Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • Mutual Aid Processes in Treatment Groups for People with Substance Use Disorders: A Survey of Group Practitioners

    Author:
    Andrew Cicchetti
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Social Welfare
    Advisor:
    Michael Smith
    Abstract:

    There is scant empirical evidence demonstrating the presence and importance of mutual aid processes in Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment groups (Crits-Christoph et al, 1999; Sandahl & Ronnberg, 1990). Consequently this exploratory, internet-delivered survey was conducted to further examine the presence of mutual aid processes in abstinence-based SUD treatment groups in the field and the variables that are associated with higher amounts of mutual aid. The sample for this study comprised members of NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals (n=484). In order to obtain information about group treatment in the field a trigger question was asked allowing the identification of respondents that had led a treatment group in an abstinent-based setting within the previous two years (n=369). The study utilized an author-created scale, the Mutual Aid Processes Scale (MAPS) comprised of 30 mutual aid processes. Reliability testing of the MAPS indicated high reliability, with a Chronbach's Alpha of .96. Factor analysis suggested that all 30 items related as a unitary construct. Univariate findings suggested that more than two-thirds of the possible mutual aid processes occurred with frequency. Of a range of 0 to 6, the overall score on the MAPS for this study was 3.89, with 4 equaling "frequently", reinforcing the finding that mutual aid processes occur frequently in the groups about which were reported. The amount of education and training received by the group leader was positively associated with the scores on the MAPS. Further bivariate analyses and stepwise multiple regression analyses suggested that the group leader's level of facilitation, frequency of meeting, and heterogeneous composition of membership with regard to mandated status were all positively associated with higher levels of mutual aid as measured on the MAPS, accounting for almost 23% of the variance on the mean scores of the MAPS (adjusted R2= .218). The findings of this study have implications for counselor training, social work education, and group treatment research.

  • The Graying of People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Organizational Efforts of Community Service Providers in Adapting Facilities and Programming to Meet the Needs of Older Adults

    Author:
    Donna Corrado
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Social Welfare
    Advisor:
    Michael Smith
    Abstract:

    Abstract THE GRAYING OF PEOPLE WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES: ORGANIZATIONAL EFFORTS OF COMMUNITY SERVICE PROVIDERS IN ADAPTING FACILITIES AND PROGRAMMING TO MEET THE NEEDS OF OLDER ADULTS by Donna M. Corrado Advisor: Professor Michael J. Smith Persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities are living longer, thereby creating unique challenges for the aging and disabilities networks. This qualitative multicase study explored the ways in which six community service organizations serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have adapted their facilities and programming in response to the growing cohort of older persons in their care. The study focused on the following adaptations: physical plant, financial models, workforce, medical care and programming. Twenty-two in-depth interviews were conducted with executive-level staff of the six participating organizations. Data was triangulated through examination of archival data, organizational documents, agency web sites, and publicly available financial records. A cross- case comparison assessed the extent to which organizational characteristics promoted or impeded an agency's ability to make the adaptations necessary to facilitate the aging in place of its older consumers. The following theories contributed to the underlying framework of the study: successful aging, resource dependence, and structural inertia. Study findings indicated that the physical, financial and bureaucratic barriers play a more significant role in impeding or facilitating an agency's ability to make the adaptations necessary than does an agency's affiliation, complexity or relative size. Discussed are the policy implications related to the growing number of older persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as recommendations for future study.

  • Organizational Resilience to Workplace Trauma

    Author:
    Gary DeFraia
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Social Welfare
    Advisor:
    Irwin Esptein
    Abstract:

    Traumatic workplace incidents (critical incidents) occur with unfortunate regularity and with significant repercussions for affected organizations. Critical incident stress management (CISM) is the process organizations utilize to respond to traumatic incidents. CISM includes services provided before, during and after the occurrence of an incident. CISM service units, often a specialty service of employee assistance programs (EAPs) are staffed by workplace trauma professionals, who support organizations post incident. While CISM seeks to support both employee and organizational recovery, trauma research oriented towards individual recovery and resilience dominates the literature. This research contributes to less-prevalent studies that explore how incident characteristics and organizational variables impact organizational level outcomes. By emphasizing the contextual versus the psychological, this research aligns with psychosocial and ecological theories and practice. Contextual factors are particularly relevant for organizational recovery and may even be as important for individual recovery as individual differences and various treatments. This research addresses two important gaps in the literature. Despite the fact that social workers represent the leading discipline delivering CISM service, the social work profession has published little research on CISM programs. Second, while CISM units nationwide collect massive amounts of data on workplace trauma, there are no published, practice-based, studies capitalizing on the potential discoveries within existing CISM data. Employing the methodology of clinical data mining, this exploratory research examines the proposition that knowledge of a pre-incident factor (prior workgroup trauma), incident characteristics (incident type, industry type, incident severity) and service delivery variables (types of services delivered) predict for organizational resilience. Organizational resilience is explored by examining outcomes in the areas of post-incident performance restoration, employee retention and attendance, the helpfulness of services for employees and management and perception of adequacy of organizational response. Multivariate analysis conducted for performance restoration indicates that positive predictors include certain industry types and a single incident type - criminal acts. Prior workgroup trauma and higher incident severity scores were negative predictors for performance. Multivariate analysis for perceived adequacy of organizational response indicates that positive predictors include certain incident types and implementation of on-site services. Prior workgroup trauma was a negative predictor for adequacy of organizational response.

  • The Influence of Early Trauma on the Experience and Expression of Anger in Men on Parole

    Author:
    Melissa Earle
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Social Welfare
    Advisor:
    Bernadette Hadden
    Abstract:

    Abstract THE INFLUENCE OF EARLY TRAUMA ON THE EXPERIENCE AND EXPRESSION OF ANGER IN MEN ON PAROLE By Melissa J. Earle Adviser: Dr. Bernadette R. Hadden This exploratory quantitative study examined the inter-relationship of traumatic events, post-traumatic response, and anger in a population of men who were on parole, were in treatment for alcohol and/or substance abuse, and reported a history of childhood trauma. The central question of the study was how does trauma influence the experience and expression of anger in male trauma survivors who were currently on parole? The study group was recruited from Success Counseling, which is a substance abuse treatment program, located in the Bronx, N.Y. Sixty men participated in the study and identified their ethnicity as either "Hispanic/Latino" (51.7%) or "Black/African American" (48.3%). The current findings of the study indicated that trauma influences the experience and expression of anger in adult men who are on parole and enrolled in a substance abuse treatment program. All of the men in the study acknowledged experiencing multiple traumatic events and were angry in response to those traumas. The univariate, bivariate and multivariate analyses of the data supported the presence of a significant relationship between anger and post-traumatic response. The multiple regression results from the measures of anger and post-traumatic response indicated that anger arousal predicts post-traumatic symptoms. Specifically, an increase in anger arousal predicted an increase in post-traumatic symptoms. This result supports the premise that for men in the criminal justice system and mandated to attend anger management programs, the curriculum for these treatment programs needs to include sensitivity to, and interventions for, post-traumatic responses, especially as they relate to anger.

  • "I Can See Colors Again": How Women End Emotional Abuse by Accessing Agency

    Author:
    Fiona Eisenberg
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Social Welfare
    Advisor:
    Elizabeth Danto, Ph.D.
    Abstract:

    The goal of this study is to gain knowledge about the psychological and social factors that impact a woman's decision to end an emotionally abusive relationship. The subjects are women considered to be non-marginalized by society. Social, Psychodynamic and Narrative theories are explored and data is analyzed through a collaborative theoretical lens. The study utilizes a qualitative grounded theory approach, which allows for themes to emerge through data collection and analysis. The findings indicate that a combination of psychological and social factors contribute to the decision making process to end an emotionally abusive relationship, including strong support from family and friends, a sense of agency and being able to name the abuse as emotional. Obstacles to ending the abusive relationship included, the responsibility to make it work, social role pressure and the fear of being alone. The findings will contribute to both the scholarly and clinical social work knowledge base.

  • Transitioning Young Women

    Author:
    Nina Fischer
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Social Welfare
    Advisor:
    Miriam Abramovitz
    Abstract:

    Abstract TRANSITIONING YOUNG WOMEN by Nina Rose Fischer This dissertation focuses on what does and does not contribute to the stabilization of young women transitioning from the juvenile justice system. Since 1985 there has been a 400% increase of young women in the juvenile justice system (Lynn & Morton, 2005). Wraparound community based service provision is cited by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention as a best practice model that diverts and transitions youth from detention (Blueprints, 2010). A body of research that burgeoned in the 1990's evidences how practice with young women to address adjudication is more effective when done through a gender responsive approach that supports their unique experiences (Dohrn, 2004; Chesney-Lind & Pasko, 2004). A gender responsive practice becomes particularly interesting when the historical background reveals that construction of female sexuality justified the incarceration of young women since the beginning of the 20th Century. Sexuality continues to justify the marked increase in the incarceration of young women since the mid-1980's. This is a unique case study of a young woman's transition program in New York City that implements Wraparound and the gender responsive practice to prevent recidivism. Data was collected through the mining of 23 case files over two-years. Practice effects are evaluated through the Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale, Wraparound Fidelity Index and the Gender Responsiveness Program Assessment to determine contributing elements to the stability of the young women. A linear regression was conducted to measure what specific elements of Wraparound and gender responsiveness have a predictive effect on the stability of young women transitioning from the juvenile justice system. Results showed that the Wraparound element community service linkage, while the young women were in the facility, and in the community at discharge, had the most predictive effect on stability.  

  • Treatment Readiness Among Criminal Justice Clients Mandated to Drug Treatment

    Author:
    Valrie Fowler
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Social Welfare
    Advisor:
    Darrell Wheeler
    Abstract:

    Treatment Readiness Among Criminal Justice Clients Mandated to Drug Treatment By Valrie Fowler Adviser: Professor Darrell Wheeler Alternative-to-Incarceration (ATI) programs serve not only an economical measure to reduce the costs associated with incarcerating drug-abusing offenders but also to disrupt the cycle of drug use and prison with judicial monitoring and treatment. There is extensive research on motivation for drug treatment among criminal justice clients and the relationship to treatment outcomes. However, research examining treatment readiness among criminal justice clients entering drug treatment is limited. This research assessed treatment readiness among drug abusers mandated to drug treatment using the Circumstance, Motivation, and Readiness for Substance Abuse Treatment (CMR Factor Scales Intake Version). Treatment readiness and its relationship to client factors such as client type, criminal justice referral type, drug treatment history, and criminal justice history were studied. The research included 139 participants in a drug-free residential treatment program. Multi regression was used to analyze the data from all participants. The research findings were mixed regarding treatment readiness and its relationship to client factors among mandated clients. These findings are examined in the context of this research, and implications for the social work and future policies are discussed.

  • Milestones Without Mothers: How Young Jewish Women Re-Grieve While Celebrating

    Author:
    Julie Friedman
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Social Welfare
    Advisor:
    Dr. Elizabeth Danto
    Abstract:

    Abstract MILESTONES WITHOUT MOTHERS: HOW YOUNG JEWISH WOMEN RE-GRIEVE WHILE CELEBRATING by Julie Friedman Adviser: Dr. Elizabeth Ann Danto This study details the affective upheavals experienced by young adult Jewish women experienced after the death of their mother and during moments of personal celebration. These major life-changing events produce shame and guilt in the young woman who wants to be happy, yet is not because she is still grieving her mother's death. This dissertation has attempted to explore a seeming paradox in human behavior: the contradiction implicit between the experiences of grief and of celebration. To resolve this, I have developed a new clinical concept which I call re-grieving, the clinical experience that emerges from seemingly contradictory affective impulses such as mixing sadness with joy, attachment with loss, vulnerability with strength, and dependence with independence. This study was grounded in a review of the literature, as well as quantitative and qualitative investigations of Jewish young adult women undergoing major life event milestones after their mothers' have died. This study has determined that re-grieving is the by-product of the convergence of the following four variables, that when linked, create temporary feelings of despair, anxiety and vulnerability: 1) young adulthood, 2) a strong pre-death mother-daughter attachment bond, 3) milestone celebrations, and 4) Jewish mourning ritual practices. The study examined the phenomenology of re-grieving: what it is; how it is experienced; who experienced these behaviors and emotions; when re-grieving is activated; and what are the implications for social work practice.

  • Superwoman of Valor: Can the modern day superwoman co-exist with the traditional woman of valor? An in-depth study on ultra-Orthodox Jewish women in a culturally specific college program

    Author:
    Briendy Fried-Stern
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Social Welfare
    Advisor:
    Mimi Abramovitz
    Abstract:

    The changing role of women brought on by social and economic transformations has affected higher educations as well as the workforce. As more women return to college, there is a growing interest in the "returning women" and nontraditional college student. However, little research exists on "returning women" from religious communities. The present phenomenological study focuses on the shifting role of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman from the traditional Eishet Chayil- Woman of valor- to the "returning woman" attending a culturally specific college. Grounded in systems theory and guided by role theory concepts the study seeks to gain knowledge regarding the ways in which these ultra-Orthodox Jewish mothers deal with both attending college and its impact on their roles and relationships. Twenty-six self-identifying ultra-Orthodox Jewish students were recruited for this study via flyers and snowball sampling. Three main themes emerged from the interviews (1) shifts in their community and their role expectations (2) their experiences in school and the need for support and (3) rewards and conflict from these experiences. Additionally, this study provides a comprehensive review of the needs of ultra-Orthodox Jewish mothers as they juggle multiple roles. It describes the community's changing views about college, the ways in which women managed both role conflicts and reward, and how college attendance led women to reconstruct their roles and their relationships. The study findings indicate that due to the community's financial needs, need for professionals from their community, changing times and the existence of culturally specific college programs the community's leaders and members became more accepting of college attendance. Though it was expected that women attended college due to economic need, many women attended due to a desire for change or a life altering experience which drove them to enroll in college. Women found college to be rewarding not only academically, but it increased their self-esteem, self-confidence, self-respect and altered their position in the home giving them greater purpose. They also benefitted from role enhancement, role expansion and a new conception of the Eishet Chayil. Conflict that they faced in terms of cultural role expectations, (e.g.; Eishet Chayil, holiday and Sabbath obligations) role conflict, role overload, time constraints, the need to blend school and family and constant feelings of guilt were highlighted as well. Women did not question their religious beliefs, possibly due to the culturally specific college program, but they did question community beliefs which they were raised with. Even though they reconceptualized their role and role expectations participants in the study prioritized their traditional roles over their new student role. Most importantly, though, the present study serves to highlight the importance of support for change to occur within not only an individual but a community as well.

  • THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ATTACHMENT AND RESILIENCE IN FOSTER CARE ALUMNI

    Author:
    Sheriffa Gallwey
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Social Welfare
    Advisor:
    Gerald Mallon
    Abstract:

    Approximately 28,000 foster youth are discharged from the foster care system annually because they have reached 18 to 21 years of age and are considered adults (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011). Between the years 2000 through 2010, an estimated 228,000 young adults aged out of the child welfare system, nationally (Weidner, 2010). This exploratory study sought to highlight the relationship between attachment and resilience in foster care alumni. The study included adult foster care alumni perspectives on their personal history, attachments style and level of resilience. Examination of the attachment styles of young adults yielded significant differences between a group of individuals who were never in foster care and a group of individuals who spent time in foster care and exited as young adults. Utilizing questionnaire method, this quantitative study examined patterns of 43 foster care alumni compared to 39 non foster care service recipients. Key findings suggest that young adults who were successful shared similar levels of social and financial supports. Consistent, easily accessible services were critical to successful outcomes for young adults. Study results also suggest a need for future research in building resilience through decreased use of school suspensions, enhanced use of housing subsidies, building creative cohabitation opportunities, increasing parental visitation during adolescence, and increasing ways to express emotion in order to improve adult outcomes for young adults emancipating from foster care.