Taylor & Francis Newsroom

, Oxford.

Popular zombie comic and television programme The Walking Dead exposes the real ‘impossibility of childhood innocence’

Western culture generally idealises childhood as a time of innocence and purity, but many contemporary narratives have begun to ‘push back’ against such nostalgic views.

Writing in the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Mark Heimermann, of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, explores the horror comic The Walking Dead for its rejection of what he calls ‘the feasibility of maintaining childhood innocence’. 

He writes that the comic, set during a zombie apocalypse, “illustrates the impossibility of preventing children from being exposed to ideas or situations many adults would prefer they not experience or witness.”

“In doing so, it denies the Romantic ideal of children as innocents in need of sheltering in favour of an acknowledgement that the most reasonable way to raise children in a violent world is to prepare them accordingly.”

Key to Heimermann’s research is his close study of the central characters – the child Carl and his father, Rick, as well as their friends – who all struggle to survive in an unforgiving, violent world. The constant tension between protecting innocence and preparing children to take on adult responsibilities is demonstrated through both the comic’s text and images, as is the tension between Carl’s adult behaviours (including murder) and his young age.

In Heimermann’s opinion, there is a disconnect between The Walking Dead’s view of childhood innocence and that of contemporary Western society.

He writes: “The Western world is changing: increased globalisation, technological advances like the internet and social media, and the continued emphasis of traditional media outlets on reporting violence has made it commonplace for children to be exposed to the dangers of the world. The ubiquitous nature of this exposure makes it harder to delude ourselves regarding the extent to which children may be sheltered and their innocence preserved.”

He concludes: “Maintaining childhood innocence is a conceit which is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain in contemporary Western society … The Walking Dead demonstrates that the sheltering of children is untenable and rethinking this approach may be necessary in a world so very different from just a few generations ago.”

Heimermann suggests that the best today’s adults may be able to do is “provide comfort and understanding” as they acclimatise children to the realities of the world, and hope that “the sense of right and wrong we instil in them can serve as a moral compass”: sound advice whether or not zombies are at your door.  

 

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When referencing the article: Please include ‘Old before their time: the impossibility of childhood innocence in The Walking Dead’, Mark Heimermann, Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, published by Taylor & Francis and the following statement:

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About Taylor & Francis Group
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Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life.  As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine.

From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.

For more information please contact:
Claire Spence, Marketing Coordinator, Arts and Humanities
email: claire.spence@tandf.co.uk

, Philadelphia.

Empirical study demonstrates positive impact of international human rights law

Empirical study demonstrates positive impact of international human rights law

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal cites this study from the Journal of Human Rights, “The CEDAW Effect: International Law's Impact on Women's Rights,” by Neil A. Englehart and Melissa K. Miller, which uses empirical evidence to show that the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), adopted by the United Nations in 1979, has had a “statistically significant and positive effect on women’s rights.”

In the Wall Street Journal, Tod Lindberg discusses The Twilight of Human Rights Law, in which author Eric A. Posner argues that, due to the impossibility of effective enforcement, international human rights agreements do not actually prevent human rights abuses by governments against their people.

Lindberg cites Englehart and Miller’s study as showing, counter to Posner’s argument, that despite problems with enforcement, there is nonetheless a correlation between international human rights agreements and the reduction of human rights abuses. Importantly, Englehart and Miller are able to demonstrate this correlation through statistical evidence.

Englehart and Miller’s research confirms CEDAW’s positive effects despite the fact that “Evidence of demonstrable, positive effects for the United Nations’ international human rights treaties has generally eluded researchers,” and that CEDAW is a uniquely complex and ambitious human rights agreement. They conclude:

“CEDAW emerges as a qualified success story. Yet, it has not been at the center of human rights research… Our findings suggest that CEDAW ought to have a higher profile in human rights scholarship because of its demonstrable positive effects. Given the general skepticism in the quantitative social science research about the effectiveness of human rights treaties, close examination of CEDAW is clearly in order.”
As Lindberg argues in the Wall Street Journal, this research also serves to support overall the impact and importance of international human rights agreements.

To read the full article, click here.

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* Read the full article online:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14754835.2013.824274#tabModule

About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life.  As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine.

From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.

For more information please contact:
Marisa Starr, Marketing Manager, Journals
Email: marisa.starr@taylorandfrancis.com

, Philadelphia.

Is there a better way to treat substance use in adolescents with co-occurring mental health disorders?

The majority (55-74%) of adolescents entering substance use treatment also have psychiatric disorders, such as depression, ADHD and trauma-related problems. Unfortunately, these youth face poorer treatment outcomes (e.g., relapse), and their mental health issues are often not directly addressed. Furthermore, few studies exist to guide those clinicians who would like to use integrated care to treat adolescent with co-occurring disorders. A review published in the new Substance Abuse Special Issue: Evaluating and Addressing Adolescent Alcohol and Other Substance Use Disorders proposes that the Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA), which is a combination of cognitive-behavioral and family therapies, may be an ideal treatment method for this patient population.

“The Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA) is a well-tested intervention for substance use disorders that has demonstrated potential as a treatment for co-morbid youth,” says lead author Dr. Susan H. Godley. “This paper shows that several A-CRA procedures are consistent with procedures in evidence-supported treatments for common co-occurring mental health problems, and as an example, describes in detail how A-CRA can be used in the treatment of co-occurring substance use and depression disorders.”

The A-CRA offers substance use treatment providers a new option when caring for youth with co-occurring substance use disorders and mental health diagnoses. Although further research into A-CRA’s efficacy in treating various combinations of substance use and psychiatric disorders is warranted, the authors argue that there’s no reason for providers to wait when it comes to offering comprehensive treatment to adolescents who could benefit from their help right now.

FREE ACCESS ARTICLE
The Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA) as a Model Paradigm for the Management of Adolescents with Substance Use Disorders and Co-occurring Psychiatric Disorders, Susan H. Godley, Jane Ellen Smith, Lora L. Passetti, and Geetha Subramaniam

About Substance Abuse
www.tandfonline.com/WSUB
Substance Abuse journal is a peer-reviewed journal that serves as the official publication of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA) in association with The International Society of Addiction Medicine (ISAM) and the International Coalition for Addiction Studies in Education (INCASE). Substance Abuse journal offers wide-ranging coverage for healthcare professionals, addiction specialists and others engaged in research, education, clinical care, and service delivery and evaluation.

2014 Journal Citations Report® ranks Substance Abuse 14th out of 34 journals in Substance Abuse (Ss) and 12th out of 18 journals in Substance Abuse (Sci) with a  2013 Impact Factor of 1.620.

Follow Routledge Addiction Journals on Facebook: www.facebook.com/RoutledgeAddictionJournals

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* Read the full article online:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08897077.2014.936993

About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life.  As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine.

From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.

For more information please contact:
Michael Hobson, Marketing Assistant, Journals
Email: michael.hobson@taylorandfrancis.com

, Oxford.

Why are UK teenagers skipping school?

Analysis of the results of a large-scale survey reveals the extent of truancy in English secondary schools and sheds light on the mental health of the country’s teens.

Writing in a special issue of the journal Educational Studies on School Attendance and Behaviour, Gaynor Attwood and Paul Croll reflect on thousands of responses from the seven-year Longitudinal Study of Young People in England.

They discovered that ‘problems of truancy and mental well-being are both features of the lives of many young people’, although happily, ‘neither is characteristic of the majority’.

One in five of the year-10 pupils surveyed admitted to being truant the ‘odd day’ or ‘just for certain lessons’, with boys and girls having very similar levels. High levels of truancy – days or weeks at a time – were much less common. Of those who did admit to playing truant, more than half gave a dislike of an aspect of school, teachers or lessons as the reason; just over 20% said they were bored and just over 5% said they were bullied. Interestingly, most truants acknowledged the importance of doing well at school, even though truancy is associated with the very opposite.

Attwood and Croll tease out the complex associations between truancy, socio-economic status, exam results and future employment. Truancy of all types was associated with a variety of negative outcomes. Even truanting ‘for the odd day or lesson’ is associated with ‘much poorer outcomes than those of the non-truants’. By way of example, the authors found that low-level truants were twice as likely to be unemployed at age 20 than non-truants, and high-level truants four times. Well over half the higher-level truants studied failed to get even one C grade.

Attwood and Croll also discovered a strong association between truancy and wellbeing, demonstrating that ‘for many young people these problems are cumulative’.  Serious levels of distress and inability to cope were experienced by perhaps as many as one in five of the young people under study.

The authors were particularly struck by the fact the young women were ‘much more likely’ to report negative feelings than their male counterparts, with the gender difference even more pronounced at the extreme end of the scale. 

This article is essential reading for anyone responsible for the education or mental wellbeing of teenagers, because, as the authors conclude, ‘truancy needs to be seen in the context of the many difficulties facing young people and as part of wider issues of social adjustment.’

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS
When referencing the article: Please include Journal title, author, published by Taylor & Francis and the following statement:

* Read the full article online:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03055698.2014.955725

About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life.  As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine.

From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.

For more information please contact:
Leah Stanley, Marketing Executive
email: leah.stanley@tandf.co.uk

, Oxford.

Why do parents who usually vaccinate their children hesitate or refuse?

The issue of vaccination hesitancy and refusal often makes headlines in the media and worries health authorities. However, a new study by Dr. Anat Gesser-Edelsburg, Dr. Yaffa Shir-Raz, and Prof. Manfred S. Green from University of Haifa, School of Public Health, published in the Journal of Risk Research suggests that even parents who are not "vaccine refusers" and who usually comply with the routine vaccination programs may hesitate or refuse to vaccinate their children based on poor communication from the relevant healthcare provider, as well as concerns about the safety of the vaccine.

The study examines parents’ refusal or hesitancy to vaccinate their children following the 2013 polio outbreak in Israel. While no clinical cases of paralytic polio were recorded during the outbreak, the Israeli Health Ministry launched a campaign to immunize children under the age of 10, who were already protected with the standard inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), with a bivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV) designed to protect others who were not already vaccinated against the disease.

The study draws on results from a questionnaire survey, and content analysis of parents’ discussions in blogs, Internet sites, and Facebook.

Although the rate of children vaccinated during the campaign was high, the study's findings indicate that for the first time, parents who are not "vaccine refusers" and who usually comply with the routine vaccination programs, hesitated or even refused to vaccinate their children. One third of parents surveyed, who refused or were hesitant to vaccinate their children, reported that the safety of the vaccine was a concern, and that they were not convinced by the information communicated by the Health Ministry, or the explanation of why this vaccine was necessary.  

Over a third of all respondents strongly disagreed that the Health Ministry had provided comprehensive and clear information about the reasons for giving children the vaccine, and almost 28% of parents who vaccinated their children indicated that they did not actually understand that the purpose of the vaccine was not to protect their own child.

The researchers went on to suggest that, in the long term, the perceived ambiguity in communications could create mistrust in the health care system. The theme of distrust in the medical establishment recurred in the analysis of 35 respondents who had refused or were hesitant about vaccinating their child.

This case emphasizes the importance of transparency and credibility in health communication. For example, The Health Ministry claimed that the OPV vaccine had ‘zero side effects’. Findings indicated that claiming there is no risk whatsoever was interpreted as neither respecting the public or credible. The researchers recommend that in future instances the risk-communicating organizations should ‘expose the dilemmas, communicate facts, and ‘talk science’ even to laypeople, especially in conditions of uncertainty: the communicators must educate the public and include it, and not speak in all-or-nothing slogans’. 

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS
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* Read the full article online:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13669877.2014.983947

About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life.  As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine.

From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.

For more information please contact:

Louise Phillips, Marketing Executive, Taylor & Francis Journals

email: louise.phillips@tandf.co.uk

, Oxford.

Morningness, eveningness and the problem of shift work

Shift work is common in many industries, including health care, security, transport and communication. Such sectors need employees to maintain high levels of attention in order to minimise risk. But working shifts is known to lead to cognitive and behavioural problems through disrupted circadian rhythms and sleep patterns. In a recent study published in Biological Rhythm Research, Selvi, Karakaş, Boysan and Selvi find that shift work affects attention deficit, hyperactivity, and impulsivity among nurses, and that an individual’s chronotype – their ‘morningness’ or ‘eveningness’ – is a relevant factor. They suggest that a person’s chronotype could help to evaluate their suitability for shift work.

It has been known for some time that shift-work schedules have a marked effect on circadian rhythms and the sleep–wakefulness cycle, leading to cognitive and behavioural problems. In this study, Selvi, Karakaş, Boysan and Selvi survey 206 hospital nurses, 79 working on day shifts and 127 on night shifts. They use the Barrett Impulsiveness Scale, a 30-item questionnaire, to measure the nurses’ motor impulsiveness, non-planning, and attentional impulsiveness. The Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder self-report scale V1.1 symptoms checklist (ASRS V1.1), an 18-item scale, is used to measure how frequently the individuals experience symptoms of inattentiveness and hyperactivity/impulsiveness, with the scores for these two types of symptoms giving a total ASRS value.

Selvi et al. also identify the nurses’ circadian preferences using the Morningness–Eveningness Questionnaire (MEQ). This measure classifies individuals as morning-types, intermediate-types, or evening-types, according to their reported times of activity and alertness.

Among the findings of the study are that shift workers have more attention deficit and impulsivity than daytime workers. Looking at the nurses’ chronotypes, Selvie et al. find that evening-type workers score significantly higher than morning-type employees for attention deficit. Morning-type workers report lower hyperactivity and total ASRS scores than evening- and intermediate-type workers.

The researchers also analyse impulsivity scores in relation to the nurses’ demographic characteristics – age, gender, marital status, working schedule, time in employment, tobacco use and duration of smoking – as well as to MEQ and the scores for the ARSR symptoms. This reveals that unmarried participants and shift-workers have significantly higher impulsivity scores. The average impulsivity score of evening-type workers is higher than those of both the other chronotypes.

Selvie Karakaş, Boysan and Selvi comment: “The most important outcome of this study was that those working on the shift system had more attention deficit and more impulsivity than the daytime workers. Even though the effects of shift work on cognitive functions have been analyzed before, this is the first study that has investigated the relationship between the work schedule and attention deficit, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.”

The additional findings regarding workers’ chronotypes will be of practical use to employers: assessing whether individuals are morning-types or evening-types will help to determine their suitability for shift work.

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS
When referencing the article: Please include Journal title, author, published by Taylor & Francis and the following statement:

* Read the full article online:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09291016.2014.948299

About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life.  As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine.   From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.

For more information please contact:
Matt Peck
Taylor & Francis Journals
Email: Matthew.Peck@tandf.co.uk

, Oxford.

Watch out internet meanies. Game could soon be over for you.

Bullies and mean girls have been around forever but, with the arrival of smartphones and social media, meanness has taken on new forms and dramatically extended its reach. Digital abuse is now so widespread, and such are its dramatic effects on victims, that the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a stern warning about the risks posed by cyberbullying to adolescents’ mental health. But how much do we really know about how to tackle online bullies, asks a new study from Taylor and Francis?

Recently published in the journal of Information, Communication & Society, this original piece of research is based on an in-depth analysis of 1094 comments from singer songwriter Amanda Palmer’s viral blog, written in response to the suicide of a young victim of online abuse, Amanda Todd. The study provides a unique and authentic glimpse into the experiences of traditional bullying as well as cyberbullying, and sheds new light on the coping techniques employed by sufferers.

While cyberbullying ‘is rooted in traditional bullying, the distinctive properties of online environment [such as anonymity, constant connectivity, and a vague and vast audience] introduce new dynamics’ that distinguish it from its offline variety, explain the team leading the research. What’s more, add the academics, ‘the difficulty to escape one’s tormentors and identify them’ magnifies the intensity of harmful actions. Determined to base their investigation on authentic records, the team rejected traditional respondent-based practices, such as interviews and surveys, in favour of naturalistic methods of investigation, like those based on diaries and medical records. Because self-censorship and self-consciousness are reduced by the anonymity of the Internet, Palmer’s blog was viewed as an ideal inlet to access genuine comments on the issue. Following a detailed analysis of all the blog entries, the team were able to identify a number of key topics. In line with previous research, results showed the top reason for being abused was physical appearance, followed by sexual orientation and an inclination for non-mainstream interests. Although only 25% of all the bullying stories referenced to cyberbullying, a large part of commentators pointed out to the negative role played by the Internet in magnifying the effects of online harassment; only a small minority stuck up for technology emphasising the importance of being backed up by a supportive online community. The findings also brought to light ‘two primary types of coping strategies: behavioural and cognitive’, reveal the researchers. While the former included techniques such as seeking social support and ignoring the bully, the latter focused on shaping individuals’ microsystem and drawing in their own personal supportive resources.

This original study offers unprecedented insights into the issue of cyberbullying and shows the importance of finding ways to effectively support victims. While suffers should employ both behavioural and cognitive strategies in response to persecution, it is key to show them ‘problem doesn’t reside in them’ but in the perpetrators, add the research team. This, most than anything else, is how you throw internet meanies off their track.

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* Read the full article online:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1369118X.2014.952657

About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life.  As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine.   From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.  For more information please contact:

Marita Eleftheriadou, Marketing Executive, Journals

email: Marita.Eleftheriadou@tandf.co.uk

, Oxford.

Worksite health promotion programmes: why don’t people participate?

Worksite health promotion (WHP) programmes are designed to help identify and address health and lifestyle issues, and are offered by 40–75% of employers in Europe and the US. But research suggests that a high proportion (50–75%) of workers do not participate. Why do so many employees choose not to take part? Toker, Heaney and Ein-Gar investigated the reasons for nonparticipation, and have identified a variety of barriers, as published in the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology.

According to the World Health Organization, workplaces are “one of the priority settings for health promotion into the 21st century”. Previous studies suggest that WHP programmes can enhance employees’ health, offering significant physiological, behavioural, and work-related benefits. However, the success of these programmes is limited by the high rates of nonparticipation.

Toker, Heaney and Ein-Gar surveyed 1,926 university employees who had been invited to take part in a two-stage WHP programme. The first stage was an online health risk assessment (HRA) questionnaire, for which participating employees received a US$150 incentive payment. This stage had to be completed in order to move on to the second stage, a health education workshop.

The researchers focused on five employee characteristics and beliefs (“implicit barriers” to participation): age, gender, position at work, perceived personal health, and perception of organizational commitment to employees’ health. They also considered “explicit barriers”, which were employees’ self-reported reasons for nonparticipation (e.g. lack of time, low expectations). In addition, they tied the two types of barriers to give a better understanding of nonparticipants’ decision processes.

The Conservation of Resources (COR) theory was used as a framework. COR concerns the way in which individuals try to retain and protect the things they value, such as time, energy and access to information. If such resources are threatened, individuals aim to minimize losses. In the case of a WHP programme, nonparticipation can be seen in terms of reducing the loss of resources, or as a response to low expectations of resource gain.

The study found a range of reasons for nonparticipation. Generally speaking, men, employees in lower occupational positions, and employees with impaired health tended to withdraw from both stages of the WHP programme. Nonparticipation in the first stage – the questionnaire – was more common among older employees, and employees who perceive the organization as not committed, while for the second stage – the workshop – nonparticipation was more common among younger employees and those who were not interested in making lifestyle changes.

Toker, Heaney and Ein-Gar conclude: “Our findings suggest that organizations should not only pay attention to the potential gains that WHP programmes offer but should also identify the resources that are at risk and minimize their actual and perceived potential loss.”

The main practical implication is that WHP programmes should be tailored to specific employee groups. This could include tailoring communication channels to particular types of employees to ensure full awareness of the programmes. Employees’ fears about confidentiality in completing the online questionnaire could be addressed by providing reassurance on anonymity. Having a designated health educator could help in encouraging participation from those employees who need the programme most (namely those with impaired health) but who are less likely to take part.

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* Read the full article online:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1359432X.2014.968131

About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life.  As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine.

From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.

For more information please contact:

Louise Phillips, Marketing Executive, Taylor & Francis Journals

email: louise.phillips@tandf.co.uk

, Oxford.

Do numbers simply not add up for British engineering students?

British IQ is in for a boost this winter. From a pledge to double the number of A-level students doing maths and physics in three years, to a recent £64m initiative to improve number-crunching standards in schools, the government is firmly set on producing more scientists and mathematicians. But how do students embarking on heavily maths-based degrees really fare?

Recently published in the International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, this original piece of research explores the relation between first year engineering students and mathematics; it also claims current pedagogical practices in UK universities simply don’t add up.

‘Mathematics has long been known to be problematic for university engineering students and their teachers,’ explain the team behind the study. Whilst ‘there has been much research into how engineers should be taught the essential mathematics,’ things have yet to be put into practice.

To establish what is hindering the teaching of mathematics in higher education, the team looked at 13 degree programmes across five UK universities, surveying a total of 1,778 students and interviewing 110 of them. The research monitored students’ experiences and engagement with mathematics at various stages during their first year of study, with a focus on the issues encountered by learners tackling highly mathematical-based courses; the study also exposed the problems caused by a non-contextualised approach to the teaching of maths in engineering programmes.

After a great deal of data crunching, key themes begun to emerge: the lack of information about the amount of mathematics first year students were required to digest was often a shocking surprise for learners; mathematics was rarely taught in the context of the engineering practice, resulting in students failing to grasp the importance and utility of mathematics in relation to their degree; last but not the least, learners were unanimously asking for the inclusion of more hands-on examples on the application of mathematics to engineering in their training.

This interesting study pulls no punches, warning that the opportunity to foster a perception of the ‘use-value’ of mathematics is lost when maths becomes disembedded from its use. Continuing effort is needed to make plain the importance of it to students, and ‘this can only be achieved by engineers themselves designing the whole curriculum’. But more than anything else, what this research really brings to light is the importance of mathematics as a crucial skill that transcends the limits of the classroom to permeate every-day life. Could how we do the maths be the key to propelling the UK economy into the future?

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* Read the full article online:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0020739X.2014.979893

About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life.  As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine.

From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.

For more information, please contact:

Ben Hudson, Taylor & Francis Group

Email: Benjamin.Hudson@tandf.co.uk

, Oxford.

‘Natural’ support networks: how social media supports African-American women wearing natural hair

Social networking sites (SNS) like YouTube have become an essential resource for women all over the world seeking beauty advice. But for many African-American (AA) women, these sites are more than just a place to check out the latest styling tips: they’re often their only means of support after taking the decision to stop straightening their hair and ‘go natural’. 

Writing in the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education, Tameka N. Ellington of Kent State University outlines the complicated relationship many African-American women have with their hair. She reflects on how the legacy of slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, notions of ‘presentability’ and modern (White) views of beauty can all affect how African-American women view and style their hair.

According to Ellington: ‘Natural hair is not fully accepted among either AA sub-cultures or within mainstream society. Consequently, AA women often lack knowledge of how to care for their natural hair, and report a fear of going “natural”.’

For her study, Ellington carried out interviews with 17 college-aged women who made the choice to stop relaxing their hair. As expected, most reported getting little support, especially among their AA friends and relatives, for their decision to ‘go natural’. As she explains: “The AA community’s lack of acceptance of natural hair is rooted in history and the societal meaning of lesser status that comes with having kinky natural hair.”

For many of the women, social networking sites offered the support and comfort that they were not able to get elsewhere. As might be expected, the absence of local support had a devastating effect on many women’s self-esteem. However, in many cases, regular and frequent online contact meant other SNS users became ‘friends and family’. This increased the women’s self-esteem and helped them to accept their own choices, thus increasing their self-esteem even further. Crucially, the SNS did not provide the motivation to ‘go natural’ in the first place, but provided essential information for the women about how to maintain their new natural styles, and offered support on their journeys.

This article is a fascinating insight into how what might seem at first to be a simple aesthetic decision is in reality a difficult choice for many AA women, informed by political, cultural and practical concerns. It’s also a good example of how the use of SNS can empower people who might otherwise lack local support networks to make – and have confidence in – their own decisions.

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