What goes on in the mind of an adolescent or young adult plagued by anxieties about being ‘perfect?’
There are theories that explain how perfectionists struggle to meet unrealistic standards coming from others and themselves, or how they expect others to be perfect. All of these behaviours lead to social isolation.
Theories and statistics are good for explaining broad concept and patterns, “but they don’t account for individual experience,” says PhD Child and Youth Studies student Emily Murphy.
“I think it’s important to put a face to perfectionism,” she says. “By speaking with these individuals who actually live through this every day, we may find that we need to adjust some of our theories and definitions of perfectionism and may find a broader social pressure that accounts for some of these effects.”
Murphy will further her work with the Doctoral Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship recently awarded to her by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). She is one of 16 Brock student researchers who recently received a collective $565,000 in SSHRC awards for 2018.
Brock faculty researchers also received more than $1.1 million in Insight Grants from the federal organization.
In addition to collecting surveys from several hundred youth, Murphy plans to interview up to 30 youth about their lived experience with perfectionism. She says her research will contribute to forming programs dealing with psychological distress in young people.
With his scholarship, PhD Interdisciplinary Humanities student Joshua Manitowabi will be studying the history of the Anishinaabek peoples on Manitoulin Island in Ontario. He will focus on the allegation that the Odawa people of the Wikwemikong Unceded First Nation burned and deserted the island in the late 1600s to move to present-day northern Michigan, returning in the 1830s.
Manitowabi’s initial research found that some Anishinaabek families remained on the island. This is a vital point, as discussion in the current Wikwemikong land claim refers to the 1830s Anishinaabek as being “American immigrants.”
“What I’m doing is debunking this myth,” says Manitowabi. “It’s going to help my community. It’s going to help them settle this outstanding land claim that started in the 1970s and give us our inherent right back to our smaller islands off the east coast of Manitoulin Island.”
Diane Dupont, Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, said she is “very proud of the success of Brock graduate students in obtaining SSHRC funding to support their thesis research.”
“Our students are undertaking research in a wide variety of fields from English to Applied Health Studies to Classics. I look forward to seeing the outcomes from their endeavours over the next few years.”
According to the SSHRC website, the Doctoral Fellowships and the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships Doctoral Scholarships (doctoral and master’s) aim to “develop research skills and assist in the training of highly qualified personnel by supporting students who demonstrate a high standard of scholarly achievement in undergraduate and graduate studies in the social sciences and humanities.”
This year’s SSHRC student awards for Brock University include:
SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship
- Gianluca Agostinelli, Educational Studies, “For the boys: Exploring male homosociality in team sports.”
SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships (doctoral)
- Joshua Manitowabi, Interdisciplinary Humanities, “Historiography of Anishinaabek Governance and Treaty Relationships: Eighteenth-Century Anishinaabek Occupation of Manitoulin Island, Fact or Myth?”
- Emily Murphy, Child and Youth Studies, “Perfectionism, Social Experience and Mental Health in Adolescents: A Mixed-Methods Approach.”
- Alison O’Connor, Psychology, “Seniors’ Evaluation and Use of Antisocial and Prosocial Deception: A Multi-Method Approach to Understanding Deception Across Adulthood.”
SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships (master’s)
- Amanda Balyk, History, “Give Her Something that Would Set that to Rights: Protection of Women in Abortion Trials in Victorian London 1840- 1880.”
- Jonathan Brower, Social Justice and Equity Studies, “Fostering Queer Interfaith Dialogue through Applied Theatre.”
- David Brown, Applied Health Sciences, “An Examination of Physical Characteristics, Mental Health, and Psychobiological Markers in University Male Athletes and Non-Exercisers.”
- Stacey Duncan, English, “Exploring Scottish Romanticism through the Poetry and Songs of Joanna Baillie.”
- Sarah Galway, Applied Health Sciences, “Psychobiological Responses to a Social Evaluative Body Image Threat in Athletes.”
- Ace Gammon-Burnett, History, “A View of All Religions in the World: Alexander Ross and the Concept of Religious Diversity in the Early Enlightenment.”
- Nancy Leathen, Applied Disability Studies, “Comparing the High-Probability Request Sequence With or Without Food to Decrease Food Selectivity in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.”
- Anna Menexis, Classics, “The Socio-political and Economic Relations of the Minoans and Egyptians in the Early Bronze Age (ca. 3,100/3,000-2,650 B.C.E.).”
- Emma Peddigrew, Child and Youth Studies, “Creativity of Children with Reading Disabilities.”
- Valerie Plante-Brisebois, Psychology, “Are Psychopaths Affected by Social Exclusion?”
- Talia Ritondo, Applied Health Sciences, “Experiences of Postnatal Women Returning to Community Physical Activity.”
- Lindsay Sheppard, Child and Youth Studies, “Teenage Girls’ Online Political Engagement.”