Category / Research communication

New research paper published by PhD student Hina Tariq

PhD student Hina Tariq, currently undertaking the Clinical Academic Doctorate program at the Department of Social Sciences and Social Work (SSSW), published a new paper titled, “Factors associated with joint contractures in adults: a systematic review with narrative synthesis” Open Access in the journal of Disability and Rehabilitation. This paper is co-authored by her academic supervisors, Professor Sam Porter, Dr Desiree Tait and Dr Kathryn Collins, clinical supervisor, Joel Dunn (Dorset Healthcare University Foundation NHS Trust), and her formal colleague from Pakistan, Shafaq Altaf.

Summary: The review presents latest evidence on factors associated with joint contractures, which are essential to guide clinical practitioners and non-experts in identifying and managing the risk associated with joint contractures. Clinical interventions based on the timely identification of risks related to joint contractures in vulnerable adults can potentially prevent or ameliorate their development or progression.

The review has already crossed over 300 reads. The full text can be accessed by following this link: Full article: Factors associated with joint contractures in adults: a systematic review with narrative synthesis (tandfonline.com)

 

 

Conversation article – Jake Daniels: how homophobia in men’s football is changing

Dr Jayne Caudwell writes for The Conversation about footballer Jake Daniels becoming the UK’s only openly gay male professional footballer…

Jake Daniels: how homophobia in men’s football is changing

Jayne Caudwell, Bournemouth University

Blackpool forward Jake Daniels’ announcement that he is homosexual makes him the UK’s only active, openly gay, male professional footballer.

Daniels, aged 17, described the move as a “relief”, and was met with support and praise from key figures in men’s football and beyond, including Gary Lineker, Harry Kane and Sir Ian McKellen. He was also praised by national figureheads Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince William, who said Daniels coming out will “help break down barriers”.

A head shot of UK footballer Justin Fashanu smiling.
Justin Fashanu.
Wikipedia/7sur7, CC BY

The first UK professional footballer to come out was Justin Fashanu in 1990. The support for Daniels has been a stark contrast to the homophobic responses to Fashanu, who killed himself in 1998 at the age of 37.

Sport in the UK has long been rife with homophobia and considered an unsafe place for LGBT+ players. In 2017, a House of Commons report concluded that “despite the significant change in society’s attitudes to homosexuality in the last 30 years, there is little reflection of this progress being seen in football.”

Men’s professional football is the last of the UK’s three most popular sports, following rugby and cricket, to have an active, elite professional player come out. Rugby player Gareth Thomas came out in 2009 and cricketer Steven Davies came out in 2011.

This lagging behind is no surprise given the vile homophobic chanting at some of England’s best players such as Sol Campbell, and the reaction to Fashanu in the 1990s. Indeed, there are some early signs of homophobic hate in response to Daniels that have been condemned by LGBTQ+ rights group Stonewall.

Still, over the last couple of decades, changing cultural attitudes and campaigning efforts by organisations and fans have raised awareness of LGBTQ+ participation in sport.

The Justin Campaign, established in 2008 by a Brighton-based grassroots organisation, was one of the first official campaigns to raise awareness of homophobia in men’s football. The campaign had a local reach and targeted young people, mainly school and university students who entered tournaments as team “Tackle Homophobia”.

From the Justin Campaign came Football v Homophobia, developed by PrideSports, which now has a significant presence in the game worldwide. Alongside this grassroots activism, in 2013 betting company Paddy Power, working with Stonewall, initiated the Rainbow Laces campaign.

The FA, football’s governing body in England and Wales, introduced its first anti-homophobia initiative in 2012, Opening Doors and Joining In. Since then, the FA has endorsed both Football v Homophobia and the Rainbow Laces campaigns. However, research indicates that efforts by sport governing bodies can fall short and can be ineffective at actually implementing change.

While I don’t know how aware Daniels and his peers were of these campaigns as they were growing up, there is evidence from a 2017 study at a boy’s football academy that revealed “progressive attitudes towards homosexuality” among a small group of 14-15 year olds. This suggests that attitudes are becoming more inclusive – although the boys in the study felt unable to individually challenge homophobia when they observed it.

Fan attitudes

Homophobic chanting at men’s professional games can be a common occurrence. This chanting, often deemed as “banter” by the perpetrators, can be outright blatant homophobia, or what we now call a “micro-aggression”. Micro-aggressions are the everyday speech and actions directed at marginalised members of communities that reflect prejudice and discrimination, and can be damaging to minority individuals in sport.

Obviously, not all football fans make homophobic remarks and gestures at a game or on social media. Many formal LGBTQ+ fan groups, such as the Kop Outs (Liverpool), Gay Gooners (Arsenal) and Proud Canaries (Norwich City), have also been set up in recent years, creating a visible community within the oft-discriminatory world of football fandom.

Despite these efforts by fans, football’s governing bodies continue to ignore or forget homophobia. A case in point is Qatar, host country for FIFA’s men’s World Cup later this year, which has anti-gay laws.

Cultural shifts

At 17, Daniels has grown up with a popular culture that is more diverse than ever when it comes to gender and sexuality. There are more visible stories of LGBTQ+ people and communities generally, and within the world of sport. Thanks to decades of activism, LGBTQ+ culture has a place in the mainstream, and football is benefiting from this movement.

The women’s game is further along in celebrating out lesbian and bisexual players internationally. The 2019 FIFA women’s World Cup alone had 40 out women – players, coaches and managers – offering further evidence that the women’s game is a safer environment than the men’s. This might be because women in sport have had to deal with sexist and homophobic stereotypes for a very long time.

All of this, in addition to support from family and friends and teachers, coaches, officials and managers who are LGBTQ+ allies, will make young male footballers feel safe enough to come out.

The impact of Jake Daniels’ decision to come out cannot be underestimated. Not only will it allow him to be fully himself – and perhaps an even better player – it is set to shift the culture of men’s elite professional football.The Conversation

Jayne Caudwell, Associate Professor Social Sciences, Gender& Sexualities, Bournemouth University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

REF 2021 – the results are in!

The wait is over and the REF 2021 results have now been published.

We’re delighted to reveal that 94% of our research has been found to be internationally-recognised or above, with 19% found to be world-leading in quality.

95.7% of our research was found to be delivering considerable impact or above, with 31.5% achieving an outstanding impact score.

This means that we have held and improved upon our position from REF 2014 while dramatically increasing the size of our submission. We submitted more than three times the number of staff than in REF 2014, and by maintaining quality, we have shown how the breadth and depth of our research portfolio has grown.

Highlights include:

  • UOAs 14 (Geography and Environmental Studies), 15 (Archaeology), 18 (Law), and 34 (Communications, Cultural and Media Studies) all scored 100% 4*+3* for impact
  • UOAs 15 (Archaeology) and 32 (Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory) scored 100% 4*+3* for environment
  • UOA 24 (Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism) scored 80% 4*+3* for outputs
  • UOA 34 (Communications, Cultural and Media Studies) is in Q1 for impact

Equality and diversity were key drivers in developing our submission, and we took a collaborative approach with a broad range of academic and professional staff working together to make our submission as inclusive as possible.

In total, we submitted 1,209 research outputs and 47 impact case studies across 13 Units of Assessment (up from eight UOAs in REF 2014) – which represents a huge amount of time, work, and energy from colleagues across the university.

A huge thank you to everyone who supported the REF 2021 in some way – this is a moment to reflect and feel proud of everything we have achieved.

More information about our submission can be found the BU website and the full REF 2021 results are available on the REF website.

 

The Friday Prof-ile: John McAlaney

Welcome to The Friday Prof-ile – a chance to get to know some of our recently appointed Professors and Associate Professors a little better. Every Friday, we’ll be asking a different person the same set of questions to get an insight into their life, work and what makes them tick. 

John McAlaney

John McAlaney

This week, we’re chatting with Professor in Psychology, John McAlaney…

What are your research interests? What made you want to study these areas?  

My research looks at how and why people choose to engage in risky behaviours, with a focus on how this is influenced by social processes. As part of this I do work on a range of topics including hacking, digital addiction, fake news and online gambling.

More broadly I am interested in how to challenge misperceptions that people have about those around them.

Often as humans we assume that our peers behave and think is much more negative way than is actually the case. By documenting these misperceptions and presenting them back to a target population you empower people to make informed decisions, which is known as the social norms approach.

I am drawn to this approach because, unlike some other behaviour change approaches, it does not dictate to people how they should behave.

What has been your career highlight to date?  

Being invited to 10 Downing Street in 2012 to talk about how we can use technology to implement the social norms approach and to counter harmful stereotypes about young people.

What are you working on at the moment?  

The biggest project I am involved in at the moment is a GambleAware funded project on behaviour change and transparency in online gambling. As part of this work I have recently been the academic lead on BU’s successful application to be included on the Gambling Commission’s Research, Education and Treatment (RET) list. We are the first university in the UK to be included on this list, and only the second in the world. Our inclusion on this list opens up many opportunities for us to continue research into ways to address the harms caused by problematic gambling.

I am also working on several projects relating to cybersecurity. This work is the basis of my ongoing participant as an academic expert in the UN Committee to Elaborate a Comprehensive International Convention on Countering the Use of Information and Communications Technologies for Criminal Purposes.

If you weren’t an academic, what would you be doing?

I’ve always been interested in architecture, although I have terrible design skills. If that didn’t work out for me then I’d probably become a dog walker.

What do you do to unwind? 

Reading is something I find very relaxing – I would like to claim that I only reads the classics, but usually the more stressful a day I have the trashier my choice of book.

What’s the best thing about Bournemouth? 

I’m lucky to live within walking distance of the beach, which is great. I think I would struggle to live anywhere other than the coast now. Being from Scotland I still find the weather of the south coast to be a nice change.

If you could pick any superpower, what would it be and why?  

As someone who loves going to new places but dislikes the act of travel I would definitely choose teleportation.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what one luxury item would you take with you? 

It would have to be my Kindle. I could happily pass the years by sitting, reading under a palm tree.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Very few things in life actually matter that much. That probably sounds quite nihilistic, but it an idea I increasingly embrace as I get older. Most of the dramas we have in our lives are things we won’t even remember in 10 years. Sometimes you are ahead, sometimes you are behind. The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself. Also, wear sunscreen.

The Friday Prof-ile: John Oliver

Welcome to The Friday Prof-ile – a chance to get to know some of our recently appointed Professors and Associate Professors a little better. Every Friday, we’ll be asking a different person the same set of questions to get an insight into their life, work and what makes them tick.

A headshot image of Professor John Oliver

John Oliver

This week, we’re chatting with Professor in Media Management, John Oliver…

What are your research interests? What made you want to study these areas?

My current research has examined the hidden effects of crisis events on organisational innovation and performance. It’s been very successful in terms of businesses engaging with the findings and it has influenced the UK Government’s new Innovation Strategy (2021).

Why this topic? Well, my research has taken a highly original and perhaps unusual approach to the topic. Doing something new is what keeps me motivated!

What has been your career highlight to date?

Developing my current research idea on the hidden effects of a crisis on firm innovation and performance been a struggle because its based on a truly original approach. That has meant a lot of critical feedback and even derision from many circles. So, to have the research inform the UK Government’s new Innovation Strategy has been pleasing to say the least.

What are you working on at the moment? 

A lot! But, an ESRC grant and publications on business innovation in a post-pandemic environment.

If you weren’t an academic, what would you be doing?

Management Consultant

What do you do to unwind?

Surfing, skateboarding, yoga and the gym

What’s the best thing about Bournemouth?

The beach

If you could pick any superpower, what would it be and why? 

Time travel – how cool would that be?!

If you were stranded on a desert island, what one luxury item would you take with you?

A surfboard

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Never, ever give in.

The Friday Prof-ile: Roman Gerodimos

Welcome to The Friday Prof-ile – a chance to get to know some of our recently appointed Professors and Associate Professors a little better. Every Friday, we’ll be asking a different person the same set of questions to get an insight into their life, work and what makes them tick. 

A photo of Roman Gerodimos

Roman Gerodimos

This week, we’re chatting with Professor in Global Current Affairs, Roman Gerodimos… 

What are your research interests? What made you want to study these areas? 

I’m interested in the relationship between the individual citizen and the world at large: the things that motivate us to engage with others, with politics, with global affairs, and the things that stop us from doing so: fear, disappointment, cynicism, apathy. I’ve been an avid consumer of politics and world news since I can remember myself and for a long time just assumed that everyone else would be, too. We know, of course, that that’s not true. Ironically though it is now perhaps more important than ever that people engage with politics and global issues; that we assume our share of responsibility for the future of the planet, and that we put themselves forward to lead.

Identifying those factors that can motivate us to engage – whether that is through psychology or a better understanding of history or communication and media or art or even user-oriented design – is key to finding and implementing solutions.

What has been your career highlight to date? 

I have several highlights, but if forced to choose I would pick two. One would be producing Deterrence – a feature-length documentary on European security and the past, present and future of NATO that we co-created with staff and students at BU. I’m very proud of our work. It was a very intense but unique experience, we got to cover a major NATO summit from the front row (quite literally), and I loved every minute of the creative and filmmaking process.

My other top highlight would be organising Human Library workshops at the Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change – an annual summer school that BU co-founded back in 2007, which brings together students, faculty and leaders from all over the world. Creating a space with the simplest ingredients in which a hundred people, over the course of an evening, have some of the most meaningful, personal discussions of their lives is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.

What are you working on at the moment? 

I’m just about to complete an edited volume on the relationship between shame and violence (Interdisciplinary Applications of Shame/Violence Theory: Breaking the Cycle, Palgrave Macmillan), which brings together brilliant contributors from different countries and disciplines so as to find innovative ways of breaking that cycle.

I’m also working on my next film project called A Probable Outcome – a meditation on fate, love, otherness and persistence – and on the associated research project on ‘Black women, dwarfs and other misfits of the Old West’ that is informing the script.

If you weren’t an academic, what would you be doing?

For some reason most of my friends are architects – I seem to be collecting them – so maybe life is trying to tell me something!

However, if I weren’t an academic, I would probably be working as a full-time professional scriptwriter or filmmaker or composer for the screen. I love great writing, films and music, so it would be something creative.

I have to say, though, one of the privileges of working at the Faculty of Media & Communication is being able to develop my creative skills and my media and storytelling practice while being an academic. Not many universities give academics that kind of space and freedom, and it’s one of the reasons I’ve stuck around for 20 years.

What do you do to unwind?

To misquote Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey, ‘what is “unwind”‘? I’m joking, of course. I do unwind – I read a lot, I walk, and I love travelling and photography.

What’s the best thing about Bournemouth?

I think it is the university, actually. During the last couple of decades, I have seen how BU – through our diverse student population, our iconic new buildings across both campuses, and crucially our engagement with local businesses, charities and communities – has helped the town modernise and grow.

I think BU can play a leading role in providing space, convening capacity and creative input to nourish Bournemouth’s cultural life – working with artists to put together or support festivals and events, such as the Arts by the Sea festival.

BU is at the heart of a conurbation of three towns – Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch – with hundreds of thousands of residents, including children, students, and professionals. There is definitely the market and the demand for more culture and BU can help provide that.

If you could pick any superpower, what would it be and why? 

My recent research has shown me the literally ubiquitous role of shame in driving negative emotions, such as anger, and violent aggression, including against the self. I’d like my superpower to be the ability to heal people: to make them aware of their own trauma and insecurity, and how that is driving their negative feelings about others and themselves, and how they can gain self-esteem and a sense of responsibility about others and about the world.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what one luxury item would you take with you?

A typewriter. I love writing – no, let me rephrase: I couldn’t live without writing, it’s like therapy for me. The added bonus of a typewriter is that I wouldn’t have any distractions, so I could finally write a proper monograph.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I don’t have major regrets – I’ve always followed my heart and my gut instinct, so I wouldn’t change anything, at least career-wise. But I think we can always, always be better listeners, so I would advise me to be a better listener of the things not said – the omissions, the pauses – and a better observer of the things not seen. These can be as revealing as the things that are said and seen.

Conversation article – Women’s football: record crowds and soaring popularity – here’s how to keep it that way

Dr Keith Parry writes for The Conversation about the increasing popularity of women’s football and how to ensure gains in women’s sport are not lost…

Women’s football: record crowds and soaring popularity – here’s how to keep it this way

Keith Parry, Bournemouth University

On Boxing Day 1920, a sell-out crowd of 53,000 watched a women’s football match at Liverpool’s Goodison Park, with others waiting outside. With more than 900,000 women working in munitions factories during the first world war, many factories set up women’s football teams to keep the new female workers healthy and safely occupied. At the time, women seemed to be breaking barriers in sport and society.

But it would be almost 100 years before similar numbers of spectators were seen again at women’s sports matches, and in 2022 crowds are now breaking world records. In March, for example, 91,553 people watched Barcelona play Real Madrid in the UEFA Women’s Champions League – the highest attended women’s football match of all time.

The reason why it took so long to get here is that after the first world war progress for women slowed, and even went backwards. By 1921 there were 150 women’s football teams, often playing to large crowds. But on December 5 1921, the English Football Association’s consultative committee effectively banned women’s football citing a threat to women’s health as medical experts claimed football could damage women’s ability to have children. This decision had worldwide implications and was typical of attitudes towards women’s sport for many decades.

Women’s professional sport is now seeing dramatic changes. England will host the 2022 Women’s Euros later this year, and tickets for the final sold out in less than an hour. There is clear demand from fans and not just for women’s football, but other professional women’s sports.

In 2021, 267,000 people attended the women’s matches in English cricket’s new domestic competition, The Hundred, making it the best attended women’s cricket event ever. A year before, another cricketing record was set with 86,174 spectators at the Women’s T20 World Cup final between Australia and India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Record crowds for professional women’s matches have also been seen recently in rugby union.

There is increasing investment in women’s sport and a rising number of professional athletic contracts for women. Clubs and organisations are finding that if people know about women’s sport they will attend games and watch it on television.

TV coverage is vital

In a sign that the times really may be changing, the current minister for sport, Nigel Huddleston, and the home secretary, Priti Patel, announced that they are minded to add the (FIFA) Women’s World Cup and the Women’s Euros (UEFA European Women’s Football Championship) to the list of protected sports events. Set out in the 1990s, these are the “crown jewels” of English sport, deemed to be of national importance when it comes to television coverage. The list has not included any women’s events until now, and the proposed change is crucial to keep women’s sport visible for as large an audience as possible.

Football has also seen considerable growth in participation. In 2020, 3.4 million women and girls played football in England and the world governing body FIFA aims to have 60 million playing by 2026.

The wider picture is perhaps less rosy. There are 516,600 more inactive women than men in England. Girls are less active than boys, even though their activity levels increased comparatively during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nonetheless, this pandemic-related increase also points to positive changes. During the lockdowns, there was a shift away from traditional team sports to fitness classes and walking, which have traditionally appealed more to women and girls. In a similar way Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign, which was relaunched in January 2020, aimed to break conventional ideas that physical activity and sport are unsuitable for women. Sport England’s evaluation states that 2.8 million women were more active due to the overall campaign.

With traditional masculine ideals slowly being replaced across society, these changes can also be seen in sport. Sport is also becoming more inclusive for minorities.

And, as happened around 100 years ago, women’s rights and equality in society and workplaces are improving. The #MeToo movement has brought sexual harassment to the forefront of public awareness and is gradually shifting workplace culture.

Threats ahead

However, this is not time for complacency. The pandemic has affected women more than men and in different ways, slowing progress. Greater domestic responsibilities impacted on women’s free time more than men, reducing time for physical activity. Similarly, funding cuts in sport may threaten the gains that have been made in women’s sport. And many males continue to hold unfounded, stereotypical views such as women in sport being more emotional than men.

Recently, my colleagues and I mapped out five actions needed to make sure that recent gains for women’s sport are not lost, see below. With changes in society, widespread support for gender equality, and the current popularity of women’s sport, now is the time to act on these changes to ensure that it is not another 100 years before we see the recent attendance records broken. Gender equality is a societal goal and it should be in sport too.

Roadmap for the success of women’s sportThe Conversation

Author provided

Keith Parry, Deputy Head Of Department in Department of Sport & Event Management, Bournemouth University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

BU research paper receives Radiography journal’s Editor’s Choice award

A paper led by BU’s Dr Theo Akudjedu, exploring the impact of Covid-19 on radiographers, has been named as Radiography journal’s Editor’s Choice for 2021.

Each year, the journal presents an award for the Editors’ Choice paper, selected from the five issues which make up the current volume.

Headshot image of Dr Theo Akudjedu

Dr Theo Akudjedu

Dr Akudjedu, a Senior Lecturer in Medical Imaging and MRI Radiography at BU, was lead author of the winning paper – a systematic literature review examining the global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on clinical radiography practice.

The paper was chosen from a shortlist of 12 papers which were selected for their topicality, important messages and sound research methodologies.

Dr Akudjedu brought together collaborators from across the world, as well as colleagues from the Institute of Medical Imaging and Visualisation at BU, to investigate the pressures facing radiography departments as key teams in the treatment of Covid-19 across the globe.

Published in Issue 4 of 2021, the article brings together available evidence to provide a comprehensive summary of the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on diagnostic and therapeutic radiography practice.

He said: “In the initial acute phase of the pandemic, medical imaging emerged as one of the key diagnostic tools for the management of COVID-19 patients. This altered the work pattern and load of the clinical radiography workforce. We explored the impact of the pandemic on the radiography workforce independently in regional studies including the UK.

“We employed a robust methodology to systematically review and integrate the available evidence in our research to provide a comprehensive summary of the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on diagnostic and therapeutic radiography practice to serve as a one-stop-shop to practitioners in the field.”

He added: “It is exciting for this important piece of work conducted by colleagues at the Institute of Medical Imaging & Visualisation at Bournemouth University with its global partners to be recognised. We are very grateful to our international partners and the Editors of the Radiography Journal for the recognition”

Naming the paper as their Editor’s Choice winner, J. M. Nightingale, Editor-in-Chief of Radiography journal, said: “With so many COVID-19 related articles published within radiography and radiology journals in the last two years, it has been challenging for practitioners, managers and educators to keep up to date with the latest evidence.

“This review was timely and much needed as a valuable reference resource for policy formulation and to inform developments in the radiography workforce, education and training.”

Read the full paper – The global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on clinical radiography practice: A systematic literature review and recommendations for future services planning (available open access) 

You can also listen to Theo talking about the winning paper on the Radiography Journal Podcast

Conversation article: Pet therapy – how dogs, cats and horses help improve human wellbeing

Professor Ann Hemingway writes for The Conversation about the benefits of Animal Assisted Interventions…

Pet therapy: how dogs, cats and horses help improve human wellbeing

Monkey business images/shutterstock

Ann Hemingway, Bournemouth University

We’ve all heard of the psychotherapy couch, and the dynamic between a client and their human therapist. But perhaps less well known is the increasingly popular pet therapy. And no, that’s not therapy for your pet – it’s the relatively new phenomenon of therapy for humans, which involves animals.

These animal assisted interventions (AAIs) – which also include a trained human professional – are proving beneficial to people of all ages, leading to significant reductions in physiological responses to stress – such as heart rate – and associated emotions, such as anxiety.

It’s a longstanding and widely accepted fact that people of all ages can benefit from partnerships with animals as pets. From the joy of the human-animal bond, to companionship and improved mental health, there is no doubt that cats, dogs and other pets enhance our lives immeasurably.

But over the last ten years or so, animals have started to help humans in settings away from the home – such as hospitals and care homes for the elderly, as well as schools, universities, prisons and rehabilitation services.

The Royal University Hospital Emergency Department in Saskatchewan, Canada, for example, has been welcoming therapy dogs (and their handlers) since 2016.

A recent study based at the hospital set out to investigate whether canine therapy had any impact on the wellbeing of patients – the majority (around 70%) of which had been admitted and were waiting for a hospital bed, and all of whom were experiencing pain.

They each received a ten minute visit from a St John Ambulance therapy dog in addition to the usual hospital care. Using a detailed psychometric survey, the researchers assessed patients immediately before the visit, immediately afterwards and 20 minutes afterwards. They were encouraged to find that the patients reported a significant reduction in pain, anxiety and depression following the visit by the therapy dog – and an increase in general wellbeing.

Therapy involving dogs can also reduce blood pressure and heart rate.

Cats and horses also help

Over the last ten years, cats have also joined the AAI movement – and have been used in settings such as schools and care homes to improve wellbeing. Just being in the presence of a cat has been shown to improve mood and reduce feelings of loneliness. Playing with a cat, and physical contact through stroking and hugging, can induce a sense of calm, especially for children and frail elderly patients in long term care.

Elderly women in wheelchair cuddling a cat
Stroking and interacting with a cat can improve our mood and reduce loneliness.
Toa55/shutterstock

In fact, even a cat’s purr can bring emotional relief, especially when we’re feeling stressed.

One study – with patients living with chronic age-related disabilities in a nursing home – found that those who were assigned a cat therapy session three times a week, for six weeks, had improved depressive symptoms and a significant decrease in blood pressure.

Horse assisted therapy is particularly useful for young people experiencing mental health and behavioural issues. In many cases, those who have not benefited from traditional, talk-based therapy, may experience benefits – particularly an increased feeling of calm and emotional control – when participating in horse therapy, during which they learn how to communicate with and care for the horses.

Similarly, therapeutic horse riding therapy provides physical and emotional benefits to children with disabilities, helping to improve their balance, posture and hand-to-eye coordination. It can also help children to learn to trust and become more socially aware.

Therapeutic horse riding has been shown to improve symptoms of PTSD in adults, too. And equine therapy, where there is no riding – but instead feeding, grooming and leading the horse – can help people to process and change negative behaviours, such as those associated with addiction.

Why pets are good therapists

Building relationships and social connections through socialising and human interaction is a key part of maintaining and improving our mental health.

Animals, when left to their own devices, also make and work to maintain and enhance emotional relationships and connections with others. We are extremely lucky that – when it comes to dogs, cats and horses – this tendency also extends to humans, as long as we behave in a way that is comfortable for the animal.

And science has shown that they can understand what is happening in our interactions with them, too.

Young boy stroking horse on the nose before a horse therapy session
Horses can read our emotions and adjust their behaviour accordingly.
Goodmoments/shutterstock

Horses can read and tune into human emotions. They can even learn about a person from watching them interact with another horse, and adjust their behaviour accordingly – such as approaching and touching the person more if they appear to display discomfort around the other horse.

Research with dogs and cats has found that they too can read and respond to our body language, facial expressions and voices.

Part of the joy of building a connection with an animal is discovering who they are and what they enjoy – and it goes without saying that their welfare must always be a top priority. But if think you have a superstar therapy pet in the making, then do consider reaching out to a pet therapy organisation in your area, such as Pets As Therapy in the UK. They’d be glad to meet you and your animal companion.The Conversation

Ann Hemingway, Professor of Public Health and Wellbeing, Bournemouth University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Invite to participate in research: have you had a total hip replacement?

Have you had a total hip replacement? If so, you could participate in a new BU research study which aims to determine whether walking over a measured distance is beneficial after total hip replacement surgery.

We are looking for adults who are 3-6 months past their hip replacement surgery and currently don’t wear an activity monitor (such as a Fitbit).

You’ll need to visit BU for a series of tests and wear an activity monitor (which will be provided) for five weeks while undertaking a series of outdoor walking. You’ll also need to keep an activity diary and take part in a group discussion.

Details can be found on the poster below.

For more information or to sign up, contact Shay Bahadori on 01202 961647 0r sbahadori@bournemouth.ac.uk

A poster featuring details of the study

 

BU Research Conference 2022: Building Impact – sign up now

The first annual BU research conference will take place on Tuesday 7 June.

This year’s theme is building impact, celebrating our REF 2021 submission and exploring practical ways to create impact and share your research.

The half-day conference will take place in the Fusion Building on Talbot Campus from 1pm – 5pm on Tuesday 7 June, with internal and external speakers and workshops. Light refreshments will be provided.

The conference is open to all BU staff and postgraduate research students.

It will be followed by a drinks reception from 5pm to celebrate BU’s REF submission.

We’ll be sharing more details around the schedule, sessions and speakers shortly.

To register your interest and receive further updates, book your place via Eventbrite.

The Friday Prof-ile: Christa Van Raalte

Welcome to The Friday Prof-ile – a chance to get to know some of our recently appointed Professors and Associate Professors a little better. Every Friday, we’ll be asking a different person the same set of questions to get an insight into their life, work and what makes them tick. 

This week, we’re chatting with Associate Professor in Film and Television, Christa Van Raalte… 

Headshot of Christa Van Raalte

Christa Van Raalte

What are your research interests? What made you want to study these areas? 

I have two distinct areas of research interest. I’m interested in strategies of narrative and representation in film and television texts – particularly, though not exclusively, the representation of women in popular action genres. For me analysing these texts is a kind of cultural archaeology, helping us understand something about the culture that has produced them – and is, in turn, informed by them.

I’m also interested in working conditions in the film and television industries, a more recent development that springs directly from involvement with students who are ambitious to work in those industries and graduates who find themselves facing unexpected challenges.

What has been your career highlight to date?  

Seeing work published in two leading journals and an important new book series as well as two well-received industry reports all within a few months – the cumulation, of course, of work over the past three years.

What are you working on at the moment?  

An article on bullying as a systemic issue in the U.K. television industry, a book chapter on the return of a septuagenarian Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in Terminator: Dark Fate, and an AHRC funding bid…

If you weren’t an academic, what would you be doing?

Probably running a regional theatre

What do you do to unwind? 

Garden and walk.

What’s the best thing about Bournemouth? 

Our vibrant research culture and enthusiastic students

If you could pick any superpower, what would it be and why?  

The ability to clone myself so I can do three jobs at once – because there is never enough time!

If you were stranded on a desert island, what one luxury item would you take with you? 

A giant box of teabags – I can’t function without tea.

What advice would you give to your younger self? 

Carry yourself with the confidence of a mediocre white man (Sarah Hagi)

Important update – NIHR name change – 6th April 2022

  

The National Institute for Health Research changed its name yesterday (6th April 2022). To emphasise the enduring commitment to social care research, from today the NIHR will officially become the ‘National Institute for Health and Care Research’. The acronym ‘NIHR’ will remain unchanged.

This will bring them in line with the Department of Health and Social Care, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Health and Care Research Wales and others.

Linked to this announcement are a range of investments and commitments to future work designed to deepen and broaden the range of social care research the NIHR supports.

  • An increase in spending of £5m a year has been dedicated to social care research, some of which will go towards funding an additional call run through the Research for Social Care programme. They will now be running two calls a year.
  • More good news – the RfSC will also start to fund research in the area of social care for children and young people, working in partnership with the Dept of Education.
  • There are also increases in funding to RfSC, HSDR and HTA for Social Care research.

Prof. Lucy Chappell, Chief Executive of the NIHR, said:

“It is our hope that today’s name change will inspire not just current and future generations of social care researchers, whose talent and expertise can revolutionise the social care sector, but also people who need care and support, carers, the public and those working in social care. The involvement of all these groups will be key to getting the right research to the right places in the right way.”

Your local branch of the NIHR RDS (Research Design Service) is based within the BU Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU)

We can help with your grant application. We advise on all aspects of developing an application and can review application drafts as well as put them to a mock funding panel (run by RDS South West) known as Project Review Committee, which is a fantastic opportunity for researchers to obtain a critical review of a proposed grant application before this is sent to a funding body.

Contact us as early as possible to benefit fully from the advice

Feel free to call us on 01202 961939 or send us an email.