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NU researchers earn SSHRC grants


​Three researchers at Nipissing University have earned close to half-a-million dollars in grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) for work battling sex trafficking, determining why so many individuals don’t act to combat climate change, and to help kids be better people and teammates.

  • Dr. Rosemary Nagy, associate professor of Gender Equality and Social Justice, earned $194,894 as principal investigator for the team project, Combatting Sex Trafficking in Northeastern Ontario: Mapping Exploitation and Building Community Resilience
  • Dr. Steven Arnocky, associate professor of Psychology, earned $51,702 for his project, Psychological and Hormonal Aspects of Environmental Learned Helplessness
  • Dr. Mark Bruner, Canada Research Chair in Youth Development through Sport and Physical Activity and associate professor in the School of Physical and Health Education, earned $229,719 for his project, Being a Good Teammate: Fostering Social Identity and Moral Development Through Youth Sport Participation

“Thank you to the SSHRC for this investment in Nipissing University and our researchers, “ said Dr. Jim McAuliffe, Nipissing University’s dean of graduate studies and research. “This is important research that will positively impact the lives of Canadians for generations to come. It is very exciting and rewarding to see our researchers earning these prestigious grants.”

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada is the federal research-funding agency that promotes and supports postsecondary-based research and training in the humanities and social sciences. By focusing on developing Talent, generating Insights and forging Connections across campuses and communities, SSHRC strategically supports world-leading initiatives that reflect a commitment to ensuring a better future for Canada and the world.

Background

Dr. Rosemary Nagy, principal investigator

Team: Brenda Quenneville (co-director), Amelia Rising Sexual Assault Centre of Nipissing; Adrienne Pelletier and Donna Debassige, Union of Ontario Indians; Kathleen Jodouin, AIDS Committee of North Bay and Area; Lanyan Chen and Serena Kataoka, Nipissing University.

Combatting Sex Trafficking in Northeastern Ontario: Mapping Exploitation and Building Community Resilience

SSHRC Partnership Development Grant worth $194,894

Abstract: The community organizations partnered in this research project - Amelia Rising Sexual Assault Centre of Nipissing, The AIDS Committee of North Bay and Area, and the Union of Ontario Indians - encounter suspicions and rumours of sex trafficking in their everyday work in the Nipissing region. While some research exists on trafficking in and through large urban centers across the nation, including Southern Ontario, less is known about the processes and patterns of sex trafficking in the North. Faced with this lack of information and analysis, the community organizations joined with researchers from Nipissing University to remedy this gap. The overall goal of this project is to conduct participatory action research with relevant service providers (i.e., community and social services in areas such as health, sexual violence, homelessness) in Northeastern Ontario, as well as persons directly affected by sex trafficking where possible, in order to enhance institutional and community capacities to better respond to the needs of victims of trafficking, to identify service gaps and barriers, and to recommend social policy measures for the prevention of sex trafficking.

Dr. Steven Arnocky

Psychological and Hormonal Aspects of Environmental Learned Helplessness

SSHRC Insight Development Grant worth $51,702

Abstract: Canadians have become increasingly concerned about environmental sustainability. Yet amidst widespread environmental concern there remains a surprising lack of engagement in pro-environmental behaviour. The proposed research attempts to understand why some environmentally-concerned individuals refrain from engaging in pro-environmental behaviours by examining how psychological and hormonal facets of learned helplessness might underly apathy toward pro-environmental behaviour. Learned helplessness has been studied extensively among organisms that are placed in challenging, inescapable situations. Under such conditions, behavioural motivation and internal locus of control decreases, whereas stress hormones, behavioural apathy, and external locus of control increases. The climate crisis may be perceived by some as being such a threatening and inescapable situation; yet, little research has examined the psychological and hormonal components of learned helplessness within the context of environmental problems. The research may illuminate one of the most resounding issues plaguing environmental researchers: Why, in the face of widespread concern for the environment, do many individuals refrain from making meaningful efforts to reduce the human impact on the ecosystem?

Dr. Mark Bruner

Being a Good Teammate: Fostering Social Identity and Moral Development Through Youth Sport Participation

SSHRC Insight Grant worth $229,719

Abstract: In Canada, approximately 75 per cent of youth (12-17 years) report participation in a team sport. As such, sport teams represent a rich context to investigate the role of peer interactions on adolescent social and moral development. Despite evidence documenting positive associations between adaptive team environments and youth development, limited research has investigated how the social identities that youth form through team membership shape their moral behaviours toward teammates.

This research project aims to achieve two key objectives:

  • To examine how young athletes’ social identities formed through team membership shape their moral behaviours toward teammates.
  • To design and evaluate a peer-led intervention aimed at enhancing youths’ moral behaviour toward teammates through changes in social identity.

ANTICIPATED IMPACT OF THE PROPOSED RESEARCH: The proposed research has the potential to substantively enhance our knowledge of how social identities are formed in youth sport and their influence on the moral behaviours that occur within teams. The findings from this research will serve to inform the practical strategies used by coaches to foster desirable teammate behaviours through social identity development. The research will also uncover valuable information for policy makers and sport programmers that will help them to develop policies and sport systems specifically designed to encourage social and moral development through engagement in youth sport.​

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