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Effects of Group Parent-Training with Online Parent-Teacher Communication on the Homework Performance of Elementary School Students
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of the Homework Improvement Program, a 5-week group-formatted parent training program, in enhancing the homework performance of children experiencing homework difficulties. The study was conducted in an elementary school with a sample consisting of the parents of seven students (N=7) in grades 5 and 6 who were experiencing significant homework difficulties. In accordance with the Conjoint Behavioral Consultation (CBC) model which emphasizes the importance of home-school communication, online Electronic Daily Report Card (EDRC) software was developed as a component of the program through which parents were provided a direct avenue of communication with their child's teacher. The EDRC attempted to address limitations of previously developed home-school communication methods, while maximizing efficiency, and minimizing teacher obligation. It was also designed to be user-friendly for parents. The EDRC informed parents of their child's homework assignments, instructions, and teacher expectations on a daily basis. It also served as a data collection tool through which parents could be provided with regular feedback regarding their child's progress through the program. Results indicated that the intervention was effective in improving homework completion rates for 100% of study participants. A PND analysis revealed the intervention to be Highly Effective in improving rates of homework completion for 57.14% of the participants (4), and Moderately Effective for the remaining 42.86% of participants (3). All students showed improvements in rates of homework completion, with gains maintained at a four-week follow-up. A PAND analysis of homework completion data revealed a large effect size (Phi=.90, 95%CI), with 95.08% of data non-overlapping with baseline rates. Parent ratings of problematic homework behaviors as reported on the Homework Problems Checklist (HPC) reflected a decrease in problematic homework behaviors from baseline to intervention completion, with improvements maintained at follow-up. Responses to treatment satisfaction questionnaires indicated that participants reported a very high level of satisfaction with all aspects of the program. These results suggest that by offering an interactive and collaborative school-based intervention that directly involves parents, positive behavior change can be accomplished that extends into both the home and school settings.
Normal Families and Mondromies of Holomorphic Motions
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We explore some generalizations of results in holomorphic motions that result from Earle's infinite-dimensional generalization of Montel's Theorem. We then investigate topological obstructions to extending holomorphic motions. We finish with some miscellaneous facts.
Examining the association of medication complexity with health-related quality of life in older adults receiving community-based long term services and supports
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Abstract EXAMINING THE ASSOCIATION OF MEDICATION COMPLEXITY WITH HEALTH-RELATED QUALITY OF LIFE IN OLDER ADULTS RECEIVING COMMUNITY-BASED LONG TERM SERVICES AND SUPPORTS by Claudia A. Beck Adviser: Dr. Kathleen Nokes While the complexity of a medication regimen is a concern for all individuals, it is of significant concern for community-dwelling older adults who often require multiple medications to treat chronic health problems. Health related quality of life (HRQoL) has been identified as a key quality outcome measure when assessing care of older adults, particularly those with long-term care needs. Although the use of multiple medications has been widely explored in the literature, there is a paucity of data regarding the combination of several medication-related factors (number of active medications, therapeutic drug class, and medication regimen complexity) and HRQoL in older adults. Wilson and Cleary's health-related quality of life conceptual model was the theoretical framework used to guide this study. This secondary analysis examined the relationship among the number of active medications, the number of therapeutic drug classes, and medication regimen complexity and HRQoL in community-dwelling older adults (68% Hispanic, 75% female) who were recent recipients of home and community-based services (H&CBS). The subjects in this study (N =123) were enrolled in a large, multi-site study (N=470) (R01-AG025524, PI, M. Naylor). Medication-related data were obtained from medical charts, counted to include the active number of medications as all prescription and over the counter drugs (mean =9.3), and a therapeutic drug class tool (mean =4.9) measured the number of distinct therapeutic drug classes included in a medication regimen. Medication regimen complexity (mean = 20.6) was measured using the Medication Regimen Complexity Index (MRCI). The Medical Outcomes Study Short Form (MOS SF-12 v2) physical (PCS) and mental component scores (MCS) measured HRQoL. After controlling for age, gender, education, race, ethnicity, marital status and cognitive status, it was determined that the number of active medications (beta coefficient -.497, p=.012) was a key predictor of physical health-related quality of life, while therapeutic drug class and medication regimen complexity were not associated with either physical or mental health-related quality of life. The number of medications impacts on physical health-related quality of life but the directionality of that relationship is not clear; there were no significant effects on mental health-related-related quality of life and medication-related variables. Keywords: Older adults, active medications, therapeutic drug class, medication regimen complexity, community-based long term services and supports.
The Volatile American Voter: Inconsistent Voting Behavior in the United States, 1948-2004
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This dissertation is a study of the political behavior, demographics, and attitudes of Americans who have been inconsistent in party choice, turnout, or both in presidential elections from 1948 to 2004. Most prior scholarship has indicated that these individuals, who play a pivotal role in electoral outcomes, have comprised a minority of the American electorate. The analyses presented here, however, reveal that these "volatile" voters have, from 1948 to 2004, comprised between 50.5 and 60.7 percent of the voting public. Volatile voters are, overall, less likely to be politically sophisticated than party-loyal voters. But the aggregation of all volatile voters into one group when assessing their levels of political aptitude and engagement obscures the fact that volatile sophisticates are plentiful in the United States, and have comprised between 18.1 and 27.0 percent of the electorate since the 1948 - a segment that is decisively large. The large distribution of volatile sophisticates, and volatile voters overall, provides support for the notion that voter engagement with political issues regularly overcomes the habitual party affinities of a substantial fraction of the American public, and that issues indeed matter to voters, most of whom engage them and act upon them in a reasoning manner. I additionally provide evidence, contrary to the findings in much voting and elections literature, that volatile voters can be reliably identified and quantified using sociological measures.
Trauma, mental health, and substance use among homeless families: The importance of shelter environment
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Mary Clare Lennon
Homelessness is at historical levels in the United States and New York City has not been immune to this nationwide trend. Homeless populations are not only increasing in number but are remaining in the shelter for longer periods of time. Homelessness, itself has been shown to have negative consequences on mental health and physical health, but its effects are particularly significant for families with children who have greater needs and who are more susceptible to negative experiences at early ages that can have lifelong impact. Despite this recent data there has been very little to no research on the potential impact of the shelter environment on the mental or physical well-being of homeless families. Thus, this dissertation research aims to fill this gap in the current literature by conducting a secondary analysis of the HIV Prevention Outreach for Parents and Early Adolescents (HOPE) study to test: 1) the association between three shelter related variables (i.e., time in the shelter, the perceived social environment of the shelter, and difficulty following shelter rules) and psychosocial outcomes for caregivers (i.e., mental health, parental stress, and substance use among caregivers), 2) the association between three shelter related variables (i.e., time in the shelter, the perceived social environment of the shelter, and difficulty following shelter rules) and psychosocial outcomes for youth (i.e., depressive symptoms, and substance use among caregivers), 3) the potential moderating effect of this perceived social environment of the shelter and difficulty following rules on the association between trauma and psychosocial outcomes for both youth residents and their caregivers. The sample for this research consisted of youth (ages 11 – 14) and their caregivers (n = 452) residing in 10 shelters in New York City. Hierarchical regressions were employed to test various models within the three aims of the study. In addition, sampling of residents within shelters and youth within families was accounted for in the analysis. Results of the analysis conducted indicate that the length of time in the shelter was not significantly associated with psychosocial outcomes for youth and caregivers with two exceptions, namely caregiver mental health and parenting stress. Perception of the shelter environment was strongly associated with all psychosocial outcomes for caregivers and their youth, with the exception of caregiver substance use. Difficulty following shelter rules was significantly associated with all psychosocial outcomes for both youth and caregivers (although the youth substance use finding was counter to what was initially hypothesized). Trauma was also significantly associated with all psychosocial outcomes as well with the exception of parenting stress, and caregiver substance use. The findings from the third aim of the study revealed that his perceived social environment of the shelter did not prove to be a significant moderator of the association between trauma and psychosocial outcomes for youth and caregivers with the exception of youth substance use. Difficulty following rules was also not found to be as significant moderator with the exception of parenting stress and youth substance use. However both findings are counter-intuitive and discussed further in the concluding chapter. Thus, the findings support a more direct-effect relationship between the perceived social environment of the shelter and psychosocial outcomes as well as direct effects of difficulty following shelter rules and may also be indicative of a buffering effect. In addition, the findings of all three aims suggest an importance in the manner in which shelter is provided above and beyond providing a temporary residence.
Cyclic Pitch Organization in the Twelve-Tone Works of Aaron Copland
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Abstract CYCLIC PITCH ORGANIZATION IN THE TWELVE-TONE WORKS OF AARON COPLAND by Lisa S. Behrens Advisor: Joseph Straus Late in his career, Aaron Copland composed four twelve-tone works; the Quartet for Piano and Strings (1950), the Piano Fantasy (1957), ConnotationsInscape (1967). Rather than constituting a sudden conversion to serial composition, Copland's mature twelve-tone works constitute a revival of serial procedures that antedates and pervades his American works of the 1930s and 40s. Consequently, in this dissertation I will assert a stylistic continuity that informs the mature twelve-tone works, which also distinguishes Copland's tonal idiom. This continuity contradicts the distinction between Copland's "severe" and "simple," or "highbrow" and "lowbrow" styles, which has been previously promoted in the literature. Accordingly, I will show that Copland adapted twelve-tone principles to his already well-established idiom, transferring salient features of the harmonic language in his American works to a serial platform. As a result, all of the mature twelve-tone works employ cyclic row classes that are based on whole-tone relationships. The cyclic properties of those row classes generate a plethora of symmetrical constructs that recreate the distinctive fourth-and-fifth-harmonies that are typical of Copland's tonal harmonic language. There are four additional compositional principles that determine the organization of pitch: segmental invariance, whole-tone complementation, cyclic formal articulation, and a generalized collectional interaction between pentatonic, octatonic, and hexatonic sets.
Population Genetics of Canine Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis)
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Dirofilaria immitis, canine heartworm, is a filarial nematode that may have genetic features that favor the development of drug resistance, including rapid rates of mutation, large population sizes, and high levels of gene flow. This parasite is currently treated with macrocyclic lactone anthelminthics, and while it has not yet shown evidence for evolving resistance to these chemotherapeutic compounds, resistance has evolved in related filarial nematodes infecting ruminants and humans. Heartworm samples from domestic dogs and coyotes were obtained via donations from veterinarians and researchers across the United States. I isolated and characterized 11 microsatellite loci for canine heartworm. Using the observed distribution of alleles, I determined the amount of genetic variability and quantified the partitioning of genetic variance. In conjunction with microsatellite data, specific mitochondrial (cox1) and Wolbachia (wsp and ftsZ) loci were used to genotype a subset of host taxa. Results indicate a lack of mitochondrial diversity and maximum likelihood trees show no discernable geographic patterning on a continental scale. This is not unexpected in a Wolbachia-infected organism like D. immitis as this bacterium has been shown to purge mitochondrial diversity in numerous model systems. After establishing baseline genetic parameters, a model of population dynamics was created to answer questions about the potential spread of drug resistance alleles. In the absence of selection, gene flow between subpopulations drives the dispersal of drug resistance alleles. Fixation time is directly proportional to selection pressure. When resistance alleles arise in a source population they spread more rapidly than if they arise in a sequestered population.
Modern Time: Photography and Temporality
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This dissertation explores the fluid relationship of photography to time. Many theorists have noted that photography has a distinctive manner of representing temporality. Roland Barthes, for example, wrote that the photograph has a peculiar capacity to represent the past in the present, and thus to imply the passing of time in general. As a consequence, Barthes argued, all photographs speak of the inevitability of our own death in the future. Moreover, he linked photography's peculiar temporality to its capacity for a certain kind of realism: "false on the level of perception, true on the level of time." Barthes's analysis poses a challenge to all commentators on photography - what exactly is photography's relationship to time, and by extension, to reality? This dissertation addresses that two-part question by analyzing in detail a sample of understudied vernacular photographic practices. Rather than provide a comprehensive, and necessarily incomplete, study of every possible way in which photography can relate to time, this study instead focuses on a number of in-depth analyses of specific photographic practices. These practices represent time in at least three distinct ways: as narrative time, device-altered time, and composite time. My study examines the motivations for photography's insistent struggle to reorganize time's passage, to freeze or slow it for a moment, or to give form to time's fluctuating conditions. I suggest that this struggle is both symptomatic of modernity as a general phenomenon and a manifestation of the photographic medium's conditional relationship to reality, a relationship which arguably has been complicated by the use of digital technology. This dissertation examines photography's unique capacity to represent the passage of time with a degree of elasticity, simultaneity, and abstraction. The medium's ability to represent many levels of temporal experience and indexical slippage, I argue, illustrates photography's potential to relate to and reflect the complexities of modern consciousness. This dissertation also exemplifies the need for a new kind of history - one that addresses the multiple identities of "the photographic" rather than simply "the photograph." This work is a contribution to that project.
Effects of Reproductive Experiences on Age-related Neural and Behavioral Changes in Female Rats
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Abstract EFFECTS OF REPRODUCTIVE EXPERIENCES ON AGE-RELATED NEURAL AND BEHAVIORAL CHANGES IN FEMALE RATS by Saranna K. Belgrave Advisor: Victoria N. Luine PhD The experiences of motherhood, pregnancy, birth and postnatal care, are associated with neural and behavioral changes. Female rats undergoing multiple bouts of motherhood (multiparous) have been shown in some, but not all studies, to have a dampened HPA axis stress response, changes in some hormone levels and better performance on spatial memory tasks compared to age matched females who have not given birth (nulliparous). Moreover, some of these changes extend into old age, approximately 24 months old. Thus, parous rats provide a unique, physiological model in which to investigate neural and hormonal factors that may contribute to cognitive decline and other changes with aging. Subjects investigated were 2-4 months old nulliparous, 10-12 months old nulliparous and 10-12 months old female Fisher 344 (F344) rats. In the first study, we found nulliparous young females had significantly better spatial memory on the object placement task than the nulliparous middle-aged females and that the multiparous middle-aged females were not different from the nulliparous young or middle-aged groups. Thus parity partially mitigated the age dependent decrease in spatial memory found in nulliparous females. No differences in anxiety between any groups were noted on the elevated plus maze (EPM). Thus, multi-parity may have long lasting effects on spatial memory, but not on anxiety. In addition, serum oxytocin levels were assessed since oxytocin is known to contribute to maternal behavior and to mood, and levels are increased during pregnancy and lactation. Circulating oxytocin did not differ between groups. Similarly, basal serum corticosterone was not different in the groups. Possible mechanisms underlying these behavioral effects were investigated by measuring dendritic spine density in the hippocampus, the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. Apical and basal spine density in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cells of young virgins and multiparous females was higher than in the middle-aged nulliparous females. In the prefrontal cortex, apical spine density of hippocampal cells layer II/III showed a similar pattern as the hippocampus, but no significant differences were present in basal spines. Consistent with anxiety results, there were no significant differences in spine density in the medial amygdala, an area that contributes to anxiety regulation. Thus, the preservation of spine density in parous females may contribute to the mitigation of spatial memory loss at middle age. Because olfaction is a necessary component of maternal behavior and the olfactory bulb shares connections with memory and emotion centers, another cohort of female rats were assessed for olfactory behavior. Using an acuity task and an olfactory habituation/dis-habituation task, olfactory sensitivity was assessed. Anxiety was further investigated by testing closer to weaning of the last litter, using additional anxiety measures and assessing before other behavior test. As in the first study, no difference between groups was found on the EPM. In addition, the latency to approach an object was not different between groups. In contrast, nulliparous middle-aged females exhibited significantly more rearing compared to multiparous middle-aged females and significantly more wall climbing than nulliparous young females. Thus, some effects of parity on age-related increases in anxiety were noted. Corticosterone was lower in nulliparous middle-aged females as compared to multiparous middle-aged females following acute restraint stress indicating that multiparous middle-aged females appear to be more sensitive to restraint stress and exhibited a larger stress response. In olfactory assessments, no differences between groups were found on the acuity task. All groups also significantly habituated to the odor, but, in habituation 3, multiparous females spent significantly less time with the presented odor compared to nulliparous young females. This result suggests that olfactory sensitivity in multiparous females is impaired compared to young nulliparous females. While there were no differences in spine density of the semi-lunar cells in layer II/III of the piriform cortex, mitral cell number in the olfactory bulb of multiparous middle-aged females was significantly lower compared to nulliparous young females. Thus, both behavioral and morphological data suggest that parity may be detrimental to olfactory sensitivity as female's age. Overall, these results suggest that the motherhood experience confers some neuro-protective effects that attenuate some of the negative aspects of cognitive aging. Parity preserves spine density in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex as well as spatial memory in reproductively experienced females as they age. Parity does not appear to attenuate anxiety long-term. The benefits of parity do not appear to extend to the amygdalar or semi-lunar cells of the piriform cortex. Long-term effects of parity on olfactory behavior need further investigation because the current results were inconclusive. In conclusion, parous females therefore may offer valuable insights into the aging process, could serve as a unique and useful model for studying aging in general and for understanding how reproductive experiences influence female aging.
Fostering Adolescents: A Foster Parent Perspective on Raising Adolescents
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Dr. Harriet Goodman
Abstract FOSTERING ADOLESCENTS: A FOSTER PARENT PERSPECTIVE ON RAISING ADOLESCENTS IN FOSTER CARE by William Caine Bell Adviser: Professor Harriet Goodman The U.S. Adoptions and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System indicates adolescents comprise more than 45% of the total foster care population. They are approximately 40% of new placements into foster care but represent less than 20% of children adopted from foster care each year. This exploratory study sought to illuminate the voices of foster parents raising adolescents in their homes. The study identified foster parents' perspectives on (a) policy improvement needs from the State child welfare system, (b) assistance required from the State to improve adult outcomes for adolescents in their care, and (c) training parents needed to be successful in fostering adolescents. Utilizing semistructured interviews, this qualitative study examined the experiences of 17 foster families raising teenagers in family foster care settings. The sample was primarily White and middle class; all informants were King County, Washington, residents. Study participants had an average of 17 years as foster parents and had collectively fostered more than 3,000 youth. Key findings suggest that knowledge of the motivations of foster parents provides useful information to improve recruitment, training, and support strategies for child welfare systems. Foster parents who were successful with adolescents expanded their role beyond the basic requirements of the State system. Consistent, easily accessible respite services were critical to maintaining successful foster parenting for adolescents. Results suggest a need for future research to examine perspectives of other stakeholders to improve adult outcomes for adolescents emancipating from foster care. These include social workers, adolescents in foster care, systems administrators, and birth parents. Additional inquiry should explore the relationships between foster parents and young adults formerly in their care and how these interactions affect their life outcomes. Finally, more exploration would illuminate the potential for child welfare systems and other community institutions to promote resiliency in youth in foster care. This study describes two midlevel theories emerging from the voices of study participants: (a) features of foster parents and child welfare institutions that promote risk or resilience for adolescents aging out of foster care and (b) fostering the future for adolescents in foster care: a path toward hope and improved outcomes.