As parents of graduates facing the toughest job market in years, what can you do to assist your son or daughter in transitioning from the secure world of classes and residence halls to the unknown reality of what lies ahead? Here are some suggestions:

Ask how you can help
Your daughter may have specific ideas about ways you can assist her. Your editing skills may be the second pair of eyes needed to critique a resume; your managerial skills could be useful as a mock interviewer; your research skills might uncover some new job leads. Think about how your role as something other than mom or dad could be helpful. But don't be pushy: Let her take the lead.

Suggest a visit to the campus career center
The campus career center provides a wealth of job search resources: Job postings, career fairs, resume assistance, and career counseling, just to name a few. Make sure your son or daughter is aware of the office. If your new grad isn't near his alma mater, suggest that he call the career services offices at local colleges and ask if help is available.

Offer networking contacts
Networking is the most effective way to find jobs in the hidden job market—where many opportunities are discovered. With your son's permission, talk to your co-workers about your son's job search. Discuss it with neighbors and friends. You never know who may know of a job opportunity.

Be ready to hear new ideas
Your son may mention attending graduate school. Or, your daughter, who has discussed a career in journalism for years, may suddenly talk about sales. Listen to your new grad's ideas with an open mind, making positive suggestions when appropriate.
Ask your new grad open-ended questions: This will show your son or daughter that you're interested—and the answers will help your new grad think through the new ideas they're considering.

Provide a sounding board when frustrations overflow
The nightly news about unemployment is stressful. Imagine trying to complete your studies and conduct job search, too. If your daughter calls to talk, but she really needs to vent, listen to her. Sometimes the best thing you can say is nothing at all.

Give an early graduation present with the job search in mind
Don't wait until May to say congratulations. Now is a great time to give a graduation present that will be used during the job search and first year on the job. Looking for ideas? Interview suits, briefcases, portfolios, and memory sticks are great gifts for the new grad.

Reassure your new grad that this bad job market is temporary
The ebb and flow of the economy is constant, and brighter days lie ahead. You've likely experienced similar ups and downs. Convey your experience to them.

Look and listen for signs of depression
If your son or daughter talks about skipping class, exhaustion, or loss of appetite, he or she might need some help. If your student is still on campus, contact appropriate campus representatives (residence life offices, counseling centers, etc.) for help.

Remind your new grad that you are proud of his or her accomplishments
A sour economy should not take away the success of earning a college degree. Be sure your son or daughter knows that you are proud of this achievement. Send a card or make a phone call to specifically convey this message.

From an article by Kelli Robinson

UAB News

  • Anal sex linked to increased risk of incontinence in both males, females
    Study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology shows fecal incontinence risk from anal sex is heightened for both women and men, with men almost three times as likely to experience incontinence.

    Engaging in the practice of anal sex may increase risks for bowel problems, including fecal incontinence and bowel leakage, according to a University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Medicine study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

    The incontinence risk is heightened particularly among men who have sex with men, according to lead author Alayne Markland, D.O., associate professor in the Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care in UAB’s School of Medicine. The researchers analyzed data from the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 6,150 adults. They found 37 percent of women and almost 5 percent of men reported trying anal intercourse at least once. Women engaging in anal sex were 50 percent more likely than their peers to report having fecal incontinence at least once a month. The men’s odds of incontinence were almost tripled.

    “The study did not provide data on the frequency of the practice of anal sex and the impact of incontinence, but it did show a relationship between the practice of anal sex and fecal incontinence — more so among men than women,” Markland said. “What we don’t know is whether someone who has anal sex one or two times is at the same increased risk for fecal incontinence as someone who has anal sex regularly.”

    Overall, 4,170 adults ages 20-69 (2,070 women and 2,100 men) completed sexual behavior questionnaires and responded to fecal incontinence questions as part of the NHANES surveys. Overall, 8.3 percent of women and 5.6 percent of men in the study had fecal incontinence. Fecal incontinence rates were higher among women (9.9 percent) and men (11.6 percent) reporting anal intercourse than among women (7.4 percent) and men (5.3 percent) not reporting anal intercourse.

    Fecal incontinence was determined to have occurred by researchers who reviewed responses to survey questions about leakage of mucus, liquid or stool and occurred at least monthly. The study showed that most adults who experience fecal incontinence have only occasional bouts of diarrhea. However, fecal incontinence can be chronic; it is often caused by muscle and nerve damage around the rectum, constipation, certain diseases, surgical procedures, and childbirth.  

    Markland says previous clinical trials have shown that pelvic floor muscle or anal exercises can be an effective treatment for fecal incontinence, and she recommends those engaging in anal intercourse consider these exercises to help guard against decreased anal sphincter tone.

    Markland says little is known about how anal intercourse might affect bowel function, even though the survey showed the practice is common among both heterosexual and homosexual couples.

    “We really know very little about the connection between anal sex and fecal incontinence, especially among women,” Markland said. “Older studies among predominately HIV-positive males showed that men who have sex with men may have impaired rectal muscle strength. But one thing I think this study does show is that it is important that both the patient and clinical provider need to be aware of the potential risks associated with anal incontinence and be willing to discuss what those risks may be.”

    Markland says previous clinical trials have shown that pelvic floor muscle or anal exercises can be an effective treatment for fecal incontinence, and she recommends those engaging in anal intercourse consider these exercises to help guard against decreased anal sphincter tone.

    “These are also known as Kegel exercises,” Markland said. “But, doing these exercises has not been studied as a preventive measure for lowering the odds of having fecal incontinence in a general population. All we can do is speculate.”

    Markland maintains an NHANES data set, and her primary research interest is in incontinence, specifically bowel leakage. She completed the study using indirect funding from several grants.

    “I am always looking for potentially modifiable factors that may be related to bowel leakage,” Markland said. “Anal intercourse has been understudied in our population in general, and anal incontinence and bowel incontinence were evaluated only in men who have sex with men in older studies. I thought we really needed to look at both men and women and assess the prevalence and associations between anal intercourse and fecal incontinence in both genders.” 

  • Collat School of Business dean to be honored at A.G. Gaston Conference
    Jack recognized for innovation in business and education in memory of Birmingham’s A.G. Gaston.

    Eric Jack, Ph.D., dean of UAB’s Collat School of Business, will receive an award during a conference honoring the memory of a revered Birmingham businessman and civil rights activist.

    Each year, the A.G. Gaston Conference recognizes members of the community who embody characteristics of the late Gaston.

    During the 2016 A.G. Gaston Conference, organizers will present awards to Jack and to Perry Ward, Ph.D., president of Lawson State Community College. In honoring two educators, this year’s conference celebrates the memory of Gaston and his passionate support of education and the role it plays in allowing people to advance in business and society.

    Dean Jack will be recognized for his innovative approach to including members from different industries, such as the medical community, into UAB’s business programs.

    Students from the Collat School of Business will also play a role in the conference through the unveiling of their study focused on making Birmingham attractive to millennial entrepreneurs. 

    The awards will be presented during the A.G. Gaston Legacy Luncheon on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. For more information or to register for the conference, visit www.aggastonconference.com.

  • UAB Psychology professor given early career award
    Faculty member honored for significant contributions to the field.

    Despina Stavrinos, Ph.D., has been selected to receive the Routh Early Career Award from the Society of Pediatric Psychology.

    This national award recognizes an early career member of the society who has made significant contributions to the field of pediatric psychology in research, clinical training and service.

    Stavrinos, an assistant professor in the College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Psychology, studies distracted driving, with particular attention to at-risk populations.

    She serves as the director of the Translational Research for Injury Prevention, or TRIP, laboratory. The focus of the lab’s research is the prevention and control of unintentional injuries that result from motor vehicle crashes.

    The TRIP lab offers students at various levels of training, from high school to postdoctoral, and from various disciplines the opportunity to conduct high-quality behavioral research. Since its establishment in 2009, nearly 100 students have been trained under Stavrinos’ mentorship.

    The award will be presented at the Society of Pediatric Psychology’s annual conference in April.

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