School of Health Sciences


Project Number: 2019-13

Project Leader: Steven Ratuva, Arindam Basu, Tara Ross, Patrick Vakoti, Yvonne Crichton-Hill

Host Department: School of Health Sciences

Project Title: Literature review for the estimation of social protection index of Pacific Islander population

Project outline: This project investigates the socio-economic and cultural drivers of poor health among the Pacific population and identifies the shortcomings of existing traditional and formal social protection strategies to address these drivers. It will involve intensive

field investigation of people's economic, religious, social, professional and cultural situations, attitudes and beliefs at the individual and collective levels and how these contribute to unhealthy lifestyles. It will do a stocktake of existing social protection measures meant to address these and where they have gone wrong. It will also design

a Social Protection Index (SPI) database and formula that links social protection to social determinants of health for use by the communities as well as policy makers. Fourthly, based on the detailed analysis above, the research will identify the best points

of intervention and social protection strategies to promote community empowerment and long-term health enrichment within the Pacific communities using community-friendly strategies.

As part of the summer studentship, the student will work with Dr Arindam Basu at the School of Health Sciences to identify literature on the estimation of social protection index. The student will identify and synthesise literature on social protection index under the guidance of Dr Arindam Basu and the associated team leaders of the project. The project is funded by Health Research Council of New Zealand.

Specific Requirements: - The student should be a postgraduate student

- The student will have some experience of writing a review of research.

- The student should be proficient in working with R software or data analysis and use of spreadsheets





Project Number: 2019-78

Project Leader: Dr Cara Swit

Host Department: School of Health Sciences

Project Title: Trends in Young Children's Use of Aggression 1995-2018

Project outline: Historically, researchers have focused on young children's (3-5 year olds) use of physical aggression because of the overt nature of these behaviours (Tremblay, 2000). In 1995, Crick and colleagues introduced a more covert form of aggression, relational aggression. Since this time, extensive research has included measures of both relational and physical forms of aggression, however, changes in children's use of these behaviours overtime is not well understood. For instance, some researchers have identified higher levels of physical aggression compared to relational aggression in preschool-age children (Crick et al., 2006) while others have found low levels of both forms of aggression (Juliano, Werner, & Cassidy, 2006). The lack of concordance between studies may be due to differences in informants and methods used to assess children's use of these forms of aggression (McEvot, Estrem, & Rodriquez, 2003).

By middle childhood, differences in children's use of physical and relational aggression becomes more apparent with relationally aggressive behaviours becoming more socially acceptable and physically aggressive behaviours less acceptable (Vitaro, Brendgen, & Barker, 2006). Extensive research has documented that both relational and physical aggression are associated with socio-psychological maladjustment and decrements in wellbeing for both victims and perpetrators across all developmental periods (e.g., Card, Stucky, Sawalani, & Little, 2008; Murray-Close, Ostrov, & Crick, 2007; Prinstein, Boergers, & Vernberg, 2001). Thus, researchers and practitioners need to continue to examine the context in which aggression is measured to obtain an accurate understanding about the prevalence of these forms of aggression across early and middle childhood.

The aim of this project is to give an overview of the advancements in knowledge during the past 20 years regarding the prevalence of relational and physical aggression in early and middle childhood. This literature review will collate empirical evidence on children's use of physical aggression compared to relational aggression to determine whether the prevalence of each form of aggression has changed overtime. The analysis of studies will explore the differential ratings of informants such as teachers, parents, peers, self, and observers. This research project will inform research and practice by demonstrating the most prevalent forms of aggression used by children and how this has changed over the past 20 years, and whether children's use of aggression changes across developmental periods (early to middle childhood).

Specific Requirements: Ideally the student would have had some experience conducting literature searches and be familiar with Endnote.



Project Number: 2019-111

Project Leader: Dr Jenny Clarke and Dr Debbie Munro

Host Department: School of Health Sciences

Project Title: Biomechanics resources for scaffolded learning with the BTS 3D motion capture system

Project outline: The student will use the BTS Smart 3D motion capture system to prepare teaching resources for SPCO304 Biomechanical Analysis classes and training for incoming Masters students.

The project requires the student to capture several performances of a simple walk-through of a capture volume as well as an athlete performing a back squat with good technique and a forward lunge using the BTS Smart 3D motion capture system. The performances will be reconstructed having applied a simple anatomical model, and a basic protocol for analysis will be created.

All actions and marker placements will be fully documented to provide a walkthrough tutorial for final-year undergraduate biomechanics students to be able to follow the simple analysis pathway, and to extend their learning to further performances, e.g. kick, or further gym strength movements. The tutorial will also be presented by the lecturer to second-year undergraduate students in the SPCO204 Biomechanics course, and in the new Biomedical Engineering minor.

Artefacts produced by the summer scholarship student:

- Step by step procedures to apply markers to the athlete, optimise and test camera placement, set up and calibrate system (most of this exists in lab manual already but needs updating and pictures to help the user), and capture data

- High quality raw and processed data from captures (it will be useful to have some raw data unprocessed which can be copied into files for students to practise with)

- Analysis protocol for simple analyses of motion - velocities, joint angles, left-right balance assessment, lateral and anterioposterior tilt for three common movements (simple gait, back squat, forward lunge)

A student with previous experience using the system will be able to complete this project in the 400 hours allocated and produce high quality teaching and demonstration resources. If the project basics are finished early, the student will be supported, and will liaise also with BTS support based in Italy, to extend the analyses to more sophisticated protocols which are to be fully documented.

Specific Requirements: Student will have completed SPCO204 Biomechanics and SPCO304 Applied Biomechanics, the latter with a minimum B grade.