Department of Social Sciences

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    The PISA performance gap between national and expatriate students in the United Arab Emirates
    (SAGE Publications Ltd, 2022) Marquez, Jose ; Lambert, Louise ; Ridge, Natasha Y ; Walker, Stuart
    In most education systems, students with an immigrant background perform worse academically than do native students. However, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) differences emerge in the opposite direction and the national-expatriate gap in academic performance is equivalent to almost three years of schooling. This gap is a concern in the UAE, where national students mainly attend public schools while expatriates mostly attend private schools. In this study, to investigate the performance gap between national and expatriate students we estimate group differences and conduct linear regression analysis using data from the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment. Results show that the gap varies by emirate and country of origin, and is greater among boys, better-off students and those attending private schools. Between 33% and 47% of this gap is explained by school type, whether public or private. We offer recommendations for the UAE that may also be useful for other high expatriate recruiting nations in development; however, in a country characterized by 85% expatriates and a maturing education policy, challenges remain. © The Author(s) 2022.
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    Positive psychology interventions in the United Arab Emirates: boosting wellbeing – and changing culture?
    (Springer, 2021) Lambert, Louise ; Warren, Meg A. ; Schwam, Allison ; Warren, Michael T.
    As the science of wellbeing has grown, universities have adopted the challenge of prioritizing the wellbeing of students. Positive psychology interventions (PPIs), activities designed to increase the frequency of positive emotions and experiences, which help to facilitate the use of actions and thoughts that lead to human flourishing, are being increasingly used worldwide. Known to boost wellbeing and a number of other variables, it nonetheless remains unknown whether their use can influence other variables in non-Western cultures. In this study, we determined the impact of PPIs on a variety of wellbeing outcomes. The 6-week PPI program was conducted in the United Arab Emirates on Emirati university students (n = 120) who reported more positive emotion and overall balance of feelings that favored positivity over time relative to a control group. Yet, there was no effect found on negative emotions, life satisfaction, perceived stress, fear of happiness, locus of control, or somatic symptoms, and no effect on levels of collectivism or individualism. Our findings nonetheless support the use of PPIs in higher education as they show an increase in the experience of positive emotion, with this in itself bringing positive life outcomes, and no negative impact on culture. Our findings serve to build a foundation for understanding for whom PPIs work best - and least - around the world. © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.
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    Key challenges and future directions when running auditory brainstem response (Abr) research protocols with newborns: A music and language eeg feasibility study
    (MDPI, 2021-12) Papatzikis, Efthymios ; Elhalik, Mahmoud ; Inocencio, Shannaiah Aubrey Mae ; Agapaki, Maria ; Selvan, Rosari Naveena ; Muhammed, Faseela Shejeed ; Haroon, Nazreen Abdulla ; Dash, Swarup Kumar ; Sofologi, Maria ; Bezoni, Antonia
    Although many musical intervention studies exist in the wider framework of neuroscience and psychology, the preliminary importance of feasibility studies is rarely discussed. Adding to this fact the limited research existing on the therapeutic and restorative potential of music exposure during early developmental periods, pushed us to concentrate on investigating newborns’ perception of music and its impact on the brain. Here, we explore the feasibility of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) approach when measuring and comparing the neurophysiological perception of music versus language on the brainstem of newborns using auditory brainstem response (ABR). Twenty-five healthy full-term infants were recruited, eight of which were measured within their first 10 days postpartum. The evaluation of the study’s feasibility appealed to five main objectives that essentially answer the question: Can our protocol work? Each objective proposes questions based on Orsmond and Cohn’s guiding framework, designed to assess, and assist feasibility in understanding barriers toward a study’s success. Our results justify that newborns are well capable of undergoing the study and given meticulous considerations and improvements on the intervention resources. The procedure’s communication and technical obstacles are resoluble. Moreover, assimilation of external factors to adapt, such as the culture variation and the ABR protocol implementation are necessary. The study was well received in the selected region (Middle East), and the recording procedure showed potential outcomes for a comprehensive RCT. © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
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    Effects of positive psychology interventions in Arab countries: a protocol for a systematic review
    (BMJ Publishing Group, 2021-07-29) Basurrah, Asma ; Lambert, Louise ; Setti, Annalisa ; Murphy, Mike ; Warren, Meg ; Shrestha, Topaz ; di Blasi, Zelda
    Introduction Despite the growing volume of published studies on the effects of positive psychology interventions (PPIs), little is known about their effectiveness outside of Western countries, particularly in Arab countries. As the effectiveness of PPIs in this region remains unclear, a systematic review focusing on this area of research can offer a valuable contribution. Here, we present a protocol for the first systematic review that aims to examine the effects of PPIs on increasing well-being, quality of life and resilience and decreasing depression, anxiety and stress for both health and clinical, child and adult populations in Arab countries. Methods and analysis This protocol is carried out in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Protocols guidelines. A systematic literature search for studies up to 30 April 2021 will be conducted in the following electronic databases: PsycINFO, PubMed, Scopus, ProQuest, Dar Al Mandumah and Al Manhal. Experimental/quasi-experimental quantitative studies evaluating the effects of PPIs on healthy and clinical participants of all ages in the 22 Arab countries will be included. Outcomes will include psychological effects of PPIs on dimensions related to well-being (eg, happiness), quality of life, resilience, depression, anxiety and stress. The risk of bias will be evaluated using the Cochrane risk-of-bias tool. A narrative synthesis with tables of study characteristics will be provided. A meta-analysis will be included if outcomes allow; in this instance, subgroups analysis will be conducted, depending on the data gathered, to examine differences in effect sizes based on age group, population type, duration of intervention and type of intervention. Ethics and dissemination Ethical approval was not required for the performance of this systematic review. We intend to publish the study in a peer-reviewed journal and share the findings at relevant conferences. PROSPERO registration number CRD42020198092. ©
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    Risk factors for diagnosis of Escherichia coli infection after flexible ureteroscope holmium laser lithotripsy by imaging information technology under Nomogram mathematical model
    (Elsevier B.V., 2021-06) Zhang, Yuelong ; Zhang, Qi ; Lv, Jia ; Zhang, Dahong ; Kaddouri, Meriem ; Al Dulaimi, Saeed Hameed Kurdi
    The evaluation value of Nomogram mathematical model was investigated for risk factors of Escherichia coli infection after flexible ureteroscope holmium laser lithotripsy (f-URL) under the diagnosis of imaging information technology. A total of 124 cases with upper urinary tract calculi (UUTC) were selected as the research objects, and they were rolled into an infection group (41 cases) and a control group (83 cases) according to whether Escherichia coli infection occurred after the surgery. The difference of surgical indicators between the two groups was compared, and the Nomogram mathematical prediction model was established based on Logistic regression risk factors. Besides, the predictive ability of the Nomogram mathematical model was analyzed with indicators such as the integrated discrimination improvement (IDI), the area under the curve (AUC), and GiViTI calibration curve band. The results found that age, diabetes, stone size, surgical time, and antibiotic use time were all risk factors for Escherichia coli infection after surgery. The AUC of the different risk factors of the Nomogram mathematical model was between 0.752 and 0.814, the sensitivity was 57.45%, the specificity was 97.96%, the C-index was 0.734 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.631–0.837). Both the 80% and 95% CI regions of the Giviti calibration curve band did not cross the 45° diagonal bisector, and P = 0.518. Moreover, the Nomogram model showed an increase of 8.9% (95% CI: 0.061–1.1874 and P = 0.043) compared with the Logistic regression analysis model. Therefore, these results indicated that the Nomogram mathematical model can markedly improve the prediction ability of Escherichia coli infection risk after f-URL, which had great value in the assessment and early diagnosis and treatment of Escherichia coli infection after f-URL. © 2021 The Authors