Now showing items 1-20 of 986

    • ‘The Berwyn Way’: A Qualitative Study of the Rehabilitative Model at HMP Berwyn

      Hughes, Caroline; Gorden, Caroline; Prescott, Joanne A. (University of ChesterWrexham Glyndŵr University, 2021-07)
      Typified predominantly as ‘agencies of disempowerment and deprivation’, traditional prisons represent the antithesis of a rehabilitative setting (De Viggiani, 2007a, p.115). As such, the aim of this qualitative study was to explore the physical, psychological, and social implications of HMP Berwyn’s rehabilitative model (The Berwyn Way) from the perspective of prison residents and operational staff. As a single-site project, Berwyn was of particular interest because of its recent introduction to the UK prison estate. Opening in February 2017, Berwyn, a North Walian establishment, housing up to 2106 adult males, opened with an ambitious rehabilitative agenda which promised to normalise the prison setting by focusing on rehabilitative cultures and values, improved spatial design, therapeutic staff-resident relationships and a person-first lexicon which aimed to replace traditional prison terminology with inclusive alternatives. These are but some of the approaches listed under the ‘Berwyn Way’, and in addressing the many others, this thesis discusses the wider implications of Berwyn’s approach, and does so, with accounts from a sample of 20 prison residents and 20 operational staff, using semi-structured interviews. To capture further nuances, triangulation was utilised and included ethnographic observations and detailed fieldnotes. Thematic analysis of the triangulated dataset generated four themes: The Berwyn Way; Lifting the liminal veil between the outside and inside; Managing behaviour, and finally, Actions speak louder than words: rethinking prison language, relationships and interactions. Findings from the study did not support the expectation that Berwyn’s rehabilitative model would be broadly accepted, and instead there was some resistance to rehabilitative change, both from a resident and staff perspective. From a rehabilitative standpoint, there were however areas of notable best-practice, with certain operational areas encapsulating the essence of Berwyn’s rehabilitative model with consistent professional practice, acceptance to Berwyn’s overarching vision and a willingness to challenge the orthodox narrative of punitive imprisonment. The thesis concludes with observations surrounding the implications of the study for rehabilitative penal practice within prisons in England and Wales, and recommendations for future research.
    • Editorial: Geoscience communication - Planning to make it publishable

      Hillier, John; Welsh, Katharine; Stiller-Reever, Mathew; Priestley, Rebecca; Roop, Heidi; Lanza, Tiziana; Illingworth, Sam; Loughborough University; University of Chester; Konsulent Stiller-Reeve & University of Bergen; Victoria University of Wellington; University of Minnesota; Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia; Edinburgh Napier University (Copernicus Publications, 2021-10-27)
      If you are a geoscientist doing work to achieve impact outside academia or engaging different audiences with the geosciences, are you planning to make this publishable? If so, then plan. Such investigations into how people (academics, practitioners, other publics) respond to geoscience can use pragmatic, simple research methodologies accessible to the non-specialist or be more complex. To employ a medical analogy, first aid is useful and the best option in some scenarios, but calling a medic (i.e. a collaborator with experience of geoscience communication or relevant research methods) provides the contextual knowledge to identify a condition and opens up a diverse, more powerful range of treatment options. Here, we expand upon the brief advice in the first editorial of Geoscience Communication (Illingworth et al., 2018), illustrating what constitutes robust and publishable work in this context, elucidating its key elements. Our aim is to help geoscience communicators plan a route to publication and to illustrate how good engagement work that is already being done might be developed into publishable research.
    • The road to ‘local green recovery’: signposts from COVID-19 lockdown life in the UK

      Collins, Rebecca; Welsh, Katharine; University of Chester
      Responding to the conspicuous absence of reference to the local scale in national and global discourses of ‘green recovery’ from COVID-19, this paper articulates a series of interlinked research agendas united by a focus on what a ‘green recovery’ might involve at a local scale within the context of the United Kingdom. We argue that geography as a discipline is particularly well placed to contribute to theoretical and practical framings of ‘green recovery’ as manifested at and through a range of scales, including the micro (individual), meso (household) and what we term ‘meso+’ (neighbourhood). Specifically, we signpost what might be considered ‘green shoots’ worthy of urgent empirical investigation – shifts in everyday life and practice catalysed by COVID-19 and with the potential to underpin longer-lasting transformations towards socially, economically and environmentally sustainable localities.
    • Geography and Virtual Reality

      Bos, Daniel; University of Chester (Wiley, 2021-08-16)
      Whilst virtual reality (VR) has a long history, recent technological advancements, increased accessibility and affordability have seen its usage become widespread within western consumer society. Despite the relevance of VR to Geography, these more recent developments have escaped scholarly attention. This paper takes a critical perspective on the development of VR and its varied applications, and how emerging theoretical debates within cultural and digital geography can critically attend to the social and cultural implications of VR technologies. The paper begins by considering how VR spaces are imagined and communicated to publics in ways that promote popular understandings of, and desires for, virtual spaces. Next, the paper critically addresses the cultural politics of VR content, particularly drawing attention to the socio-spatial differences evoked through VR. The paper goes on to argue for the need to consider VR through the concept of interface as a way of critically attending to the broader techno-socio relations and the embodied spatial encounters they produce. Finally, some methodological implications for thinking with and through VR are outlined.
    • Playful Encounters: Games for Geopolitical Change

      Bos, Daniel; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2021-12-07)
      Bringing together literatures on play, (video) games, and alter- (native) geopolitics this paper explores how digital games offer playful encounters that challenge popular understandings of geopolitics. While geographical scholarship has exposed the ways video games promote geopolitical and militaristic cultures, this paper concentrates on the disruptive qualities of play. More specifically, the paper focuses on This War of Mine (2014), a game which fosters playful encounters that encourage the player to reflect on the everyday consequences of conflict in urban spaces and their civilian populations. Drawing on an analysis of player reviews of the game, this paper demonstrates how play shapes imaginaries of the geopolitical context(s) of urban conflict and stimulates players to reflect on their attitudes towards violence. In doing so, the paper critically demonstrates how digital games offer important cultural outlets in encountering alternative understandings of geopolitics.
    • Recovery capital in the context of homelessness, high levels of alcohol consumption, and adverse significant life events

      Ross-Houle, Kim; Porcellato, Lorna; University of Chester; Liverpool John Moores University (Taylor and Francis, 2021-12-16)
      Homelessness and heavy alcohol consumption are increasing global public health concerns. Homelessness is associated with poorer health outcomes, shorter life expectancy, and are more likely to engage in health risk behaviours. High levels of alcohol consumption intersect with the cause and effect of homelessness making this an important consideration for research. This is explored through a theoretical lens of recovery capital, referring to the resources required to initiate and maintain recovery, and is applied to both heavy alcohol consumption and homelessness. Life history calendars were utilised alongside semi-structured interviews to explore the impact that adverse life events had on alcohol consumption and living situations with 12 participants in contact with homelessness services in North-West England. The findings consider how social, health, and structural-related adverse life events were both a cause and effect of homelessness and increasing consumption of alcohol, which were further exacerbated by a lack of recovery capital. The authors argue for further consideration relating to the intersection of homelessness and high levels of alcohol consumption in relation to recovery capital. The findings have implications for policy and practice by demonstrating the need for relevant services to help individuals develop and maintain resources that will sustain recovery capital.
    • Nationalism, popular culture, and the media

      Bos, Daniel; University of Chester (Routledge, 2021-11-16)
      The media and popular culture play an integral role in how the idea of the nation has been developed, contested and contextualized over space and time. After acknowledging the media’s part in creating a sense of national community, this chapter reflects on the everyday geographies in which the nation is (re)produced via a range of media. While geographers have focused on the discursive construction of the nation in popular culture and the media, here I explore how nationalism is experienced, embodied and performed through everyday mediated encounters. I then consider the paradoxical relationship between globalization and nationalism and the impact of a society that is more and more digital. More specifically, I explore how the internet is increasingly involved in the everyday reproduction of nations at a range of scales. By drawing attention to the role of social media, I highlight the mobility of the “national image,” the weaponization of affect, and the transnational ties that have been forged and are reworking understandings of national identity and nationalism in the 21st century. To conclude, I offer future theoretical and methodological approaches in which geographers can contribute to understanding the mediated encounters of the nation and nationalism.
    • ‘Every partnership [… is] an emotional experience’: Towards a model of partnership support for addressing the emotional challenges of student-staff partnerships

      Healey, Ruth L; France, Derek; University of Chester
      The practice of student-staff partnerships is fundamentally about relationships. As new partnerships are formed, and existing power relations challenged, people experience a range of emotions. Despite their importance, there are few studies that have systematically researched the emotional challenges of student-staff partnership. Through a humanistic approach focused on analysing participants experiences of partnership we found that varying degrees of hope, pride, anxiety, and frustration, were experienced by both students and staff in a curriculum development partnership project. We argue that effective partnership practices should recognise and support the emotional wellbeing of student and staff partners. Drawing upon the effective characteristics of partnership support found in this research and the broader literature, we propose a flexible support model drawing on: 1) peer support, 2) mentoring, and 3) independent reflective writing. Partnership practice that actively supports the emotions involved in working in partnership may encourage more partnerships in the future.
    • Mirror self-recognition in gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla): A review and evaluation of mark test replications and variants

      Murray, Lindsay E; Anderson, James R; Gallup, Gordon G, Jr; University of Chester; Kyoto University Graduate School of Letters; University at Albany, State University of New York
      Mirror self-recognition (MSR), widely regarded as an indicator of self-awareness, has not been demonstrated consistently in gorillas. We aimed to examine this issue by setting out a method to evaluate gorilla self-recognition studies that is objective, quantifiable, and easy to replicate. Using Suarez and Gallup’s (1981) study as a reference point, we drew up a list of 15 methodological criteria and assigned scores to all published studies of gorilla MSR for both methodology and outcomes. Key features of studies finding both mark-directed and spontaneous self-directed responses included visually inaccessible marks, controls for tactile and olfactory cues, subjects who were at least five years old, and clearly distinguishing between responses in front of versus away from the mirror. Additional important criteria include videotaping the tests, having more than one subject, subjects with adequate social rearing, reporting post-marking observations with mirror absent, and giving mirror exposure in a social versus individual setting. Our prediction that MSR studies would obtain progressively higher scores as procedures and behavioural coding practices improved over time was supported for methods, but not for outcomes. These findings illustrate that methodological rigour does not guarantee stronger evidence of self-recognition in gorillas; methodological differences alone do not explain the inconsistent evidence for MSR in gorillas. By implication, it might be suggested that, in general, gorillas do not show compelling evidence of MSR. We advocate that future MSR studies incorporate the same criteria to optimize the quality of attempts to clarify the self-recognition abilities of gorillas as well as other species.
    • Biocrusts and catchment asymmetry in Tabernas Desert (Almeria, Spain)

      Lázaro, Roberto; Calvo-Cases, Adolfo; Rodriguez-Caballero, Emilio; Arnau-Rosalén, Eva; Alexander, Roy; Rubio, Consuelo; Cantón, Yolanda; Solé-Benet, Albert; Puigdefábregas, Juan; Estacion Experimental de Zonas Aridas (CSIC); Universitat de Valencia; Universidad de Almeria; Manchester Metropolitan University; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2021-10-15)
      Catchment asymmetry is a fairly frequent phenomenon on a global scale but the main causes leading to its formation are still not well understood. Where the intervention of structural or tectonic causes is not relevant, asymmetry seems to result from differential erosion between opposite slopes that flow into the same channel, which is frequently associated with contrasted biocrust and/or vegetation covers. Biocrusts are known to be important surface stabilizing agents. However, their geomorphological consequences at the landscape scale are little known. In this study we combined field measurements with digital elevation models and image analysis to determine whether catchment asymmetry in the Tabernas Desert (semi-arid SE of Spain) is a local or general phenomenon, and to explore the main factors determining asymmetry occurrence, magnitude and direction. We pay special attention to the role of biocrusts. We found that catchment asymmetry is a very common phenomenon in the area; only 25% of the catchments are symmetrical, while approximately 40% present asymmetry with the relatively shady hillslope having a lower gradient, and 35% with that hillslope being the steeper. Solar radiation reaching the soil, surface area and channel gradient in the considered catchment stretch, as well as the total catchment area upstream from the lower point of the considered stretch were the main abiotic factors controlling the formation of the asymmetry. Microclimatic differentiation due to differences in radiation input caused by the uneven topography favoured the relative stabilization of the shadier hillslope and its colonization by biocrusts and later by plants. The effect of the biocrusts and vegetation protection against water erosion on shadier hillslopes is often stronger than that of the set of abiotic factors and gives rise to asymmetries with lower gradients in the shady hillslope by promoting lateral displacement of the channel. We hypothesised that the opposite pattern, with the sunnier hillslope having a lower gradient, occurs when abiotic factors control the development of asymmetry formation. In these conditions, the effect of biocrusts and plants would act in the opposite direction. We propose a conceptual model of feedbacks generating catchment asymmetry, with biocrust playing a crucial role.
    • Using virtual reality (VR) for teaching and learning in geography: fieldwork, analytical skills, and employability

      Bos, Daniel; Servel, Miller; Eloise, Bull; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2021-03-22)
      This article outlines how Virtual Reality (VR) technologies, software and content can be used as a resource for teaching and learning in Geography. Drawing on the authors’ first-hand experiences of using VR for undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, we explore firstly how VR can enhance the development of fieldwork observational techniques, knowledge and understanding of place, prior to entering the field. Secondly, we show how VR can be used to enable students to develop critical analytical skills in relation to emergent visual technologies and the wider implications VR has for the representation of people, places and landscapes. Finally, the article will attend to the ways VR and Augmented Reality (AR) – due to its growing industrial application – can offer important opportunities for the development of unique practical employability skills which can be applied to the geovisualization of data and environments enhancing graduate career prospects.
    • Research Evaluating Staff Training Online for Resilience (RESTORE): Protocol for a single-arm feasibility study of an online acceptance and commitment therapy intervention to improve staff wellbeing in palliative care settings

      Finucane, Anne; Hulbert-Williams, Nicholas J.; Swash, Brooke; Spiller, Juliet A.; Lydon, Brigid; Gillanders, David; University of Edinburgh; Marie Curie Hospice Edinburgh; University of Chester (AMRC Open Research, 2021-11-18)
      Background Palliative care workers commonly experience workplace stress and distress. General stressors include unmanageable workloads and staff shortages. Stressors specific to palliative care include regular exposure to death, loss and grief. The COVID pandemic exacerbated exhaustion and burnout across the healthcare system, including for those providing palliative care. Evidence based psychological support interventions, tailored to the needs and context of palliative care workers, are needed. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an established form of cognitive behavioural therapy which uses behavioural psychology, values, acceptance, and mindfulness techniques to improve mental health and wellbeing. ACT is effective in improving workplace wellbeing in many occupational settings. Our study examines the acceptability and feasibility of an online ACT-based intervention to improve mental health and wellbeing in staff caring for people with an advanced progressive illness. Methods A single-arm feasibility trial. We will seek to recruit 30 participants to take part in an 8- week online ACT-based intervention, consisting of three synchronous facilitated group sessions and five asynchronous self-directed learning modules. We will use convergent mixed methods to evaluate the feasibility of the intervention. Quantitative feasibility outcomes will include participant recruitment and retention rates, alongside completion rates of measures assessing stress, quality of life, wellbeing, and psychological flexibility. Focus groups and interviews will explore participant perspectives on the intervention. We will run a stakeholder workshop to further refine the intervention and identify outcomes for use in a future evaluation. We will describe participant perspectives on intervention acceptability, format, content, and perceived impact alongside rates of intervention recruitment, retention, and outcome measure completion. Conclusion We will show whether a brief, online ACT intervention is acceptable to, and feasible for palliative care workers. Findings will be used to further refine the intervention and provide essential information on outcome assessment prior to a full-scale evaluation.
    • Advancing rural as ‘something more than a human estate’: Exploring UK sheep-shaping

      Williams, Fiona; Halfacree, Keith; Swansea University; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2021-10-01)
      Periodically, the topic of defining rural is addressed within rural social science scholarship but done so in overwhelmingly human terms. This paper engages with this observation, arguing the simple but axiomatic point that the rural is not solely a human taxonomic creation but expresses a space that integrally and intimately involves the more-than-human. Consequently, the latter should be strongly, firmly and richly represented up-front within the defining rural debate. Adopting an established if, to date, still anthropocentricised three-fold model of rural space, the paper argues that each dimension – localities, representations, lives – feature the more-than-human in both passive and active ways. Overall, bringing more-than-human perspectives much further to the fore consolidates the idea of rural as inherently co-produced, a ‘baroque assemblage’ containing many more-than-human living things. Accounts of animals within such a rural must recognise their emplacing from a diversity of foci, interests and consequences. The paper begins to introduce details of this diverse co-production with respect to one ubiquitous rural animal, the sheep. It illustrates the ‘ensheeping’ of rural localities, representations and lives, with the practical significance of this brought together and drawn out through two rival accounts of sheep within the Lake District National Park. Finally, the seemingly modest call for rural studies to embrace animals more fully is argued to be enhanced today by ongoing and potentially imminent experiences impacting strongly on rural places.
    • Moving to remote working: a guide for traditional lab-based experiments

      Vaughan, Sarah; Holt, Glenys; Scudds, Annie; Wilkinson, Heather; Lasikiewicz, Nicola; University of Chester
      The aim of our study was to test whether we could move a traditional laboratory-based experiment online without reducing the reliability and validity of the results. To this end, we recorded participants facial expressions using an emotional rating task in which participants rated the unpleasantness of emotional stimuli, as well as the strength of their emotional reaction. We adopted a 2 (group: online versus face-to-face) *2 (conditions: attend and reappraisal) design. Here, we presented a recount of our reflections and decisions made during the process of designing this study to provide readers with 1. the opportunity to reflect on the participant experience in navigating the traditionally laboratory-based paradigm online and without assistance, 2. a discussion of the experience of conducting traditionally laboratory-based experimental research in an online environment and 3. a consideration of the future of experimental psychological methods in the context of increased need for online-based research. We would recommend considering the wider contextual, the unknown or known extraneous variables when developing a design.
    • A systematic review of quantitative studies capturing measures of psychological and mental health for Gay and Lesbian individuals of faith

      Wilkinson, Dean; Johnson, Amy; University of Chester; University of Worcester
      The association between religion or spirituality and psychological concepts (e.g., subjective well-being), have received frequent support, however, recent evidence has noted that cultural factors may affect this relationship. The consideration of these concepts for sexual orientation minorities has been neglected in previous years and now a body of evidence is beginning to develop around concerns for this population, with some speculation for the changes of ‘stressors’ for future generations and the implication on mental health outcomes. Lesbian and Gay individuals of faith (or spirituality), are susceptible to unique ‘stressors’, whilst others suggest religion can provide a support network providing protective health benefits. This review explores the evidence for psychological measures associated with LGB people of faith. The evidence suggests following a religion or faith can provide good social support, reducing health risks, however, can have negative implications for mental and physical health such as, internalised homophobia, anxiety and rejection.
    • Ethically sensitive research with ‘children’ and ‘adults’ in custody

      Price, Jayne; University of Chester
      This chapter draws on data from young men interviewed on two occasions; first as ‘children’ aged 17 years within juvenile Young Offenders’ Institutions (YOIs); and then again as ‘adults’ aged 18 years within young adult/adult prisons about their experiences of transitions. Ethical reviews typically reflect age-determined constructions of child/adult status and those aged under 18 years are deemed to be more ‘vulnerable’, thus attracting more scrutiny from research ethics committees (Economic and Social Research Council [ESRC] 2020). This concern heightens the methodological difficulties of prison research, as incarceration renders children ‘doubly vulnerable’ (Jacobson and Talbot 2017). Such institutions may be obstructive and access must be obtained from a series of gatekeepers. Negotiating the balance between participants’ rights and their best interests (Heptinstall 2000, Thomas and O’Kane 1998), along with gatekeepers’ priorities can be challenging. This chapter outlines how tricky ethical tensions were balanced with participants’ best interests in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (UN 1989). Despite the difficulties encountered, the researcher (JP) took the view that there would be ‘ethical implication[s] of NOT conducting the research’ (Girling 2017, p. 38). The chapter offers recommendations for how researchers might conduct ethically sensitive research with similar cohorts of young people.
    • Theorising Cycling

      Cox, Peter; University of Chester
      Any academic study uses underlying assumptions about the object of study, appropriate methods and analytical tools. This chapter explores some of the key questions and approaches that have arisen in cycling studies over the last two decades, ranging from realist to constructivist analysis. It offers a brief introduction to some of the most important strands of social theory applied to cycling studies. In particular, the chapter traces the politics of knowledge as it applies to cycling studies and the implications of contrasting perspectives as they relate to practical application.
    • Introduction: Cycling and Society

      Cox, Peter; University of Chester
      Section introduction overview of themes and discusisions
    • 'Stress and sex: a complicated relationship’ Declining sexual functioning as a predictor for attritional stress and fatigue (ASF), resilience injury and maladaptive behaviours in a sample of British Army soldiers

      Reeves, Andrew; Buxton, Christina; Prentice, Julie-Anne (University of Chester, 2021-10)
      With high-tempo work, frequent separation and operational commitments, military personnel are at greater risk than most of developing a broad range of mental health concerns. Whether at war or in peacetime, soldiers are trained to be ready for combat. Such conditioning is responsible for teaching soldiers how to override their flight or fight response; to run towards danger when human instinct seeks to run away. So, whether soldiers are engaged in combat or training for readiness, the destabilising impact of overriding innate biological functions can impact on how a soldier recognises and manages stress. Stress is known to contribute to a number of physical and psychological functions that impact on sexual desire and performance, offering sexual functioning as a potential marker for resilience injury and wider mental health concerns. Aims & Objectives Psychological support for intimate relationships is particularly vital for soldiers and their partners and may influence recovery rates from the unique mental demands of the military. This study sought to understand if declining sexual functioning could be an early predictor of problematic stress and maladaptive behaviours. It aimed to define clear at-risk groups for increased stress to help clinicians target assessment for those most susceptible to resilience overwhelm and mental health concerns. Research questions The study focused on 6 main research questions related to stress, sexual functioning, online sexual activity (OSA) and compulsive sexual behaviour (CSB). Results hoped to demonstrate the correlation between stress and sexual function and to define areas of additive stress that may impact on wellbeing. Clinical aims sought to highlight at-risk groups and protective factors to support psychoeducation, assessment protocols and treatment pathways. Method A mixed-methods approach allowed for the collection of quantitative statistical data via a scored and validated survey providing correlation information on the four main variables: stress, sexual functioning, online sexual activity and compulsive sexual behaviours. A qualitative component collected personal statements, observations and remarks to provide context for the statistical results. With equal priority, this created a snapshot of soldier experience in relation to stress and sex which could help the identification of those soldiers at greater risk of psychological distress. The study was primarily underpinned by the theoretical framework of Bancroft and Janssen’s Dual Control Model. This model centres on the balance between an individual’s inhibitory and excitatory processes in the central nervous system. With particular relevance to this study and soldier behaviour, the Dual Control Model considers how excitation and inhibition are impacted by stress and how individual response may impact on sexual behaviour. Where inhibition is elevated, some may experience difficulties with sexual interaction related to performance anxiety for example and where excitation is increased, individuals may feel less restricted and may be willing to take more sexual risks. Results Results demonstrated a clear link between increased stress and declining sexual function offering psychosexual assessment as a useful diagnostic tool for psychological distress. Through statistical analysis, 7 groups were identified as most at risk of resilience overwhelm and poor stress appraisal with declining sexual functioning. These groups included soldiers who lived alone, those who lived overseas with their partners, Other Ranks aged 26-30 years old, Non-Commissioned Officers aged 26-30 years old, Commissioned Officers aged over 40 years, soldiers that had served between 1-5 years and those personnel who had served over 20 years. Soldiers in more than one of these 7 groups were likely to experience the highest levels of stress and declining sexual functioning, with up to 83% of sexual function variance attributed to stress. Within this study, predictive factors were categorised from personal narratives. At-risk soldiers were identified as either being exposed to greater disconnection or isolation, currently experiencing a life stage transition or within a period of increased occupational demand. Soldiers currently at relationship pressure points such as starting or ending an intimate relationship did not demonstrate a significance correlation between elevated stress and declining sexual function. Over 85% of soldiers admit to using the internet for sexual activity; however, the majority were at levels that were considered to be low risk. Personnel reported preferring to seek out human connection. Increased OSA was not correlated with loss of desire but it was strongly associated with a decline in sexual satisfaction. Compulsive sexual behaviour was not generally problematic. Results demonstrated that soldiers in this study were more likely to have increased sexual inhibition resulting in sexual difficulties rather than elevated excitation leading to risk taking behaviour. There were marked differences between male and female soldiers including the experience of stress, sexual function and online sexual activity, suggesting that psychoeducation and healthcare assessment should be appropriately targeted with the consideration of sex-specific interventions. More research on the psychological and physiological differences between male and female soldiers is urged. Implications for practice Whilst poor sexual functioning can be influenced by many factors, this study has concluded that sexual difficulties are positively correlated with increased stress within the British Army. Therefore, questions on sexual functioning could offer an important measure of physical, cognitive and emotional health. Psychosexual training would enable those clinicians that support at-risk soldiers presenting with stress symptoms to explore sexual functioning and behaviour as part of their patient wellbeing assessment. Soldiers could benefit from greater awareness of how personal agency and control can diminish the harmful effects of stress, whilst leaders should continue to be mindful of their direct impact on soldier wellbeing. Relationships form part of systemic resilience and contribute to soldier wellbeing, happiness and key life decisions. Army policy makers should be aware of the implications of soldier overwhelm and relationship strain in relation to financial, operational and retention decisions
    • Journey to wholeness: The psychotherapeutic role of Celtic spirituality

      Gubi, Peter; West, William; Smith, Andrew J. (University of Chester, 2021-06)
      Celtic spirituality, the Christian spirituality of Britain and Ireland which flourished in the middle of the first millennium CE, has enjoyed a modest revival at the turn of the current millennium. Existing literature focusses on theology, history and culture. This research asks the original question: “what is the psychotherapeutic role of Celtic spirituality?” It aims: to contribute to wider literature on spirituality and counselling by going deeper than previous studies of ineffable experiences through creative forms of inquiry; to find out whether and how Celtic spirituality helps participants’ wellbeing, growth and alleviation of distress; and to look psychotherapeutically at a form of spirituality, which as a holistic worldview that is optimistic about human nature, has some common ground with person-centred theory. Ten people pursuing an interest in Celtic spirituality each made a collage to represent their experience prior to, and as a starting-point for, a semi-structured interview. The data analysis comprised four stages: collage inquiry (beginning with participants’ own explanation of their picture and its elements); immersive listening to the interview recordings, briefly noting the content of each interview and what lay at the edge of their awareness; poetic inquiry, using symbolic or resonant words and phrases from each interview to re-tell the experience; and interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) to find themes. This original methodology of holistic qualitative inquiry concluded with summative work: a collage of the collages, word clouds of the immersive listening notes and a summative poem, “Journey to wholeness (God enfolding me, God in everything)”, comprising words and phrases from every interview, capturing every IPA theme and key words from the word clouds. The overarching, unifying IPA theme reveals Celtic spirituality to be an experience of integration and wholeness. This aligns with the actualising and formative tendencies of person-centred theory. From twenty-three subordinate themes I abstracted five superordinate themes, which also align well with aspects of person-centred theory: loving others and connection through community both particularly evidence unconditional positive regard and the latter also empathic understanding; feeling “at one with creation”, participants strongly experience the actualising and formative tendencies; being self both in the moment and through life both exhibit congruence.