Theses (Exercise Science)

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In September 2007, the name changed from School of Physical Education to School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education.

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    Mechanisms of cerebral artery compliance at sea-level and following acclimatization to high altitude.
    (2024) Underwood, Destiny; Smith, Kurt
    Brain health is dependent on adequate cerebral blood flow (CBF) delivered through healthy compliant vessels that buffer pulsatile hemodynamic stress. Pharmacological interventions at sea-level (SL) and high altitude (HA, 5050m) that increase and lower CBF provide a useful experimental design to assess the mechanisms involved in buffering cerebrovascular hemodynamic stress. We characterized pulsatile hemodynamic damping factors (DFi), as an index of cerebral hemodynamic stress. DFi was calculated from pulsitility (PI) in the internal carotid (ICA) and middle cerebral arteries (MCA) at SL and HA following pharmacological attempts to increase (SL=Dobutamine, DOB; HA = DOB+Actetazolamide, DOB+ACZ) and decrease (Indomethacin; INDO) CBF in healthy lowlander adults (n=12, 4 females). Cerebrovascular hemodynamics in the ICA (flow [QICA], PIICA) and MCA (velocity [MCAv], PIMCA) were measured using ultrasound; DFi=PIICA:PIMCA. Administration of DOB (2-5μg/kg/min) at SL, DOB+ACZ (5μg/kg/min+10 mg/kg) at HA, and INDO (1.45 mg/kg) at SL and HA were performed on separate days in randomized order. No QICA response were observed following DOB, while QICA increased following DOB+ACZ (change+41±24 ml.min-1, p=0.01), and decreased following INDO at SL (change-53± 56 ml.min-1,p=0.04) and HA (change -41± 18 ml.min-1, p=0.004). DOB and DOB+ACZ administration differentially altered HR (change-3 bpm; change+5 bpm, p=0.02), ICAV (change-6 ± 10 cm.s-1; change+10 ± 11 cm.s-1; p=0.04), MCAv (change+0 ± 10 cm.s-1; change+17± 5 cm.s-1), and PIICA (change+0.4 ± 0.2 a.u; change +0.2 ± 0.09 a.u.; p=0.03). DOB reduced DFi (change -0.1± 0.05, p=0.02) at SL. Meanwhile DFi following INDO was significantly lower at HA (change -0.54± 0.3a.u, p=0.02) but not at SL (change -0.26± 0.3 a.u, p=0.18). The results from these two field experiments highlights that reducing CBF via cyclooxygenase inhibition detrimental alters the buffering of cerebrovascular hemodynamic forces. In contrast, at HA when CBF is increased following DOB+ACZ cerebrovascular hemodynamic regulation was preserved.
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    Innovations in In-Shoe Plantar Pressure Measurement Technology for Field Based Quantification of Running Gait
    (2024-02-16) Blades, Samuel; Klimstra, Marc D.; Hundza, Sandra R.
    Although substantial progress has been made in the field of running biomechanics, a significant portion of this research has been confined to laboratory settings. Data collection within the laboratory, while controlled, often lacks the ecological validity necessary to capture the complexities of athletes' performances in their natural training and competition environments. Given this need, in-shoe plantar pressure measurement technology is of primary importance due to its location of measurement and its unique capacity to deliver continuous measurements of both kinematic and kinetic biomechanical data. However, most commercially available in-shoe plantar pressure measurement systems (PPMS) are designed primarily for use in research settings and are thus unsuitable for field-based use due in part, to their high cost, low durability, and cumbersome hardware designs that can interfere with natural running gait. These limitations restrict researchers, athletes, coaches, and footwear designers from using PPMS to acquire valuable biomechanical data in training and competition environments. The development of a wearable, field-appropriate, in-shoe PPMS capable of providing lab-quality pressure data and its derivative biomechanical signals could address the current gap in measurement technology enabling significant advancements in running biomechanics research. The development of such a technology, however, is highly demanding due to many competing requirements such as low weight, high durability, imperceptible form factor, and cost-effectiveness while still providing lab-quality data. The purpose of this dissertation is to present research that could aid in the development of a wearable, field-appropriate, in-shoe PPMS through the following research objectives. The first research objective was to determine the accuracy and performance of a low-cost, fully integrated pressure sensing insole relative to a research-grade PPMS using laboratory-standard equipment on bench-top and in-situ performance tests (Chapter 2). The second research objective was to determine the optimal sparse sensor layout and plantar pressure distribution estimation method capable of measuring the complete plantar pressure distribution with lab quality accuracy (Chapter 3). The final research objective was to develop and determine the optimal foot contact event detection algorithms for use with plantar pressure data to enable highly accurate gait phase analysis (Chapter 4). The results presented in this dissertation demonstrate the feasibility of the development of a wearable, field-appropriate, PPMS that can provide accurate kinematic and kinetic data. The application of these findings can aid in the further development of wearable PPMS, leading to advancements in the field of running biomechanics and the sport of running.
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    Effect of Wearable Activity Trackers and Social Media Use on Day-Level Physical Activity Motivation and Behaviours
    (2023-09-28) Coulter, Rebecca; Liu, Sam
    Background. Physical activity (PA) is integral to maintaining good health yet physical inactivity remains a concern. Wearable activity trackers (WATs) have grown in popularity and research recognizes their potential impact on motivation and PA behaviours, specifically when combined with additional intervention strategies. Research has also shown positive associations between health-related social media use and PA. While both WATs and social media are potentially effective tools for behaviour change, research in this field has focused on between-person associations. Currently, less is known about within-person associations between WAT use and daily PA as well as potential interaction effects with daily health-related social media use. Objectives. 1) Examine differences in day-level situational motivation for PA between WAT users and non-users, 2) Examine within-person associations of day-level situational motivation for PA with same-day health-related social media use, 3) Examine differences in day-level PA intensity, duration, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in WAT users and non-users, and 4) Examine within-person associations of daily PA with same-day health-related social media use. Methods. English-speaking Canadian adults (≥ 18 years) were recruited. Eligible participants completed a baseline survey assessing social media use, WAT status and demographic information. Participants then completed up to three (3) daily surveys assessing daily situational motivation for PA, daily social media use and self-reported PA behaviours for 14 days. Multi-level modelling was conducted. Results. 328 participants were included. Mean age of participants was 27.2 (9.1) years, 67% (n=220) of participants were female and 71.3% (n=234) of participants identified as WAT users. WAT use was associated with greater intrinsic and identified situational motivation before engaging in daily PA. Daily health-related social media use was not found to be associated with greater autonomous situational motivation. The only significant interaction effect for WAT use and health-related social media was found for external regulation (b=0.23, SE 0.11, p = .03). WAT use was not associated with greater daily PA; however, daily social media use was significantly associated with PA intensity (b=0.29, SE 0.10, p < .01) and MVPA (b=3.38, SE 1.52, p = .026). No significant interaction effects were observed between health-related social media and WAT use for any PA outcome. Conclusions. Greater autonomous (intrinsic motivation, identified regulation) situational motivation for PA in WAT users did not translate to increases in PA behaviours. While daily social media use had no association with daily motivation for PA, results showed a significant association between health-related social media use and PA intensity as well as with MVPA. Alone, WATs and health-related social media use may influence situational motivation for PA and behaviours but no additional benefits on motivation or PA were observed when used in combination. Although WATs should be not discounted as an effective tool, health-related social media platforms could exert a more direct influence on actual PA engagement and is a potential positive addition to PA interventions. Future research should continue to examine the type and timing of health-related social media use to have an optimal effect on PA behaviours.
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    Fatigue in Wildland Firefighting: Relationships Between Sleep, Shift Characteristics, and Levels of Stress and Cognitive Function.
    (2023-09-13) Wallace-Webb, Jesse; Stuart-Hill, Lynneth Ann; Coehoorn, Cory
    Rationale: With climate change rising, the impact of wildfires is expected to increase. Wildland firefighting requires constant attention while exposed to harsh working conditions, including long working hours and sub-optimal sleep. These stressors may contribute to heightened stress and impaired cognitive function, which poses a risk to worker health and safety, respectively. Purpose: The current study’s objective was to investigate the associations between sleep, shift characteristics and levels of stress and cognitive function in Canadian wildland firefighters. Methods: Employing a within-subject observational study design, we recruited a geographically diverse sample of 25 wildland firefighters from the British Columbia Wildfire Service (BCWS). Remote data collection occurred between June and September of the 2021 and 2022 fire seasons, including in participants’ homes and at their work respective location. Wrist-worn actigraphy, heart rate variability (HRV), and the psychomotor vigilance task served as objective, mobile measures of sleep, stress, and cognitive function, respectively. Web-based methods were used to collect shift information, as well as subjective reports of stress and fatigue. Linear mixed effects modelling was used to statistically control for inter-individual differences. The influence of participant-factors such as age, biological sex, and years of firefighting experience was also explored. Results: Average sleep and shift durations on fire suppression days were 6.7 and 13.8 hours, respectively (SD: 66 mins; 108 mins). Polar sleep score was found to be the best sleep-related predictor of every outcome measure, except HRV. Poor sleep, according to sleep score, was significantly associated with increased levels of stress and fatigue across all metrics (p<0.01). Later evening bedtimes were non-significantly related to reduced HRV (p<0.1). Shift duration was found to be the best shift-related predictor of every outcome measure. Longer shift durations were significantly associated with increased levels of stress and fatigue across all metrics (p<0.001). No shift characteristic predicted HRV. Cross-level interactions were indicated for two relationships involving shift duration. Physical activity and meditation experience were found to moderate the relationship between shift duration and heart rate such that the strength of association tended to be stronger in individuals without meditation experience and individuals with low physical activity. Trait morning-eveningness, physical activity, and meditation experience all moderated the relationship between shift duration and subjective fatigue such that the association was stronger in morning type individuals, individuals with low physical activity, and individuals with meditation experience. Conclusion: Our findings show that wildland firefighters are often exposed to sub-optimal sleep and long shifts. Importantly, poor sleep and long shift durations were associated with heightened levels of stress and impaired cognitive function, which have implications for worker heath and safety. We contribute novel findings to the field of research on occupational health and safety. We also provide insight and recommendations towards improved fatigue management policy within the BCWS by supporting the development, implementation, and continuous improvement of a practical and scientifically defensible fatigue risk management system.
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    Examination of the Relationships Among Physiological Stress, Iliopsoas Tightness and Non-Specific Chronic Low Back Pain in an Adult Population
    (2023-08-31) Nash, Arielle; Stuart-Hill, Lynneth
    One of the most prevalent forms of pain to be linked to stress is non-specific chronic low back pain (nsCLBP). Existing studies have shown evidence of a link between stress and nsCLBP, muscle tension induced dysfunctional biomechanics and nsCLBP, and stress and muscle tension. However, little research has explored the interconnections among muscle tension, stress and nsCLBP. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between these variables. Two age and sex matched subgroups (nsCLBP, and noPain) with 17 participants each (M = 8, F= 9) were created from an overall participant group (n =39, M = 18, F = 21, 23- 63 y). Iliopsoas tightness was assessed by measuring hip extension angle (HE) with a goniometer on the left (HE L) and right (HE R) side using the modified Thomas test. Heart rate variability was recorded in laying supine position for 12-minutes. A 5-minute segment extracted for analysis of low frequency power (LF; ms2), high frequency power (HF; ms2), LF/HF ratio and the inter-beat intervals of normal N-N sinus beats (SDNN; ms). Cortisol concentration (CORT; nmol/L) was measured using a passive drool sample taken within 2 hours of waking. Each participant was measured for all variables in one session. Significant positive correlations were found between HE and HF (r(37) = .36 - .43, p < .05) and HE and SDNN (r(37) = .27 - .41, p ≤ .05). LF/HF and CORT were negatively correlated to HE L (r(36) = -.36, p = .01). The nsCLBP group measured significantly lower ranges of motion than the noPain group for both the left and right side hip extension, with the largest difference in means of HE between groups found on the right side (8.96o ± 3.10, t (32)= 2.88, p =.003). There were no significant differences in CORT or HRV between the groups. The results demonstrate that iliopsoas tightness can negatively impact physiological stress and vice versa. The findings also provide evidence that individuals with nsCLBP have, on average, less range of motion in hip extension when compared to pain free individuals. In addition, the correlation between muscle tension and stress is stronger among individuals with nsCLBP than among pain-free individuals.
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    Analysis of sleep and sleep hygiene in relation to the 2020 24-Hr Canadian Movement Guidelines among adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities: A Pilot Study
    (2023-05-17) Coxon, Matthew; Stuart-Hill, Lynneth Ann; Temple, Viviene A.
    Background: A variety of physiological and behavioural factors contribute to adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) being at high risk of problems with sleep duration and sleep quality. Sleep problems in this demographic may have been exacerbated by changes and restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Objective: The objective of this pilot study was to determine if collecting field data using smartwatch technology and sleep and physical activity diaries was feasible in this population. Utilizing these methodologies, the main goal was to monitor the sleep duration and sleep quality of adults with IDD and to compare those findings to the recommendations in the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines. Additionally, sleep hygiene behaviours and daily activities were recorded to further understand relationships between sleep and these variables. Methods: Participants (n = 15) were invited to wear a Polar Ignite smartwatch for a 9-day period and instructed how to complete a sleep and physical activity diary. Total sleep, actual sleep, sleep disturbances, and physical activity were recorded quantitatively using actigraphy. Behaviours were assessed using the sleep and physical activity diary. Results: Participants were able to consistently wear the smartwatch and report information in the sleep and physical activity diary. The majority of participants did not meet sleep duration guidelines based on their weekly average, with 9 out of 15 participants outside the guideline recommendations and only 1 participant meeting the guidelines every night. Participants regularly reported problems with their sleep and smartwatches recorded an average of 35:40 minutes (SD = 10:50) of sleep disturbances each night. Screen time before bed was the most common adverse sleep hygiene behaviour. Screen time was negatively, but not significantly correlated with total sleep (r = -0.34, p > 0.1) and actual sleep (r = -0.33, p > 0.1). Average moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was significantly correlated with sleep disturbances. This relationship was negative and moderately strong (r = -0.57, p < 0.05). Conclusions: This pilot study highlights that participants were able to provide seven days of sleep data and adhere to reporting their daily behaviours via a sleep and physical activity diary. Additionally, sleep duration and quality were not adequate in most participants. It is also likely that before-bed screentime had an adverse effect on sleep duration. Physical activity, on the other hand, had a positive effect on reducing sleep disturbances. These results suggest fruitful lines of enquiry, and future research with larger samples of adults with IDD are recommended to understand these relationships further. Researchers should have an ultimate objective of optimizing sleep, which in turn, would improve the health status of adults with IDD.
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    Were adults with intellectual disability (ID) meeting the 2020 Canadian 24-hour movement guidelines during COVID-19? A pilot study
    (2023-04-28) Coats, John Cooper; Stuart-Hill, Lynneth Ann; Temple, Viviene A.
    Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial to reducing the risk of chronic disease and improving overall health and well-being. However, individuals with intellectual disability (ID) experience high levels of physical inactivity, sedentary behaviour, and poor sleep, leading to detrimental health outcomes. This pilot study investigated the extent to which adults with ID met the 2020 Canadian 24-hour Movement Guidelines during COVID-19. This pilot study followed a 9-day observational cross-sectional design and included 15 adults (6F, 9M) between the ages of 20-64 years. Using commercially available wearable technology, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and sedentary time were extrapolated using heart rate, and total sleep time was measured to compare to guidelines. A novel diary subjectively tracked the number of bouts and types of physical activity performed. Of the 15 participants, 11 met the MVPA guideline (73%), 4 met the sedentary behaviour guideline (27%), 7 met the sleep guideline (47%), and only 1 participant met all 3 of the guidelines (7%). There were no significant differences for MVPA, light-physical activity (LPA), and sleep between weekdays and weekend days, or between females and males. Walking, cleaning dishes, and swimming were the most common types of physical activity performed by participants. Spearman’s rank-order correlations showed very low positive correlations between the number of physical activity bouts reported and the number of movement guidelines met, weekly MVPA, weekly sedentary time, sleep, and body mass index. Findings from this pilot study indicate a real need to improve sleep and reduce sedentary time by adults with ID. This pilot study recommends building on the objective and subjective measures used in this study in further research on physical activity and sleep in adults with ID.
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    A Feasibility Study Evaluating an Online Physical Activity Intervention for Young Adults with Low Mood and/or Depression Engaged in Community Primary Clinical Care
    (2023-03-17) Ross, Aleah; Rhodes, Ryan E.
    Background: Exercise is now recommended as a frontline treatment for depression (DS) in Canada. Implementation is an ongoing challenge. Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of a novel, online, physical activity (PA) intervention for youth with DS. Methods: Study 1: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with end-users to evaluate an existing alpha-intervention and inform intervention changes. Study 2: This study was a randomized, feasibility pilot trial of a 10-week, online, PA beta-intervention designed using the Multi-Process Action Control (M-PAC) framework with a waitlist control. Youth aged 19-30 with mild to moderate DS not meeting Canada PA guidelines were recruited via community clinics and social media. Primary feasibility outcomes were recruitment rate, retention rate, and acceptability. Planned analyses included a qualitative thematic analysis, frequency counts and multiple one-way, between-groups ANCOVAs. Results: Study 1: Thematic analysis of seven participants’ interview data determined good initial acceptability, demand, and practicality. Five change ideas were integrated within a beta-intervention for trial. Study 2: Low rates of recruitment (N= 26, 21.7% total; 3.8% clinical), retention (n= 16, 61.5%), and acceptability (n= 11, 64.0%) were found. Secondary outcomes of PA (partial eta squared = 0.55) and DS (partial eta squared = 0.18), as well as tertiary M PAC behaviour variables: behaviour regulation (partial eta squared = 0.46) and identity (partial eta squared = 0.20), all favored the intervention group. Conclusions: Despite initial evidence of acceptability and demand, this trial is not recommended for RCT; rather further pilot research is required including active control group(s) and multi-site approaches to bolster recruitment
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    A Remote Acceptance-Based Affect Regulation Intervention to Promote Physical Activity Among Early Career Professionals: A Mixed Methods Examination of Feasibility
    (2023-01-17) Grant, Stina J.; Rhodes, Ryan E.
    Background: The benefits of physical activity (PA) are well-established, yet much of the population is insufficiently active to reap optimal health effects. Early career professionals (ECPs) comprise one transitional group at-risk for inactivity and therefore a critical target for PA promotion. A web-based intervention utilizing online modules and podcasts represents an innovative delivery format for this time-pressed population; however, theoretical mechanisms of action and corresponding behaviour change techniques need to be honed to effectively increase PA. Affective state (e.g., challenging emotion or mood) is one factor that contributes to an established intention-behaviour gap and is especially pertinent among ECPs who face many demands and stressors. As such, an intervention designed to foster intention translation, strengthen emotion regulation, and mitigate the effect of incidental affect (e.g., work-related stress on PA engagement) to assist with PA initiation is warranted. This study uses a parallel randomized controlled design to explore the feasibility of a web-based intervention grounded in the Multi-Process Action Control (M-PAC) Framework and with a specific focus on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) principles to promote PA among ECPs. Objectives: 1) To examine primary outcomes related to the feasibility and acceptability of a six-week web-based intervention and 2) explore the effects of the intervention on secondary outcomes of interest including moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA), emotion regulation, M-PAC constructs, and ACT constructs (acceptance, valued living, and mindfulness). Methods: Adults aged 25-44 residing in Canada who were employed at least part-time in a desk-based job and identifying as not meeting PA guidelines (<150 min MVPA) were recruited. Participants were randomized into a 6-week online intervention or a wait-list control group using a mixed block design. The intervention group gained access to 6-weekly self-guided online modules incorporating select M-PAC iii iv constructs and integrating ACT principles with an emphasis on affect regulation strategies. Short podcast episodes were offered as a complement to the lesson concepts. Primary feasibility outcomes were descriptive and included recruitment, retention, engagement and adherence. Satisfaction and acceptability were measured via self-report and through qualitative interviews. Secondary outcomes of MVPA, emotion regulation, M-PAC constructs, and ACT constructs were assessed via self-report at baseline and post-intervention at 6 weeks using questionnaires. Effect sizes were calculated using analysis of covariance to control for baseline values. Results: Twenty-six adults were recruited and randomized to the web-based intervention (n=14) and waitlist control (n=12) groups. The recruitment rate was 35%, retention was 73%, engagement was 63%, and satisfaction was high (M = 2.68/4; M = 4.07/5). Qualitative feedback was highly positive and suggestions for intervention improvement were themed around ideas for strengthening engagement, increasing podcast awareness, and addressing minor technical issues. Participants logged in 4.57 times (SD = 3.30) and spent 31.6 minutes (SD = 18.25) per week on the intervention. Participants allocated to the intervention improved MVPA (ηp2 = 0.53), emotion regulation (ηp2 = 0.42), M-PAC action control constructs of behavioural regulation (ηp2 = 0.48), affective attitude (ηp2 = 0.26), identity (ηp2 = 0.11), and ACT-related constructs of mindfulness (ηp2 = 0.47), valued living (ηp2 = 0.20), and acceptance and action (ηp2 = 0.07), Conclusion: The recruitment, retention, and engagement rates were adequate while satisfaction was favourable, suggesting a full-scale randomized controlled trial is feasible with minor modifications. Secondary outcomes showed movement in the hypothesized direction suggesting intervention fidelity. A large-scale study is warranted to establish intervention effectiveness.
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    Predicting Barbell Takeoff Speed from Peak Speed in the Bench Press Throw using a Linear Position Transducer
    (2023-01-05) Henneberry, Molly; Klimstra, Marc D.
    In order to determine if the takeoff speed of a barbell in a bench press throw may be predicted from the peak speed as measured by a linear position transducer, 10 participants with at least 1 year of resistance training experience performed multiple sets of the bench press throw, at increasing loads, on a vertical Smith machine. Predictive validity was assessed by comparing the estimated takeoff speed, to the measured takeoff speed from a linear position transducer. The relationship between peak and takeoff speed was 0.2589e0.897(PS), and the correlation was statistically significant (R2=0.961, p < 0.05). A Bland-Altman plot revealed the 95% limit of agreement ranged from 0.262 m∙s-1 to 0.175 m∙s-1, with a mean difference of 0.043 m∙s-1 (2.92%), and points above and below zero, suggesting no systematic bias exists. This study demonstrates that takeoff speed of a barbell may be predicted from its peak speed in a barbell bench press throw using a linear position transducer. Therefore, practitioners may use peak speed to estimate takeoff speed more quickly in field testing, when the accessibility and availability of equipment necessary to measure takeoff speed may be a limiting factor.
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    Teaching and learning nature-based physical activity in Physical and Health Education: From pre-service teachers to K-12 students
    (2022-08-30) Gruno, Jennifer; Gibbons, Sandra Louise
    The overall aim of this dissertation was to better understand the learning and teaching of NBPA in PHE experiences for teachers and adolescent students. A secondary aim was to better understand the learning and teaching cycle for NBPA reform in PHE. To achieve these aims, I conducted three interrelated studies that explored: (a) how pre-service teachers learn to teach NBPA in PHE, (b) in-service educators’ perspectives on learning and teaching NBPA, and (c) adolescent student experiences with NBPAs in and beyond PHE. These three studies explored the learning cycle from pre-service instruction, to in-service professional development, to, finally, the impact on the students’ learning. Individual findings are discussed in each of the three studies, and two overarching themes are discussed as findings for the overall body of research: (a) NBPA as a conduit for place- and land-based education; and (b) NBPA as an effective form of PHE reform.
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    Beyond the brain: exploring causes and effects of head trauma in combat sports
    (2022-07-04) Follmer, Bruno; Zehr, E. Paul
    Traumatic brain injury, concussion, and subconcussion are different clinical conditions associated with head injury. These conditions share a common origin, mechanical forces directly or indirectly transmitted to the head. In sports, modalities with high exposure to head traumas require further investigation, especially those in which strikes directly to the head are allowed and a determinant of success, such as combat sports. The causes and effects of brain injuries in combat sports such as Mixed Martial Arts, boxing, Muay Thai, and kickboxing are complex and require a comprehensive investigation of many factors. The objective of this dissertation was to explore the main causes that justify combat sports as the main sport sample when it comes to head injury and the effects of chronic exposure to head trauma in this population. Original studies were developed to assess the head injury risk in competition and in training, the level of knowledge of athletes and coaches, and the consequences of chronic exposure to head traumas in the balance function, brain activity, and spinal cord excitability. The risk of a fight ending due to head strikes in competition is directly related to the weight category, and the risk seems to be exacerbated in female athletes. Combat sports athletes are exposed to numerous strikes to the head in simulated fights on a weekly basis in training, when healthcare professionals are absent. During this time that makes up the bulk of exposures, therefore, athletes and coaches are the ones managing potential cases of concussion. However, coaches are not familiar with assessment tools and don’t often seek out concussion knowledge. Alarmingly, coaches, often prior athletes themselves, are the main source of concussion knowledge for their athletes. High exposure to head trauma both in competition and training in addition to iv poor knowledge and behavior are liable to cause consequences in the nervous system. Athletes chronically exposed to head trauma presented subtle deficits in static balance in the most basic human stance, which is the double-leg over a firm surface. Moreover, while the literature consistently shows impairments in brain function, our study expanded the association between head trauma and nervous system deficits to the least studied component of the nervous system, the spinal cord. While athletic training promotes neuroplastic benefits in spinal cord excitability, these were hindered in a sample of athletes chronically exposed to head traumas. The studies in this dissertation demonstrated that athletes in combat sports are chronically exposed to intentional and repetitive head traumas, and that this exposure is likely associated with long-term functional detriments in balance and spinal cord excitability.
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    Perspectives on Exercise Among Individuals with Metastatic Bone Disease and Multiple Myeloma: A Qualitative Interview Study
    (2022-05-05) Miller, Cara; Gaul, Catherine Ann; Stuart-Hill, Lynneth Ann
    Background: Individuals with metastatic bone disease (MBD) and multiple myeloma (MM) are commonly excluded from exercise oncology research due to safety concerns regarding potential skeletal complications including the incidence of pain, impaired mobility, pathological fracture, and spinal cord compression. However, over the past decade research has demonstrated that exercise is not only safe for this population but may offer other therapeutic benefits. To our knowledge, the specific perspectives and needs of individuals with MBD related to physical activity and exercise have not yet been explored. The objective of this study was to identify the attitudes towards and needs related to physical activity and exercise among individuals with MBD and MM. Methods: A phenomenological qualitative study utilizing a pragmatic approach to thematic analysis within a patient-oriented research framework was utilized. Semi-structured interview questions and various questionnaires were utilized to gather this descriptive information. Thematic analysis was completed using the 7-stage Framework Method, including transcription, familiarization, coding, analytical framework, and interpreting the data. Results: Of the 20 volunteer participants (90% male), four were living with MM (20%), and 16 had MBD diagnosed within 2-66 months of the study. Half of the participants did not report feeling any bone pain, with none experiencing severe bone pain, and eight (40%) experienced pain specifically with movement. Most participants engaged in a variety of physical activities and at various intensities, although 25% were found to be sedentary/insufficiently active. Five major themes emerged from the interviews including “meaning of physical activity”, “cancer care ‘exercise is medicine’ support (or lack thereof)”, “motivators to engage in physical activity”, “barriers causing a reduction in physical activity post diagnosis”, and “physical activity program preferences”. These themes encompassed a total of 32 categories and 44 subcategories, creating the overall thematic framework. Discussion: Individuals with MBD and MM do engage in regular physical activity, although differences in the frequency and intensity of exercise exist. Exercise has a recognized and valued role in their lives and health, including bone health. These patients are genuinely interested in some form of exercise program as part of their cancer care. Movement or activity modifications may be required for some based on bony lesions and fracture prevention. Differences may also be related to comorbidities, preferences, and/or abilities. While there is no “one size fits all” approach to oncology-based exercise prescription and implementation among this population, the findings of this study demonstrate that there is a strong patient-identified need to support those living with MBD and MM to engage in regular exercise in order to obtain its physical and psychological benefits.
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    Smartphone addiction and well-being in adolescents: testing the mediating role of self-regulation and attention
    (2022-04-29) Roehrich, Alyssa; Liu, Sam
    Background: Smartphone addiction can have negative consequences such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and a loss of social connectivity. Understanding smartphone addiction is still in its early stages, but self-regulation and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms are two established risk factors. Exploring these risk factors and their impact on individuals’ well-being may help prevent smartphone addiction. Objective: This study aims to (1) explore the relationship between smartphone addiction and psychological and social well-being (e.g., friendship validation and caring, and friendship and intimate exchange) among adolescents. (2) Examine whether self-regulation mediates the relationship between smartphone addiction and psychological well-being and social well-being. (3) Examine whether attention mediates the relationship between smartphone addiction and psychological well-being and social well-being. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted in middle school in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Students (Grade 6-8) completed an online survey that measured smartphone addiction, attention, self-regulation, and psychological and social well-being. A bivariate correlational analysis was used to examine the relationship between smartphone addiction, self-regulation, attention psychological well-being, and social well-being. Multiple mediation analyses were used to perform the mediation between smartphone addiction, attention, self-regulation, and psychological and social well-being. Results: The bivariate correlation showed significant negative associations between smartphone addiction and attention, self-regulation, psychological well-being, and friendship validation and caring. Smartphone addiction did not have a significant relationship with friendship intimate exchange. The mediation analysis showed that attention was a significant mediator between smartphone addiction and psychological well-being (indirect effect= -.102; 95% CI -.142, -.066) and between smartphone addiction and friendship validation and caring (indirect effect= -.056; 95% CI -.093, -.024; direct effect= -.071; 95% CI -.155, .013). Attention did not significantly mediate the relationship between smartphone addiction and the friendship intimate exchange aspect of social well-being (indirect effect= -.005; 95% CI -.026, .016). Self-regulation showed a significant partial mediation between smartphone addiction and psychological well-being (indirect effect= -.016; 95% CI -.034, -.002). Self-regulation did not significantly mediate the relationship between smartphone addiction and friendship validation and caring (indirect effect=-.014; 95% CI -.034, .001) and friendship intimate exchange (indirect effect=-.001; 95% CI -.007, .007). Conclusion: The results indicated that the negative relationship between smartphone addiction and psychological well-being can be partially explained by adolescents’ attention and self-regulation abilities. The negative relationship between smartphone addiction and social well-being (validation and caring) can be partially explained by adolescents’ attention. However, both aspects of social well-being (validation and caring and intimate exchange) were not impacted by self-regulation. This study identified potential mediators that may be used for future interventions to prevent smartphone addiction and promote wellbeing.
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    Physical activity promotion in children using a novel smartphone game: a pilot randomized controlled trial
    (2022-03-16) Lapusniak, Sam; Liu, Sam
    Background: Regular physical activity (PA) is critical for children’s health and wellbeing. Despite the numerous health benefits, most Canadian children do not meet the Canadian PA guidelines. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and social restrictions added new challenges to meeting the PA guidelines. Mobile health (mHealth) technology can be leveraged to promote PA among children. Combining gamification with mHealth interventions has the potential to further improve program effectiveness. Thus, “Draco” was developed as a virtual pet smartphone app to increase PA in children using self-determination theory as a framework to promote intrinsic motivation for PA. Objective: The primary objective is to evaluate the satisfaction and acceptability of the Draco app after four weeks. Secondary objectives include evaluating the preliminary effectiveness of the Draco app to improve average daily steps, average daily MVPA, perceived autonomy for PA, perceived competence for PA, and perceived relatedness to the app. Methods: 43 Canadian children, aged 8-14 years old, not meeting the Canadian PA guidelines of 60min of MVPA per day were randomly allocated to an intervention or control group. Participants in the control group used a step-tracking app for four weeks. Intervention participants were instructed to use the Draco app. Participants completed a baseline and follow-up questionnaire. PA outcomes were tracked using a Fitbit provided to each participant. Intrinsic PA motivation was assessed using an adapted version of the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI). Intrinsic motivation was assessed using the satisfaction subscale. Exit interviews were completed to determine app acceptability. Results: Participants demonstrated high levels of satisfaction and acceptability with the Draco app 2.83 (1.29). Intervention participants increased their average daily steps by 909 (1701). The control group increased their steps by 46 (1507). The Draco app had a small effect on promoting steps, MVPA, relatedness and small effects at increasing autonomy and competence. Conclusion: Participants demonstrated high levels of satisfaction and acceptability with the app. Participants in the intervention group showed greater increases in PA with small effect sizes. Preliminary evidence highlights the importance of tailoring game design to the users. Technical limitations impacted recruitment and user experiences. Additional development time should be taken to stabilize the app and add new game features for a definitive RCT.
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    The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns impacted the sleep and performance of rowers and triathletes
    (2022-02-15) Filice, Peter; Meldrum, John T.
    In early 2020, many businesses (including gyms) were instructed to shut down for an unspecified period of time as a response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus (Casagrande et al., 2020, p.1; Erskine, M., 2020, para.1; O’Brien, 2020, Gyms and Health Centers section, para.1-16). As a result, many people experienced a change in how much they exercised and the quality and quantity of their sleep (Antunes et al., 2020, pp.3,5; Bigalke et al., 2020, p.7; Cellini et al., 2021, pp.113- 115, 117; Constandt et al., 2020, p.4; Pérez-Carbonell et al., 2020, pp.164, 166; Puccinelli et al., 2021, p.6). There was also an increase in the levels of negative mental states, such as anxiety and depression in various populations (Daly et al., 2020, pp.2-5). This study primarily explored changes in exercise and sleep (quality and quantity) as a result of the pandemic in a highly athletic adult population of rowers and triathletes. The data collected from the study also touched upon the changes in the mental states of the participants. A survey was sent across Canada to rowing and triathlon clubs from SurveyMonkey that had both qualitative and quantitative questions to examine these areas of contention. A majority of participants indicated that their sleep quality had worsened as a result the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there wasn’t enough evidence to indicate that the pandemic affected the length of their sleep. The athletic performance of the athletes, as measured by self-report, decreased during the pandemic in an overwhelming number of participants. Finally, although there were many indications of worsened mental health states (such as reports of increased anxiety), there wasn’t a validated questionnaire used to measure changes in mental health concerns in the population related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some mental health concerns that were shared by the participants indicated other causes than only the pandemic. Future research should include more objective measures of sleep duration and anxiety and depression scores to better clarify those hypotheses.
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    Detecting differences in gait initiation between older adult fallers and non-fallers through time-series principal component analysis (PCA)
    (2022-01-04) Yoshida, Kaya; Klimstra, Marc D.; Hundza, Sandra R
    Gait initiation (GI) is an important locomotor transition task that includes anticipatory postural adjustments and the joint propulsion necessary for the first step of walking. Metrics associated with this task are known to change across the lifespan and may provide valuable information for fall risk indication, as falls often occur during transitional tasks. Assessments of discrete variables between fallers and non-fallers at GI have provided insight into differences between groups. However, more complex approaches such as time-series principal component analysis (PCA) may allow the examination of changes in magnitude, pattern, and timing not detectable using discrete comparisons alone. Therefore, this thesis aims to characterize differences between fallers and non-fallers by examining the kinematics and kinetics of gait initiation using time-series PCA. A sample of 56 community-dwelling older adults was recruited for this study and completed five walking trials where GI was measured by two force platforms. PCA of centre of pressure kinematics and kinetics time-series data were used to identify the critical features of the signal, and multivariate analysis of covariance was used to compare the individual loading scores of each principal component for each phase between groups. It was revealed that fallers demonstrated differences in the range of mediolateral movement during weight transfer and forward progression, a greater range of anteroposterior movement in forward progression, and a more gradual rise in vertical forces in the first step, associated with a shorter first step length. These findings point to a tendency for fallers to prioritize stability over forward progression performance, and differences in postural control strategies, compared to non-fallers. Further, the use of time-series PCA helped to highlight differences not detectable using discrete analysis alone.
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    The lived experience of playfulness in the workplace
    (2022-01-04) Allan, Jacqueline; Meldrum, John T.
    Even though playing and playfulness can make us feel happy and joyful, for some adults, it might not feel comfortable to be playful at work, especially if it is not perceived as contributing to productivity. Evidence exists, however, regarding positive outcomes of playfulness in the workplace including openness to new ideas and psychological benefits such as divergent thinking, emotional regulation, strengthening of relationships, enhancement of positive communication skills, and providing resources for dealing with stress (Csikszentmihalyi, 2014; Van Vleet & Feeney, 2015b; West, Hoff, & Carlsson, 2016, 2017). Research on playfulness in the workplace is quite limited and this study was conducted to shed light on this behaviour trait in the context of work. Both interpretive (van Manen, 2014, 2016) and post-intentional (Vagle, 2018) phenomenological analytical frameworks were applied to explore the research question: What is the lived experience of playfulness in the workplace? Through semi-structured interviews eight participants, identified as being particularly playful at work and representing a range of professions, discussed the feelings and attitudes of playfulness at work. During interviews participants described attributes of playfulness as feeling alive, fun, goofy, silly, being light-hearted, and happy. Other playfulness attributes were discussed such as an ecstatic experience, spirit lifting, as a planned strategy for building relationships, a method of welcoming new solutions, and a strategy for overcoming difficult tasks. Data was initially classified into categories and clusters of meanings and these summaries were further consolidated into codes and subcodes. Subsequently, the codes and sub-codes were considered as being continuously interconnected and related, always moving with no clear aspect or reduction to a singular theme or essence. Testimonial evidence emerged that revealed the complexity of this phenomenon and that creating a playful environment at work is not as easy as saying, “Let’s have fun!” Playfulness at work was shown to have interrelated components that are flexible and continuously being produced. The behaviour trait of playfulness in the workplace environment is a unique and complex reality and is relatively unexplored. This study contributes to the ongoing discussion regarding the complex nature of this phenomenon and offers a recognition of the challenges of creating a playful climate at work. By adding to the conversation about possible processes for including playfulness in the work environment, this project illustrates that developing a playful climate at work involves intersecting components and an awareness and consideration of these interrelationships. This exploratory study highlights that there is no precise technique to promote playfulness at work, but that it is a complex and continuously shifting phenomenon potentially generating positive workplace outcomes.
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    Investigating the predictors of exercise identity formation in new exercisers
    (2021-12-20) Paziraei, Sara; Rhodes, Ryan E.
    Background: While the physical and mental health advantages of regular physical activity are evident, 68% of adult Canadians are not meeting PA guidelines. Over the last thirty years, exercise behaviour has been mostly studied under the guise of the social cognitive framework, but emerging findings have shown identity to demonstrate predictive validity with physical activity independent of social cognitions. Exercise identity has been associated with increased frequency, duration, and intensity of exercise behaviour. Despite the bivariate correlation between identity and PA, the literature currently lacks longitudinal research to enhance the understanding of identity formation in new exercisers. Objective: The purpose of this study was to understand changes in identity among new exercisers based on the Physical Activity Self-Definition model and investigate whether exercise identity can predict exercise behaviour variations over nine weeks. Methods: Participants for this study were healthy adults (18-65) who were recruited from local gyms and recreation centres in Victoria, BC. The inclusion criteria were that participants must be new exercisers (new exercisers are those who just decided to exercise regularly or started exercising for less than 2 weeks, before baseline measurement) who were not meeting the Canadian Physical Activity guidelines upon recruitment. The study used a prospective, observational design with four measurement periods across nine weeks. Demographics were collected and exercise identity, affective attitude, commitment, capability and exercise behaviour were measured using questionnaires. The exercise Identity questionnaire was administered at 1 week, 3 weeks, 6 weeks and 9 weeks. Data analysis and longitudinal models used HLM and descriptive were generated with SPSS. Results: Affective attitude and commitment had significant correlations with identity, and identity had a significant correlation with exercise behaviour across all measurement times. Affective attitude, however, was the only significant predictor of exercise identity change over time. Capability was not associated with exercise identity. Furthermore, identity did not predict change in exercise over time. Discussion: This study provided insight into some of the factors that influence shifting exercise identity of new exercisers by testing the physical activity self-definition model (Kendzierski & Morganstein, 2009a) with longitudinal modelling. Based on the present results, it is recommended that health promoters focus on designing enjoyable programs for their novice clients, and provide a positive affective attitude toward exercising during each session. Although, exercise behaviours of the participants improved significantly during the course of this study, exercise identity was not able to predict the variation in exercise behaviour over 9 weeks. Overall, exercise identity formation can be a time-consuming process in adults, however, engaging in identity-related behaviours that are enjoyable can accelerate this process.
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    Examining how major stakeholders within one school district in British Columbia are implementing the sexual health curriculum
    (2021-12-09) Wright, Tara; Gibbons, Sandra Louise
    Sexual health education (SHE) in Canadian schools is a controversial subject. Thirty years have passed since the government mandated that SHE be taught in Canadian schools, yet the subject still struggles to secure its place in education as curriculum design remains stagnated. In British Columbia, the 2016 - 2018 curriculum update relocated health topics, specifically SHE, to physical education (PE), the subject now known as physical and health education (PHE). To date, little research is available on the implementation of SHE curriculum within Canadian schools. This qualitative case study examined how major stakeholders (district, administration, and teachers) are implementing SHE in one school district within British Columbia. Data collection methods included interviews with district staff, administrative staff and teachers as well as district documentation analysis. Data were analyzed using content comparison. Three resulting themes explicated how the school district utilized components of a top-down implementation approach, identified deficiencies in the sustainability of SHE and factors that supported and hindered the implementation of SHE. Comments from all three stakeholders highlighted the value of SHE delivery in schools but where and how to best intergrade this topic remains unclear.