2018-2019

A Logistic Regression Analysis of Reported Concussion Risk among NCAA FBS Football Players

Principal Investigator: Brittany Kmush, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Public Health
(Co-I): Shane Sanders, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Sport Management
(Co-I): Bhavneet Walia, Ph.D., Instructor, Sport Management
(Co-I): Arthur Owora, MPH, DrPH, Assistant Professor, Public Health

The present research seeks to analyze and estimate a salient concussion risk factor for NCAA FBS football players. The results of this study have the potential to inform NCAA student-athlete concussion policy.

College gridiron play features student-athletes who are faster, larger, and stronger, on average than their high school counterparts. While learning this new level of play as freshmen and sophomores, players may be at increased risk of concussion due to increased incidence of improper positioning and lower average strength, ceteris paribus. We aim to model concussion risk over the NCAA career of FBS athletes, controlling for position-of-play, number of games played, height, weight, and other factors. We hypothesize that early career NCAA football players are at greater risk of concussion.

This research has the potential to inform and drive NCAA policy change toward the betterment of the health of tens of thousands of student-athletes. The results generated can also directly inform parents and young athletes as they consider the risk factors associated with college football participation.

Modeling Time-varying Maternal and Environmental Factors in a Structural Equation Model Framework to Delineate Childhood Asthma Causal Mechanisms

Principal Investigator: Arthur Owora, MPH, DrPH, Assistant Professor, Public Health

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways marked by recurrent wheezing periods and sporadic symptom exacerbations. With a childhood prevalence of 8% in the United States, asthma continues to be a major cause of hospitalizations among children; therefore, its prevention is of high public health significance. Prevention of childhood asthma is possible through a variety of public and maternal interventions but the targeting of effective strategies requires knowledge of associated causal pathways. Various maternal factors are associated with childhood asthma through genetic transmission or utero and postnatal environment exposures. These include fixed characteristics like ethnicity, age, and allergies, as well as modifiable or time varying factors like breastfeeding, tobacco smoke exposure, maternal depression and obesity. The risk of developing asthma also depends on a complex interaction of time, hereditary, maternal and environmental factors. To date, however, the relative importance of existing postulated causal pathways is unclear, despite the fact that a number of maternal and environmental factors have been consistently associated with increased risk of asthma. This proposal will use a longitudinal study sample of mother-infant/child dyads to (a) characterize the influence of time-varying infant/child, maternal and environmental exposures [using a generalized method of moments approach] and describe to what extent these dynamic interrelationships impact the development of childhood asthma [using structural equation models].

Agricultural Guestworkers and the New Immigrant Economy

Principal Investigator: Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Food Studies

This research will look at the circumstances and experiences of farmworkers who participate in federally sponsored guestworker programs, as well as farmers who use these programs, throughout New York State. This pilot study will consist of approximately sixty in-depth interviews at four sites, with farmworkers and farm owners who participate in the Department of Labor’s H-2A agricultural guestworker program. Due to historically low wages and physically demanding work conditions, labor shortages are a consistent challenge in production agriculture. The current presidential administration’s position on preventing and deporting undocumented immigrants is putting added pressure on farmers to seek out alternative means to access a stable workforce. There is little current research documenting worker and farmer experience with guestworker programs in the United States, particularly in Central New York and the surrounding areas.

The P.I., Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern, will be collaborating with Mary Jo Dudley, a faculty member in the Development Sociology at Cornell University and director of the Cornell Farmworkers Program. Through their combined expertise and resources, they will conduct the first thorough study of agricultural guestworker programs in New York State, with a focus on the current H-2A program. Ultimately, this project will shed light on the role of agricultural guestworker programs in the current political environment as well in the context of the global demand and competition for cheap food. By better understanding the conditions for workers and farmers, this study will address larger issues related to worker justice and potential options for a more secure and fair food system.

Identification of the Gene-diet Nexus in Depression in U.S. Adults

Principal Investigator: Dayeon Shin, Ph.D., R.D., Assistant Professor, Nutrition and Dietetics

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression according to the World Health Organization. Epidemiological studies have shown that both dietary and genetic factors play a predominant role in mental health such as depression. The effect of dietary exposures on the risk of depression may vary by genetic predisposition, with potential for interactions between genes and dietary factors. The increasing prevalence of depression may be due to unhealthy dietary patterns, pro-inflammatory diets, and different genetic variations/susceptibility to depression between individuals. To date, there has been little research identifying the interactions between genes, specifically depression-associated genetic susceptibility (single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) variants) and dietary factors on the risk of depression in a representative sample of the U.S. adult population.

Depression results from a complex interplay of genetic vulnerability and environmental factors. Diet is one of the important and modifiable environmental factors, and there may be a variation in the risk of depression with the food consumption between individuals. This may be explained by variation in the genetic polymorphisms. The overall objective of this proposed study is to identify the interactions between gene-diet relationships in depression using nutrigenetics as a concept to highlight the interplay between genetic variants and diet.

The study findings may highlight the importance of having a variety of foods and nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties of diet in preventing the risk of depression, particularly in individuals genetically predisposed to depression. Given the urgent need to reduce the increasing prevalence and the serious comorbidities associated with depression in affected adults in the U.S., identifying the genetic variants and its interactions with dietary factors that significantly affect depression is an important step in understanding the pathophysiology of development of depression in U.S. adults.

Coping with Losses: Need Un-fulfillment and its Influence on Sport Consumer’s Temporal Psychological Well-being

2018-2019 Sport and Human Development Institute Seed Grant Award

Principal Investigator: Jeeyoon (Jamie) Kim, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Sport Management

Losing is an imperative part of sport, but has garnered relatively less attention in sport consumer well-being research. Therefore, this research project investigates how sport consumers psychologically process their sport team’s loss and how the process impacts one’s well-being state. With focus on the constructs of need un-fulfillment and coping, the project examines:

  1. the un-fulfillment of psychological needs (i.e., pleasure/arousal, achievement, social belonging) that comes from watching one’s team lose, and its link to one’s well-being state (i.e., happiness, depression, self-esteem, stress),
  2. coping strategies as the mediator between need un-fulfillment and one’s well-being state, and
  3. team identification (or fanship) as a moderator in the relations among the constructs.

A natural field experiment study will be conducted examining sport consumer’s psychological experience (need un-fulfillment, coping) in and well-being state after watching a loss of the sport team they identify with. Data will be collected with two-wave (pre-post loss) online surveys targeting general sport consumers, and analyzed with SEM and multi-group analysis. The findings will contribute in understanding and developing strategies to promote sport consumer well-being.

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