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Ph.D. Dissertation Abstracts

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R. Lee Phillips (2017). Quality of life among hemodialysis patients:  Evaluating the KDQOL-36 and its utility in clinical practice.

Jessica Nobile (2017). Young African American women in a college town: Stories of strength.

Nicole Corley (2017). Shifting the discourse: An exploration of academic success among African American high school seniors from single mother homes.

Irang Kim (2017), Parental experiences of Korean-American immigrant parents of sons or daughters having developmental disabilities: Stress and coping.

Kimberly Y. Hoyt (2017). Foster care, public good, and privatization: A comparative secondary analysis of child welfare performance outcomes

Lauren A. Ricciardelli (2017). A multi-methods analysis for understanding the intersection of intellectual disability, capital punishment, and social inclusion: Implications for policy, practice, and research in social work

J. Lloyd Allen (2017). Parent-child communications among a sample of self-identified out gay males: A qualitative inquiry

Katherine J. Crawford (2016). Innovative social service collaboration: Investigating the collective impact efforts and trauma-informed care practices of the Athens resource center for hope (ARCH).

Jennifer L. Benford (2016). Pre-teen students' perceptions of dating and teen dating violence: A qualitative study.

Brendan G. Beal (2016), The internet, technology, and social work education

Stephen M. Young (2016). Barriers to ethical decision-making for HIV/AIDS treatment providers around the globe

Jun Hoe Kim (2016). Comparative case study of resource structures (information and service) for Korean American women's breast cancer screenings in Atlanta and Chicago metropolitan areas

Adam E. Quinn (2016). Factors related to alcohol-use disorders and perceptions of treatment need among baby boomers across the life course: Implications for social work theory, research and practice

Jaewon Lee (2015). Analysis of perceptions of successful aging among older Korean immigrants and the role of resilience and acculturation as predictors

Marianna L. Colvin (2015). Mapping a count's child welfare prevention and service delivery network: a mixed-methods analysis of how organizations interact to serve children and families

Soonok An (2015). An analysis of the application and assessment processes of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families under the Family Violence Option

Melinda W. Moore (2014). Women in ethnic conflict:  A critical ethnography of female combatants in the provisional Irish Republican Army

Kerri J. Steele (2013). The evolution of employment and training programs for the homeless: An evaluation of a community outreach response to the one-stop career model

Tamara E. Hurst (2013). Childhood emotional maltreatment and the prevention of the commercial sexual exploitation of children: A mixed methods study

Debra R. Lubar (2013). Food policy to prevent harm or improve health

Junghyun Kim (2013). Factors in productive aging of East Asian immigrants in the United States: an exploratory study of productive aging attributes

Hyejung Oh (2013). Intimate partner violence among Asian women in interracial relationships: An investigation of risk factors using U.S. national representative data

Dione M. King (2012). The role of adolescent risk factors in the development of a model of female perpetration of teen dating violence

Sung Ae Kwon (2012). Gerontological social workers and end-of-life care in South Korea: An exploratory study

Jaegoo Lee (2012). Cultural and racial socialization in international transracial adoption: development and initial validation of the hypothesized model

Carol Britton Laws (2012). Credentialing as a predictor of staff retention in supports for aging adults with developmental disabilities

Jacquelyn J. Lee (2012). Social work practice with trauma survivors: Investigating risk and protective factors for secondary traumatic stress in a national sample of social workers

Meredith L. Tetloff (2012). Contributions, challenges, and contradictions: Assessing the role of the professional community organizer within collaborative problem-solving

Sarah A. Himmelheber (2012). Harnessing waste, building success: An ethnographic case study of the Campus Kitchens Project

Sara K. Kintzle (2012). Secondary traumatic stress in military healthcare providers:  An examination of empathy and emotional separation as moderating variables

 

R. Lee Phillips (Ph.D. '17)

Quality of life among hemodialysis patients:  Evaluating the KDQOL-36 and its utility in clinical practice

Quality of Life among dialysis patients can have an impact on health outcomes.  Patients undergoing hemodialysis face obstacles and intrusions into daily life that can compromise their quality of life.  The Kidney Disease Quality of Life (KDQOL) is a popular health-related quality of life survey used with dialysis patients and has undergone several revisions leading to the KDQOL-36.   The KDQOL-36 is both a general and disease-specific health quality of life survey and has been identified by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as the preferred survey for use by dialysis providers.  However, research is limited on the KDQOL-36 and its utility in clinical practice.  This dissertation, reported in three manuscripts, provides a review of the KDQOL-36 and attempts to answer if there are patient attributes that contribute to KDQOL-36 scores and if KDQOL-36 scores provide indication of clinical outcomes.
Committee members: Larry Nackerud (Chair), Tiffany Washington, Matthew Smith

 

Jessica Nobile (Ph.D. '17)

Young African American women in a college town: Stories of strength.

The purpose of this study was to collaboratively narrate risk and resilient factors experienced by young African American women living in a Southeastern college town.  The goal of this research endeavor was to help develop a storied understanding of how family, community, and school risk and resilient factors impact this population’s higher educational aspiration (or ambition), using narrative inquiry. Moreover, this study aimed to highlight what factors promoted resilience for young black women. Theory-driven thematic analysis was employed to deduce findings from the two theories that undergirded this research endeavor: critical race feminism along with risk and resilience theory. Findings of this study suggested that young black women experience the intersection of racism, sexism, and classism, along with other risk factors in their immediate environment.   Despite heightened exposure to risk, a variety of resilient factors were also present within the homes, communities, and schools under study.  Participants also shared a variety of strategies they employed as individuals that helped buffer the impact of adversity.  As such, these young women presented as highly resilient and all participants expressed a desire to pursue higher education.
Committee members: June Hopps (Chair), Tony Lowe, Rosalyn Campbell

 

Nicole Corley (Ph.D. '17)

Shifting the discourse: An exploration of academic success among African American high school seniors from single mother homes

Most research on African American students has explored the causes and consequences of academic failure.  This fixation on negative outcomes has perpetuated deficit views of African American student achievement.  Consequently, far less is known about the successful academic outcomes of African American students, generally, and those from single-mother homes, specifically.  The purpose of this study was to explore academic success as perceived and experienced by African American high school students and their single mothers. 

This qualitative study utilized a narrative inquiry approach that used in-depth, semi-structured interviews for data collection.  The sample of seven African American high school seniors (four girls, three boys) and their single mothers were selected using purposeful sampling methods.  Four research questions guided this study: (1) How do African American students and their single mothers understand and explain the protective factors and underlying processes contributing to academic success?  (2) What do African American students and their single mothers report as potential barriers (risk factors) to academic success?  (3) How has family structure influenced the academic success of African American high school students from single-mother homes?  and (4) In what ways can existing and/or future social structures help support and facilitate academic success for African American students from single-mother households? 
Data analysis occurred in two stages.  The first stage, narrative analysis, used poetic transcription techniques to create found poems for each of the individual participants.  The second stage, analysis of narratives, identified themes across participants’ narratives.  Data analysis revealed protective factors contributing to success included students’ inherent drive toward success, a deeply invested mother, and assistance from social-relational supports.  The potential barriers to academic success were described as “challenges of the streets,” and the responsibilities associated with single parenting.  The influence of family structure on academic success involved students being motivated to “go harder” and mothers acting strategically.  Lastly, findings related to how social structures can support the academic success of Black students from single mother homes included participants’ expressing the need for “a community that has our back” and a recognition of their success.  Recommendations for practice and future research are included.
Committee members: Patricia Reeves (Chair), Jennifer Elkins, Kathleen deMarrais, Deryl Bailey.

Irang Kim (Ph.D. '17)

Parental experiences of Korean-American immigrant parents of sons or daughters having developmental disabilities: Stress and coping

Caring for children with developmental disabilities (DDs) poses unique stress and demands on parents. The parents of children with DDs reported higher physical and mental problems compared to other parents of children without DDs. Over the past decades, the number of immigrant families from diverse cultures has shown rapid growth. In particular, Korean-Americans (KA) are one of the fastest growing populations in the United States. Immigrant parents of children with DDs may have unique experiences in caring for their child with DDs, but no study to date has examined KA immigrant parents’ experiences in terms of dealing with parental challenges.  The purpose of this study is to understand the process of how KA immigrant parents manage parental challenges in raising their children with DDs. In this study, a grounded theory was employed. Snowball and theoretical sampling were utilized to select participants; 20 KA parents participated in the study. In-depth interviews (either face-to-face or on the phone) were conducted in the parents’ native language, Korean. This study utilized qualitative software, Nvivo 10, for analyzing data, and it applied the grounded theory analysis methods (i.e. open and axial coding). From rich and illustrative descriptions provided by KA immigrant parents who raise children with DDs, the Hope for Development theory was developed in relation to experiences in caring for children with DDs. In everyday life, parents encountered challenges due to a wide variety of reasons, making them feel overwhelmed. Nevertheless, they have continued caring for their child. Parents’ hope for their child’s development in terms of any aspect can be their fuel in their long journey. Once parents had hope for their child’s development, parents invested their time and finances and tried whatever they could do to fulfill their hope. Depending on the degree to which they obtained their desired outcomes, parents experienced different emotions ranging from positive to negative. Social support can affect investments, outcomes, and emotional reactions. Then, parents adjusted their hope for their child based on achieved outcomes. This caring management process seems to be repeated across their life course. Implications for social work practices are also discussed.
Committee members: Betsy Vonk (Chair), Shari Miller, Y. Joon Choi

 

Kimberly Y. Hoyt (Ph.D. '17)

Foster care, public good, and privatization: A comparative secondary analysis of child welfare performance outcomes

The U.S. child welfare system has continuously struggled to meet and maintain national performance outcome standards that reflect how well they are ensuring safety, facilitating permanency, and promoting well-being for children.  These are the specific mandates of public foster care agencies responsible for providing these services, an economic public good, for the greater benefit of our society.  Quasi-market solutions, such as privatization, have been increasingly promoted among states, and in some cases implemented, to reform public foster care agencies otherwise deemed ineffective and inefficient.  The promoted promise of privatization has been its ability to increase efficiency, accountability, decrease costs, and consequently improve outcomes for children and their families.  However, given the economic theory of market competition and public goods, this study questions if privatization measures up to its promise in terms of overall system performance and safety and permanency outcomes for children served. 

The primary aim of this study was to examine non-privatized and privatized foster care agencies to compare overall system-level performance in terms of national safety and permanency outcome standards; and explore possible differences in child-level outcomes by racial groups between non-privatized and privatized agencies to ascertain relationships between privatization and the issues of disproportionality and disparity.  Using a state-level dataset of N1 = 10 states and a large national secondary data set of N2 = 118,761 child abuse and neglect and foster care cases, a series of rigorous analyses were conducted to accomplish the study’s goals.  The resultant findings of this study suggest that overall, privatized foster care agencies perform no better than non-privatized agencies, and where statistical significant differences were found, results marginally favored non-privatized agency performance over privatized agencies.
Committee members: Michael Holosko (Chair), Harold Briggs, Llewellyn Cornelius, Larry Nackerud

 

Lauren A. Ricciardelli (Ph.D. '17)

A multi-methods analysis for understanding the intersection of intellectual disability, capital punishment, and social inclusion: Implications for policy, practice, and research in social work

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Atkins v. Virginia (2002) decision exempted capital defendants with intellectual disability (ID) from execution. In its decision, the U.S. Supreme Court asked states to generally conform to clinical standards. However, states vary greatly on legal definitions of ID and capital procedures, such as standard of proof. When states use a standard of proof of ID that is higher than the lowest, capital defendants with ID are placed at an increased risk for unlawful execution. The overarching purpose of this dissertation is to understand the policy, practice, and research implications of high standards of proof of ID for the social inclusion of persons with ID. Chapter 2 was a secondary data analysis that used publicly available records. The purpose of Chapter 2 was to explore the differences between states’ death penalty statuses and standards of proof of ID across social inclusion factors. The overall findings were that states do not differ on social inclusion factors by death penalty status alone, and that states using a standard of proof higher than the lowest were less socially inclusive than states using the lower standard or no standard. Chapter 3 was a theoretically driven, single-case study that explained why Georgia remains the only state to implement the highest standard of proof. To answer this question, I conducted interviews with key informants in the public sector. I also obtained and transcribed a two-hour long legislative hearing that occurred in 2013 on Georgia’s standard of proof. I used the impressionist narrative tale and constant comparative methods to develop themes and dimensions. Themes and dimensions were used to inform nine recommendations that address the lack of information or misinformation presented in the 2013 legislative hearing. Chapter 4 was a policy analysis that used a value-critical approach to examine the standard of proof of ID within Georgia’s 1988 statute. I presented findings across the social history context, the judicial context, and the economic context. I then provided a justification for the recommendation to clinically evaluate death row inmates in Georgia for ID.
Committee members: Kristina Jaskyte Bahr (Chair), Betsy Vonk, Kevin Ayres, Alexander Kaufman


J. Lloyd Allen (Ph.D. '17)

Parent-child communications among a sample of self-identified out gay males: A qualitative inquiry

Purpose. Parent-child communications on sex, sexuality, and/or HIV/AIDS are anxiety causing events for both parents and children.  Studies show that these communications can effectively decrease early pregnancies, delay sexual debut, and increase safer sex practices and behaviors among heterosexual teenagers.  However, there are no studies that have explicitly explored parent-child communications with self-identified out gay males. Method. A singular one-on-one participant telephone or face-to-face interview, ranging between 45-90 minutes, was conducted with N = 14 unique self-identified out gay males ages (Ra) 18-30, which asked them to retrospectively recall their parent-child communications on sex, sexuality, and/or HIV.  Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data analyses were conducted using the iterative inductive and deductive procedures associated with thematic analysis.  Identified themes and codes were then discussed with N = 3 participants taken from the larger pool of participants. Findings. Results showed that the average age of coming out was 16 years of age, which was in par with the national average.  Participants: a) had higher education levels, b) identified mainly as Atheist/Agnostics, and c) came from diverse educational and religious backgrounds.  White cohort participants had conversations later than Black/African Americans and Hispanics, however, Hispanics spoke more about sex and/or sexuality than Black/African and White cohorts despite being the hardest subgroup to recruit.  After coming out, some conversations: a) got worse, b) stayed the same, or c) improved. Conversations ranged in content from poor (e.g., abrupt, one time) to excellent (e.g., continuous, inclusive of the sexuality spectrum, age appropriate).  Six major themes throughout the conversations included: a) reasons for the conversations, b) coming out, c) sexual orientation, d) sexual behavior, e) HIV knowledge, and f) prevention. These themes provided the context used to answer the three overarching research questions guiding this study.  Conclusion. Parent child communications were indeed effective in priming improved sexual behavior and practices, improved mental health, self-esteem, and developed sexual identity.  However, parents of gay men often ignored conversations regarding HIV, as it often made HIV a reality that they – the parents – did not want to address.  This study offered some recommendations to make the parent-child communications less awkward.  Additional studies are needed with this population.
Committee members: Michael Holosko (Chair), Jennifer Elkins, Shari Miller, Orion Mowbray


Katherine J. Crawford (Ph.D. '16)

Innovative social service collaboration: Investigating the collective impact efforts and trauma-informed care practices of the Athens resource center for hope (ARCH)

There are several barriers that come along with various agencies working in collaboration and partnerships to address social issues. Additionally, there are various obstacles and inherent challenges with providing adequate and evidence-based practices, such as trauma-informed care, within homeless service agencies. There is a need for coordinated, comprehensive, and trauma informed services for individuals experiencing homelessness or those at risk for homelessness. The purpose of this study was to examine the cooperative efforts of the Athens Resource Center for Hope (ARCH), a cross-sector collaboration of social service providers who have come together to address the needs of individuals experiencing homelessness or those at risk of homelessness in Athens-Clarke County. This study utilized the collective impact framework to assess the current state of the partnership between the ARCH providers and the degree to which the conditions of this framework were being met. Additionally the trauma-informed care framework was utilized as a method for evaluating and assessing the uniformity and baseline of service delivery across the ARCH providers. The staff of the four organizations involved with the ARCH project: Advantage Behavioral Health Systems, the Athens Area Homeless Shelter, AIDS Athens, and the Athens Nurses Clinic were all given an online survey measuring the degree to which they were meeting the conditions of collective impact and utilizing trauma-informed care practices. Following the online surveys, follow-up focus groups with staff involved with ARCH, and key informant interviews with the ARCH provider board members from each organization were conducted. There were no statistically significant differences found between the organizations in regards to the collective impact scale portion of the survey. There were, however, statistically significant differences found between organizations for several areas in the trauma-informed care scale portion of the survey. These survey results are explained and enhanced by the qualitative data from the focus groups, as well as the key informant interviews. Overall the conditions of collective impact that rated highest among the organizations were those of having a common agenda and continuous communication. In regards to trauma-informed care practices, the domain rated highest among the organizations was assessing and planning services, while consumer involvement received the lowest ratings. These findings present the opportunity for several future recommendations, as well as provide implications for social work practice, research, policy, and education.
Committee members: Brian Bride (Chair), Y. Joon Choi, Jennifer Elkins

 

Jennifer L. Benford (Ph.D. '16)
School Social Worker, Barrow County School System

Pre-teen students' perceptions of dating and tenn dating violence: A qualitative study

Teen dating violence is prevalent, and as youth continue access technology more frequently and at an earlier age, adolescents become increasingly vulnerable to consequences associated with dating violence. The purpose of this study is to examine pre-teen students’ perceptions of teen dating violence and digital violence, and their experiences of pressures to date. Using a qualitative study design, and constant comparative thematic analysis, the study revealed two overarching findings as well as 13 themes. First, pre-teen students exhibited ambivalence towards dating. Second, pre-teen students in this sample perceived dating as taboo. The 13 themes identified in the study were: (a) too young to date, (b) dating is frowned upon, (c) some are ok with it and some are not, (d) dating but not really dating, (e) secrets, (f) definitions of dating, (g) guidelines for dating, (h) good dating behaviors, (i) reasons to date, (j) pressures within dating, (k) trust and mistrust, (l) dating conflict, and (m) bystander helper. Implications and recommendations for policy, intervention, and further research were also discussed.
Committee members: Shari Miller (Chair), Pamela Orpinas, Trina Salm Ward

 

Brendan G. Beal (Ph.D. ‘16)
Assistant Professor, University of Montevallo Social Work Program

The internet, technology, and social work education

The five chapters included in this dissertation are written with the purpose of better understanding the role of modern technological advancements within the teaching and learning process of social work students. Chapter one provides the background and outline of the dissertation as a whole. Chapter two includes a descriptive snapshot of the prevalence of research already conducted on the subject of technology within social work education. This systematic literature review compares the most rigorous studies among the sample and measures technological opportunities within the social work learning environment. Chapter three focuses on the social work student within his or her field placement and whether or not an appropriate level of technological skill is present. This question of critical knowledge is answered by analyzing data from both students and field supervisors. Chapter four explores the factors associated with the use of technology within the teaching and learning process by social work faculty members. Attitudes and barriers to adoption are discussed. Chapter five concludes with a summary of findings, arguments on the larger topic of academic publishing, and the technology adoption process is described using Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations theory.
Committee members: Larry Nackerud (Chair), David Okech, Jennifer Elkins.

 

Stephen M. Young (Ph.D. ’16)

Assistant Professor, BSW Program Director, University of South Alabama

Barriers to ethical decision-making for HIV/AIDS treatment providers around the globe

The purpose of this study was to analyze how international HIV/AIDS treatment providers in Australia, Kenya, and Lebanon navigate systematic social and political barriers to ethically meet the needs of their clients living with HIV through grounded theory methodology.  Data collection methods include the use of interviews, filed notes, observations, historical media publications, and scholarly literature on barriers to ethical decision-making for treatment providers. Data collection took place with key informants, agency care workers, and community respondents from July 15, 2015 to August 4, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia, Beirut, Lebanon, and Nairobi, Kenya. After data collection, three clear opportunities for meaningful analysis emerged to inform international HIV social work practice, including: 1) a case study from Lebanon evaluating the utility of the four quadrants model to ethical decision-making; 2) an evaluation of the core challenges to consensual HIV disclosure and ethical-decision making for treatment providers and their clients; and 3) an examination of the new challenges from diminishing funding to ethical decision-making by HIV treatment providers. These three research papers are presented in a potentially publishable format and bookended between introduction and conclusion chapters. Implications for international social work practice and policy recommendations are discussed at length.
Committee members: Larry Nackerud (Chair), David Okech, Paul Roman.

 

Jun Hoe Kim (Ph.D. ’16)

Comparative case study of resource structures (information and service) for Korean American women's breast cancer screenings in Atlanta and Chicago metropolitan areas

The purpose of the three studies in this dissertation is to provide the foundation of the research study “A Comparative Case Study of Resource Structures for Korean American Women’s Breast Cancer Screenings in Atlanta and Chicago Metropolitan Areas” for further analysis on the current information and service systems for Korean American women’s breast cancer screenings and their screening status in Atlanta and Chicago metropolitan areas. In Study One, through reviewing previous research studies on Korean American women’s breast cancer screening, it was found that theoretical approaches were biased toward the Health Belief Model. This study attempts to bridge the gap between micro and macro perspectives by extending HBM with habitus, a concept of Pierre Bourdieu. In Study Two, exploratory statistical analysis was performed to examine the factors influencing Korean American women’s breast cancer screening practice, with a sample of 274 Korean American women, from 40 to 65 years of age. Data were collected through a self-administrated survey in Atlanta and Chicago metropolitan areas to confirm the revised framework of Study One. In addition to that, the functionality of two different types of response items about the status of breast cancer screening is examined using binary and Likert five-point scales. Compared with the findings of research studies before 2014, the rate of Korean American women with health insurance in both regions has increased but the rate of Korean American women having a mammogram in the past two years was still low, especially in Chicago. The response items using a Likert five-point scale had significant relations with more factors than binary response items. In Study Three, the scale of information and service resources, medical dependency on S. Korea, social barriers, and breast cancer screening behavior pattern was developed to explain the Korean American women’s breast cancer screening practice through the extended Health Belief Model within the social structures, and their reliability and construct validity were tested. After the deleting, summating, and redefining process, the sensitivity of the new variables was checked through logistic regression, resulting in significant results. Eventually, the findings will provide a critical foundation for future research studies.
Committee members:  Larry Nackerud (Chair), Y. Joon Choi, Edwin Risler, Su-I Hou

 

Adam E. Quinn (Ph.D. ’16)

Factors related to alcohol-use disorders and perceptions of treatment need among baby boomers across the life course:  Implications for social work theory, research, and practice

This dissertation reports on three studies related to alcohol-use disorders among baby boomers across the life course.  The first study reports findings from a scoping review of 25 years of literature, focusing on the extent to which baby boomers are represented, as well as what treatments are effective across differential levels of study-design rigor.  Among the most rigorously designed studies, cognitive behavior-based therapies and motivational-enhancement therapies were found to be potential candidates for effective alcohol use treatment among baby boomers.  The second study explores changes in highly salient factors predicting alcohol-use disorders among baby boomers from a life course theoretical framework.  This study found that, while predictive factors of alcohol-use disorders changed as baby boomers aged, the underlying trend suggested that factors characteristic of impulsivity remained across time.  The third study explores salient predictors of alcohol-use among baby boomers who deny treatment need at two time periods.  The results from this study suggest that brief generalized alcohol treatment may be ineffective in the treatment of baby boomers with alcohol-use disorders.  Rather, as baby boomers enter older-adulthood, tailored interventions are needed in order to provide effective treatment for this large birth cohort.  Each study discusses social work practice and future research recommendations.  The final chapter concludes this dissertation providing implications related to social work policy.
Committee members:  Orion Mowbray (Chair), Larry Nackerud, Tiffany Washington

 

Jaewon Lee (Ph.D. ’15)
Assistant Professor, California State University Bakersfield Department of Social Work

Analysis of perceptions of successful aging among older Korean immigrants and the role of resilience and acculturation as predictors

Rowe and Kah's longitudinal study of successful aging developed the Model of Successful Aging, which has been considered one of the most salient models among the studies on aging. However, there have been controversies on the model due to the restricted subjectivity on the perceptions toward successful aging. Moreover, the limited sample population for the study participants has been a critical issue. Therefore, further study is needed to investigate the subjective perceptions on successful aging and to focus on ethnic minority populations who may be more vulnerable due to their lower socioeconomic status and cultural differences. The purpose of this study is two-fold: 1) to explore what factors are important for older Korean immigrants to become successful agers, and 2) to examine the relationships among the level of successful aging, the level of resilience, and the level of acculturation among older Koreans in the USA. Quantitative data were collected through a survey to examine older Koreans? level of successful aging, resilience, and acculturation via pre-existing scales. Qualitative data were also collected through short interviews to explore their perceptions of successful aging. All of the participants of the study were enrolled in one of two Adult Day Health Care Centers in Los Angeles, CA. Positive and statistically significant relationships were found between the levels of successful aging and resilience. In addition, a positive and significant relationship was found between the levels of successful aging and acculturation. Older Koreans expressed their own perceptions about successful aging, including the following: 1) maintaining a good physical and cognitive health status, 2) positive attitude toward the current life, 3) spiritual activity and religious life. The major contribution of the study is a newly developed concept of successful aging including the mediating role of resilience by older Korean' perceptions to successful aging. Implications are directed to social work researchers and practitioners to help educate older adults in the community on the social and behavioral importance of the positive aspects of aging such as successful aging and healthy aging to increase a chance of longevity.
Committee members:  Larry Nackerud (Chair), David Okech, Kerstin Gerst

 

Marianna L. Colvin (Ph.D. ’15)
Assistant Professor, Florida Atlantic University School of Social Work

Mapping a count's child welfare prevention and service delivery network: a mixed-methods analysis of how organizations interact to serve children and families

Network analysis has distinctive utility for measuring, visualizing, and understanding interorganizational relationships and is well-matched for informing the complex interactions in contemporary child welfare practice. In this study, community-wide connections were examined through the lens of complexity theory and social network principles to enhance the understanding of child welfare efforts as they exist across organizations, and promote a holistic and interdisciplinary response to child maltreatment. Mixed-methods were integrated to analyze the structural properties of a county’s interorganizational landscape around 11 tasks, including referrals, case coordination, shared resources, and evaluation activities, among others. The study’s design allowed for a comparison across the dimensions of prevention and service delivery efforts and the benefits and challenges experienced when interacting within these structures were explored in-depth. Data collection included a survey instrument and qualitative interviews. Of the 105 organizations identified for inclusion, 80 participated in the survey and 67 provided qualitative data. The sample was bounded to match the county-level implementation of local child welfare services and to emphasize the complex context in which social interventions by and among organizations distinctly evolve and perform. Findings revealed differences in participation and network cohesion across tasks, including a dominance of referral activity. Structural and qualitative contrasts and similarities were evident between prevention and service delivery and a common thread of instability emerged across challenges. Network-wide benefits were also identified, in addition to organization-level benefits, and data suggested each were linked to serving clients and the community better. These and other findings are discussed for their applicability to inform network development in the community under study, as well as their broader policy, practice, and theoretical relevance. Directions for future research are detailed to promote systemic network research in child welfare settings and to further the use of network analysis as a means to empirically apply complexity theory and advance knowledge of the complicated practice and policy implementation systems that are paramount in the social work profession.
Committee members:  Alberta Ellett, Shari Miller (Co-chairs), Larry Nackerud, Orion Mowbray

 

Soonok An (Ph.D. ’15)
Assistant Professor, North Carolina A & T State University

An analysis of the application and assessment processes of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families under the Family Violence Option

The purpose of the three studies in this dissertation is to better understand how the victims of domestic violence experience the application and the assessment processes used in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Under the Family Violence Option, the victims of domestic violence need to be identified, assessed for their needs, and provided relevant services. The first study conceptualizes domestic violence screening in TANF as an interpersonal, micro-level type of interaction between the TANF applicant and the frontline TANF caseworker. It also illuminates the gap between the intended service outcomes regarding good cause waivers, which occur in an informed disclosure scenario, and the predicted outcomes in an uninformed disclosure scenario, using Bayesian strategic game theoretical models. Without the presence of an ethical caseworker, the processes designed to provide a universal screening of the applicant for domestic violence, as well as the outcomes of those processes, become unavailable to the victims of domestic violence. Using a sample of N=35 victims of domestic violence in Georgia, the second study explores the correlations among 1) the various barriers to complying with the TANF requirements, 2) the frontline TANF workers responses in the screening for domestic violence, and 3) the responses from the victims of domestic violence to disclose abuse and apply for good cause waivers. The disclosure rate (65.4%) among the participants in this sample was higher than that in other reviewed studies, as the participants in this current study were experiencing ongoing domestic violence. The screening for domestic violence and the participants? readiness to work were associated with both their disclosure of domestic violence and their application for at least one waiver, while only the barriers to applying for child support were correlated with the screening for domestic violence. The third study offers a more comprehensive understanding of how victims of domestic violence in Georgia experience the TANF application and assessment processes. It is an understanding based on semi-structured interviews with the victims of domestic violence, local domestic violence advocates, and nationally recognized experts of the Family Violence Option. The TANF requirements and the related penalty were understood as the major barriers to completing the TANF application and/or receiving TANF. The local relationship between a TANF program and a domestic violence agency was found to be the key to improving procedures of the TANF application and assessment for victims of domestic violence.
Committee members:  Larry Nackerud (Chair), Michael Holosko, Mary Caplan, Joan Prittie

 

Melinda W. Moore (Ph.D. ‘14)
Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Georgia, Carl Vinson Institute of Government

Women in ethnic conflict:  A critical ethnography of female combatants in the provisional Irish Republican Army

The purpose of this critical ethnography was to examine female combatants’ agency, voice, identity, and representation during violent political conflict and in the resulting cultural and political transformation to develop an exploratory, complex description of female combatants’ lived experiences pre- and post-conflict. This critical ethnography sheds light on the concepts of womanhood, voice, silencing, resistance, and the relationship between a revolutionary movement and the colonial state through the framework of postcolonial theory, in order to address the underrepresentation of the experiences of women who are participants in armed conflict, and the resulting lack of voice for those women in academic and political discourse of post-conflict societies. Data collection methods include the use of interviews, field notes, observations, and historical data on female participation and inclusion or exclusion in State and Provisional IRA narratives during the time period of the Troubles, and the resulting peace transformation process. Data collection took place from May 13 to August 1, 2013 in Belfast and Derry, Northern Ireland.

Five ethnographic findings from the data highlight common experiences among republican women, including: 1) the role of the family and community as galvanizing factors, 2) experiences with colonial and gendered violence, 3) resistance, 4) gender within the republican movement, and 5) identity, voice, and representation.  The conclusion situates these findings within postcolonial theory, and presents the implications for the discipline of social work, which has the potential to develop new policies and methods of classifying social problems in post-conflict societies.
Committee members:  Larry Nackerud (Chair), Michelle Carney, Diane Napier, Edwin Risler

 

Kerri J. Steele (Ph.D. ‘13)
Assistant Professor, West Virginia State University, Criminal Justice Department

The evolution of employment and training programs for the homeless: An evaluation of a community outreach response to the one-stop career model

This study is a program evaluation of the Job TREC program, an employment program for homeless people in Athens, GA. This study is both summative and formative as the results will be used to both evaluate the program’s success and modify program services. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of Job TREC at increasing successful client employment and decreasing barriers to housing. Three research questions helped determine the efficacy of the program. The questions related to the characteristics of Job TREC participants, the supportive services associated with successful employment, and the impact of the program on housing status of client and former clients. Quantitative data gathered from a secondary source was used to evaluate the program. There were three hundred participants in the sample. Based on the data obtained, there was no relationship between any of the supportive services offered by Job TREC and successful participant employment. There are statistically significant relationships between some of the supportive services, themselves. The findings also show that on average, participants improved their housing status between enrollment and discharge. Recent changes in the Job TREC program address some concerns raised over the course of this study. Further data must be gathered to study accurately the relationship between supportive services and successful employment. Future research is needed to determine what factors beyond supportive services are associated with successful employment in the Job TREC program.
Committee members:  Edwin Risler (Chair), Larry Nackerud, David Okech

 

Tamara E. Hurst (Ph.D. ‘13)
Assistant Professor, University of Southern Mississippi, School of Social Work

Childhood emotional maltreatment and the prevention of the commercial sexual exploitation of children: A mixed methods study

Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is a form of child abuse that involves the sexual use of a child under the age of 18, for an exchange of tangible or intangible goods. This study investigated the influence of childhood emotional maltreatment (CEM) as one area of the complicated issue of childhood vulnerability to recruitment into CSEC, with the goal of informing prevention efforts. CEM has undergone limited investigation with domestic samples of CSEC survivors thus, this study filled a distinct need in this body of empirical research. Using a mixed methods design, the study drew participants from multiple sampling techniques from across four geographic areas in the United States. All participants were adult, female CSEC survivors (N = 40), who were contacted through multiple avenues. Data were collected concurrently utilizing two multiple-choice instruments, the Vulnerability to CSEC Survey developed by the author, and the well-known Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, along with individual semi-structured interviews. Four exploratory research questions guided this study which explored: (i) the social demographics of the survivors/participants, (ii) their resulting influences on vulnerability to CSEC, (iii) experiences with childhood maltreatment, and (iv) themes related to CSEC prevention. Demographically, the sample was predominantly Black/African-American (62.5%, n = 25) or White/Caucasian (30.0%, n = 12), with an average age of 41.35 (SD = 10.08). These women entered sexually exploitive relationships at the median age of 13.13 (SD = 3.35). Main results were: (i) noted chronological age differentiations describing varying pathways into CSEC with younger victims more likely exploited by their families and adolescent/teens more likely exploited by their boyfriends, (ii) internalized racism noted within the African-American participants that seemed to increase vulnerability to CSEC, (iii) noted severe to extreme levels of multiple forms of child maltreatment including emotional abuse/neglect in 97.5% of the sample, and (iv) a lack of outreach/attention/understanding of these women by proximate helping professionals including law enforcement, teachers, and physicians, among others. Implications for social workers and other helping professionals, and as well as strategies for prevention, including education, training and policy recommendations are discussed.
Committee members:  Michael Holosko (Chair), Larry Nackerud, Alberta J. Ellett, Michelle Carney

 

Debra R. Lubar (Ph.D. ‘13)
Deputy Director for Management & Operations, NCEZID at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Food policy to prevent harm or improve health

Obesity is a risk factor for major chronic diseases, making reduction of obesity a major public health goal. With approximately two-thirds of adult Americans classified as overweight, addressing the problem as an individual failing seems overwhelming and likely unproductive by itself, putting policy interventions to change the food environment at the center of public health efforts. This study examines one major government initiative?Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW)?to better understand community food policy choices and their implications. Using prospect theory, community policy choices and their implications were examined according to community characteristics, community policy frame choices, community response, and policy passage. Prospect theory predicts that communities with less favorable health status and food environments will favor policy choices that emphasize harm reduction (loss frames) rather than health improvements (gain frames), and that these frames will affect community response. Prospect theory also predicts different effects for mandatory policies with outcomes that are certain, rather than voluntary policies whose outcomes are uncertain (certainty frame). These frames are hypothesized to have implications for community responses to policy change efforts, and ultimately to policy passage.
Committee members:  Michelle Carney (Chair), Larry Nackerud, Michael Holosko, Anne Haddix

 

Junghyun Kim (Ph.D. ‘13)
KIHASA (Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs)

Factors in productive aging of East Asian immigrants in the United States: an exploratory study of productive aging attributes

The increasing number of older East Asian immigrants in the United States calls for attention to their characteristics and needs. The concept of productive aging addresses the lives, challenges, and options available to East Asian immigrants in the United States. The purpose of this exploratory study is to apply the concept of productive aging to East Asian immigrants in the United States by analyzing a secondary dataset. This quantitative study examined the effects of immigration experiences and acculturation on productive activities, particularly paid work and caregiving for grandchildren among East Asian immigrants. In the 2006-2010 ACS PUMS dataset, older East Asian immigrants over 55 years of age (N = 30,846) were selected in this study. The dependent variables were paid work and participation in productive activities; the independent variables were the length of immigration, attainment of citizenship, language preference, and arrival age in the United States. Socio-demographic variables were used as control variables. Multiple linear regression analysis and logistic regression were used to test the effects of immigration experiences and acculturation on paid work and participation in either paid work or caregiving for grandchildren or both. The quantitative results provide evidence that immigration experiences and acculturation affect East Asian immigrants’ productive activities. In particular, citizenship positively affected respondents’ productive activities, and East Asian immigrants length of immigration and arrival age in the United States presented negatively affected their participation in paid work. These findings demonstrate that the concept of productive aging reflects an aging population’s activities and needs, as well as giving political and practical implications for the field of social work for this population. Future research needs to examine these issues to fully understand older East Asian immigrants’ talents, challenges, immigration history and needs in depth.
Committee members:  Larry Nackerud (Chair), Edwin Risler, Kerstin Gerst-Emerson, David Okech.

 

Hyejung Oh (Ph.D. ‘13)
Assistant Professor, Troy University, College of Health and Human Services, Department of Social Work

Intimate partner violence among Asian women in interracial relationships: An investigation of risk factors using U.S. national representative data

The problem of intimate partner violence (IPV) has been examined across ethnic groups, but little is known about this issue among interracial couples. The little empirical research that exists on IPV involving interracial couples has tended to bypass Asian in the United States. This study examined the characteristics and correlates of IPV in intermarried/cohabiting Asian women using the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS), which had a cross-sectional design. The purpose of this study was to investigate the characteristics of Asian intermarried women associated with immigration and IPV-related factors and to determine the IPV risk factors for this population in the United States. The results revealed that IPV rates were not significantly different between Asian women in same-race relationship and Asian women in interracial relationship for both minor and severe IPV. Asian women in interracial relationships were younger, were more educated in high school and college level, were less likely to be in the workforce, had higher self-rated physical and mental health, had more family and friends support, were more likely to immigrated in younger age, were more likely to born in the U.S., more likely to have more parents born in the U.S., more likely to be a later immigration generation, more proficient in English, and more likely to be discriminated than Asian women in same-race relationship. Friends support, generation, acculturative stress, and gender roles (couple both responsible for chores) were the predictors of total IPV among Asian women in intra-racial relationship and the everyday discrimination were the only predictor of total IPV among Asian women in interracial relationship. Although not all hypotheses were confirmed, valuable information was obtained, which helped fill the knowledge gap in the research literature on both partner violence and interracial relationship. This study provided a better understanding of Asian interracial couples and their unique characteristics that are associated with immigration and IPV-related factors.     
Committee members:  Larry Nackerud (Chair), Brian Bride, Betsy Vonk

 

Dione M. King (Ph.D. ’12)
Assistant Professor, University of West Florida, Department of Social Work

The role of adolescent risk factors in the development of a model of female perpetration of teen dating violence

Teen dating violence is a growing issue impacting the adolescent experience. Adolescent females are increasingly at risk to perpetrate dating violence. This research examines adolescent risk factors that include substance use, mental health and delinquent behaviors using the National Longitudinal Study for Adolescent Health to develop a model of adolescent female perpetration of dating violence. Research findings demonstrate the need for future research including additional longitudinal studies given the limited relationship between the study variables.
Committee members:  Brian Bride (Chair), Schnavia Smith Hatcher, Edwin Risler

 

Sung Ae Kwon (Ph.D. ’12)
                                                 
Gerontological social workers and end-of-life care in South Korea: An exploratory study

This dissertation has examined the attitudes and tendencies of geriatric/gerontological social workers regarding end-of-life care issues and their willingness or intention to provide end-of-life care in a large metropolitan area of South Korea. The findings of this study indicate that geriatric/gerontological social workers have little or no education or training on end-of-life care issues, especially about advance directives. The social workers tend to agree on the need for end-of-life care in geriatric/gerontological institutions and show a moderate willingness to address end-of-life care issues for older adults. However, they feel they are not ready or prepared to provide psychological, psychosocial, or emotional support within the area of death and dying. Participants in this study tend to have a positive attitude toward hospice care and advance directive planning and prefer not to use sustaining treatment during the last stage of life. Moreover, the study found that people emphasize self-determination in end-of-life care decision-making and value the principle that one’s wish is regarded as the most important factor when there are conflicts between oneself and a family member. By contrast, half the respondents in this study still prefer a family decision-making process, and some even want to exclude the patient from the process to protect him or her from feelings of fear or abandonment. In addition, because of the cultural influence related to death and dying, social workers generally feel uncomfortable talking about death with elders and worry that such a discussion might cause distress to older adults. This study refocuses and readdresses the issue of end-of-life care decision-making (individualism versus collectivism) and disclosure of diagnosis of a terminal illness. It also raises a concern about the discrepancy between the social workers? professional values, the ethical principle of self-determination and the traditions of Korean culture. The findings of this study suggests the need for an educational and informational program for social workers to achieve competency in end-of-life care, as well as education for the general public, in order to bring the topic of death and dying into the public arena and promote familiarity with the concept and practice of end-of-life care.
Committee members: Edwin Risler (Chair), Nancy Rothenberg, Stacey Kolomer, Anne P. Glass

 

Jaegoo Lee (Ph.D. ‘12)
Assistant Professor, Jackson State University, School of Social Work

Cultural and racial socialization in international transracial adoption: development and initial validation of the hypothesized model

The main purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships among racial awareness, cultural and racial socialization self-efficacy, and cultural and racial socialization practices among international transracial adoptive parents. The intention of this study was to develop the hypothesized model to explain the relationships among the five components. To do so, this study revised the Transracial Adoption Parenting Scale and created a new scale, the Socialization Self-Efficacy Scale, and provided the psychometric study of the two scales. Finally, the relationships among the five core components of cultural and racial socialization presented in the hypothesized model were examined in the study. Applying the quantitative method, a cross-sectional survey was conducted. Questionnaires were administered to international transracial adoptive parents, the members of parents? support groups, via online listserv. A total of 486 responses were received and, due to missing values, 310 were used for data analysis in this study. Exploratory factor analyses were used for the psychometric studies of the two scales, and structural equation modeling was performed to test the hypothesized model. Structural equation modeling revealed direct, indirect, and mediating relationships among the five core components of cultural and racial socialization. The path value between cultural socialization self-efficacy and cultural socialization practices was statistically significant. The path values between racial awareness and racial socialization practices, and between racial socialization self-efficacy and racial socialization practices were statistically significant. Cultural socialization self-efficacy was found to be an important factor of cultural socialization practices. Both racial socialization self-efficacy and racial awareness were statistically significant factors of racial socialization practices. Furthermore, racial awareness was shown to be an important factor of cultural and racial socialization self-efficacy, both of which mediate the relationship between racial awareness and cultural and racial socialization practices. Thus, this study concluded that not only racial awareness but also cultural and racial socialization self-efficacy are important components of cultural and racial socialization in transracial adoption.
Committee members: M. Elizabeth Vonk (Chair), Edwin Risler, Alberta J. Ellett, Josie Crolley-Simic

 

Carol Britton Laws (Ph.D. ‘12)
Assistant Clinical Professor, Coordinator of Interdisciplinary Pre-Service Education, University of Georgia, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, Institute on Human Development and Disability,

Credentialing as a predictor of staff retention in supports for aging adults with developmental disabilities

Direct support workers face a myriad of challenges on the job which are intensified by the complexities of supporting aging clients. Previous research indicates that high demand and low control contributes to occupational strain and voluntary staff turnover. The purpose of this study was to explore multiple hypotheses related to staff retention; most importantly, that completion of a competency-based credentialing program is a significant predictor of worker retention in community-based intellectual and developmental disability services. Theoretically, the study used a job demand/control/support framework to explain staff turnover and posited that the completion of competency-based training courses will increase a worker’s self-efficacy and affect her desire to remain on the job. This study used an exploratory cross-sectional online survey design. Ninety-seven workers were conveniently sampled from organizations in Ohio which offer a state-level professional credential based on a competency-based curriculum. Data were collected on credential completion and age of persons supported, as well as explanatory variables identified in the literature as antecedents to retention including worker age, tenure, job demand, perceived control, perceived organizational support, general self-efficacy, organizational commitment, and job satisfaction. The response variable in this study was turnover intent. The data were analyzed using descriptive, bivariate, and multiple regression methods. The results showed that job satisfaction was the most critical predictor of retention. Credentialed staff demonstrated higher tenure but lower self-efficacy than other groups. Interestingly, staff working toward the credential had the highest self-efficacy which was attributed to the presence of a skills mentor. Staff who primarily support aging adults showed lower empowerment/control than their peers. Descriptive data suggest that they are also at higher risk of attrition. A path model illustrating the significant relationships between the variables associated with retention was developed and recommendations for social work and organizational practices in the disability sector were discussed. Further implications for policy and future research were shared.
Committee members:  Stacey Kolomer (Chair), Zolinda Stoneman, Edwin Risler, Brian Bride

 

Jacquelyn J. Lee (Ph.D. ‘12)
Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina Wilmington, School of Social Work

Social work practice with trauma survivors: Investigating risk and protective factors for secondary traumatic stress in a national sample of social workers

By the nature of their work, social workers are often exposed secondarily to the devastating impact accompanying such events as natural disasters, child abuse and neglect, intimate partner violence, sexual assault, crime, and involvement in military combat. Professional contact with traumatic material puts social workers at risk for developing secondary traumatic stress (STS), a condition characterized by virtually identical symptomatology as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and thought to be associated with high turnover in the field. As empirical investigation of STS emerges, much of the literature focusing on the phenomenon has yielded disparate findings, and little research is aimed at understanding how STS impacts the social work profession. The purpose of the study was to examine social workers? experiences related to working with trauma survivors. The study investigated the prevalence of STS among social workers as well as associated risk factors (i.e., exposure to traumatic material, personal trauma history, and empathy) and protective factors (i.e., emotional separation, personal self-care, and professional self-care). To explore seven research questions, the study utilized a cross-sectional survey design and included a random sample of licensed, masters-level social workers currently employed in a direct practice capacity. The sample (N = 539) was obtained through the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Analysis at the univariate, bivariate, and multivariate levels was conducted utilizing descriptive statistics, simple linear regression, and multiple regression, respectively. Findings support the notion that STS is a significant concern for the profession, as 48% (N = 246) of the sample met at least one of the criteria for PTSD (i.e., intrusion, hyperarousal, and/or avoidance) as a function of STS. Nearly 11% (N = 56), a significant minority, met the full criteria for PTSD as a function of STS. The final analysis, which considered all significant risk and protective factors from previous analyses, revealed the total number of hours addressing trauma per week and the degree of current negative impact of childhood trauma as the most salient risk factors and emotion regulation, emotional separation, and personal self-care as the most salient protective factors. Implications for social work and recommendations for future research were discussed.
Committee members: Brian E. Bride (Chair), Shari Miller, Stacey Kolomer

 

Meredith L. Tetloff (Ph.D. ‘12)
Assistant Professor, University of Montevallo, School of Social Work

Contributions, challenges, and contradictions: Assessing the role of the professional community organizer within collaborative problem-solving

Multi-sector collaboration is an appealing intervention strategy to address complex social problems, such as economic stagnation and environmental hazards. By working together, community members have the potential to develop a thorough and accurate understanding of the cause of the problem, and share the responsibilities associated with implementing a solution. As participants share costs and resources, they create a synergistic approach to problem-solving. Collaboration has increased in popularity due to a shift from the federal government to local municipalities to address social concerns and funder mandates to create partnerships. Despite the potential and increasing popularity of collaboration, research indicates it fails as often as it succeeds. This is likely due to the complexity of the intervention strategy that is inherently conflict-ridden and logistically demanding. One promising approach to mitigate challenges is to employ a fulltime professional community organizer who can manage the details and address challenges as they arise. This multiple case study investigates nine university-community collaboratives in order to better understand the challenges of partnership, and the contributions of a fulltime professional community organizer. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with organizers, focus groups with community participants, and document analyses. The Archway Partnership, an innovative university-community engagement initiative of the University System of Georgia, provides the cases. Findings suggest eight primary roles within the context of a university-community partnership: resource broker, relationship builder, process designer, facilitator, community insider, conflict resolver, visionary, and ego manager. Data analyses indicated that by fulfilling these roles, community organizers serve a valuable purpose within collaboration and provide a promising strategy to overcome the challenge of cross-sector partnership in order to improve the well-being of communities.
Committee members:  Michelle Carney (Chair), Michael Holosko, Thomas Holland, Mel Garber

 

Sarah A. Himmelheber (Ph.D. ’12)
Professor of Social Work & Field Director, Warren Wilson College, Social Work

Harnessing waste, building success: An ethnographic case study of the Campus Kitchens Project

Food rescue and redistribution, understood as the harnessing and redirection of food that would be otherwise wasted, as a food security strategy is understudied. Because this type of intervention recognizes the waste inherent to the industrial food system, potential exists for food rescue and redistribution to address immediate food needs while contributing to a progressive change in focus to community food security (CFS). As a nationally-networked, rapidly-growing effort taking place on college and university campuses (as well as two high schools), the Campus Kitchens Project (CKP) provides an opportunity to increase knowledge about food rescue and redistribution interventions. The purpose of this study was to better understand the culture of one branch of the CKP (the Campus Kitchen at Marquette University, or CKMU) and investigate its relationship to the broader community. This research study employed a qualitative case study design. Due to the interest in culture, ethnographic methods were used in data collection, including six weeks of participant observations. Data collection also included individual and focus group interviews, pre-existing and researcher-generated documents, and photographs. Four research questions guided this study: 1) How is CKMU structured and organized? 2) How are relationships constructed and maintained between representatives of CKMU and representatives of community partner agencies? 3) What are the cultural norms for student engagement? 4) How do CKMU stakeholder groups think about the successes, challenges, and contributions of CKMU? Data analysis, guided by the constant comparative method and organized via Atlas.ti, revealed that CKMU?s structure and organization was jointly influenced by undergirding, institutional forces and daily routines. Relationships between CKMU and its community partners formed with an initial energy; however, data demonstrated that these relationships typically became routinized and inertia-bound. Student volunteers were found to have variable levels of participation. Their involvement stemmed from several key sources and multiple benefits of participation were identified. In addition to the perspective of students, findings from this study reported on CKMU?s impact within the social service sector as well as on the lives of its volunteers. Challenges related to organizational growth and stretching the mission of CKMU were presented from multiple stakeholder perspectives.
Committee members: Patricia Reeves (Chair), Shari Miller, Amy Trauger, Cecilia Herles

 

Sara M. Kintzle (Ph.D. ’12)
Research Associate Professor, University of Southern California, School of Social Work

Secondary traumatic stress in military healthcare providers:  An examination of empathy and emotional separation as moderating variables

The purpose of this study was to explore rates of secondary traumatic stress (STS) as well as factors related to symptom development in a sample of 70 military primary and mental healthcare providers. This research also analyzed empathy and emotional separation as moderating variables between the relationship of exposure and STS. Participants completed surveys containing a demographic questionnaire, the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI; Davis, 1983), the Maintenance of Emotional Separation Scale (MES; Corcoran, 1982) and the Secondary Traumatic Stress Scale (STSS; Bride et al., 2004). Demographics analyzed in the study included age, gender, experience, clinical responsibility, and current impact of personal trauma history. Descriptive and frequency statistics as well as t-tests and regression analyses were used to examine data. Results of data analysis found military participants in the sample to be experiencing relatively low rates of STS. Over half of the sample reported endorsing at least one symptom of STS occurring within the last week while eight percent of participants indicated moderate to high symptomatology. Findings also revealed current impact of personal trauma history to be the only demographic significantly related to STS scores. Neither empathy nor emotional separation was found to moderate the relationship between exposure and STS. However, emotional separation had a significant main effect on STS scores. A post hoc regression analysis found three emotional separation (MES) items to be significantly related to STS. These involved losing sight of personal feelings, difficulty concentrating after exposure to client trauma and feeling the worries of the client. The implications of study findings point to the need for education and resources for military professionals in alleviating and preventing symptoms of STS. Findings also suggest emotional separation to be the primary mechanism through which trauma is transferred from the primary to secondary individual. Additional implications and recommendations for future research are outlined.
Committee members: Brian Bride (Chair), Schnavia Smith Hatcher, Stacey Kolomer, Jeffrey Yarvis