Oral Presentations - Session 2A: UC 326


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Friday, April 17th
3:20 PM

The Influential Role of the Secretary of State's Office in the Pacific Northwest

Hailey Duffin, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 326

3:20 PM - 3:40 PM

The purpose of this research is to provide a cross-state comparison of the role that the Secretaries of State play in their given state as well as the influence it has on national politics. In order to evaluate the role of the Secretary of State, this research will examine states in the Northwest region of the U.S. (i.e. Pacific Northwest) to determine how their formal and informal powers affect their role in their respective state. The driving research question is: what role does this position play in impacting state and national electoral politics in the U.S? In an attempt to address this question, semi-structured interviews will be conducted with staff at the five offices in the Pacific Northwest. Moreover, public administration theory will be applied as a descriptive framework to examine the interview responses. The Secretary of State’s office is an agency that 47 out of the 50 states in United States have in their government – this office can play an essential role in defining U.S. elections and politics more broadly. Moreover, 12 out of the 47 states that have a Secretary of State either appoint via governor or state legislature, while the remainder of the states elects their Secretary of State via the general public. The duties and level of participation of the Secretary of State’s office varies based on the state’s government and the powers that have been allotted to them by their respective state constitution. This research will provide a first hand account of the work that is being done in each office and the broader societal implications.

3:40 PM

Rockin' Formidable Flavor when Rollin' with the Punches: Constellations of Personality Traits and their Observed Effect on Problematic Alcohol Use when Facing Victimization as a Sexual Minority

Nate Christianson, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 326

3:40 PM - 4:00 PM

Research has consistently shown that sexual minority individuals are at an elevated risk for substance use. Furthermore, studies have demonstrated links between personality and substance use among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) populations, as well as a relationship between victimization and alcohol use. However, no known research has investigated whether rates of alcohol use in the context of LGBT victimization differ among individuals depending on their underlying personality trait configuration (i.e., personality trait profile; “types”). The current research investigated the influence particular personality “types” have on individuals’ propensity toward alcohol use in the context of LGBT victimization. Participants for this study are drawn from a larger dataset of sexual minority individuals who participated in a one-time online survey. Among the variables measured were demographics, personality traits, LGBT-specific stressors (e.g., victimization), and alcohol usage. Hierarchal OLS regression was employed to test hypotheses, while a Bonferroni correction was applied to further test individual subscales of the AUDIT (consumption, dependence, and use-related problems). We used cluster analysis to empirically derive personality profile “types”, which resulted in the emergence of a two personality profile cluster solution, effectively splitting participants into “adaptive” and “at-risk” profile groups. Support for moderation when experiencing LGBT-victimization, as well as for overall regression models, were statistically significant with regard to AUDIT total and use-related problems, suggesting that “adaptive” individuals are at decreased risk for problematic alcohol use in the context of LGBT-based victimization, relative to their “at-risk” counterparts. An understanding of the different constellations of personality traits that decrease the risk of problematic alcohol use when experiencing LGBT-victimization not only allows for treatments approaches to attenuate their position to certain components of the individuals’ personality/environment more effectively, but can also contribute to an increase of emphasis on combating victimization in prevention efforts, as compared to other sexual minority stressors.

4:20 PM

The Visibility of Homelessness in Missoula

Westen Young, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 326

4:20 PM - 4:40 PM

When people experiencing homelessness are seen sleeping in public places, rather than at a shelter such as the Poverello Center, the question of “why” is posed. By analyzing ethnographic field notes documenting 36 hours of participant observation, I will explain why homelessness is visible in Missoula. I will focus on three reasons that people experiencing homelessness sleep outdoors in Missoula: permanent outs from the Poverello Center, lack of access to affordable hotel rooms, and the lure of autonomy and freedom the North Reserve Street camps provide. By examining why some people without homes opt not to stay at the Poverello Center, I will demonstrate that a public street may be the safest, most cost effective place to sleep in Missoula for some people experiencing homelessness.