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Cultural theory (CT) has been widely used to explain variations in risk perception but has rarely been tested in Canada. This contribution represents the most thorough attempt to adapt CT to the Canadian context. Study results suggest that respondents’ commitment to egalitarianism was strongly correlated with risks from technology, while respondents’ commitment to hierarchism was strongly correlated with risks from criminal or unsafe behaviours. Respondents’ commitment to individualism was also correlated with risks from criminal and unsafe behaviours but differed from hierarchism in that individualism was not correlated with risk perceptions from prostitution and marijuana use. Respondents’ commitments to fatalism were strongly correlated with risk perception of vaccines. These conclusions are reinforced by results from a survey question that tests the extent to which such cultural predispositions map onto the myths of nature hypothesized by CT and by a survey experiment that tests how cultural commitments predict perceived risks from a controversial pipeline.
Major life transitions can negatively impact the emotional well-being of older people. This study examined the effectiveness of interventions that target the three most common transitions in later life, namely bereavement, retirement, and relocation.
A systematic search was performed via MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, PsycINFO, and reference lists of retrieved non-randomized and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in English that studied the effectiveness of interventions addressing the three transitions in those >50 years of age. Two researchers independently selected the publications, piloted the data extraction form, and critically appraised studies specific to transition type and study design.
A total of 11 studies (bereavement: 7; retirement: 2; relocation: 2) of 8 unique interventions met the inclusion criteria of which nine were RCTs and two were of quasi-experimental designs were reviewed. Six studies were group-based interventions, three studies used individualized sessions, and one intervention used a combination of group and individualized programming. Group size varied (20–32 participants), as did qualifications of those administering the interventions. The methodological quality of included studies was weak. Findings suggest that group-based approaches provided by trained personnel can mitigate the negative health-related consequences associated with major transitions in later life.
Evidence concerning interventions that address mental health challenges associated with these major transitions is limited. Future research should better characterize participants at study outset and use validated measures to capture effectiveness. Use of peer mentorship to navigate such transitions is promising, but given the small number of studies and their methodological weaknesses, further research on effectiveness is warranted.
Concerned by the proliferation of idiosyncratic prescriptive case studies in the nascent subfield of policy studies, Richard Simeon, in his seminal 1976 article, asked scholars to produce more comparative policy research that aimed at explaining general events and contributing to theory building. The extent to which Simeon's vision materialized remains debated. With a view to informing this debate, we conducted a systematic content analysis of the articles published in five major generalist public policy journals from 1980 to 2015. The analysis reveals that Canadian policy scholars took a comparative turn, publishing more territorial, sector and time comparisons than in the past. We also found evidence that theoretical knowledge accumulation is more important today for Canadian authors than it was when Simeon wrote his article.
The work of early pluralist thinkers, from Arthur Bentley to Robert Dahl, inspired much optimism about democracy. They argued that democracy was functioning well, despite disagreements arising among the diversity of interests represented in policy-making processes. Yet it is unlikely that anyone paying attention to news coverage today would share such optimism. The media portray current policy-making processes as intractably polarized, devoid of any opportunity to move forward and adopt essential policy changes. This book aims to revive our long-lost sense of optimism about policy-making and democracy. Through original research into biotechnology policy-making in North America and Europe, Éric Montpetit shows that the depiction of policy-making offered by early pluralist thinkers is not so far off the present reality. Today's policy decision-making process - complete with disagreement among the participants - is consistent with what might be expected in a pluralist society, in sharp contrast with the negative image projected by the media.
The growing number of spastic ataxia of Charlevoix-Saguenay (SACS) gene mutations reported worldwide has broadened the clinical phenotype of autosomal recessive spastic ataxia of Charlevoix-Saguenay (ARSACS). The identification of Quebec ARSACS cases without two known SACS mutation led to the development of a multi-modal genomic strategy to uncover mutations in this large gene and explore phenotype variability.
Search for SACS mutations by combining various methods on 20 cases with a classical French-Canadian ARSACS phenotype without two mutations and a group of 104 sporadic or recessive spastic ataxia cases of unknown cause. Western blot on lymphoblast protein from cases with different genotypes was probed to establish if they still expressed sacsin.
A total of 12 mutations, including 7 novels, were uncovered in Quebec ARSACS cases. The screening of 104 spastic ataxia cases of unknown cause for 98 SACS mutations did not uncover carriers of two mutations. Compounds heterozygotes for one missense SACS mutation were found to minimally express sacsin.
The large number of SACS mutations present even in Quebec suggests that the size of the gene alone may explain the great genotypic diversity. This study does not support an expanding ARSACS phenotype in the French-Canadian population. Most mutations lead to loss of function, though phenotypic variability in other populations may reflect partial loss of function with preservation of some sacsin expression. Our results also highlight the challenge of SACS mutation screening and the necessity to develop new generation sequencing methods to ensure low cost complete gene sequencing.