Graduate Theses

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    Perceptions, knowledge, and use of plant-based dietary interventions among healthcare providers in Nova Scotia (Veg-HP Study)
    (Mount Saint Vincent University, 2024-04) Bockus, Laura
    Plant-based diets, including vegetarian diets, have been studied extensively for utility in chronic disease management. Recent public health initiatives, including the revision of the Canada’s Food Guide (CFG, 2019), reflect favourable health and wellness outcomes. Research investigating public perception of plant-based diets has identified several biases that may impact perceived and actual utility. Limited research exists on Healthcare Professionals’ (HCPs) perceptions, knowledge, or use of plant-based diets in practice, all well established outcomes that impact whether or not HCPs use an intervention. Aim: To capture and describe perceptions, knowledge, and practice behaviours of HCPs in Nova Scotia (NS), in relation to vegetarian diet usage in chronic disease management (prevention and treatment). Outcomes: Guided by our study aim, we collected data under four outcome categories, from registered and regulated physicians, dietitians, nurses, and pharmacists, practicing in NS 1) Demographics, 2) Perceptions 3) Knowledge 4) Use/Application. Methods: This cross-sectional survey study included development and implementation of a 60-item close-ended questionnaire which was distributed via LimeSurvey (October 2021-April 2022) to physicians, dietitians, nurses, and pharmacists in NS. Data was subjected to descriptive statistical analysis and described in text, tabular and figure format. Results: Of 53 respondents, 94% identified as female and 49% as registered dietitians (RDs). The sample was composed of people who consumed primarily omnivore (49%, n=23/47) or plant-based diets (49%, n=23/47). HCPs described vegetarian diets as a lifestyle choice (86%, n=43/50), legitimate medical practice (58%, n=29/50), and complimentary medicine (44%, n=22/50). Knowledge questions were correctly answered by most (85% or more), excluding one. Thirty-eight percent (n=31/50) of respondents did not know CFG no longer contains a meat and alternatives food group. Respondents identified cardiovascular disease (90%, n=45/50), diabetes (80%, n=40/50), cancers (74%, n=37/50), and mental health disorders (26%, n=13/50) could be beneficially impacted with plant-based diets, with no negative impacts (66%, n=33/50). Respondents (26%, n=13/50) expressed some concern for mental health impacts with vegetarian diets specifically, patients living with eating disorders (5%, n=2/43). Vegetarian diets were recommended by 68% (n=34/50) of HCPs, not recommended by 32% (n=16/50), and 58% (n=29/50) reported waiting for patient interest before discussing vegetarian diets. Conclusions: A large percentage of respondents recognized vegetarian diets could beneficially impact disease states and clinical outcomes, a similar percentage of respondents reported not introducing this dietary pattern without prompting from their patient. NS HCPs had better knowledge scores than previous peer-reviewed and published literature, although evaluations/ knowledge evaluation tools differ across studies. This is likely due to the increased representation of RDs in our sample.
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    Sleeping Between Cultures: An Autoethnographic Exploration of the Co-Sleeping Practices of an Immigrant Mother in Canada
    (Mount Saint Vincent University, 2024-04) Zhou, Xia
    In North America, the prevailing sleep arrangement for infants and young children emphasizes sleeping independently which differs from the co-sleeping norms embraced by many cultures worldwide. This autoethnographic study explores the researcher’s experiences with co-sleeping practices as a new immigrant mother in Canada. Employing an autoethnographic approach, this research intertwines personal narratives and reflections to navigate the complexities of co- sleeping within the context of cultural adaptation. Reflecting on the researcher’s co-sleeping journey through the lens of Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model of Human Development, the study examines the intricate interplay between personal experiences, social norms, and the broader cultural contexts, examining how these factors influenced the researcher’s co-sleeping decisions and experiences. This research advocates for a more diverse understanding of co-sleeping practices, recognizing cultural perspectives to develop guidelines that promote safety while respecting the cultural richness immigrant families bring to the Canadian context. Through its autoethnographic lens, this study contributes to a deeper understanding of the cultural dynamics shaping parenting practices and underscores the importance of cultural sensitivity in healthcare and policy frameworks.
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    A Thematic Content Analysis of Children’s Picture Books that Portray Fairness
    (Mount Saint Vincent University, 2024-04) Zhang, Shuo
    Considering the essential role fairness plays in the early years and the powerful impacts of picture books on young children, it is necessary the understand how fairness is portrayed in children’s picture books, and how this small sample of picture books might inform children’s understanding of fairness and how it relates to children’s moral compass in relation to their rights and agency. The thematic content analysis is adopted as the research method. This study is based on three children’s picture books that were published over 50-year periods. This research examined the depiction of fairness in those books, addressing questions about how fairness is portrayed, the embedded messages in the depiction of fairness, and whose perspective is represented. This research explored perspectives including Kohlberg’s moral development theory and Gilligan’s ethic of care. Although Kohlberg’s theory explains some aspects of children’s moral reasoning, it undermines children’s agency and puts them in a morally deficient position. This research advocates for the care perspective and children’s agency in their morality development. Recommendations, limitations, and suggestions are included.
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    Exploring food insecurity among gay men in India: an interpretative phenomenological study
    (Mount Saint Vincent University, 2023-12) Yeminedi, Sainath
    Accepting same-sex sexual orientation and queer identities has become more prevalent among Indian youth. However, within the framework of family, home, and school, taking sexuality and being free to express their gender choices remain significant challenges for members of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community (Patel, 2016). For gay men, in particular, there is a lack of adequate health care and nutrition. For example, Gay men face discrimination at work and in school, which causes many to commit suicide or live by themselves away from society. This study aims to identify and bring to the world's attention the food culture among gay men in India. The study will also focus on discrimination as a determinant of food access and nutrition faced by gay men in India. This chapter discusses the background and context of the study, followed by the research question, the research goals, and finally, the limitations.
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    LGBTQ+ Experiences of the Relationship Between Discrimination and Mental Health Care
    (Mount Saint Vincent University, 2023) Foran, Elayna
    This thesis is an exploratory study which examines the experiences that LGBTQ+ individuals have in receiving mental health care in Nova Scotia, uncovering the concerns of LGBTQ+ individuals within care. The recommendations made hereinafter are intended for mental health care providers in Nova Scotia that are seeking to become more cognizant of LGBTQ+-specific issues. The literature that was used explores how LGBTQ+ people are treated in a system that has a history of pathologizing members of these communities. Participants (N=17) completed an anonymous online survey in which they were asked about their experiences in mental health care in Nova Scotia. Survey respondents noted that sensitivities related to disclosure of LGBTQ+ identity, language use, and culturally competent behaviour impacted the perceived quality of care. The analysis of this data also suggests that barriers, such as socioeconomic status or ability, are relevant to the client-provider relationship as well as to the capacity to seek care, and that accounting for the intersectional nature of a client’s identity impacts quality of care, more broadly. Overall, the recommendations presented to providers include understanding their positionality, being mindful of sensitivities related to disclosure of LGBTQ+ identities as well as other aspects of language use, the value of cultural competency training, trauma-informed practices, and understanding the barriers that impact care, such as financial barriers and long wait times.