Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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This collection contains digitized SFU theses except for those theses submitted within the last 12 months. If you cannot find the thesis you are looking for please search Recently Submitted Theses as it may be a recently submitted thesis and thus not yet available in Summit.

A study of mindfulness-informed group process: Towards burnout prevention and treatment

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-07-02
Abstract: 

Background: Chronic work-related stress, known as burnout, is damaging to patient’s recovery, healthcare professional’s health and the organization’s functioning. Burnout increases medical errors and healthcare costs through a cascade of effects, including a decrease in work quality, job satisfaction, and retention. Prevention and treatment strategies have focused on the improvement of the organizational environment or building individual resiliency. While important, these have not adequately addressed the vital role groups play in the management of stress. I posit the need for new approaches inclusive of innovative group strategies that bring about the co-regulation of stress in work groups. Mindfulness-informed group process is one such approach that appears to improve group functioning through a combination of safe group development infused with mindfulness. Methodology: To better understand the principles of mindfulness-informed group process, this research used a constructivist grounded theory methodology to develop a mindfulness-informed group theory. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews, relevant scholarly literature collated through systematic reviews, and additional related published materials. Interviews were conducted with mindfulness-informed group leaders, each with extensive training in a mindfulness-informed practice and group therapy. Results: Findings detailed an interlocking process whereby the leader’s mindfulness and the form of the group infuse the interpersonal mindfulness of the group. This creates an interpersonal field where mindfulness is practiced and trained as a skill. Mindfulness-informed group leaders play a vital role in the development of mindfulness-awareness in the group through their openness, genuineness and skillful communication. Interpersonal mindfulness allows for enhanced communication as member’s signal safety facilitated by the skillful articulation of feelings and thoughts in-the-moment within workplace constraints. Members create connections and social support, which appears to allow for increased self-regulation of stress through mindfulness and co-regulation through interpersonal mindfulness. Discussion: Mindfulness-informed group theory offers insights into the regulation of stress and burnout for healthcare leaders and professionals in small group environments. It does so by highlighting the development of safe group environments through the practice of interpersonal mindfulness in work interactions. Burnout is best addressed through improving individual resilience, the development of safe interpersonal environments and organizational efforts to support professionals in healthcare delivery.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Daniel Vigo
Heesoon Bai
Department: 
Health Sciences: Faculty of Health Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Embedded police officers in assertive community treatment: Impacts on service delivery and health-related outcomes

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-07-30
Abstract: 

Background: The deinstitutionalization of patients from psychiatric institutions and deficiencies in community treatment have been linked to a mental health “crisis” in Canadian cities. Municipal police departments have vocalized concerns that they have become 24-hour responders to this crisis, that it is taxing their resources beyond capacity, and that it is fostering a criminal justice response to mental illness. To address these concerns, some municipal police departments have advocated for the creation of Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams with embedded officers. Although the ACT model has been the focus of rigorous scientific scrutiny, modification with the presence of embedded officers remains largely unevaluated. This study seeks to address this knowledge gap through research focusing on the experiences of service providers and consumers. Methods: This research is informed by grounded theory ethnographic methods. Data collection included 47 in-depth qualitative interviews with both service providers (N = 23) and consumers (N = 24) as well as over 90 hours of focused observational fieldwork and informal interviews. Findings: Results reveal that embedding police officers in the ACT model shapes the experiences of service providers and consumers in multiple domains of their treatment interactions. Findings demonstrate the significance of relationships in the ACT model, the importance of secure housing as a component of treatment, service-provider struggles between identities as agents of social control and agents of change, and the impacts of systemic pressures for “flow” in and out of ACT teams. Conclusions: Police-embedded ACT offers a unique adaptation with the potential to address psychiatric, psychosocial, and criminogenic needs. However, findings of this study raise concerns, including coercion, lack of consumer autonomy, and potential blurring between treatment and social control. Police-embedded ACT and the potential power imbalances the model can create call for independent and transparent oversight as well as consumer involvement in future research and evaluation.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Will Small
Emily Jenkins
Department: 
Health Sciences: Faculty of Health Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Test of fermi liquid theory with terahertz conductivity measurements of MnSi

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-07-13
Abstract: 

I present terahertz time-domain spectroscopy measurements of the dynamical conductivity of MnSi, which I compare to Fermi liquid theory at low temperatures and low frequencies. I also describe a new methodology for terahertz time-domain data analysis, developed to perform this comparison, which has higher sensitivity to fit quality than earlier methods. Within the extended Drude model framework, the conductivity scattering rate exhibits quadratic dependence on both frequency and temperature, as expected in Fermi liquid theory. However, the joint dependence of the scattering rate on frequency and temperature deviates from the standard functional form associated with Fermi liquid theory, as observed previously in other materials. I find better agreement with two alternative models, which are also motivated by Fermi liquid theory but that rely on slightly different assumptions. These observations offer a way to reconcile Fermi liquid theory with the observed conductivity of real materials.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
J. Steven Dodge
Department: 
Science: Department of Physics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

The effects of a high-fat diet and bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced inflammation on pregnancy and fetal development in mice

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-06-30
Abstract: 

Inflammation during pregnancy can disturb maternal tolerance of the fetus. In mice, maternal high-fat diet (HFD) induces inflammation without pregnancy complications. I hypothesised that an additional inflammatory insult would exacerbate the immune response, leading to serious complications. To test this, I developed a HFD/LPS model, where female mice were fed a high-fat or low-fat diet prior to mating, and then treated with either bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS), an inflammatory stimulant, or a control. Diet, LPS or a diet-LPS interaction had no effect on fetal and placental parameters or maternal levels of TNF-α, an inflammatory marker (p>0.05). Furthermore, fetal and placental parameters did not differ between HFD mice that were prone or resistant to weight-gain. While diet or a diet-LPS interaction did not affect pregnancy, LPS treatment alone caused complete fetal loss in some mice (p<0.05). These findings suggest that LPS does not exacerbate the inflammatory effects of HFD in pregnant mice.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Julian Christians
Department: 
Science: Biological Sciences Department
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Indigenous and gender informed approaches to understanding health, social, and mental wellness among indigenous people experiencing homelessness and mental illness in two Canadian cities

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-06-26
Abstract: 

Background: Indigenous people are overrepresented in urban homeless populations internationally, a consequence of racialized policies and structural violence. As a step toward reconciliation Canadian and international policies have recently affirmed Indigenous rights to self-determination. The objective of this dissertation was to identify distinct service needs, gender differences and trajectories to homelessness among Indigenous people in Canada, and to undertake an Indigenous-led process to develop recommendations for action. Methods: Data were drawn from the Vancouver and Winnipeg sites of Canada’s At Home/Chez Soi study. Retrospective analyses were conducted on baseline data from both study sites. Transcripts of interviews with Indigenous participants in Vancouver were thematically analyzed. A traditionally-inspired sharing circle was facilitated by an Indigenous elder and comprised of Indigenous people who had experienced homelessness as well as Indigenous service providers. The sharing circle dialogue employed imagery and symbols to express major themes related to the past and possible future of housing and inclusion among Indigenous peoples. Results: When compared to non-Indigenous participants, Indigenous peoples were more likely to have been homeless at a younger age, to experience ongoing symptoms of trauma, and to have young children. Among Indigenous participants, Indigenous women experienced significantly more symptoms of trauma, higher suicidality, and more experience as victims of violence. Indigenous narratives described situations of intense violence, family disconnection and the lasting harms of generational trauma. Recommendations for action affirmed that government action to promote self-determination is essential. Conclusions: This dissertation documents the distinct historical and current character of Indigenous homelessness, and the need to transform colonial practices that oppress Indigenous Canadians, particularly women and young people. Community developed recommendations for action emphasized the urgent need for practices that promote self-determination and strengthen the resurgence of Indigenous culture.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Julian Somers
John O'Neil
Department: 
Health Sciences: Faculty of Health Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Modeling human decision-making in spatial and temporal systems

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-20
Abstract: 

In this thesis, we analyze three applications of human decision-making in spatial and temporal environments. The first two projects are statistical applications to basketball while the third project analyzes an experiment that aims to understand decision-making processes in games. The first project explores how efficiently players in a basketball lineup collectively allocate shots. We propose a new metric for allocative efficiency by comparing a player's field goal percentage (FG%) to their field goal attempt (FGA) rate in context of both their four teammates on the court and the spatial distribution of their shots. Leveraging publicly available data provided by the National Basketball Association (NBA), we estimate player FG% at every location in the offensive half court using a Bayesian hierarchical model. By ordering a lineup's estimated FG%s and pairing these rankings with the lineup's empirical FGA rate rankings, we detect areas where the lineup exhibits inefficient shot allocation. Lastly, we analyze the impact that suboptimal shot allocation has on a team's overall offensive potential, finding that inefficient shot allocation correlates with reduced scoring. In the second basketball application, we model basketball plays as episodes from team-specific nonstationary Markov decision processes (MDPs) with shot clock dependent transition probabilities. Bayesian hierarchical models are employed in the parametrization of the transition probabilities to borrow strength across players and through time. To enable computational feasibility, we combine lineup-specific MDPs into team-average MDPs using a novel transition weighting scheme. Specifically, we derive the dynamics of the team-average process such that the expected transition count for an arbitrary state-pair is equal to the weighted sum of the expected counts of the separate lineup-specific MDPs. We then utilize these nonstationary MDPs in the creation of a basketball play simulator with uncertainty propagated via posterior samples of the model components. After calibration, we simulate seasons both on policy and under altered policies and explore the net changes in efficiency and production under the alternate policies. We also discuss the game-theoretic ramifications of testing alternative decision policies. For the final project, we take a different perspective on the behavior of the decision-makers. Broadly speaking, both basketball projects assume the agents (players) act sub-optimally and the goal of the analyses is to evaluate the impact their suboptimal behavior has on point production and scoring efficiency. By contrast, in the final project we assume that the agents' actions are optimal, but that the criteria over which they optimize are unknown. The goal of the analysis is to make inference on these latent optimization criteria. This type of problem can be termed an inverse decision problem. Our project explores the inverse problem of Bayesian optimization. Specifically, we seek to estimate an agent's latent acquisition function based on their observed search paths. After introducing a probabilistic solution framework for the problem, we illustrate our method by analyzing human behavior from an experiment. The experiment was designed to force subjects to balance exploration and exploitation in search of a global optimum. We find that subjects exhibit a wide range of acquisition preferences; however, some subject's behavior does not map well to any of the candidate acquisitions functions we consider. Guided by the model discrepancies, we augment the candidate acquisition functions to yield a superior fit to the human behavior in this task.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Luke Bornn
Department: 
Science: Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Do adolescent risk assessment tools capture self-reported reasons for desistance? An examination of the content validity of protective factors

Date created: 
2020-08-11
Abstract: 

Although prior research has examined the predictive validity of risk assessment tools, research on their content validity is limited. The present study used a novel approach to assess evidence for the content validity of three adolescent risk assessment tools that include protective factors: the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY; Borum et al., 2006), the Structured Assessment of Protective Factors for Violence Risk – Youth Version (SAPROF-YV; de Vries Robbé et al., 2015), and the Short-Term Assessment of Risk and Treatability: Adolescent Version (START:AV; Viljoen et al., 2014). This study investigated whether the protective factors included on these tools captured information that people with a history of adolescent offending (n = 103) described as relevant to their desistance from offending. Desistance criteria followed previous qualitative research and included self-reported desistance for a period of at least two years. Data was collected from two samples, through an in-person interview study and an online survey study. Participants were asked open-ended questions about their desistance, followed by direct questions based on the specific protective factors on the tools. Responses were coded using qualitative directed content analyses based on the tools’ operational definitions for each item. Findings generally provided support for the content validity of the tools. Responses were also coded inductively to identify additional reasons for desistance that were not captured by the tools. Although four other themes emerged, they may be partially captured under existing items or may be included as case-specific factors. Due to the debate about the distinctiveness of protective and risk factors, this study also examined whether factors are described in terms of the presence of a protective factor or in terms of the removal of a risk factor. Reasons for desistance were primarily discussed in terms of the presence of protective factors. Overall the findings provide evidence to support the item content included on the SAVRY, SAPROF-YV, and START:AV, and highlight the value of considering client/patient perspectives in risk assessment research.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Jodi Viljoen
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Panic! In the suburbs: Investigating moral configurations of risk, neoliberal rationality, and middle-class anxiety in Maple Ridge B.C.

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-07-27
Abstract: 

In this thesis, I examine how the emergence of a homeless encampment in Maple Ridge, British Columbia in 2017 produced a reaction that I argue was the result of a moral panic. I seek to understand how a homeless encampment, as a hyper visible, centralized, and politically active hub for a marginalized community contributed to the sense of urgency around homelessness. I draw upon moral panic scholarship including theories around risk, neoliberal rationality, and the attending hybrid moral configurations produced by both to account for the hyper emotional reaction to homelessness in Maple Ridge. I situate this panic within the development of neoliberal disciplinary mechanisms that compel individuals to internalize ways of being that reimagine their relationship to the state and implore them to manage the conduct of others accordingly. Finally, I argue that this event was produced by a latent anxiety around economic precarity within middle class suburban communities.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Dany Lacombe
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

A de novo nucleoside synthesis and late-stage heterobenzylic fluorination strategy

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-07-30
Abstract: 

Nucleoside analogues constitute almost half of today’s major anticancer and antiviral therapeutics. Despite this, synthetic routes to these valuable molecules have typically relied on carbohydrate starting materials, which can significantly impair efforts in medicinal chemistry. Moreover, nucleoside scaffolds with increased complexity (e.g., C2’ or C4’ substitution) often require lengthy syntheses (up to 18 steps). Toward a goal of streamlining nucleoside synthesis, we have developed a one-pot proline-catalyzed α-fluorination/aldol reaction that generates enantiomerically enriched fluorohydrins that can serve as versatile building blocks for the construction of nucleoside analogues. Most importantly, this process enables access to variously functionalized nucleoside analogues in only 3 steps from commercial starting materials. The development of this process and practical application in rapidly accessing C2’- and C4’- modified nucleoside analogues, locked nucleic acids (LNAs), and iminonucleosides should inspire future efforts in drug design. Similar challenges also obstruct the synthesis of carbohydrate analogues (CAs), another important class of molecules to drug discovery efforts. To streamline CA synthesis, we developed several new proline-catalyzed α-functionalization/aldol reactions for constructing stereochemically rich and densely functionalized aldol adducts. In only 2 steps, these aldol adducts were then readily converted into a structurally diverse collection of CAs including iminosugars, annulated furanoses, bicyclic nucleosides, and fluorinated carbacycles. Incorporation of a fluorine atom can have several profound effects on a drug’s physiochemical properties – including metabolic stability, membrane permeability, and potency. However, the introduction of fluorine into the heterobenzylic position of drug molecules has remained an unsolved synthetic challenge. Towards this goal, we describe the first unified platform for the late-stage mono- and difluorination and trifluoromethylthiolation at heterobenzylic positions. This technology should become a dynamic tool for drug-lead diversification.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Robert Britton
Department: 
Science: Department of Chemistry
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Cannabidiol (CBD) marketing and decision-making: Examining 164 crowdfunding campaigns and 2,165 CBD products for sale online in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-07-14
Abstract: 

The popularity of cannabidiol (CBD) has increased dramatically due to medical perceptions of CBD as a “cure-all”, with over 1,000 products available. Limited research examines how consumers find and decide to purchase CBD for medical purposes. First, to understand motivations for CBD medical use, 164 GoFundMe.com campaigns incorporating CBD for a medical condition are thematically examined. Second, to understand how CBD is presented to potential consumers, 2,165 CBD products on Canadian websites are analyzed. The resulting findings suggest that among crowdfunders, CBD is identified as a treatment through self-directed research, a recommendation by a trusted care provider, or experiential insights from someone associated with or influencing the personal network. Product descriptions frame CBD as a treatment or cure for specific ailments, a natural health product, or a product used in specific ways to achieve particular results. These findings suggest the need for systematic auditing of CBD products for regulatory adherence.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Jeremy Snyder
Department: 
Health Sciences: Faculty of Health Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.