Eric Griffith - who specializes at ISSR in qualitative research methods and NVivo software training - joins a growing community of UMass Amherst recipients of the Wenner-Gren Foundation's Dissertation Fieldwork Grant.
Under the direction of Dr. Lynnette Sievert, his dissertation research explores cross-cultural variations in Alzheimer's disease. His award-winning proposal, "A Cross-Cultural Comparison of the Behavioral Variation of Alzheimer’s Disease Patients" describes the US-Mexico comparative fieldwork he will begin in October:
If the behaviors of those diagnosed with AD do differ significantly cross-culturally, these data can be used to identify which symptoms are not universal. It is hoped that this research will contribute to challenging or confirming ideas that neurodegenerative symptoms are entirely neurological in basis and may call into question the biological fatalism associated with AD and other similar disorders. If the behaviors do not differ significantly it suggests that socio-environmental factors have little or no effect on AD. Additionally, the possible extent to which variations in cultural attitudes about aging can lead to variations in AD symptomatology has not been rigorously defined. By examining variation in AD-associated behaviors in light of cultural conceptions of AD, this project aims to investigate whether cultural interventions could mediate AD symptoms in some individuals.