CHSS Virtual Showcase 2022 Abstracts and Posters

Visit the CHSS Virtual Showcase 2022 page to see the event recording

Reducing Anxiety In The Classroom

Yaneth Aguilar-Cuella
Catalina Membrila
Professor Erik Peper
Professor Rick Harvey

Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism/Institute of Holistic Health Studies

More than half of college students now report anxiety (Coakley et al., 2021). In our recent survey during the first day of the spring semester class, 59% of the students reported feeling tired, dreading their day, being distracted, lacking mental clarity and had difficulty concentrating.

Before the COVID pandemic nearly one-third of students had or developed moderate or severe anxiety or depression while being at college (Adams et al., 2021. The pandemic accelerated a trend of increasing anxiety that was already occurring. “The prevalence of major depressive disorder among graduate and professional students is two times higher in 2020 compared to 2019 and the prevalence of generalized anxiety disorder is 1.5 times higher than in 2019” As reported by Chirikov et al (2020) from the UC Berkeley SERU Consortium Reports.

This increase in anxiety has both short and long term performance and health consequences. Severe anxiety reduces cognitive functioning and is a risk factor for early dementia (Bierman et al., 2005; Richmond-Rakerd et al, 2022). It also increases the risk for asthma, arthritis, back/neck problems, chronic headache, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, pain, obesity and ulcer (Bhattacharya et al., 2014; Kang et al, 2017).

Students exposed to a Western Perspectives in Holistic Health curriculum self-report reductions in anxiety.  In particular, it appears class instruction that incorporates respiratory retraining, postural awareness and cognitive reframing leads to anxiety reduction. Peer-to-peer group conversations during class about also appear to contribute to anxiety reduction.  

No Work, No Pay: Filipino Caregivers, Sociocultural Contexts and Contradictions in Paid and Unpaid Care Work

Associate Professor Valerie Francisco-Menchavez
Department of Sociology & Sexuality Studies

Presented at the Association of Asian American Studies Annual Conference, April 16, 2022, Denver

The racialized and gendered history of domestic work inherited by Filipino migrants working as caregivers to the elderly, coupled with their transnational obligations are some of the identified sociocultural contexts of their work and lives. This paper will use ethnographic and qualitative data describes the arduous work conditions of Filipino migrants who work caregivers in residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs) and in one-on-one care arrangements. In detail, I will examine the daily tempo and tasks of Filipino caregivers wherein they assist their patients in daily living activities cataloging the existing crisis for eldercare workers, exacerbated by COVID-19. Through the theories in racial capitalism and social reproductive labor, I argue that the compounding crisis in the caregiving industry in the United States alongside the transnational responsibilities of caregivers to their families in the Philippines produces what I am calling, the “caregivers’ contradiction,” in what they have described as the “no work, no pay” situations they find themselves in.

How a Chronic Headache Condition Became Resolved with One Session of Breathing and Posture Coaching

Professor Erik Peper
April Covell
Nicole Matzembacker
Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism/Institute of Holistic Health Studies

This case example reports how a 32-year-old female student with chronic headaches since age 18 became headache-free after one session of breathing and posture coaching. She self-medicated and took between 2 and 10 Excedrin tablets per week. The class coaching session focused on shifting her habitual thoracic breathing to slower lower abdominal diaphragmatic breathing and posture retraining. While working at the computer, she used an app installed on her computer that provided visual and auditory feedback each time she slouched. She used the app 2–6 hours per day for 2 weeks, and each time in response to the slouching feedback she sat up erect and breathed slower and lower. After the first coaching session and for the following 14 weeks, she has been headache-free and not used any medications. After implementing breathing and posture changes, she also reported significant reduction in shoulder pain, back pain, depression, anxiety, and improvement in motivation. We recommend that when college students report headaches, anxiety, and gastrointestinal distress that they are first offered self-mastery interventions.

Nicole Matzenbacker and April Covell created a video interview in which April describes the process by which she overcame her headaches.

Beyond Zoom Fatigue: Re-energize Yourself and Improve Learning

Professor Erik Peper
Amber Yang
Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism/Institute of Holistic Health Studies

College students report that it is harder to focus their attention and stay present while taking classes online. They also feel more isolated, anxious and depressed. Communication is often more challenging since many students appear non-responsive and disengaged when attending large synchronous online Zoom classes. For the instructor, this can be stressful since they do not receive social feedback from the students. To increase students’ subjective energy, attention, and involvement and enhance learning in front of screens, we observed that when students were instructed to intentionally provide facial and body responses while attending Zoom classes, they report a significant increase in energy level, attention and involvement (p<0.002) as compared just sitting normally in class. By shifting from passively watching to actively participating, they reported that their learning was enhanced.

Food Insecurity and Food literacy among Parenting-Students at San Francisco State University

Assistant Professor Zubaida Qamar
Kamilia Kailany

Family, Interiors, Nutrition & Apparel Department

Presented at the California Association of Family and Consumer Sciences 2022 Conference, March 26, 2022, San Diego

woman and child with bowl of fruitFood insecurity is an issue of concern among college students with varying complex factors. A contributor to food insecurity is poor food literacy. Understanding the relationship between food insecurity and food literacy requires that we learn more about their experiences to assess if incorporating food literacy may mitigate the situation. An understudied but growing group of students are parenting students. Access to sufficient nutritious food is associated with a wide range of health benefits such as preventing malnutrition, chronic diseases, and other related mental and physical health conditions. This research will identify the food insecurity experiences among parenting-students at San Francisco State University (SFSU). The study will also explore the elements of food literacy and other health consequences of food insecurity of students with children at SFSU.

Health & Community: Filipinos Organized to Address Chronic Diseases

Ruby N. Turalba, Lecturer
Department of Public Health

Poster presented at the Society for Public Health Education 2022 Digital Annual Conference, March 22, 2022 

Kalusugan ng Bayan/Our Health, Our Community is a collaborative partnership among multi-generational Filipino community health ambassadors, students, activists, entrepreneurs, and scholars to improve the well-being of Filipinos in San Francisco. Filipinos disproportionately experience chronic diseases, they are the fastest growing Asian group in the U.S., and in the last year we learned that underlying health conditions such as chronic diseases can complicate COVID-19 infections and outcomes. However, public health research on Filipinos and chronic diseases remains limited. To address the health of our community, we take action! Goals of this community-based action research project are to: 1) understand the community’s knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and risk factors related to chronic diseases; 2) increase community awareness of chronic disease prevention; and 3) advocate for policy and environmental strategies that support health. This is an initiative of, by, and for the people.

Five-minute video presentation

Thumbnail of Filipino health poster

Click on image to enlarge