Oral Presentations - Session 2A: UC 326


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Friday, April 11th
1:40 PM

Wilderness as a Social Movement: Expanding Cultural Relevance in the 21st Century

Dylan Lang, The University Of Montana

1:40 PM - 2:00 PM

This year is the 50th anniversary of two monumental pieces of legislation: the Wilderness Act and the Civil Rights Act. Though these two laws exist within different arenas of public affairs, both have had significant effects on American society.

The Wilderness Act was signed into law in 1964 with almost unanimous support, at a time when American society overwhelmingly supported its passage. Since 1964, wilderness has been criticized as an elitist ideal representing a small interest group in the United States. As our country becomes increasingly diverse, and public lands protection loses popular support, making wilderness more relevant to minority populations is vital.

This project examines the social constructs of wilderness in the United States in response to a changing demographic on our public lands. In this project, I aim to 1) evaluate current recreation trends of African Americans in the United States, 2) discuss criticisms of wilderness and how a focus on the social foundations of the wilderness movement can help to ameliorate those criticisms, and 3) propose changes to future wilderness education in order to increase relevance of the wilderness idea.

Research for this project focused on recreation trends, history of the wilderness movement, and modern wilderness criticisms and commentary. I collected interviews from nine individuals whose work involves the link between wilderness and society through management, education, outreach, and stewardship. Collectively, this project aims to suggest tools for wilderness education that will make wilderness, both in theory and in practice, accessible to a broader populace, hopefully increasing its relevance and assuring its existence into the future.

2:20 PM

Voices from Campus: Strategies for Strengthening University Tobacco Free Policy Implementation

Larisa Carter, University of Montana - Missoula

2:20 PM - 2:40 PM

Studies show that habitual smoking often begins during young adulthood. With many young adults in the US pursing higher education, university campuses are examining issues associated with tobacco use including increased risks for preventable disease and exposure to secondhand smoke. College campuses are increasingly adopting tobacco-free policies that have the potential to reach large populations at risk for preventable diseases that result from smoking.

The purpose of this research was to examine attitudes of campus staff toward the Tobacco Free policy of a mid-sized U.S. University located in the rural Northwest. Researchers conducted semi-structured interviews with 16 key informants affiliated with the University. Grounded theory was used to divide and categorize the interviews into 10 themes. These themes were analyzed and used to formulate suggestions for policy improvement.

Key informants identified strategies that should and should not be used to increase Tobacco Free policy compliance on campus and disagreed about whether several practices (changing physical environment, education, negative consequences) and resources (financial support) should be used to increase Policy compliance. Participants identified individuals and departments who should and should not be responsible for Policy enforcement.

Differences in opinion regarding which strategies should be used to increase Tobacco Free policy compliance indicate a need for increased clarity and consistency in Policy language. There is also a need for a more formal, effective forum where all the departments involved with the Policy can come together and work toward consistent policy implementation and enforcement.

Policy implementation is a dynamic process and that a policy may need to be revised and implemented several times before it can be considered effective. Although every campus that pursues implementation of a tobacco-free policy is unique, important lessons can be learned from the successes and failures of the writing and implementation of tobacco free policies on other campuses.

2:40 PM

Balancing Efficiency and Compassion: Researching Best Practices for Homeless Shelter Policy Manuals

Ally Guldborg, University of Montana

2:40 PM - 3:00 PM

The purpose of this project is to use qualitative content analysis to help improve the policies and practices of the Poverello Center. The Poverello Center acts as an emergency shelter and food bank for persons experiencing hunger or homelessness in the Missoula area. The Poverello Center aims to balance efficiency and compassion as it provides these services to all who need them. In order to meet this goal, the organization must have clear and enforceable policies for staff, volunteers, and clients. The researcher will work in collaboration with the staff and administration of the Poverello Center to examine the organization’s existing policies and construct a comprehensive, functional, and organized policy manual consistent with the organization’s mission and vision statements. The researcher will contact 10 to 15 homeless shelters in the Northwest United States that serve similar populations as the Poverello Center. After obtaining the policy manuals of these shelters, the researcher will use NVivo qualitative coding software to identify common themes in these manuals. The researcher will use the results of this analysis to make written policy recommendations to the Poverello Center administration. This project will benefit the organization by helping it improve its policy manual.

3:00 PM

A Theoretical Look at Sexual Minority Victimization and Outness to Family as a Protective Factor Against Lifetime Suicide Attempts

Charlotte M. Siegel, University of Montana - Missoula

3:00 PM - 3:20 PM

A Theoretical Look at Sexual Minority Victimization and Outness to Family as a Protective Factor Against Lifetime Suicide Attempts

Purpose/Originality: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals are at increased risk for negative mental health outcomes, which has been linked to minority stress processes (Meyer, 2003). LGBTQ individuals are also at increased risk of victimization and suicidality (Shields, 2011). In some cases, identity disclosure may protect against suicidality (Morris, 2001). However, less is known about the effects of outness to one’s family. We examined the interaction of victimization and lifetime suicide attempts with family outness as a potential protective factor.

Methods: Sexual minority adults (n = 730, M age = 29.99, SD = 13.84) were recruited nationally from university-affiliated LGBTQ groups, community organizations, and Facebook. Hypotheses were tested using negative binomial regression. Covariates included age, gender, ethnicity, sexual identity, depression, anxiety, and general (i.e., non-family specific) outness.

Results: Twenty-eight percent reported one or more suicide attempts (Range = 0 - 50, M = .73, SD = 2.46). The interaction model was significant, omnibus c2 = 205.53, df = 14, p < .001, AIC = 1364.07. As hypothesized, family outness moderated the positive association between victimization and number of lifetime suicide attempts, b = -.20, Wald c2 = 12.86, df = 1, p < .001. A simple effect for victimization remained beyond the interaction, b = .60, Wald c2 = 49.61, df = 1, p < .001.

Significance: Although victimization puts sexual minorities at higher risk for lifetime suicide attempts, it was found that family outness was a protective factor that weakened this association. The findings highlight the importance of family dialogue surrounding sexual identity, especially in the presence of victimization. Future suicide intervention strategies may benefit from consideration of this study. Theoretical explanations and limitations will be discussed.

3:20 PM

Arctic Climate Change and the Effects on Bowhead Whales and Their Environment

Kelly A. Wimmert, University of Montana - Missoula

3:20 PM - 3:40 PM

Kelly Wimmert



Arctic Climate Change and the Impacts on Bowhead Whales


The purpose of this research is to identify the effects of arctic climate change on bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) and their environment. Bowhead whales are recognized internationally as a threatened species, in part, because of the dramatic declines in their population over the past century. My study is structured around three primary objectives: one, to examine the impacts of melting arctic ice and warming temperatures on species dynamics and habitat; two, to investigate the ways in which current and anticipated human activities in the arctic influence bowhead whales; and three, to assess the models of conservation science and action that are designed to support the health and resilience of bowhead whale populations. For this study I will be analyzing existing data from international databases and examine existing media reports documenting viewpoints/scientific opinion provided by arctic climate specialists, whale biologists, and whale conservation activists. I will also be surveying information on international conservation efforts that is available through government agencies and non-governmental organizations. This research on bowhead whales will provide a succinct and accessible analysis of the trends in bowhead whale population dynamics in relation to climate, human interactions, and conservation efforts.

3:40 PM

Maternal Healthcare and the Effects on Infant Mortality in Indonesia

Thomas J. Flies, University of Montana - Helena College of Technology

3:40 PM - 4:00 PM

I plan to present my senior Economics thesis on the effects of Maternal Healthcare on the Infant Mortality rate in Indonesia for the years 2000-2005. I have collected data via the Indonesian Family Life Survey, with detailed life, socioeconomic and political factors that influence maternal health choices. As the 4th largest country in the world and under increasing pressure from the Indonesian government to decrease the infant mortality rate, I have found that the maternal healthcare decisions to be a new and invigorating topic to explore. I hope my research will further advance the possibilities of new studies that further improve the development of healthcare access in Indonesian, specifically in the rural locations.

4:00 PM

Can Personality Traits Predict Drug Use Preference?: A Discriminant Functions Analysis of Substance Use in the LGBTQ Population

Adam J. Gott, University of Montana - Missoula

4:00 PM - 4:20 PM

Can Personality Traits Predict Substance Use Preference?: A Discriminant Functions Analysis of Drug Use in the LGBTQ Population.

Purpose: Previous research indicates that certain personality traits (impulsivity, neuroticism, sensation seeking, etc.) are strongly linked to heavy alcohol use and higher levels of stimulant use (Brunelle et al, 2004). We hypothesize that a difference in personality traits will result in differences of reported stimulant use, which excites the central nervous system and results in higher physiological arousal, and depressant use, which inhibits function of the central nervous system and results in a calming and sedating effect. Although a stronger presence of certain personality traits (neuroticism, extroversion) has been linked with use of different substances (depressants, stimulants, etc.) (Feldman et al, 2007), no known studies have examined personality traits as discriminating factors of substance choice within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer populations.

Methods: Using a subset of data from a larger study of LGBTQ individuals (n=730), we identified 33 subjects who reported previous 30-day use of stimulant (cocaine, amphetamines, ADHD medication, or MDMA; n = 15) or depressant (opiates, sedatives, sleeping medication, or painkillers; n =17) drugs. Data were analyzed using discriminant-functions analysis. Covariates included age, gender, ethnicity, and sexual identity.

Conclusions: Although the overall model was not statistically significant, patterns began to emerge regarding specific personality traits. The data suggested that people reporting higher levels of neuroticism reported higher than average primary depressant use. Although the overall model was not statistically significant, this may be a result of insufficient power. The implications for this research could affect availability of treatment options for specific personality types as well as increase treatment availability for sexual minority populations. Future studies should address this possible limitation in order to further investigate this personality trait-drug preference phenomenon.

4:20 PM

Maternal Education and Child Health Outcomes: An empirical analysis of the relationship

Priscilla S. Lekalkuli, University of Montana - Missoula

4:20 PM - 4:40 PM

4:40 PM

Placebo Effects, Ritual Causes

Tessa Weyrauch, University of Montana - Missoula

4:40 PM - 5:00 PM

The placebo effect is the power of belief positively manifested for the benefit of the patient. There are two ways that the placebo effect has been seen historically: a standard to clinically test the true efficacy of an active drug and as a sham given by people in a variety of medical positions from doctors to con artists. The use of the placebo effect as a treatment in and of itself has been greeted with distain by scientific researchers and the public because the beneficial reaction the body is creating is due to “belief” instead of “treatment.” However, the placebo effect is real, actual biochemical processes take place in the brain to promote healing in the body that may not otherwise occur. There is a new light being shed on the placebo effect through understanding and research of the components of the placebo effect which may validate it as an honest tool for healing with uses beyond a clinical trial comparison standard. One of the main components that create the placebo effect is ritual- such as the sureness of the curer, what attire the curer is wearing, and the process of consulting with a curer. I review the current scholarly literature in English primarily published in the United States of the ties between the placebo effect and specific rituals in place in Western biomedicine to determine the approximate strength these rituals have on the placebo effect in the United States. Upon completion this review will show which rituals are currently the most important to emphasize in a medicinal setting, such as in a clinic or a doctor’s office. This paper calls for the conscientious, honest, and compassionate use of ritual to evoke the benefits of the placebo effect.