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Weeding Out the Information: An Ethnographic Approach to Exploring How Young People Make Sense of the Evidence on Cannabis

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013-11-27
Abstract: 

Background

Contradictory evidence on cannabis adds to the climate of confusion regarding the health harms related to use. This is particularly true for young people as they encounter and make sense of opposing information on cannabis. Knowledge translation (KT) is in part focused on ensuring that knowledge users have access to and understand best evidence; yet, little attention has focused on the processes youth use to weigh scientific evidence. There is growing interest in how KT efforts can involve knowledge users in shaping the delivery of youth-focused public health messages. To date, the youth voice has been largely absent from the creation of public health messages on cannabis.

Methods

This ethnographic study describes a knowledge translation project that focused on engaging young people in a review of evidence on cannabis that concluded with the creation of public health messages generated by youth participants. We facilitated two groups with a total of 18 youth participants. Data included transcribed segments of weekly sessions, researcher field notes, participant research logs, and transcribed follow-up interviews. Qualitative, thematic analysis was conducted.

Results

Group dynamics were influential in terms of how participants made sense of the evidence. The processes by which participants came to understand the current evidence on cannabis are described, followed by the manner in which they engaged with the literature for the purpose of creating an individual public health message to share with the group. At project end, youth created collaborative public health messages based on their understanding of the evidence illustrating their capacity to “weed out” the information. The content of these messages reflect a youth-informed harm reduction approach to cannabis use.

Conclusions

This study demonstrates the feasibility of involving young people in knowledge translation initiatives that target peers. Youth participants demonstrated that they were capable of reading scientific literature and had the capacity to engage in the creation of evidence-informed public health messages on cannabis that resonate with young people. Rather than simply being the target of KT messages, they embraced the opportunity to engage in dialogue focused on cannabis.

Document type: 
Article
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The Privileged Normalization of Marijuana Use – an Analysis of Canadian Newspaper Reporting, 1997–2007

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013-03-01
Abstract: 

The objective of this study was to systematically examine predominant themes within mainstream media reporting about marijuana use in Canada. To ascertain the themes present in major Canadian newspaper reports, a sample (N = 1999) of articles published between 1997 and 2007 was analyzed. Drawing from Manning’s theory of the symbolic framing of drug use within media, it is argued that a discourse of ‘privileged normalization’ informs portrayals of marijuana use and descriptions of the drug’s users. Privileged normalization implies that marijuana use can be acceptable for some people at particular times and places, while its use by those without power and status is routinely vilified and linked to deviant behavior. The privileged normalization of marijuana by the media has important health policy implications in light of continued debate regarding the merits of decriminalization or legalization and the need for public health and harm reduction approaches to illicit drug use.

Document type: 
Article
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Sex is Associated with Differences in Individual Trajectories of Change in Social Health after Implantable Cardioverter-defibrillator

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015-02-24
Abstract: 

Social health is a dimension of quality of life, and refers to people’s involvement in, and satisfaction with social roles, responsibilities, and activities. The implantable cardioverter-defibrillator is associated with changes in overall quality of life, but little is known about sex differences in individual trajectories of change in social health.

Methods and Results

We prospectively measured changes in 3 subscales of the SF-36v2 generic health questionnaire (role physical, role emotional, and social functioning), 2 Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System short forms (satisfaction with participation in social roles and satisfaction with participation in discretionary social activities), and the Florida Patient Acceptance Survey before and at 1, 2, and 6 months after implantation. Individual growth models of temporal change were estimated. The scores of the 6 indicators improved with time. The unconditional model demonstrated significant (fixed effects: P<0.05; covariance parameters: P<0.10) residual variability in the individual trajectories. In the conditional model, men and women differed significantly in their rates of change in the scores of 3 of the 6 measures. Although men’s mean scores exceeded women’s mean scores on all indicators at baseline (range of relative mean difference: 11.0% to 17.8%), the rate of women’s change resulted in a reversal in relative standing at 6 months after implantation, with the mean scores of women exceeding the men’s by 4.5% to 5.6%.

Conclusions

Men and women differed in their trajectories of change in social health, both in terms of their starting points (ie, baseline scores) and their rates of change.

 

Document type: 
Article

Divided and Disconnected — An Examination of Youths’ Experiences with Emotional Distress within the Context of their Everyday Lives

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015-08-22
Abstract: 

This paper is based on a qualitative study conducted in a rural community in British Columbia, Canada. Ethnographic methods were used to: (1) to bring youth voice to the literature on emotional distress; and (2) to capture the ways in which context shapes young peoples’ experiences of emotional distress within their everyday lives. Our findings demonstrate how socio-structural contextual factors such as the local economy, geographical segregation, racism, ageism, and cutbacks in health and social service programming operate to create various forms of disconnection, and intersect in young peoples’ lives to shape their experiences of emotional distress.

Document type: 
Article
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Strengthening Population Health Interventions: Developing the CollaboraKTion Framework for Community-Based Knowledge Translation

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2016-08
Abstract: 

Background: Much of the research and theorising in the knowledge translation (KT) field has focused on clinical settings, providing little guidance to those working in community settings. In this study, we build on previous research in community-based KT by detailing the theory driven and empirically-informed CollaboraKTion framework. Methods: A case study design and ethnographic methods were utilised to gain an in-depth understanding of the processes for conducting a community-based KT study as a means to distilling the CollaboraKTion framework. Drawing on extensive field notes describing fieldwork observations and interactions as well as evidence from the participatory research and KT literature, we detail the processes and steps undertaken in this community-based KT study as well as their rationale and the challenges encountered. In an effort to build upon existing knowledge, Kitson and colleagues’ co-KT framework, which provides guidance for conducting KT aimed at addressing population-level health, was applied as a coding structure to inform the current analysis. This approach was selected because it (1) supported the application of an existing community-based KT framework to empirical data and (2) provided an opportunity to contribute to the theory and practice gaps in the community-based KT literature through an inductively derived empirical example. Results: Analysis revealed that community-based KT is an iterative process that can be viewed as comprising five overarching processes: (1) contacting and connecting; (2) deepening understandings; (3) adapting and applying the knowledge base; (4) supporting and evaluating continued action; and (5) transitioning and embedding as well as several key elements within each of these processes (e.g. building on existing knowledge, establishing partnerships). These empirically informed theory advancements in KT and participatory research traditions are summarised in the CollaboraKTion framework. We suggest that community-based KT researchers place less emphasis on enhancing uptake of specific interventions and focus on collaboratively identifying and creating changes to the contextual factors that influence health outcomes. Conclusions: The CollaboraKTion framework can be used to guide the development, implementation and evaluation of contextually relevant, evidence-informed initiatives aimed at improving population health, amid providing a foundation to leverage future research and practice in this emergent KT area.

Document type: 
Article
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From Didactic to Dialogue: Assessing the Use of an Innovative Classroom Resource to Support Decision-Making about Cannabis Use

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-07
Abstract: 

Aims: In most countries, cannabis use rates are highest among young people. Efforts invested in cannabis prevention programmes have had limited success. In part, this may be attributed to a dearth of meaningful discussion in classroom settings on the topic and scarcity of credible resources. Although young people want opportunities to engage in dialogue focussed on cannabis, educators often feel unprepared to facilitate such discussions. Methods: In this knowledge translation study based on recent ethnographic findings, a film was created to explore decision-making and cannabis use among young people. Accompanying curricular materials were developed to support adult facilitators in leading group discussions. Findings: The film-based resource was used in 55 sites across Canada by 48 facilitators (school staff, public health professionals and youth workers); the film was viewed by more than 2500 students. Qualitative content analysis of facilitator evaluations along with telephone interviews revealed the impact of using the innovation. Facilitators adapted the resource in a variety of classes where in-depth discussions occurred, generating critical self-reflection. Conclusions: The diffusion of this drug education innovation underscores the importance of youth engagement in prevention programmes. Prevention approaches that accommodate inclusive and balanced discussion about cannabis use can support young people in their decision-making.

Document type: 
Article
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“Just as Canadian as Anyone Else”? Experiences of Second-Class Citizenship and the Mental Health of Young Immigrant and Refugee Men in Canada

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-11-28
Abstract: 

In recent years, the experiences of immigrant and refugee young men have drawn attention worldwide. Human-induced environmental disasters, local and global conflicts, and increasingly inequitable distributions of wealth have shaped transnational migration patterns. Canada is home to a large immigrant and refugee population, particularly in its urban areas, and supporting the mental health and well-being of these communities is of critical importance. The aim of this article is to report findings from a qualitative study on the social context of mental health among immigrant and refugee young men, with a focus on their migration and resettlement experiences. Informed by the conceptual lens of social context, a thematic narrative analysis approach was used to examine qualitative data from individual and group interviews with 33 young men (age 15 to 22 years) self-identified as immigrants or refugees and were living in Greater Vancouver, western Canada. Three thematic narratives were identified: a better life, living the (immigrant) dream, and starting again from way below. The narratives characterized the social context for immigrant and refugee young men and were connected by a central theme of negotiating second-class citizenship. Implications include the need for mental health frameworks that address marginalization and take into account the contexts and discourses that shape the mental health of immigrant and refugee populations in Canada and worldwide.

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Article
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Assessing the Impacts and Outcomes of Youth Driven Mental Health Promotion: A Mixed-Methods Assessment of the Social Networking Action for Resilience Study

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-05-30
Abstract: 

Mental health challenges are the leading health issue facing youth globally. To better respond to this health challenge, experts advocate for a population health approach inclusive of mental health promotion; yet this area remains underdeveloped. Further, while there is growing emphasis on youth-engaged research and intervention design, evidence of the outcomes and impacts are lacking. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to addressing these gaps, presenting findings from the Social Networking Action for Resilience (SONAR) study, an exploration of youth-driven mental health promotion in a rural community in British Columbia, Canada. Mixed methods including pre- and post-intervention surveys (n = 175) and qualitative interviews (n = 10) captured the outcomes and impacts of the intervention on indicators of mental health, the relationship between level of engagement and benefit, and community perceptions of impact. Findings demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of youth engaged research and intervention at an individual and community-level.

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Article
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Developing Resilience: Gay Men’s Response to Systemic Discrimination

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-04-23
Abstract: 

Gay men experience marked health disparities compared to heterosexual men, associated with profound discrimination. Resilience as a concept has received growing attention to increase understanding about how gay men promote and protect their health in the presence of adversity. Missing in this literature are the perspectives and experiences of gay men over 40 years. This investigation, drawing on grounded theory methods, examined how gay men over 40 years of age develop resilience over the course of their lives to promote and protect their health. In-depth interviews were undertaken with 25 men ranging between 40 and 76 years of age who experienced an array of health concerns including depression, anxiety, suicidality, and HIV. Men actively resist discrimination via three interrelated protective processes that dynamically influence the development of resilience over their life course: (a) building and sustaining networks, (b) addressing mental health, and (c) advocating for respectful care encounters. Initiatives to promote and protect the health of gay men must be rooted in the recognition of the systemic role of discrimination, while supporting men’s resilience in actively resisting discrimination.

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Article
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The Connections Between Work, Prostate Cancer Screening, Diagnosis, and the Decision to Undergo Radical Prostatectomy

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-06-25
Abstract: 

Prostate cancer diagnosis can occur at a time when men’s work and careers are central to their masculine identity, sense of purpose, and family life. In Canada, an aging male population, along with medical advances, has resulted in increasing numbers of working men being diagnosed with, and treated for, prostate cancer. Little is known about the linkages between men’s work and their experiences of prostate cancer. In this qualitative study, 24 Western Canadian men were interviewed to distil the connections between work, prostate cancer screening, diagnosis, and the decision to undergo radical prostatectomy. Data were analyzed using constant comparison in the context of masculinities theory. The findings demonstrated that work was central to men’s masculine identities and afforded financial security, social status, and a sense of personal growth. However, work-related strain and demands were also found to affect participants’ health and distance them from their families. A diagnosis of prostate cancer tended  to diminish the importance of work, wherein participants focused on optimizing their health and strengthening family relations. In deciding on radical prostatectomy as a treatment to eradicate prostate cancer, few men considered the implications for returning to work. The current study findings indicate that clinicians and patients should explicitly explore and discuss how surgery side effects may affect work and career plans during treatment decision-making.

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Article
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