Dissertations and Theses


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 7607
  • Publication
    Digital Positive Interventions: Using Mindful Tea-Drinking Practice to Promote the Chinese Workplace Flourishing
    (2023-08) Xie, Lixian (Sherry); Ungar, Lyle
    Digital positive interventions (DPIs) are self-paced, interactive, customized interventions combining positive psychology interventions (PPIs) with positive technology. Many studies have proven the effectiveness of DPIs in improving well-being in the workplace. This paper proposes a novel digital positive intervention, the Mindful Tea-Drinking Practice (MTDP), based on a Chinese mindfulness App. It integrates Chinese tea culture and positive psychology theories and aims to enhance employees’ flourishing in the Chinese workplace. The MTDP comprises two components: the mindfulness App and the mindful tea. It utilizes the Elements Model to develop a 4-week, 10-minute daily mindful tea-drinking practice. This program is attuned to Chinese cultural contexts and person-activity fit in the Chinese workplace and reduces hedonic adaptation by using a variety of activities. It enhances participants' engagement, motivation, and adherence by using positive interactions, habituation, and personalization. It is highly scalable, easily accessible, user-friendly, and cost-effective. These features make it potentially appealing to a broad population and thus able to improve human flourishing significantly. Future studies and applications should address enhancing the effect sizes and adherence to DPIs and incorporating cutting-edge AI technologies to help more individuals live flourishing lives.
  • Publication
    The Welfare Implications of Proposition 12 as it Relates to Breeding Sows and Gilts
    (2023) Diana Lynch; Wiegert, Jeffrey
    Proposition 12 is a ballot proposition in the state of California that regulates housing for breeding sows and gilts by banning the use of gestation stalls. Sow housing, more specifically, individual confinement in stalls during gestation, is a controversial topic in animal agriculture. As society becomes increasingly solicitous of the treatment of food animals, there has been and will likely be an increasing amount of proposed legislation to ensure humane treatment. While it is crucial to ensure the humane treatment of food animals, legislation must first be founded in science to be effective. In the case of Proposition 12, the potential to positively promote the welfare of breeding female pigs has been scarcely studied. Proposition 12 did not go into effect until 2022, and multiple legal challenges have stalled both implementation and industry-wide responses to adopt compliant housing. While no scientific studies have been conducted thus far using Proposition 12 in name, several previously published studies have utilized treatment groups that are Proposition 12 compliant in nature. Critical review of the sow behavior, health and production results described in these experiments suggest that, as it is written, Proposition 12 likely will not achieve its intended purpose of promoting sow welfare because it focuses on one singular aspect of swine management (floor space allowance) and fails to consider all other components. It is the position of this paper that pigs can be humanely and responsibly raised in any housing system if all aspects of swine rearing are considered holistically. Consequently, the potential for legislation that mandates one style of swine rearing over another to improve animal welfare is questioned. With that said, however, it is currently unclear how to analyze the sow’s affective state when housed individually or in groups during the post-weaning and early gestation stage. Accordingly, the true welfare implications of Proposition 12 will remain undetermined until research is conducted about how housing systems in pig rearing affect all three realms of animal welfare.
  • Publication
    The Impact of Altered Diet Presentation on Time Budget of Research Housed Rhesus Macaques (Macaca Mulatta)
    (2023) Kelsey Renae Neeb Lambert; Parsons, Thomas; Punt, Jennifer; Mitchell, Erin
    Rhesus macaques in the wild are known to adapt to a changing environment spanning different types of geography in order to find and process a wide variety of dietary resources. Captive rhesus are not faced with the same challenges when it comes to accessing dietary resources to meet their daily caloric need. Standard diet presentation for research-housed rhesus macaques involves placement of the nutritionally complete diet in an open feeder hung on the front portion of the enclosure. The goal of this project was to place a modified diet feeder on the top of the enclosure of thirteen rack-housed rhesus to increase the effort and time required to obtain the daily ration. The data demonstrated a statistically significant increase in upright posture (p<0.05) and appetitive behaviors (p<0.001) indicating an increase in time and effort to obtain daily ration. However, no significant impact on performance of maladaptive behavior was observed. Future evaluation with larger cohorts of primates is warranted in order to determine the impact of covariates (such as age, sex, social housing, and study type), and incorporate additional measures of welfare to better predict impact on individual primate welfare.
  • Publication
    Behavioral Associations with Feline Gastrointestinal and Dermatological Disorders
    (2023) Eilidh J. Gilbert; Siracusa, Carlo
    Despite a growing body of evidence that suggests a strong connection between physical and behavioral health in animals, the effects of inflammatory diseases on cat behavior remains understudied. I investigated whether behavior profiles of cats with inflammatory GI and skin diseases differ from those of healthy cats. I also explored whether corticosteroid treatment affected cat behavior. I hypothesized that cats with inflammatory diseases would display more behavioral signs of anxiety than healthy cats and that steroid treatment would correlate with increased anxious behaviors. I identified cats within Penn Vet’s patient database that had been diagnosed with inflammatory GI and skin disorders, as well as a control group of healthy cats. The owners completed a feline behavioral assessment survey (Fe-BARQ), and I analyzed the resulting data using the Mann Whitney U test. The results revealed significant behavioral differences between groups. Anxious behaviors were more prevalent in the inflammatory group than the healthy group. The inflammatory group scored higher for purring and trainability than the healthy group. Additionally, cats treated with corticosteroids exhibited more anxious behaviors than healthy and non-steroid treatment groups. This study establishes that cats with inflammatory disorders display more anxious and comfort-soliciting behaviors than healthy cats and that corticosteroid treatment is associated in a higher incidence of anxiety in cats.
  • Publication
    The Well-being Paradox in Latin America: Identifying, Protecting, Capitalizing, and Replicating What Works Well
    (2023-08-24) Mariangela Rodriguez Badel; Adler, Ph.D., Alejandro
    Self-reported measures of subjective well-being in Latin America consistently indicate higher levels than predicted, despite various societal, economic, and political challenges. This project examines three significant elements that emerge when Latin Americans report on their well-being: the importance of interpersonal relationships, the unexpectedly elevated levels of positive affect, and a tendency to adopt an optimistic outlook on life. Warm and fulfilling relationships with family and friends play a crucial role in the experience of high levels of positive emotions, and alongside a positive view of life situations, contribute to explaining well-being in the region. Evidence shows positive relationships, positive emotions, and optimism are associated with several positive outcomes and are essential to enhance well-being. The findings discussed in this paper have practical applications for public policy, education, coaching, and therapeutic contexts. Preserving these cultural values and practices within Latin American societies is of utmost importance. Furthermore, sharing the unique aspects of Latin American culture regarding well-being can provide valuable lessons that can be applied in different cultures and contexts.