Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Dímelo (tell me about it): What influence does social stratification have on attitudes towards HIV/AIDS and Homosexuality among Latinos?

    Author:
    Moctezuma Garcia
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Social Welfare
    Advisor:
    Bernadette Hadden
    Abstract:

    The following study places an emphasis on organized religion as a social structure reinforcing social stratification through religious beliefs and implications for attitudes towards People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) and homosexuality among Latinos. Latinos (N = 312) were recruited via email throughout the U.S. to complete a self-administered online survey. The findings reveal that religiosity and spirituality should not be utilized interchangeably. Greater levels of religiosity were significantly correlated with lower levels of acculturation, greater levels of traditional gender-related attitudes, greater levels of spiritual well-being, lower levels of educational attainment, greater negative attitudes towards PLWHA, and greater negative attitudes towards homosexuals. Spirituality was only significantly correlated (positively) with religiosity and household income. A multiple linear regression analysis was selected to determine the relationship between outcome variables and multiple predictor and intervening variables. Educational attainment and acculturation accounted for 11% of the variance in HIV/AIDS knowledge, R2 = .11, F(3, 266) = 10.68, p<.001. Traditional gender-related attitudes accounted for 9% of the variance in attitudes towards PLWHA, R2 = .09, F(2, 247) = 11.73, p<.001. Acculturation, educational attainment, age, and traditional gender-related attitudes accounted for 23% of the variance in attitudes towards homosexuals, R2 = .23, F(5, 236) = 13.58, p<.001. Recommendations are made for professionals to collaborate with religious communities in developing services that integrate religious beliefs in addressing HIV transmission and taboo subjects such as premarital sex, condom use, substance use, and homosexuality in the community.

  • Can we get along, long enough to collaborate?

    Author:
    Martha Garcia
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Social Welfare
    Advisor:
    Roderick Watts
    Abstract:

    Successful collaborations take effort. This study analyzed the process followed by 20 groups of diverse professions that were brought together to solve a community health problem. To this goal a four part model of conflict was adapted and used to understand how conflict emerged, was managed or resolved. The model allowed for the identification of five routes to conflict. Conflict was either averted or managed constructively by most of the groups and a set of productive behaviors is associated with this ability. Experienced collaborators utilize these behaviors at various times throughout the collaborative process to promote group cohesion and the possibility of integrating differences and transforming them into more creative outcomes. Conflict is found to be neutral; for some groups it is stagnating while others are able to use it constructively.

  • Differentiating Theoretical Approaches to Batterer Intervention: A Study of Batterer Intervention Programs

    Author:
    Bea Hanson
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Social Welfare
    Advisor:
    Sarah-Jane Dodd
    Abstract:

    Developed more than 25 years ago, batterer programs have become the response of choice for many in the field of domestic violence, with the criminal justice system the highest user. However, researchers have found limited results in the ability of these programs to eliminate or reduce re-abuse. Some batterer programs have refocused on using batterer programs, not as rehabilitative, but as a resource for the courts, one of the consequences for men who batter. Other programs, however, have continued to look for the right types of intervention to positively impact the attitudes and behaviors of batterers. These different approaches have led to tensions among batterer programs. Research in the field has focused on the impact of programs on individual batterers and criminal justice system recidivism and compliance with court orders and not on individual programs themselves. This study involves interviews with directors of nineteen batterer programs in New York State, representing a range of perspectives to better understand the different types of organizations operating these programs, the different interventions used and how they define success. This study tested an established framework used to differentiate programs, based on the focus of change on the individual batterer, the couple and society. The findings from this study support how the established framework differentiated programs based on the focus of change, but found that programs focused equally on changing the individual batterer and changing society, with far fewer focused on changing the couple. The study also found that most batterer programs accepted only men who were mandated through the criminal justice system, leaving fewer opportunities for self-referred batterers. The study also found that funding for batterer programs was declining in New York State and that the number of batterer programs seemed to be declining. The findings about the decline in funding coupled with existing literature questioning the efficacy of these programs called into question their continuation, especially for men who are mandated by the criminal justice system. The study found some promising new directions for batterer programming, especially for men who are not mandated.

  • The policy conflict between syringe exchange programs and policing practices in the United States, and its influence on the health risk behaviors of injecting drug users: a quantitative assessment

    Author:
    Daliah Heller
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Social Welfare
    Advisor:
    Mimi Abramovitz
    Abstract:

    Since the early years of the twentieth century, developments in United States (US) drug policy have cycled between tolerance for drug use, on the one hand, and restraint to prevent drug use, on the other (Musto, 1999). In the 1980s, AIDS emerged, just as neoliberalism grew to dominate the national policy agenda, reinforcing normative social standards with coercion and punishment (Abramovitz, 2004). With evidence for injecting drug users' particular vulnerability to HIV infection, advocates introduced syringe exchange programs to reduce the epidemic's escalation. A conflict in drug policy persists for these programs, however. Most programs operate in states where syringes remain criminalized, and where syringe possession is authorized only as a public health emergency. The results of this conflict are evident `on the streets,' in encounters between police officers and injecting drug users participating in syringe exchange programs. This study examines the experiences of injecting drug users with police `on the streets,' aiming to understand which individual characteristics of injecting drug users influence the likelihood for and severity of police encounters. The literature suggests the negative influence of these encounters on the health risks experienced by this population. Secondary analysis was conducted with an existing dataset of injecting drug users participating in US syringe exchange programs. Three characteristics of respondents - recent homelessness (street, and `other place') and recent illegal income - were leading predictors for two scales assessing police encounters, measuring the likelihood and severity of encounters, respectively. Findings from this analysis suggest opportunities for policy development. In some cities, law enforcement has become involved with human services partnerships, addressing homelessness as a social problem rather than a crime. Introducing syringe exchange programs into these `helping' relationships could radically improve the experiences of homeless injecting drug users, while re-shaping the social environment developed by US drug policy. Syringe deregulation could accomplish this goal at the structural level, with legislative change.

  • I Didn't Consent to That: secondary analysis of discrimination against BDSM identified individuals

    Author:
    Larry Iannotti
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Social Welfare
    Advisor:
    Sara Jane Dodd
    Abstract:

    Sadomasochism (BDSM) sexual behavior is an understudied phenomenon within the social sciences generally, and social work in particular. While BESM sexuality encompasses a wide variety of activities a community of individuals interested in BDSM is identifiable and has coalesced around organized groups, events, political activism, and shared sexual interests. This community has experienced discrimination, violence, and harassment (DVH) as a result of social approbation and stigma associated with BDSM practices. The study examines results of a secondary analysis of data from the Survey of Violence & Discrimination against Sexual Minorities, conducted in 2008. Severity and frequency of various types of DVH are explored and relationships between demographic characteristics, BDSM activities, and frequencies of DVH are examined. An emancipatory social work frame is used to contextualize the results of the analysis and implications for both practice and policy are discussed.