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Data collection June–December 2011

Our first communities

Port Colborne and Welland provided a tremendous amount of support for the RHOC project. We received support from representatives from local and regional health and social service agencies, as well as the Port Colborne mayor, Vance Badawey. This support was essential to the success of the research, as local expertise is needed to inform research, solve logistical problems and maximize study participation.


Port Colborne and Welland Community Advisory Committee

Port Colborne and Welland Community Advisory Committee
Photo by Andrea Flynn at the Country Store Kettle & Grill in Port Colborne
Left to right: John Cairney, RHOC Principal Investigator, McMaster University; Lori Kleinsmith, Health Promoter, Bridges Community Health Centre; Kathryn Graham, RHOC Principal Investigator, CAMH; Taralea McLean, Executive Director, Bridges Community Health Centre and Chair, RHOC Community Advisory Committee; George Kurzawa, Executive Director, Canadian Mental Health Association, Niagara Branch; Ru Tauro, Executive Director, Oak Centre; Samantha Wells, RHOC Principal Investigator, CAMH; Lynda Reinhart, Executive Director, Port Cares; Bonnie Polych, Program Consultant, CAMH; Dwayne Mountney, Manager, New Port Centre, Niagara Health System; Pat Kemp, Executive Director, Hope Centre; Norma Medulun, Regional Director, Addictions Programs, Niagara Health System; Judy Hoover, Executive Director, Consumer/Survivor Initiative of Niagara; Not present: Ruthann Brown, Executive Director, Women's Place of South Niagara. (Click for larger version of picture.)


RHOC Pilot Studies in Port Colborne and Welland

Communication and Conflict in Young Adult Intimate Relationships

This project uses one-on-one interviews to examine young adults' experiences of aggression (both non-physical and physical) in intimate relationships, specifically asking respondents about their perceptions of why particular aggressive incidents occurred. This information is important because people's perceptions of why events happen influence how they will behave in similar situations in the future. Knowledge of perceived explanations for partner aggression may also identify circumstances that differentiate minor intimate partner aggression from aggression leading to emotional or physical harms. This pilot study will allow unique methods of recruiting participants to be tested, and will serve as the basis for developing a self-complete questionnaire about perceived reasons for partner aggression that can be used with large samples across several communities.


The Consumer Journey

For many sufferers of mental health and substance use problems, their problems are chronic and relapsing. They often have contact with many different health and social services, but these services do not always provide them with the help they need. This study will provide a better understanding of individuals' journeys through the treatment system when seeking and receiving care for mental health and substance use problems. Interviews will be conducted with persons who have sought or received care ("consumers") for their mental health or substance use problems. These individuals' experiences with violence will also be examined. Family members of individuals who have these problems also will be interviewed to obtain their perspectives. Barriers to seeking and receiving care, such as stigma, will be examined, as well as factors that are found to facilitate recovery. This study will help to identify needs for services and ways to improve care.


Evaluations of Health States

Existing measures of population health often involve asking participants to make preference judgments, or evaluations of the disabling effects relating to specific health conditions; these commonly address simple comparisons between two options and rank ordering of more than two health conditions. Since health is a dynamic concept, these evaluations may be influenced by a number of factors, such one's own health status, relation to the disease in question, and demographics. The role of these factors in affecting health evaluations, however, is not yet well understood. In the interest of improving measures of population health, this pilot study will examine the association between individuals' own health status, including depression and drinking problems, and their evaluations of health conditions. More specifically, this research will: (1) assess how health evaluations differ in the presence or absence of one or more problem; (2) examine factors influencing perceptions of disability associated with different problems; and (3) contribute to a better understanding of the burden of disease associated with depression and drinking problems.


Stress and Mental Health

This pilot study uses a door-to-door recruitment approach to obtain a general population sample of residents in Port Colborne. The main goal of the study is to look at various types of stress that people in the community experience. It also examines how individuals might be affected by the alcohol use of other people, including that of friends, family members, colleagues, acquaintances, and strangers. In this study, households within the community will be randomly selected and then individuals within these households will be invited to visit the mobile lab for completion of a computerized questionnaire. The questionnaire includes questions pertaining to various types of stress and the impact of other people's alcohol use on participants' lives, as well as use of health services, mental health, substance use, and experiences with aggression.