs (n = 55), laypeople (n = 94), and non-equine assisted mental health professionals (NEAMHPs; n = 51), who were also asked to generate affectively descriptive terms. These three groups were then graded using the answer keys and awarded total assessment accuracy scores representing how similar their answers were to those of the experts. The participants of the three groups also self-rated their perceived level of horse experience and filled out a related questionnaire. The results found that EAMHPs and laypeople scored significantly higher than the NEAMHPs. However, when horse experience scores were controlled for, the EAMHPs no longer scored significantly higher than the NEAMHPs. Profession and horse experience scores significantly accounted for variation in the total assessment accuracy scores, and the horse experience scores were positively correlated with self-rated levels of horse experience. Those participants who believed they had a high level of horse experience scored significantly higher than those who said they had no horse experience or a low level of experience. The finding that EAMHPs and NEAMHPs score similarly, yet laypeople (significantly) outperform the latter and the former (non-significantly) when assessing the affective states of horses is perplexing. More research is needed to further investigate the involvement of horses in equine assisted therapy practices to ensure that their use remains ethical and that their welfare is not being compromised in exchange for aiding clients.
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    Female gamers’ perceptions of their mental health influenced by the online gaming space
    (Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 2023) Fong, Andrea L.; University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education; Beaudin, Lorraine C.
    Video games have become an increasingly popular form of entertainment that can now allow for social bonds to be established and can contribute to an individual’s mental health. This thesis investigates female gamers, and their perceptions of how online gaming may affect their own mental health (n= 197). Previous research has found that female gamers are often treated differently in games based on their gender identity. Utilizing mixed methods, this study furthers the exploration of female gamers’ mental health as they interact with other players during online multiplayer games. Findings suggest that the purpose of the game interactions, views about the community, and the motivations of female gamers determine the effect that negative player-to-player interactions may have on their perceptions of stress levels, loneliness, and social support.
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    Exploring Canadian undergraduate students' mental health literacy and its influence on psychological distress and help-seeking behaviour
    (Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 2023) Horne, Karissa L.; University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education; Bernes, Kerry B.
    Despite having mental health literacy (MHL), the prevalence of psychological distress (PD) among university students continues to remain an area of concern. Understanding the relationship between MHL attributes and PD and Help-Seeking Behaviour (HSB) can offer further insight into what knowledge is important for undergraduate students to possess to have a positive impact on their mental health. While many studies have reported a relationship between MHL and help-seeking behaviour, there were mixed findings between MHL and PD. Thus, the current study aimed to explore the extent to which Canadian undergraduate students demonstrate MHL, and its influence on their levels of PD and HSB. A total of 335 participants completed an online survey. Over half of the students demonstrated heightened symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. The results indicated that Canadian undergraduate students demonstrate a relatively high level of MHL. Moreover, the findings suggested that some attributes of MHL have a significant relationship with PD and HSB, while others do not. Further research is warranted to better understand the influence of MHL on PD and HSB.
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    Navigating masculinities: exploring the lived experiences of adolescent Albertan boys
    (Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 2023) Symons, Katie M.; University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education; Burleigh, Dawn; Gunn, Thelma
    This phenomenological study investigates lived experiences of masculinity among a group of adolescent Albertan boys. The study’s aim is to better understand participants’ perspectives, improve the researcher’s teaching practices, and share implications with other educators. Seven participants, from an urban center in Alberta, were recruited and interviewed. Three themes were identified: The Expectations Placed on Boys, The Challenges of Being a Boy, and The Normalization of Negative Boy Behaviour. Expectations placed on boys explored how participants felt required to follow societal expectations of masculinity. Challenges of being a boy were described as difficult compared to those faced by girls due to having little autonomy based on societal expectations. Normalization of negative boy behaviour highlighted how participants were accustomed to negative behaviour from other males and accepted this behaviour as typical. This study provides an examination of these themes, identifies potential implications for educators, and poses questions for further research.
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    Perspective on instructional leadership throughout a pandemic
    (Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 2023) Hughes, Sandi Darlene; University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education; Adams, Pamela; Mombourquette, Carmen
    This study investigated the primary research questions of: What is the nature of instructional leadership on practices during the COVID-19 pandemic? and What were teachers’ and principals’ perceptions of the most effective and/or helpful instructional leadership practices throughout the pandemic? It was conducted through qualitative methodology using semi structured interviews of two principals and two teachers. The themes identified by participants as being the most effective leadership practices during the pandemic included: fostering effective relationships with the school community, maintaining relational trust, focusing on the wellness of staff, and uniting the staff to work together towards a common vision of what is best for students. These leadership practices are also supported by literature and the LQS. Whether it is another pandemic, a time of crisis, or simply supporting one staff member who is going through a tough personal time; focusing on these leadership practices will help a principal through the situation. As Leithwood, Harris, and Hopkins (2008) claimed, principals have an impact on teachers’ emotions, motivations, commitments, beliefs, and in how supported they feel in their practice which in turn impacts student learning. Through fostering effective relationships with the school community, maintaining relational trust, focusing on the wellness of staff, and uniting the staff to work together towards a common vision of what is best for students; principals can engage in effective instructional leadership.