Middle-Aged Resiliency and Resistance Study (MARRS)
 

Cultural and Islamic influences on the perceptions of mental health services in middle-aged Muslim adults

Principal Investigator: Sheza Shahid

Honours Thesis 2021-22

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The present study was aimed at gaining a better understanding of the perceptions of mental health services held by the middle-aged (i.e., 40 to 60 years of age) Muslim community in Canada. Specifically, we examined the influence of Cultural and Religious Beliefs, Familiarity and Knowledge, and Experiences on Rejection Attitudes. To do so, a set of online self-report questionnaires was administered as well as follow-up individual interviews to provide greater depth in the reasoning behind these perspectives.

 

Questionnaire results demonstrated that high levels of Cultural and Religious Beliefs, low levels of Familiarity and Knowledge, and low levels of Experiences significantly predicted high levels of Rejection Attitudes. Individual interviews demonstrated generally positive along with some negative Attitudes towards professional mental health services, generally high levels of Familiarity and Knowledge with professional mental health services, and a mixture of both positive and negative Experiences with professional mental health services. The most predominant themes within Cultural Influences were lack of trust in Western therapeutic techniques, societal stigma, and fear of losing cultural values. As for Religious Influences, the greatest theme was the fear of being misunderstood or judged due to Islamic values and practices.

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Effectiveness of a brief Internet-delivered behaviour change intervention among healthy middle-aged adults: A randomized controlled trial

Principal Investigator: Kelsey Haczkewicz

Honours Thesis 2021-22

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Previous studies have demonstrated the need to move beyond the common misconception of midlife as a time of crisis so that we can develop further understandings of the midlife as a time of opportunity for the maintenance and improvement of health. Several psychosocial factors such as resilience, emotion regulation, perceived social support, and control beliefs have been identified as having a role in the adoption of healthier lifestyle habits in middle age which, in turn, may decrease the risk of a developing or worsening chronic disease.

 

This study consisted of an initial online questionnaire, as well as two follow-up questionnaires, and was aimed at evaluating the influence of psychosocial factors on the adoption of healthy lifestyle habits in middle-aged (i.e. 35 – 64 year-old) adults. Specifically, this study aimed to examine whether differing experiences of social support, resilience, emotion regulation, and control beliefs influence physical activity levels following a brief behaviour change intervention called Brief Action Planning. Middle-aged adults from Saskatchewan either completed the guided goal-setting activity, or set goals without guidance as well as two follow-up questionnaires to assess their progress.

 

Results demonstrated that those who often re-interpret emotional events, feel they have high social support from friends, and are resilient spend more time engaged in walking, moderate, and vigorous physical activities, respectively. Additionally, completing the guided goal-setting activity did not result in changes in physical activity levels, in comparison to the non-guided group.

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