Fall 2012

Research for Hospitals and Knowledge for our Community

By Nick Boehm

Collaborative research at UW-Stevens Point helps students develop advanced learning skills and provides many with their first real world experience. 

Angela Lowery, in the Department of Psychology, is mentoring students participating in bariatric research.  Bariatrics is a branch of medicine that deals with the causes, prevention and treatment of obesity.  Brittany Iczkowski, Alissa Nicolaison, Shirley Smith and Ashley LaFond collaborated with Lowery on “Evaluation of a Decision Aid for Bariatric Surgery,” a study that asked participants to make a treatment decision as if they were a patient considering bariatric surgery using either a decision aid or a comparison pamphlet. The results of the study demonstrated that decision aids significantly decrease decisional conflict and increase decision satisfaction and knowledge of bariatric surgery.

Lowery and students worked closely with local bariatric teams in creating the decision aid. Their hope is to make a positive impact on the community by providing local hospitals with a final decision aid that provides assistance for bariatric surgery patients.

“We want to benefit people working on bariatric teams so they have a product to give patients, “Lowery said. “The research is ongoing; we are still collecting data before we send the decision aid to bariatric administrations.” Additional research will focus on personal characteristics that will be most influenced by the decision aid.

Lowery also worked with students Ashley Majewski and Lauren Golla on “Religiosity and Eating Behavior,” a study that examined if the presence or absence of religious beliefs and practices influenced eating behaviors by collecting survey responses from UW-Stevens Point students. The study found those who believe in God reported significantly less frequent vomiting and less consumption of dieting pills than those who did not believe in God.

“Students got experience creating a study, collecting data and administering questionnaires,” Lowery said. “The student who conducted the study is now in graduate school.”

The study was initially presented to Lowery by Golla, who after taking a religion class at UW-Stevens Point began to wonder if there was a relationship between eating disorders and religious beliefs. Golla couldn’t find any previous studies done on religiosity and eating behaviors so she took the initiative to start her own study with Lowery and fellow psychology students.

These studies are just a sampling of over 100 presentations featured at the COLS Undergraduate Research Symposium last spring.  The community is invited April 26, 2013 to meet students and faculty as they present their research at the next COLS Undergraduate Research Symposium.   Visit www.uwsp.edu/cols for more information.    


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