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Using Topic Models to Study Journalist-Audience Convergence and Divergence: The Case of Human Trafficking Coverage on British Online Newspapers

Description: Despite the accessibility of online news and availability of sophisticated methods for analyzing news content, no previous study has focused on the simultaneous examination of news coverage on human trafficking and audiences' interpretations of this coverage. In my research, I have examined both journalists' and commenters' topic choices in coverage and discussion of human trafficking from the online platforms of three British newspapers covering the period 2009–2015. I used latent semantic analysis (LSA) to identify emergent topics in my corpus of newspaper articles and readers' comments, and I then quantitatively investigated topic preferences to identify convergence and divergence on the topics discussed by journalists and their readers. I addressed my research questions in two distinctive studies. The first case study implemented topic modelling techniques and further quantitative analyses on article and comment paragraphs from The Guardian. The second extensive study included article and comment paragraphs from the online platforms of three British newspapers: The Guardian, The Times and the Daily Mail. The findings indicate that the theories of "agenda setting" and of "active audience" are not mutually exclusive, and the scope of explanation of each depends partly on the specific topic or subtopic that is analyzed. Taking into account further theoretical concepts related to agenda setting, four more additional research questions were addressed. Topic convergence and divergence was further identified when taking into account the newspapers' political orientation and the articles' and comments' year of publication.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Papadouka, Maria Eirini

Dimensions of Acculturation and Sexual Health among U.S. Hispanic Youth

Description: Hispanic youth living in the U.S. share a disproportionate burden of risk for HIV, other STIs, and teen pregnancies. They also tend to report lower rates of condom use and higher rates of inconsistent condom use than other racial/ethnic groups. Furthermore, immigrant Hispanic adolescents experience a unique burden of sexual risk compared to their non-immigrant counterparts. These negative sexual health outcomes can severely derail the overall health, social mobility, and life opportunities of these adolescents. Social researchers have tried to explain these sexual risk disparities using the concept of immigrant acculturation, which is broadly defined as the process of adopting the cultural values and beliefs of a host society. Immigrant acculturation has been shown to play a key role in shaping youth attitudes and behaviors, including sexual risk behaviors (see Lee & Hahm, 2010). Yet, studies have largely overlooked the contextual components of acculturation that have been proposed in theoretical literature, specifically characteristics of the immigrant's receiving community. Furthermore, studies have not adequately explored the influence of acculturation on two crucial measures of sexual risk: teen pregnancy norms and condom use. Therefore, the current dissertation consists of two unique studies that examine the influence of acculturation, at both the individual and neighborhood level, on Hispanic adolescent teen pregnancy norms and condom use over time. The aim is to fill these important gaps in the literature and expand on earlier explanations of the relationship between cultural, place, and long-term sexual health. Both studies use nationally-representative data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Overall, findings suggest an immigrant advantage for both teen pregnancy norms and condom use, although this advantage functions differently for males and females. Furthermore, the studies demonstrate the importance of including contextual measures of acculturation into studies related to Hispanic adolescent sexual health.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Driver, Nichola D

Health-related Quality of Life and Social Engagement in Assisted Living Facilities

Description: This research project aims to clarify the factors that impact successful aging in Assisted Living facilities (ALFs) in Denton County, Texas. We hypothesize that social disengagement decreases physical and mental components of quality of life. This exploratory research project employed standardized questionnaires to assess residents in the following domains; HRQOL, social engagement status, level of cognition, depression, and the level of functioning. This study collected data from 75 participants living in five ALFs. The average of Physical Component Scale (PCS) and Mental Component Scale (MCS) was 35.33, and 53.62 respectively. None of the participants had five or more social contacts out of facilities, and two-third of them had two or less social contacts. On average, those participants who were more socially engaged had higher score of MCS compared with disengaged counterparts. The level of physical function significantly affects social engagement, when people with more disabilities are more likely to be socially disengaged. Social engagement and depression significantly impact MCS, when depression is a mediating factor between social engagement and mental component of quality of life. Considering the expansion in aging population in the United States within the next three decades, the demand for high quality long-term care will skyrocket consequently. This study reveals that external social engagement can sustain HRQOL of residents in assisted living facilities.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Amini, Reza

Assessing Social Determinants of Severe Mental Illness in High-Risk Groups

Description: The primary objective of this research was to explore the impact of possible social factors on non-institutionalized adults 18 years of age or older residing in the United States who exhibited severe mental illness (SMI). A holistic sociological model was developed to explain SMI by incorporating elements of social learning theory, social disorganization theory, and gender socialization theory with social demographic factors. Based on the holistic sociological model, the following factors were investigated: demographic aspects of age, education, income and gender; gender socialization; influence of neighborhood area; social network influence based on communication and interaction among peers and family members; and socially deviant behaviors such as frequently smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and using drugs specifically marijuana. The impact of these factors on SMI was examined. A sample of 206 respondents drawn from National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2003 was assessed. These respondents had answered all the questions related to SMI; social deviant behaviors; neighborhood environment; and communications among peers, family members and friends; and the other studied factors. Ordinary linear regression with interaction terms was employed as a statistical tool to assess the impact of social determinants on SMI. Being female, living a disorganized neighborhood, and frequent and high levels of smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol had a significant influence on SMI. This reevaluation and reexamination of the role of gender socialization path, socially deviant behaviors like smoking and drinking, and community construction on SMI provided additional insights. This research is one of the first to develop a more holistic sociological model on SMI and explored the previously untested interactive relationships. The limitations of this study suggest the need to test a potential recursive research model and explore additional bi-directional associations.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Sun, Qi

American Indian Worldviews, Risk Perceptions and Disaster Planning: an Exploratory Study

Description: It is commonly assumed that when confronted with an imminent hazard that people will react rationally, and prepare for, or at least attempt to avoid, danger from pending disasters. However, this conventional wisdom is not as evident as it appears. People prepare for, react to, or take social action to avoid hazards when they perceive the risk of danger to be threatening enough to warrant action, providing one has the will, insight and resources to do so. However, not all people perceive risks similarly. Risk is perceived differently by different people which affects risk perception and responses to hazards. This dissertation explores the relationships between American Indian worldviews, risk perceptions and disaster planning. To carry out this research 28 American Indians were interviewed. The sample consists of 14 American Indians residing in a rural are on the northern plains and 14 urban American Indians. The results only partially support that worldview is linked to risk perception and subsequent disaster planning. Other factors found to relate to risk perception and disaster planning for this non-representative sample of American Indians include various forms of social vulnerability.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Bales, Rodney A.

Witchcraft: a Targeted Societal Discrimination Against Women in Northern Ghana

Description: A combination of aging and poverty is becoming dominant in African society today, at a time when African countries are expected to be recovering from poverty, and are projected to house the economic growth of the next century. The emergence of aging in African context and the aging of the world population will expose the weakness of the current mechanisms used for older people around the world. As economies grow around the world, the distribution gap between the affluent and the poor widens, and the constant struggles for wealth, power, and social status, amidst scarce resources, continue to be sustained. To remain in charge of economic resources, the powerful few devise means to disenfranchise the weak, and witchcraft accusation is one of such tools used in Northern Ghana today. A new wave of witchcraft accusation has caught the attention of many in Northern Ghana. These victims with certain socioeconomic characteristics appear helpless and without defense against such accusations. As a result, they suffer untold hardships and are often compelled to leave their homes and to reside in camps reserved for witches. This study was undertaken to identify those sociodemographic characteristics, which are commonly shared by witchcraft accusation victims. These sociodemographic characteristics can be used to predict those who are most likely to be discriminated against using accusations of witchcraft in Northern Ghana. As age places more strain on existing systems and as more people survive into old age with inadequate healthcare, more accusations may be predicted to occur against the elderly, unless enough government intervention is used to address the present redistribution of income in third world countries.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Atumah, Oscar Nwagbo

Hopelessness, Self-Efficacy, Self-Esteem and Powerlessness in Relation to American Indian Suicide

Description: The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between the independent variables of age, gender, residence, tribal affiliation, and perceived government control over tribal rights and the dependent variables of hopelessness, self-efficacy, and self-esteem. These attitudes are then explored as to their relationship to possible feelings of powerlessness among American Indians. The survey instruments used are the Beck Hopelessness Scale consisting of 20 items (Beck, Weissman, Lester, and Trexler, 1974), (Reproduced by permission of publisher, Psychological Corporation), the Self-Efficacy Scale consisting of 30 items (Sherer, Maddox, Merchandante, Prentice-Dunn, Jacobs, and Rodgers, 1982) (Reproduced by permission of Dr. Ronald W. Rogers), the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale consisting of 10 items (Rosenberg, 1972) (Reproduced by permission of Dr. Florence Rosenberg) and a demographic questionnaire consisting of 6 items. These instruments were administered to 60 American Indians that make up the sample population of 25 respondents from tribal lands (reservation setting) and 35 respondents from an urban setting. Statistical analysis consists of crosstabulations using Chi-Square and t-tests (used to verify Chi-Square) to determine the significance of the relationship of the independent variables to the dependent variables previously mentioned. Fifteen hypotheses (page 10) were tested to explore the relationships between the above independent variables and the dependent variables. Out of the 15 hypotheses that were investigated two were supported. The two hypotheses are hypothesis 10 and 11. Hypothesis 10 states; American Indians who live on a reservation have more hopelessness than those who live in an urban setting. This hypothesis was indicated to be marginal by Chi-Square analysis but when a t-test was conducted it was shown to be significant. Hypothesis 11 states; American Indians in urban residency will have more self-efficacy than reservation residents. While the data provided minimal support for the theory that hopelessness, self-efficacy, and self-esteem have a relationship to ...
Date: August 2000
Creator: Edmonson, Jimmie R.

A study of continuing bonds and their impact on life attitudes in parents of murdered children.

Description: For most of the past century, the positive outcome of grief in the West was characterized as the relinquishment of the bond to the deceased. Phrases such as "let go", "move on", and "get over it" were, and continue to be, common to the language of this pursuit. This 'breaking bonds' perspective does not take into account other means of grief resolution, nor does it consider historical or cultural findings. Consequently, reports of bereaved parents who indicate resolution of grief yet maintain a continued relationship with their deceased child were not given much attention until the 1990s. This research employed a Durkheimian approach, taking the social bond as the starting point of inquiry and examined continuing bonds of parents to their murdered children. How these bonds were related to the parents' attitudes of re-investing in life and their level of grief was measured. The relationship between the parents' level of grief and their life attitudes was also assessed. The sample consisted of 46 parents living in North Texas whose child had been murdered three or more years ago. A triangulated methodology was utilized and the data were collected by means of participant observation, unstructured interviews, and a mailed questionnaire which obtained information on continuing bonds, level of grief, life attitudes and demographic variables. Multiple regression techniques were utilized to analyze the quantitative data. Parents on the Continuing Bonds Scale reported high levels of bonds with their deceased child. Contrary to expectation, the level of continuing bonds parents maintained with their children was found to be independent of other variables in the study. The relationship between parents' level of grief and their life attitudes was inverse in that higher levels of grief were associated with lower levels of re-investing in life. The finding of the independence of the Continuing Bonds Scale ...
Date: May 2006
Creator: Haag, Marcy J.

Perceptions of Postpartum Depression among Adolescent Mothers and the Social Construction of Related Stigma

Description: Six serial focus groups were used to explore the perceptions of postpartum depression among nine adolescent mothers. The discussions were tape recorded, transcribed and analyzed using symbolic interaction theory, specifically Goffman's concept of stigma. Participants identified major stigma themes in relation to postpartum depression, teenage pregnancy and motherhood, all of which were portrayed negatively in the media. Several key causes of adolescent postpartum depression were also found including self esteem relating to poor body image and social support. The findings indicate a much needed change in the way adolescent mothers are identified and treated for postpartum depression. Additionally, the importance of social support in preventing and treating adolescent postpartum depression is highlighted and programs addressing such concerns must be implemented.
Date: December 2005
Creator: Gosdin, Melissa M.

Conspicuous Consumption and American Political Behavior

Description: The following premise is based on the ideas of social theorists who have contributed to understanding the importance of image in society. This proposal argues that political participation is susceptible to exploitation in the form of conspicuous consumption as defined by Thorstein Veblen. The analyses that follow will test the degree to which Americans who demonstrate more traditional forms of conspicuous consumption also tend to show more activity in political venues. While the correlation of these two variables is not sufficient to demonstrate cause and effect, it may be significant enough to attract more researchers to this question: are Americans using political involvement to positively influence the way that their social status is perceived by others?
Date: August 2005
Creator: Bouressa, Andrea Kelly

Caregiving in Later Life: A Contextual Approach to the Provision of Care

Description: Guided by the life course perspective, this study examined the frequency of caregiving provided by older adults to kin and non-kin. A telephone survey produced a random sample of adults 60 years of age and older, which was predominantly White, with higher income and education levels (n = 278). Bivariate and multivariate analyses tested the impact of demographic characteristics and other variables, conceptualized as physical, human, and social capital, on the frequency of caregiving. Gender, age, health, limitations, education, income, household composition, social contact, and reciprocity were analyzed in multinomial logistic regressions. Caregiving was defined as care provided to sick or disabled persons, with frequency of providing care classified as often, sometimes, and never. The majority of older adults provided at least some care to others over a one-year period, with almost one-third doing so often and only one-quarter never doing so. Most provided care to more than one person, with over one-quarter providing care to multiple friends only. Age failed to predict caregiving involvement when physical and social capital variables were considered. The odds of often providing care are higher for women, although gender did not predict those who never provided care. Having at least some college only significantly predicted women who often provided care. Living with a disabled person increased the frequency of caregiving, although that care was not always for the disabled person. Similarly, living with a spouse, as compared to living alone, increased caregiving involvement but often the spouse was not the care recipient. These findings highlight a need for policy changes that will support and recognize the contributions of older caregivers of both family and friends. The definition of caregiving is another policy issue that should be addressed. These findings also challenge policymakers and community leaders to promote informal caregiving by providing educational programs to ...
Date: August 2003
Creator: Worthen, Laura T.

The Symbolic Representation of Latinos: A Content Analysis of Prime-Time Television

Description: The media are powerful agents of socialization in modern society influencing values, beliefs, and attitudes of the culture that produces them. Both the quantity and quality of Latino images in the media may reflect and reinforce the place of Latinos in United States society. This study examines how Latinos are portrayed in television entertainment programming by addressing two major research questions: 1) What is the extent of Latino recognition on prime-time television? and 2) What is the extent of respect accorded Latinos on prime-time television? A one-week sample of prime-time television programming airing on three networks yielded 47 programs and 807 characters for analysis. Using content analysis methodology, recognition is identified by examining the frequency and proportional representation of Latino television portrayals and respect is measured by examining the types and significance of these roles. The results indicate an overall lack of diversity on prime-time television with only 11 of the 47 programs analyzed reaching 50% or more of the maximum possible diversity in their racial and ethnic portrayals. Specifically, Latinos represent only 3% of primetime television characters, less than one-fourth of their proportion of the nation's population. Compared to non-Hispanic Whites, Blacks, and Asians, Latinos are the group least likely to occupy major roles in prime-time entertainment shows and represent only 1.9% of the total opening cast credits. Latinos are still presented stereotypically but are more often presented in a generic fashion with no reference to ethnic cultural experiences. The extent of recognition and respect accorded Latinos in prime-time television is severely limited, thus there is a need for continued research and dialogue regarding symbolic media images of Latinos. The findings have implications for social scientists interested in media forms and content as cultural artifacts, members of the television media industry responsible for program development and distribution, and college ...
Date: August 2001
Creator: McKenzie-Elliott, Tracey M.

Inequality in Access to, and Utilization of, Health Care - The Case of African American and Non-Hispanic White Males

Description: Using data from the Household Component of the 1996 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, the study compares (1) the accessibility, and (2) the predictors of health care services utilization among African American and non-Hispanic White males, 18 to 65 years old in the United States. Using ANOVA procedure in comparing the means for use of physicians, hospitals, doctors, and difficulty obtaining care, seven hypotheses were tested in the study. First, it was hypothesized that African American men of working age will have less access to health care services (physicians, hospitals, and dentists), and be more likely to report having experienced delay or difficulty obtaining care, compared to non-Hispanic white males of working age. Second, it was hypothesized that, controlling for health status, African American men of working age will have less access to health care services (physicians, hospitals, and dentists), and will also be more likely to experience delay or difficulty obtaining care, than non-Hispanic white males. This was followed by the third hypothesis which compared utilization of physicians, hospitals, dentists, and difficulty obtaining care among African American and non-Hispanic white males, controlling for health status and insurance coverage (any insurance, private insurance, any public insurance, and Medicaid). Hypotheses four through six compared the utilization of physicians, hospitals, and dentists, as well as difficulty obtaining care among African American and non-Hispanic white males, controlling for the following variables sequentially: health status and poverty status; health status and having a usual source of care; and health status and employment status, in that order. Finally, it was hypothesized that, controlling for health status, any insurance, poverty status, and employment status, African American men of working age will have less access to physicians, hospitals, and dentists, and experience more difficulty and delay obtaining care, compared to non-Hispanic white males of working age. Results from ...
Date: May 2001
Creator: Sakyi-Addo, Isaac

Work in the calling in Max Weber's Protestant ethic thesis

Description: Objectives. Scholars have debated Max Weber's theory of the relationship between religion and capitalism for almost 100 years. Still, the debate is clouded by confusion over Weber's claims about religious doctrine and over the supporting evidence. The purpose of this study is to clarify Max Weber's claims regarding the concept of the calling and the related "anti-mammon" injunction and concept of "good works" and substantiate with historical evidence the religious doctrine Weber describes. Methods. Comparative analysis of early Protestant Lutheran and Calvinist documents from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was used to flesh out a history of ideas to determine whether evidence exists to support Weber's claims related to religious doctrine. Results. Historical analyses revealed that the concept of the calling pre-dated Luther in the Bible. Luther's innovation was not in his use of the word beruf but in his application of the concept of the calling to the common people and his teaching of that idea. The idea of sanctified work was key in both Lutheran and Calvinist documents. There was an increased emphasis on work and encouragement to accumulate wealth in Calvinist documents. Conclusion. Weber's etymological evidence surrounding Martin Luther's use of the word beruf in his German translation of the bible is idiosyncratic and not important to the transmission of the concept of the calling. Luther's application of the concept of the calling to the laity and idea of sanctified work, however, is the foundation on which the Protestant ethic rests, as Weber claims. Weber's other claims regarding the concept of work in early Protestantism are also supported here. Weber did not overstate the implications for societal transformation in early Protestant theology.
Date: December 2000
Creator: Schindley, Wanda Beatrice Higbee

Factors Affecting Household Disaster Preparedness: A Study of the Canadian Context

Description: This study addresses the issue of household disaster preparedness. This work contributes two elements to disaster research. The first contribution improve the knowledge of the factors that affect household disaster preparedness. The review of literature yielded three categories of variables that can jointly explain household disaster preparedness: household structure, demographics, and risk-perception factors. In this study 19 variables compose these factors. A second contribution constitutes a theoretical exploration of the concept of disaster preparedness. In this work, four different constructs of disaster preparedness were tested. These constructs include material preparedness, preparedness activities, a combined index, and a weighted and combined index. The study presents the logic and methodology of the index construction and validation. The data used in this study came from households in the Montreal Urban Community (MUC) in Canada. A random sample of 1,003 English- and French-speaking heads of households adequately represents the 1.8 million persons within the MUC. An independent survey firm conducted the interviews in 1996. Results show that the weighted combined household disaster preparedness index constitutes the best construct to represent the concepts under study. Study results also reveal that risk-perception variables (attitudinal factors) offered the strongest explanatory power. Household structure and demographic variables collectively explained less than 8% of the dependent variable. The model used in this study yielded a coefficient of determination of .320, explaining 32% of the variance in the household disaster preparedness level. Concluding this study, the discussion offers implications for both disaster managers and researchers. Researchers should add to their analysis the household perspective as a complement to the organizational one. Also, it is clear that many other conceptual issues must be explored in understanding and measuring disaster preparedness. Disaster managers should base their efforts on sound research rather than on misconceptions about social behavior. Such implications can contribute to ...
Date: December 2000
Creator: Doré, Michel C

Dallas Area Health Care Use: Study of Insured, Uninsured, and Medicaid Enrolled Children

Description: This research investigated physician and emergency room use among representative samples of children in the Dallas metropolitan area (N = 1606) and among patients who used Children's Medical Center of Dallas' First Care services (N = 612). Through telephone interviewing, caregivers to children under fifteen years of age were asked about an array of health service use behaviors, social-psychological issues related to acquiring health care for their children, and demographic characteristics as outlined by the Andersen & Newman model of health care service use. Children's use of physician services is best predicted by whether or not they have medical insurance, their level of income, and whether or not they have medical homes. Although having commercial managed care and fee-for-service Medicaid insurance consistently predicted increased physician use, neither independently reduced reliance on emergency rooms for non-emergent care. Managed care insurance and Medicaid did, however, significantly improve the odds that children would have medical homes, which significantly decreased emergency room use for non-emergent care. Further, increasing physician use and reducing reliance on hospital emergency rooms for non-emergent care will require ensuring that children have medical homeseither private physicians or community health centersat which they can readily and consistently receive sick and well care. Although some ethnic differences were observed, few of the broad array of factors in the Behavioral Model significantly predicted either physician or emergency room use. Moreover, educational levels and health beliefs rarely, and if significant negligibly, influenced physician and emergency room use. Health policy for children would best be served by focusing on programs that facilitate parent's ability to secure health insurance for their children and allocating children to medical homes where they can readily and consistently access sick and well care.
Date: August 2000
Creator: Roy, Lonnie C.

Emotional Health, Well-Being, And Religion as Quest

Description: This study examined the relationship between the religious orientation quest and well-being using the 1998 General Social Survey. In addition to the religious orientation quest the extrinsic and intrinsic religious orientations were also investigated. Analysis of the data indicated that there was a slight negative association between quest and general well-being, while also demonstrating a strong positive association between quest and inner peace. These results underscore the supposition that quest is an orientation that is complex and ultimately deserves further attention.
Date: August 2000
Creator: Alexander, Kimberly A.