Laction En Justice Dissertation Abstract

Examining Discourses ofBisexual Identities among Older Women

Sara Jen
2018

The Institute of Medicine (2011) has recognized LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) older adults as an understudied and underserved population at-risk of poor physical and mental health outcomes. While the acronym “LGBT” is frequently used to define this population, implying a common identity or experience, important subgroup differences are often overlooked within empirical literature (fredriksen-Goldsen & Muraco, 2010). In particular, little research explores the experiences of older bisexual individuals separately from those of lesbians and gay men (Kaestle & Ivory, 2012), an oversight that reflects the relative invisibility oftheir social position both within LGBT communities and in the broader population (Brewster & Moradi, 2010). When separate analyses or comparison studies are carried out with bisexual research participants, important differences are revealed in terms of social resources (Erosheva, Kim, Emlet, & fredriksen-Goldsen, 2015), psychological resources and coping mechanisms Battle, Harris, Donaldson, & Mushtaq, 2015), and health-related outcomes (Fredriksen-Goldsen, Shiu, Bryan, Goidsen, & Kim, 2016). Thus, a variety ofrisk and protective factors likely influence their health in unique ways.

This dissertation seeks to shift the focus of LGBT literature to center the lives of older bisexuals, who represent a sexual minority group with significant and unique health disparities in relation to heterosexual, lesbian, and gay older adults. Particularly, I will center the lives of older bisexual women whose experiences of bisexuality are also distinct from those of both bisexual men and younger bisexual women. This study is informed by a critical feminist conceptual framing, theoretical influences from gerontology and bisexuality literature, and key concepts from foucauldian discourse analysis. I will examine the ways that older bisexual women (age 60 and older) construct and make meaning out oftheir bisexual identities on individual, social, and political levels by drawing on both broad discourses and specific linguistic tools in semistructured in-depth interviews. This research is a crucial first step toward developing a better understanding of how bisexuality and experiences related to bisexuality may influence the health of older women.

Changes in Household Structure, School Enrollment, and Poverty: Young Adults before and after the Great Recession

Chiho Song
2018

This study examines how increased poverty among young adults aged 18-34 before and after the Great Recession (200 7-2009) is accountedfor by changes in household structure and school enrollment. Poverty rate ofyoung adults during the recession increased by declining household economic conditions associated with higher unemployment indicative of worsening macroeconomic conditions. Demographic trends may have also changed the extent to which young adults are identified as below the poverty line. As two coping mechanisms to buffer against poverty, young adults may have decided to cohabit with their parents or non marital partners or and to enter into post-secondary education, incentivized by financial supports from parents and educational loans. Thus, the individual-level choices ofyoung adults to cohabit or enroll in higher education may be endogenously related with their poverty. However, standard poverty measures i’ould count cohabilers as non-poor i/their parents’income is higher and exclude college enrolleesfrom the poverty tabulations i/they live in campus housing. The “true” poverty rate ofthis age group may thus be masked. To help fill that knowledge gap, two research questions are raised: 1,) What is the effect of changes in ho usehold structure and school enrollment among young adults on their poverty post recession? 2,) How does the effect of changes in household structure and school enrollment on poverty differ by age group, gender, race/ethnicity. and residential location?

Using data from the Sun’ey of Income and Program Participation tSIFP, this stuth’ conducted a decomposition to examine household structure and post-secondary school enrollment among young adults between 2004 and 2012, for the pre- and post-recession periods. Calculated was a hypothetical poverty rate that would have occurred had there been no changes in the proportional representation ofsubgroups by each factor. The d(fference between the hypothetical and the actual poverty rate was computed to measure the unique contribution of each factor to the change in poverty post recession.

Primary results show that the effect of changes in household structure was -0.58, indicating that the postrecession poverty ofyoung adults may decrease by 0.58 percentage points by cohabitation. The efftct of changes in school enrollment was -0.]!, suggesting that increased enrollment may mask the post-recession poverty by 0.11 percentage points. Meanwhile, the combined effect of changes in economic conditions, as indicated by decreased mean income and risen inequality was 4.10, showing that such factors contributed to an increase in poverty of young adults by 4.10 percentage points. It implies that although poverty of young adults may have been moderated fry their individual-level choices, such choices were not enough to protect theni against poverty. In detail, these effects were different by age group, gender, race/ethnicity, and residential location. The effect of changes in household structure on poverty was higher for young adults aged 20-24; while the effect of changes in school en,’ollment on poverty was largerfor young adults aged 18-19 compared with other age groups, forfemales compared with males, for Hispanics compared with other racial groups, andfor the South, non-metropolitan residents compared with other regions.

Culture and History Matter: A Mixed-Methods Study of Historical Trauma and Cultural Practices as Determinants of Alcohol Use among Truku Tribal People in Taiwan

Ciwang Teyra (Mei-Yi Lee)
2017 

Taiwanese indigenous peoples are part of the larger fabric of indigenous groups across the Pacific region. Although indigenous communities in the Pacific region possess enormous diversity in their cultures and political histories, one unfortunate commonality is significant health inequalities in comparison with non-indigenous counterparts. In Australia, for instance, the life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has been shown to be 17 years less than that of the non-indigenous populations (Pulver et al., 2010). In New Zealand, the average life expectancy for Māori people was 7.3 years lower than for non-Māori populations in 2010 to 2012 (Statistics New Zealand, 2013). Similarly, indigenous peoples of Taiwan have experienced significant health inequalities in comparison with their non-indigenous counterparts, the Han population. In Taiwan, indigenous peoples have a higher mortality rate than the majority Han population, with a life expectancy that is 8.7 years lower than the national average (Council of Indigenous Peoples, 2011). Additionally, Taiwan Indigenous Health Report of 2011 indicated that alcohol-related chronic liver disease/cirrhosis and accidental injuries are among the 10 leading causes of death among indigenous communities. Indeed, alcohol use has become one of the highest-priority concerns for Taiwanese indigenous communities.

Supporting Latino Families Vulerable to Child Welfare Involvement

Jessica A.N. Rodriguez-JenKins
2017 

Supporting nurturing parenting among Latino/a families with young children is a central concern for child welfare involved families, as this group comprises the largest growing group in the public child welfare system. A limited amount of research focuses on understanding the parenting context for Latino/a parenting with young children who encounter the child welfare system. Latinos are often examined homogeneously, lacking attention to possible differences across ethnic subgroups. For these families, getting a clearer picture of who they are, and how they are faring is critical to illuminate potentially modifiable areas for interventions and prevention of future child welfare involvement.
Social Policy Context and Family Economic Well-being from a Comparative Perspective

Social Policy Context and Family Economic Well-being from a Comparative Perspective

Ji-Young Kang 
2017

My dissertation, Social Policy Context and Family Economic Well-being from a Comparative Perspective, investigates three corresponding questions of themes of social policy, family economic well-being, and inequality from comparative perspectives; (1) how family policies relevant to economically vulnerable families have changed across countries; (2) how family policies influence female employment from cross-national comparative social policy perspective; and (3) whether and to what extent U.S. maternity leave is associated with less reliance of welfare on low-income families. These three questions correspond to three papers that are connected through the development of a theoretical framework with two empirical applications.

The first paper, Welfare States, Market Economies and Family Policies, sets a framework of a broad context of cross-national comparison by integrating two contradicting theories of welfare states and market economies, one by Esping-Andersen and the other, varieties of capitalism, by Hall and Soskice. The first paper questions in what way market economies and social policy tradition (welfare states) interact to produce different clusters of family policy. This integrated framework enables us to understand the changes of family policies in different welfare states clusters, and further various forms of gender inequality by stressing the influence of family policies.

The second paper, The Danger of a One-sided Story: The Effects of Market Economies and Family Policies on the Gender Employment Gap in 17 OECD Countries, examines the effects of family policy, market economies and labor protections on female employment outcomes across countries. Using several cross-national data such as the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), OECD Employment Outlook, and Comparative Welfare States data, I question how and to what extent macro social policy contexts such as family policy, market economies impact family well-being and gender equality especially for female work experience.

The third paper, titled The Effect of Paid Maternity Leave on Welfare Use for Low-income Families focuses on the effects of state paid maternity leave within the U.S. The various structures around maternity leave in the U.S. provide an opportunity to examine the effects of policy context, in this case different types of maternity leave, for welfare use for low-income families. I make use of a difference in difference (DinD) strategy, comparing family-level outcomes across states and over time. My findings suggest that paid state maternity leave is associated with less participation in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or public cash assistance for families with newborn babies. These results have implications for policy practice promoting family economic wellbeing in the U.S.

My dissertation contributes to the understanding of various aspects of family wellbeing, poverty and inequality across countries. It also promotes the relevant social work policy as it develops a theoretically rigorous comparative framework for understanding gender inequality and family well-being as well as it provides empirical evidences on the impacts of social welfare policies in cross-national and the U.S. contexts.

An examination of neighborhood contexts and substance use across the life course

Christopher Cambron
2017 

My dissertation project seeks to explicitly marry prevention science perspectives on risk and protective factors for problem behaviors with a consideration of proximal and distal contexts for problem health behaviors across the life course. Employing nearly 30 years of longitudinal data from the Seattle Social Development Project in conjunction with recently added GIS data, this project aims to understand the extent to which childhood and adolescent risk and protective factors impact relationships between neighborhood contexts and problem health behaviors in adulthood. The findings of this project will aid in understanding the etiology and consequences of problem behaviors across the life course and enhance the design of preventive interventions. The first paper of this project demonstrates a relationship between perceived neighborhood safety and disorganization and slowed desistance from alcohol use disorder (AUD) among adults. Employing latent growth curve modeling, results show that more disorganized neighborhoods, as characterized by crime, building decay, and lack of safety, are related to increased AUD symptoms above and beyond the average rates of decline in AUD symptoms from age 21 to 39. Model results are robust to controls for gender, ethnicity, and education as well as to accounting for more proximal predictors of AUD such as marriage status and anxiety or depression. Further analyses will help disentangle relationships among neighborhoods and health behaviors through expanded consideration of built environment features and attention to early life risk and protective factors as a precondition for later life health behavior.

Intergenerational Adversity: Longitudinal Implications on the Parental Capacities of Latina and African-American Mothers and Their Children’s Wellbeing

Sharon G. Borja 
2017

Adversities in childhood pose significant jeopardy of poor early life outcomes that can have lasting consequences, compromising future wellbeing of young children. Childhood exposures to extremely stressful experiences including multiple forms of adversities such as child maltreatment, poverty, family instability, violence at home and parent criminal and substance abuse histories become potential pathways to negative social and emotional outcomes. My dissertation uses a two-generation approach to build upon the mounting evidence on adverse childhood experiences and generate evidence regarding intergenerational adversity and its impact on parental capacities and early childhood socio-emotional health. This approach considers the nested nature of the parent-child relationship and focuses on further disentangling intergenerational processes of adversity accumulation and their impact on both generations.

Using the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing data (N=4,898), a birth-cohort longitudinal study of mostly low-income children and their parents, I am examining intergenerational adversity and its proximal consequences during critical periods of development in early childhood (ages 1, 3, and 5) and testing variations across racial/ethnic group. Secondly, I am using structural equation modeling to test the cumulative effects of adversity on parenting stress and parental capacities and whether they serve as mechanisms through which adversity impacts child socio-emotional outcomes. Testing parenting stress and parental capacity as pathways to socio-emotional health outcomes helps us understand how adversity could deplete energies of otherwise caring adults and whether it also reduces their capacities to provide a safe and nurturing environment during developmentally sensitive life periods. Finally, I am testing the protective role of informal supports in buffering adversity’s negative impact on parental capacities and childhood socio-emotional wellbeing over time and comparing these results across racial/ethnic groups. The growing cultural diversity of families in the U.S. is illuminating, for example, differing forms and composition of support system (e.g. extended family members, friends, and church and community members) theorized in my conceptual model as buffering factors that are more figural in some family populations.

The longitudinal approach of this dissertation in understanding complex intergenerational processes of adversity accumulation and childhood socio-emotional outcomes sheds light to the factors that could vary over time and whether these variations account for some of the outcomes in both generations. These variations over time especially during critical periods of early childhood have been mostly overlooked in literature. Results from this project have implications toward the prevention of child maltreatment as it takes a two-generation approach to better understand ways that parents thrive in adversity so they can create a safe and nurturing context necessary for their children. This is particularly crucial for families of color who are often at the intersection of multi-form adversity and racial disparities and are disproportionately represented in the child welfare system.

Policy-driven vis-à-vis refugee-driven resettlement: A nationwide, multiple methods, case study examination of placement patterns and services for resettled refugees

Odessa Gonzalez Benson
2017

Refugees and resettlement policy have been contentiously debated in public and policy discourse, prompted by the ‘refugee crisis’ in Europe in 2015 and public reaction in the US. Resettlement policy is about refugees and local communities, but, importantly, it also bespeaks the commitments and values of countries of reception. Called for are new insights and critical examination of the latest cohorts of refugees in the post-Sept11 era of resettlement.

Resettlement policy, as anti-poverty program for refugees, forwards its goal of socioeconomic integration through appropriate geographic placement and service provision. However, refugees and their communities, naturally, very much also determine their own resettlement, via self-placement and refugee-based services. My research examines (a) refugees’ selfplacement or internal migration patterns and (b) services and goals of refugee-ran community organizations, and the ways in which those patterns, services and goals are in/congruent with policy. This research is nationwide in scope and applies a case study approach, focusing on Bhutanese refugees, one of the new refugee cohorts in the post-September 11 era. Empirically, I apply both quantitative and qualitative methods to examine data from several sources, and partnered with refugee organizations for primary data collection, participant recruitment and analyses.

First, I lay the national landscape of primary arrival placement and internal migration patterns, and then conduct a comparative examination of relevant city-level factors explaining refugees’ in/out-migration patterns into localities across the US. Appropriate placement of refugees is important but has long been problematic in resettlement policy. After placement in primary cities of arrival, refugees commonly move or relocate domestically -- internal migration, disarraying the government’s planned dispersion strategy. Migrants’ voluntary movements are natural and expected, but difficult to predict and track, complicating policy funding appropriations and service provision and impacting refugees and local communities.

Quantitatively, I use official population data in US cities of arrival (n=287) from the US Office of Refugee Resettlement and community-based population data in cities of domestic migration. I visually and represent resettlement patterns in maps, using the Geographic Information Systems software ARCGIS. I used data from the US Census, the US Office of Refugee G. Odessa Gonzalez Benson 2 Resettlement and other publicly available sources to construct city-level indicators for relevant factors, particularly low-wage labor and local immigrant policy. I conducted multivariate analyses of the contribution of each factor to the net in- or out-migration of refugees in each city, using the statistical package STATA. Findings indicate job quality and local integration policies as relevant factors for refugees’ internal migration away from traditional immigrant gateways and into new immigrant destinations in the midwest and southwest, mimicking domestic paths of previous migrants, particularly those from Mexico and Latin America.

Second, I examine refugee community organizations’ goals and activities, and congruence with federal policy and implementing agencies. Self-sufficiency as policy goal is measured as refugees’ job rate within eight months of arrival; the bulk of services goes to job placement. That outcome has been critiqued as misguided and failing to capture self-sufficiency in a more meaningful way. Integration, meanwhile, as policy goal is not systematically measured due to lack of policy guidance and a clear definition. Unclear and unmeasured policy goals pose problems in program implementation, with ramifications for refugees and local communities. Too often neglected in resettlement policy research are refugee community organizations that form and operate along the sidelines of federally-contracted resettlement agencies, and serve high-needs, high-poverty areas. Interrogating refugee organizations against the broader policy and institutional contexts offers new insights and raises questions about participatory approaches and effective service provision with refugee communities.

Qualitatively, I use 40 semi-structured interviews and four focus groups with refugee leaders of Bhutanese refugee organizations in 30 cities across the US, using the coding software ATLAS.ti. I identify themes and patterns in the data and formulate a typology of activities, and then examine goal congruence with federal policy. Findings indicate that refugee community organizations fill in gaps in service to complement policy-mandated service provision and federal policy goals, but are also self-determining in other ways.

The theoretical dimension of my dissertation project draws upon social work literature and interdisciplinary perspectives, in political science and human geography or migration studies specifically. I formulate discussions about refugee resettlement that considers participatory approaches and labor equity as part of socioeconomic integration or adjustment processes of refugees, as contextualized by locality and policy.

Native Women, Intimate Partner Violence, and Drug Use and Consequences: Prevalence and Associations among Tribal College and University Students

Katie A'Neil Schultz
2016

Research has demonstrated high rates of problematic substance use in college and American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) samples and disproportionately high rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) among Native women. Epidemiological data on drug use and comorbidities in AIAN populations are scarce and the identification of tribally-specific protective factors that might buffer the effect of IPV on subsequent drug use lacks adequate empirical research in this population. This study investigates prevalence estimates and relationships between drug use and IPV and the potential for ethnic identity to buffer the effect of IPV on drug outcomes among Native women at Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs).

State Social Safety Net Programs and the Great Recession: The First Line of Defense and the Last Resort for the Economically Disadvantaged

Yu-Ling Chang 
2016

The Great Recession (2007‒2009) and its lingering aftermath have posed challenges to the state safety net programs that are intended to provide income supports to the economically disadvantaged. The stratified, decentralized structure of the US social welfare system has contributed to uneven policy responses to the economic hardship across programs and states. With a focus on the Unemployment Insurance (UI) and General Assistance (GA) programs, this dissertation consists of three papers that investigate (1) the impacts of state UI modernization, (2) state UI approaches to social protection, and (3) state legislative reform of GA, respectively. This dissertation takes a multidisciplinary approach that integrates theoretical perspectives and research methods from social welfare, sociology, political science, and economics.

The first paper evaluates the effects of state UI modernization on the trajectories of household income-to- poverty levels during and after the Great Recession. It uses the nationally representative 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation panel dataset (merged with state data) and multi-level growth models to test the policy effects from 2008 through 2013. Findings show that working families had not yet fully recovered from the Great Recession by the end of 2013. However, working families in states enacting UI modernization provisions, on average, experienced a greater economic improvement rate in the income-to- poverty level than their counterparts, controlling for state and household characteristics.

The second paper classifies state UI policy approaches to social protection by using an advanced model-based clustering technique to analyze multidimensional policy design and performance characteristics of 51 UI programs. Results indicate two distinct state UI approaches to social protection for workers: high and low protection. The high-protection approach, compared to its low-protection counterpart, is characterized as combining high financing adequacy with high taxable wages and average tax rates; high program accessibility with inclusive eligibility criteria; and high wage replacement with high benefit levels. These two approaches remained comparatively stable over time. However, both showed a declining trend in the social protection performances from 2007 to 2014.

The third paper employs a thematic content analysis of 26 legislative videos to examine how policy actors used knowledge to frame the problems of the poor and shape GA reform in Washington State. Findings show that knowledge construction of the GA-unemployable population as social deviants with psychological and behavioral problems influenced the GA reform directions toward a regulated, punitive model. These negative social constructions, intersecting with the mainstream welfare ideology of personal responsibility and work ethic, contributed to dismantling the safety net of last resort for the least resourceful poor.

As a whole, this dissertation research contributes to the fields of state welfare politics, policies, and practice through enhancing the understanding of the connections among macroeconomic conditions, anti-poverty politics, policy designs, and the state safety net system. Policy implications for promoting economic justice for disadvantaged and marginalized populations are offered.

Foreclosure Counseling with Latino Households: Policy Assumptions in a Changing Demographic Landscape

Maria Y. Rodriguez 
2016 

Social work practice and scholarship was historically rooted in the development and analysis of policy (Rodriguez, Ostrow, & Kemp, 2016). Yet, little work has extended our knowledge base on the factors surrounding the development of housing policy and its impact on the populations we serve. The dearth of housing policy research within social welfare is particularly troubling in light of the recent foreclosure crisis (2007-2012). Notably, low-income and Latino households were disproportionality represented in the foreclosure crisis (Hall, Crowder, & Spring, 2015; Rugh, 2014), suggesting that foreclosure mitigation policies should have been crafted with these groups in mind. This dissertation aims to investigate how these households fared in the development of foreclosure mitigation policies, in order to understand how responsive policy makers can be to the context of social problems. Using a three-paper format, this dissertation investigates the development, implementation, and impact of the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) program. The dissertation uses a policy process centered conceptual framework to explain how certain groups were left out of NFMC’s purview. Each paper addresses one of the three levels of social work practice: micro, mezzo, and macro. Results indicate that, beyond being adversely impacted by the foreclosure crisis, communities of color have reaped little benefit from foreclosure mitigation policy as a result of the social constructions they are assigned during the policy making process. Latino households in particular, while experiencing a rising contender status in the federal housing policy arena, are nonetheless not benefiting from foreclosure mitigation policy in ways commiserate with the impact of the crisis on this demographic group. Recalibrating the social work research agenda toward policy study is the most direct way to address the social and economic conditions that prevent the most vulnerable from claiming and exercising full citizenship in the United States today.

Examining the role of place-based interventions in supporting military families: A qualitative study of family-centered therapeutic landscapes

Sara R. Green
2016

United States military families, including active duty, Reserve and National Guard, and veteran families, continue to face challenges and risks to psycho-social health and well-being. Deployments are ongoing and represent a significant source of stress during which families attempt to maintain relationships across great distance and within the dangerous context of wartime service. Injured service members (both those who continue to serve and those who are separated from the military) and their families, contend with multiple issues related to managing symptoms, finding adequate treatment, and carving out lives under new circumstances. Research with military families continues to be essential to understanding how to best support the military members, spouses/partners, and children who sacrifice so much with their service.

This qualitative dissertation uses a grounded theory approach to explore military families’ experiences of stress and coping during deployment, especially those of female spouses. In addition, it examines family-level efforts to reconnect and reintegrate post- deployment and post-injury through participation in a family retreat program. In particular, this study focuses on the emplaced experiences inherent to maintaining the home during deployment and attending a place-based retreat. In doing so, this study implements a family systems approach to understanding these emplaced experiences, acknowledging the complex relational connections within families and the ways in which stressful events in particular, have ripple effects through the family unit.

This dissertation is comprised of three papers empirically based on qualitative interviews with parents who attended the National Military Family Association’s Operation Purple Family Retreat® (OPFR) and Operation Purple Healing Adventures® (OPHA) programs in 2013. The first paper looks at the deployment experiences of 43 female spouses with children, with particular attention to the often overlooked duties spouses take on as the primary parent on the home front. This paper conceptualizes military spouses as “stay-behind parents” and presents findings related to the stress and coping processes characteristic of this role. The second paper turns to parents’ experiences at the Operation Purple retreats and seeks to understand how these family programs function as “therapeutic landscapes,” a health geography framework used to understand links between places and healing. Interviews with 50 parents demonstrate interconnected program components related to the physical environment, social environment, and symbolic environment that facilitated participants’ therapeutic experiences. The third paper examines respondents’ experiences of the nature settings where the Operation Purple retreats occurred, seeking to illuminate the lived (military family) experience of spending time in natural environments. Findings are arranged in three phenomenological domains that both confirm and extend existing nature-health research: Being away, Being in, and Being fascinated.

This study seeks to deepen our understanding of military family life and the ways in which military family systems are impacted by wartime service, deployment, and parental injury. It also aims to direct attention to existing, on-the- ground supports for military families, and place-based programs in particular. By theorizing mechanisms at work in these programs, practices can be further refined and developed to meet the needs of military families.

Cultivating Care: Understanding Intimate Partner Violence Experiences of Undocumented Latinas in Washington State

Miriam Valdovinos
2016

Researchers have broadly studied the etiology, prevalence rates, incidence rates, health consequences, and potential interventions for intimate partner violence (IPV) often referred to as domestic violence (DV). However, research with immigrant communities has remained limited especially with respect to a link between undocumented immigration status and IPV for Latinas in Washington State. IPV dilemmas continue to impact many undocumented women. This qualitative study utilized testimonio 1 to investigate the IPV experiences of undocumented Latina immigrant women. Community-based participatory research techniques were integrated throughout the research process; hence, IPV phenomena were examined using an alternative conceptual model that centered the voices of the women. A Chicana feminist lens and intersectionality frameworks were incorporated to IPV survivorship models (Gondolf & Fisher, 1988) to expand the understanding of undocumented IPV survivors’ lived experiences.

This study empirically captured the perceptions of 20 Latina immigrants living in western Washington State to first examine how their immigration status impacted their IPV experiences. The impact of their ethnicity, gender, class, and nationality was explored not only as discrete phenomena but also from an intersectional perspective. Second, attention was given to their interactions with informal social support networks (e.g., friends, family) and formal help-seeking efforts (e.g., accessing shelters, calling the police) to better illustrate their survivorship process based on Gondolf & Fisher’s (1988) survivor theory. Third, the research highlighted how survivors expressed strength and hope to imagine a future without IPV for themselves and women relatives in future generations. Aligned with social work’s commitment to social justice and advocacy to end injustices, the knowledge generated from this inquiry propositioned new insights to inform IPV practices with marginalized communities such as undocumented immigrant women whose voices were often silenced or not visible in previous studies.

School Mobility for Children in Out-of- Home Placement: Incidence, Educational Outcomes, and Tools for Mitigation

Joseph A. Mienko
2016

Elevated school mobility (SM) for students in foster care (i.e. out-of- home placement (OHP)) is something that has been previously noted in non-peer- reviewed literature. At some level, this trend is precisely what would be expected. In the absence of a policy seeking to actively prevent SM for students in OHP, removing a student from one home and placing him in another would necessarily place him at increased risk of a school change. While such school changes would be expected to contribute to decreased educational achievement for any student, the combination of such changes in conjunction with the potential social and emotional barriers faced by a student in OHP appears to exacerbate the effects on academic performance for students in OHP compared with the effects of SM on students in the general population. Understanding the phenomenon of SM for students in OHP and policies that can be adopted to combat SM is thus of importance to the fields of education and social work. In spite of the importance of SM for students in OHP, the peer-reviewed literature is nearly silent on this topic. This dissertation seeks to provide a comprehensive analysis of differences in school mobility as a function of OHP status and assess specific policy tools for minimizing SM.

“Truth Plus Publicity”: Paul U. Kellogg and Hybrid Practice, 1902-1937

Caroline A. Lanza 
2016 

Intended as a historical starting point for a critically informed assessment of the state of multimedia social work research, advocacy and practice, this dissertation explores the methods and practice models envisioned by Progressive Era social work leader and media producer, journalist, and editor Paul U. Kellogg (1879-1958). Kellogg harnessed the most advanced visual technologies of his time in service of progressive social change. In social surveys such as The Pittsburgh Survey and in his editorship of two widely read periodical publications, The Survey and Survey Graphic, Kellogg brilliantly combined documentary photography, art, maps, data, and textual narratives with the goal of making unavoidably visible the inequities of industrializing America.

Key aspects of Kellogg’s contributions—particularly his vision for a social work practice deploying media production in service of community-based research, education, and political advocacy—have largely been forgotten, particularly in social work. Responding to this historical amnesia, this dissertation aims to document and analyze, in their innovation and limitations, the projects Kellogg undertook during his career. I aim to enrich the field’s historical memory of Kellogg’s variation on the social survey method, which sought to assess conditions of health, environmental safety, and labor in a given geographic area as carried out during the Pittsburgh Survey, 1907-1908.

Representing a moment in which the social work profession was focused on environmental intervention in low-income urban communities, Kellogg’s variation on the social survey method emphasized the significance of multidisciplinary teams and partnerships with local community organizations. In light of a recent re-commitment by social welfare researchers to environmental, place-based practice (Kemp & Palinkas, 2015), it feels especially timely to explicate Kellogg's social survey methodology.

Kellogg’s approach was distinctly journalistic in that it demanded that social workers produce media in order to disseminate findings not only to community stakeholders but also to the larger voting public in order to influence social action and policy-making. As social work research methods employing media approaches ranging from photography and video to participatory mapping rise in popularity, there seems to be little awareness of this prior rich period of media-based practice and research during the Progressive era. Revisiting Kellogg’s methodology counters a presentism in currentscholarship regarding media-based methods.

Several scholars of social research have measured the success of the Pittsburgh Survey by contemporary standards of empirical, quantitative research and found it lacking (Bulmer, 1991, 1996; Turner, 1996; Zimbalist, 1977). I believe I bring a fresh perspective by considering it as a genealogical forebear of community-engaged approaches operating in epistemological frameworks that appreciate the significance of both emic and etic knowledges of place and community.

Paul U. Kellogg’s publications positioned social workers as public pundits in regards to interventions in poverty and social welfare policy (Chambon, 2012), providing them with a public voice that the field has largely lacked since his journals closed down in 1949 and 1952. By exploring Kellogg’s publishing collective, Survey Associates, and their publications, The Survey and Survey Graphic, I hope to raise questions regarding the loss of a media platform upon which social work practitioners and scholars can engage each other and the public regarding a variety of issues and to consider what the legacy of what this period means for current practitioners of public scholarship in social work.

Being, Belonging, and Connecting: Filipino Youths’ Narratives of Place(s) and Wellbeing in Hawai′i

Stella M. Gran-O'Donnell 
2016 

Environmental climate change is an urgent concern for Pacific Islanders with significant impact on place along with bio-psycho-social-cultural-spiritual influences likely to affect communities’ wellbeing. Future generations will bear the burden. Indigenous scholars have begun to address climate-based place changes; however, immigrant Pacific Islander populations have been ignored. Although Filipinos are one of the fastest growing U.S. populations, the second largest immigrant group, and second largest ethnic group in Hawai’i, lack of understanding regarding their physical health and mental wellbeing remains, especially among youth. This dissertation addresses these gaps. In response to Kemp’s (2011) and Jack’s (2010, 2015) impassioned calls for the social work profession to advance place research among vulnerable populations, this qualitative study examined Filipino youths’ (15-23) experiences of place(s) and geographic environment(s) in Hawai′i. Drawing on Indigenous worldviews, this study examined how youth narrate their sense of place, place attachments, ethnic/cultural identity/ies, belonging, connectedness to ancestral(Philippines) and contemporary homelands (Hawai’i), virtual environment(s), and how these places connect to wellbeing.

Proximal minority stressors, chronic health conditions, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults’ psychological well-being: Do sexual orientation and gender identity play differential roles?

Charles P. Hoy-Ellis
2015

An accumulating body of research indicates that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adult populations in the United States experience significant physical and mental health disparities relative to their heterosexual peers (Institute of Medicine, 2011). LGBT older adults are among those specifically targeted in the national initiative to reduce population health disparities and improve the nation’s health (I.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011). High levels of psychological distress among LGBT older adults are among the identified disparities (Fredricksen-Goldsen, Kim, Barkan, Muraco, & Hoy-Ellis, in press; Valanis et al., 2000; Wallace, Coehran, Durazo, & Ford, 2011). The relationship between sexual orientation and psychological distress among LGBT older adults is far from clear (Cochran & Mays, 2007). It is not enough that health disparities be documented; understanding the underlying mechanisms of risk is crucial to the development of effective interventions (Institute of Medicine, 2011). Effective interventions are important tools in reducing population health disparities.

In the general population, psychological distress and psychiatric morbidity have been linked to significantly increased risk of premature onset of age-related chronic health conditions (Russ eta al., 2012; Wolkowitz, Reus, & Bellon, 2011). Conversely, those who experience psychological distress are more likely to report chronic health conditional risk factors such as alcohol misuse and smoking do not fully explain these recursive relationships (Wolkowitz et al., 2011). In addition to significantly higher rates of psychological distress, LGBT older adults also have higher rates of age-related chronic health conditions (Fredriksen-Goldsen, Cook-Daniels, et al., in press; Fredriksen-Goldsen, Kim, et al., in press; Valanis et al., 2000; Wallace et al., 2011). The relationship between age-related chronic health conditions, sexual orientation, gender, gender expression and identity, and psychological distress among LGBT older adults is only just beginning to be explored by researchers (Fredriksen-Goldsen, Cook-Daniels, et al., in press; Fredriksen-Goldsen, Emlet, et al., in press; Sandfort, Bakker, Schellevis, & Vanwesenbeeck, 2006).

Multi-type maltreatment and adult health risk behavior: A latent variable modeling approach

J. Bart Klika
2014

Child abuse and neglect increases the risk for later health risk behaviors including substance abuse and antisocial behavior. Research shows there is considerable overlap in different forms of child abuse, as well as neglect, yet most studies of adverse outcomes only examine single forms of abuse or neglect in predictive models. Various methods have been used to examine the overlap in child abuse and neglect, including Latent Class and Latent Profile Analysis (LCA/LPA). LCA/LPA, a latent variable modeling approach, accounts for heterogeneity in maltreatment experiences by grouping individuals together into distinct classes/profiles who share similar experiences of abuse and neglect. In the proposed dissertation, I plan to utilize LCA/LPA to examine overlap in child maltreatment types and to study predictors and outcomes of latent class membership representing this overlap. Outcomes of particular interest ate health risk behaviors, such as substance abuse and antisocial behavior.

An examination of Family Capital (resources) effects on young adults education attainment and other life outcomes: focus on economic, social and cultural capital

Eric N. Waithaka
2014

The current cohort of young adults in America is transitioning into adulthood in a period characterized by changing social and economic opportunities. Currently, the American society is reported to be experiencing increased levels of social and economic inequalities in virtually every aspect of American life, from wealth, to incomes, to educational attainment, to health care or even job security (Blank, 201 1; Page & Jacobs, 2009). For example, current estimates ofthe wealth gap between the rich and the poor suggests that the top 1% of households holds more wealth than the entire bottom 95% (Blank, 2011). This increasing inequality is troubling and scholars, politicians and the popular media pundits are providing their opinions on the implications of this troubling trend. In addition, various groups (such as labor unions, government employees, community groups, student organizations) in the general • citizenry all over the nation are organizing and demonstrating (as the 99% versus 1%) about a societal system and public policies that appear to favor the rich and disfranchise everyone else.

Gender differences in the link between trauma and smoking in two generations

Allison Kristman-Valente
2014

Although men and women have similar rates of tobacco use, there are differneces in consequences and recent trends. Women who smoke have unique health consequences including cervical cancer, increased susceptibility to tobacco carcinogenesis, early menopause, and problematic fetal development [1]. Alarmingly, women’s rate of smoking has been declining slower than men’s. Reasons why smoking is showing less decline in women are not clear, and this warrants further investigation.

The experience of trauma has been proposed as a reason for gender disparities in substance use in general, and may be specifically relevant for smoking behavior, however much less is known about the role of gender in the link between trauma and smoking [2-4]. Trauma itself is inherently gendered with differences in the prevalence rates, types of trauma and consequences. Men are more likely to report combat-related trauma while women are more likely to experience interpersonal trauma such as childhood maltreatment (CM) and intimate partner violence (IPV) and are also more likely to receive a trauma-related diagnosis including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) [2, 5\. Studies have connected stressful life events and trauma-related disorders with increased smoking behavior, resistance to quitting and failure to quite [6-8]. However, few studies investigate gender differences in trauma exposure as a risk factor for smoking. Understanding the role of trauma, in conjunction with other risk factors for smoking, is particularly important amount woman since (1) it remains unclear which smoking interventions are more effective for women compared to men [9, 10] and (2) women are disproportionately more likely to be primary caregivers of children. Thus, investigating differences in how women and men experience traumatic events, how they use smoking to cope with these experiences and how comorbid trauma and smoking translates to their children’s smoking may explain underlying causes and cross-generational persistence of smoking behavior.

Gender differences and similarities in the link between trauma and smoking behavior will be examined using existing data from two linked longitudinal studies: the Seattle Social Development Project (SSDP), a gender-balanced sample of 412 men and 396 women who have been followed from childhood (age 10)to adulthood (age 33), and the SSDP Intergenerational Project (TIP), a study of the children of SSDP participants who have been followed from childhood through adolescence. SSDP and TIP data are ideal for studying the role of gender in the trauma-smoking behavior link because they include comprehensive longitudinal measures of smoking onset, frequency and patterns of use, DIS/DSM-IV diagnostic assessments for nicotine dependence and multiple measures of trauma including childhood maltreatment, intimate partner violence and PTSD diagnostic criteria. Both longitudinal studies are gender balanced and have multiple assessments (13 in SSDP, 7 in TIP), with high retention across waves. The proposed study is illustrated in Figure 1 and has the following aims.

Development and Impact of Future Self-Concept among African American and Latino Young Men

Dana Prince
2014

How young people conceptualize and cognitively represent their futures— as full of positive potential or constraints and negative possibilities—bears influence on their developmental trajectories. Adolescence is marked as a developmental period when future-thinking (or future orientation) becomes increasingly salient. Future self-concepts, or possible selves, are self-relevant cognitions of enduring goals, aspirations, hopes, fears and threats that function as a framework and guide for individual identity development (Markus & Nurius, 1986). For adolescents, a foreshortened view of the future, or beliefthat “I might nct be here tomorrow,” contributes to increased risky health behaviors (Rothrnan, Bernstein & Strunin, 2010; Borowsky, Ireland & Resnick, 2009; Burton, Obeidallah & Allison, 1996) and lower • educational investment (Abedalu, 2007; Horstmanshof & Zimitat, 2007; Oyserrnan, Bybee & Terry, 2006), underscoring the importance of future orientation as a potential change mechanism for intervention and prevention efforts to promote healthy youth development.

Truncated life expectancy may contribute to hopelessness and a subsequent stunting of a young person’s ability to take initiative, imagine and pursue goals, and persist towards desired future aspirations. Prevalence rates of the belief in premature death reported by adolescents are significantly over-inflated when compared with actual rates of early death (Jamieson & Romer, 2008). A recent study conducted using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health found that I in 7 youth endorsed the belief that they had a 50% chance of living to age 35 (Borowsky, Ireland & Resnick, 2009). Low adolescent perceived survival expectations are more prevalent in males, racial/ethnic minorities, urban-dwelling youth and youth who receive public assistance (Duke, Skay, Pettingell & Borowsky, 2009). Youth who endorse fatalistic beliefs in early to mid-adolescence are less likely to be in school, employed, in the military and less likely to have a high school diploma in young adulthood (Duke, et al, 2011). Evidence suggests the consequences of fatalistic beliefs in adolescence extend into adulthood, predicting lower educational attainment and socioeconomic status (Nguyen, Hussey, Haplern, et al, 2012). The implications of truncated life expectancy for adolescent health and well-being warrant future investigation.

The central focus of this dissertation is to investigate how African American and Latino young men envision their overarching future possibility and the consequences of blunted future perspective on indicators of their well-being. This involves research and service response implications germane to social welfare in terms of supporting healthy development for historically marginalized and underserved youth. The Chicago Youth Development Study (CYDS), a longitudinal prospective cohort study, will serve as the foundation for my dissertation research.

Association of Filial Responsibility, Ethnicity, and Acculturation of Asian Family Caregivers of Older Adults

Christina E. Miyawaki
2014

Due to Confucian, Asian culture is known to respect elders and practice of filial obligation is embedded in their cultures. The proposed study seeks to explore the level of filial (e.g., familial) responsibility, health status and needs of later generation (2’’ and 3rd generations) of Asian American family caregivers of older adults, specifically five ethnic subgroups of Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese caregivers. Data from a biennial population-based telephone survey, the 2009 California Health Interview Survey Adult 18+ are used. There are three studies within the overall design. Study 1 uses one-way analysis of variance to describe the overall characteristics of Asian, Latino and White American caregivers. Study 2 utilizes multivariate regression to examine the generational differences in caregiving-related issues across these three racial and ethnic groups. Based on findings from Study 1 and 2, Study 3 focuses specifically on Asian American caregivers and involves interviews with 2’ and 3td generations of two ofthe subgroups: 40 Chinese- and Japanese-American caregivers in order to explore in-depth generational differences in their level of filial responsibility and their caregiving needs. Given the increasing ethnic diversity of immigrant populations, especially older Asian population, it is imperative to understand how caregivers’ level of filial responsibility, effects of caregiving on their health, and needs vary by ethnicity and generation. Understanding these relationships will help the development of more targeted culturally- and generationally-specific assessment and clinical interventions, and therefore, has implications for social welfare policies and programs.

Incarceration and the life course: Predictors and consequences of varied patterns of juvenile incarceration

Amanda Gilman
2014

Goals and Objective: The purpose of this study is to examine the role of juvenile incarceration in life course development. I will use a longitudinal study spanning from childhood to adulthood, a mixed methods design aimed at increasing both the breadth and depth of understanding, and an innovative measure of incarceration (examining patterns over adolescence, rather than a single indicator of incarceration). This study investigates the early childhood legal and extra-legal factors predicting these patterns, and the long-term criminal, health, and mental health outcomes associated with differential exposure to incarceration during adolescence.

Subjects: Data are drawn from the Seattle Social Development Project (SSDP), a longitudinal study ideally suited to address these research questions, consisting of a gender-balanced, ethnically diverse sample of 80$ participants who were in the 5th grade in 1985 in the Seattle Public Schools. Participants have been followed prospectively into adulthood, and at the last data collection period were approximately 35 years old. Fifty-two percent had participated in the National School Lunch Program. Approximately 34% of the sample experienced a referral to the juvenile delinquency court at some point in adolescence and 14% were incarcerated as a result of a court adjudication.

Research Design and Methods: Secondary data from the SSDP sample will be used to quantitatively analyze predictors and consequences of incarceration for youth who experienced this sanction during adolescence, using the remainder of the high-risk sample who were never incarcerated as a comparison group. Additionally, original qualitative data will be collected from a subset of those who were incarcerated as youth to examine how their experiences of incarceration affected their transition to adulthood.

Analysis: Multinomial logistic regression will be used to predict patterns of incarceration. Propensity score analysis, in conjunction with regression analyses, will be used to examine consequences of patterns of incarceration. Finally, qualitative interview data will be coded for common themes and used to further understand and interpret the results found in the quantitative analyses.

Products and Reports: The results of this work will be pertinent to public policy, juvenile justice practice, and life course criminology, and will result in at least three manuscripts which will be submitted to high-quality academic journals for publication. My broad dissemination plan also involves presenting the findings at both academic and practitioner-oriented conferences, dissemination through The Social Development Research Group (SDRG) newsletter and mailing list, and outreach to the general public through the use of op-eds.

Understanding Protective Factors and theft Effects on Youth Developmental Outcomes: Implications for Community-Based Prevention

Kyung Elizabeth Kim
2014

The social work profession emphasizes the importance of strength-based practice, policy, and research. Despite this current emphasis on a strengths perspective, only in the 1 9$Os did the transition from deficit-focused to strengths-based practice occur (Saleebey, 1996; Weick, Sullivan, & Walter, 1989). Rather than simply diagnosing problems, social workers came to respect the possibility and capability of individuals to overcome problems and change for the better. The fundamental premise of a strengths-perspective is that the individuals will indeed fare better if they “identify, recognize, and use the strengths and resources available in themselves and their environment” (Graybeal, 2001, p. 234). Thus, strength-based practice is inherently grounded in a person-in-environment perspective where “strength” does not stem from individuals alone but also from the surrounding environment — friends, families, schools, neighborhoods, etc. (Kemp, Whittaker, & Tracy, 1997). Also in research, social work scholars became more interested in understanding individual and environmental strengths that foster healthy development in the face of adversity (Benard, 2006). In addition to understanding the likelihood of youth exposed to adversities engaging in problem behaviors, studies focused on how youth with adversities develop into successful adults. Yet, clearly defining and operationalizing “strength” remains a challenging task (Mm, 2011).

In my dissertation, using strength-based framework, I incorporate important elements of prevention science and theory to provide further clarity in defining strengths across youth development — what they are and how they develop. Furthermore, I seek to understand the role of strength in reducing problem behaviors and promoting positive behaviors through a community based prevention strategy. In doing so, I hope to shed light on how and when these strengths can be targets of interventions to achieve social, emotional, and behavioral health across youth development.

Patterns of Adolescent and Young Adult Sexual Behavior: Predictors and Consequences

Kari M. Gloppen
2014

Adolescent and young adult sexual behavior is an important health and welfare issue that has the potential to impact the entire life course. Risky sexual behavior can lead to sexually transmitted infections including HW as well as unintended pregnancy. By understanding the social and cognitive processes that influence sexual behavior choices during adolescence and young adulthood, we will be better able to promote positive sexual health and reduce the potential negative consequences of risky sexual behavior. This sttidy uses data from the Raising Healthy Children study, a longitudinal study of participants from 10 public elementary schools in the Pacific Northwest, to explore the social and cognitive influences on sexual behavior decisions, the patterns of sexual behavior during adolescence and young adulthood, and the predictors and consequences of those sexual behavior patterns. This dissertation uses the 3 paper option preceded with an introduction and summarized by a conclusion that integrates the findings from the three papers. Paper I examines theory-guided social and cognitive predictors of age of sexual initiation using structural equation modeling. Paper 2 identifies patterns of sexual behavior over time among adolescents and young adults and the predictors of those patterns using latent class analysis. Paper 3 explores the consequences of the identified sexual behavior patterns and examines gender differences in both the patterns and consequences. Findings from these papers will increase our understanding of the social and cognitive processes during childhood and adolescence that influence sexual decision making. They will provide us with information on the longitudinal patterns of sexual behavior of young people and their predictors, and how these patterns influence later emotional, health, and social outcomes. These results will provide important information that can be used in developing both sexual risk reduction and sexual health promotion programs.

Front Line Accounts of Implementation of Evidence-Based Interventons in Core Safety Net Settings

Margaret A. Cristofalo
2014

Despite a prolific amount of evidence-based practices (EBPs), patients are not receiving these health and mental health interventions as much as they should. Patients relegated to the core safety net, a subset of the health care safety net with a mission or legal mandate to care for uninsured, underinsured, or other vulnerable populations, face even greater obstacles to receiving evidence-based care. The fundamental research that has shaped current implementation models has been informed by multiple fields, including health and mental health care primarily serving patients with insurance, and fields outside of human services. Therefore, much less is known about the processes and influences unique to implementation of EBPs in settings serving vulnerable patients. Three qualitative studies, using grounded theory methodology, were undertaken to examine the unique processes and contextual influences of implementations of three different EBPs in three different core safety net settings. Semistructured interviews and focus groups of administrators and front line clinicians participating in the implementations of the EBPs were employed to ascertain their knowledge and experiences. Findings in all three studies revealed interacting beneficial and challenging factors woven together in ways that the fabric of their combinations supported successful implementations, or possessed vulnerabilities that impeded them. Key findings across all studies were the importance of the following influences: 1- intervention fit with patient characteristics and beliefs, community needs, and organization mission, 2- intervention adaptability, quality, and observability, 3- clinician beliefs and behaviors 4- clinical staffing, training, and education, 5- structural and cultural organizational assets, and 6- ongoing network and system building. Results from these studies can provide direction for developing implementation frameworks unique to core safety net settings.

Religious Beliefs and Practices and Mental Health Care: Examining the Use of Mental Health Services among Immigrants

Amelia Seraphia Derr
2014

Members of immigrant communities are at greater risk for mental health disorders, yet are less likely than other groups to access critical health and mental health services (Alegria et a!., 2007; DHHS, 2001). One reason for disparities in service utilization may relate to the religious beliefs and practices of immigrants and how these are associated with help-seeking behavior. Despite the increasing awareness of the centrality of religion in immigrant identity (Ebaugh & Chafetz, 2000), and the association of religious beliefs and practices with immigrant adjustment and immigrant mental health care (Cadge & Ecklund, 2007), religious beliefs and practices have rarely been studied as a factor in accessing mental health services for immigrants. To address this shortcoming, this study is designed to examine the role of religion in the help-seeking process in order to further understand immigrant mental health service utilization. To capture the heterogeneity of immigrant experiences with mental health service use, I propose to use Latent Class Analysis with data from the NIMH Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys (CPES) to determine if subgroups of service users exist based on their religious beliefs and practices. Subsequently, predictors of subgroup membership and their relationship to mental health service use will be tested through regression analyses. Findings will inform interventions for adaptation by health and mental health practitioners in order to improve immigrant wellbeing.

Effects of Childhood Adversities on Positive Adult Functioning across Racial Groups, and Examination of School Bonding as a Moderator

Ebasa B. Sarka
2013

Research has established that adverse experiences during childhood increase the risk of complex sets of long term detrimental effects in adulthood, including poor physical and mental health, as well as functions in multiple social domains. There is a need for a broader (discipline wise), yet focused and unified definition of childhood adversity, in order to adequately appreciate its prevalence and long term consequences. There is also a need to consider a growing evidence in studies of resilience that despite harsh childhood experiences, some achieve a healthy and successful life as adults. This study examined three questions with focus on the long term impacts of childhood adversity: (1) Does childhood adversity as measured by abuse and neglect, poor bonding with parents, poor attachment to neighborhood, family conflict, and poverty impact resilient adult functioning at age 27?; (2) Does the effect identified in question 1 vary across races? In other words, does childhood adversity predict positive adult outcomes differently across three racial groups?; and, (3) Do the experience of high/low school bonding in high school moderate the relationship of childhood adversity on resilient adult functioning? The data in use comes from the Seattle Social Development Project (SSDP), a longitudinal study in which 808 children from 18 schools in an urban area in the Pacific Northwest were followed into their adulthood, and regularly interviewed over the last 25 years. This study focuses on the experiences of African Americans (n=192), Asian Americans (n=171), and European Americans (n=374).

The structural equation modeling (SEM), and Multiple Groups SEM (MGSEM) technique was used to examine questions in this dissertation. Results of the full sample indicate that adverse childhood experience has a negative impact on resilient adult functioning at age 27. In particular, child maltreatment, poor bonding with parents, and eligibility for free lunch (a proxy for poverty) showed significantly negative impacts. Identifying as Asian American was also found to positively predict positive adult functioning. Tests of invariance in the regression paths of childhood adversity on positive adult functioning suggests an overall difference in how childhood adversity predicts adult functioning across racial groups. The differences are tied to how two predictors, specifically child abuse and neglect and poor bonding to parents more strongly predict adult functioning for European Americans. Poor bonding with parents also strongly predicted negative adult functioning for the Asian American group. However, this model did not predict any significant relationships between childhood adversity and positive adult functioning for the African American group.

Examining the moderating effect of high versus low levels of school bonding indicates a non-invariant measurement, which indicates that the measurements are not similar across high and low groups. Results of this analysis suggests that there is not much evidence that bonding to school moderates the relationship between childhood adversities and positive adult functioning as measured in this study.

Experiences of Belonging and Wellbeing

Kimberly Dree Hudson
2012

Community borderlands are spaces that are shifting, polyvocal, and multidimensional; they embody, transform, and resist systems and cultures of oppression, impacting the material realities and lived lives of their occupants and visitors alike. In this dissertation, I applied a borderlands framework to learn about lived experiences in relationship to three central concepts within social work: community, belonging, and wellbeing. This project integrates elements of transnational feminism, postcolonial studies, and borderland epistemology within a queer framework, employing theoretical pluralism to interpret stories of lived lives, material realities, and perceived wellbeing. Using critical narrative and feminist methodologies, I interviewed 12 adults in the Seattle area who identified in flexible, critical, or ambiguous ways across race, gender, and sexuality; most study participants self-identified as mixed and queer. I explored articulations and intimations of liminality and belonging used by participants to make meaning of being in community and being well. Emerging from this analysis is a conceptual framework to understand belongingness in community borderlands and corresponding, contradictory experiences that enhance and detract from participants’ perceived wellbeing. Wellbeing itself, from a borderland perspective, is understood through participant positions on reclaiming “healthy bodies,” priority-setting within their communities, and critical self-reflection regarding the intentional creation of spaces and the unintentional replication of oppressive practices and discourses. This dissertation challenges the monolithic assumption that having liminal status is a source of chronic stress and social disconnection that deteriorates wellbeing. Instead, I demonstrate that borderland experiences of community may provide a sense of connectedness that actually enhances perceived and actual wellbeing through increased resources, sense of safety, and belonging. However, I also highlight the complexity, ambiguity, and discontinuities of these relationships. This study suggests the application of a borderlands framework in social work scholarship, pedagogy, and practice, namely by informing existing and potential collaborative community efforts to address disparities and promote wellbeing.

Impact on Pathways to Adulthood and Adult Criminal Outcomes

JoAnn S. Lee
2012

In today’s social and economic context in the U.S., many individuals experience an extended transition to adulthood period during which they are able to delay adopting adult social roles and responsibilities, such as initiating careers, making long-term commitments to a romantic partner, and starting a family. However, many individuals do not have the resources or supports that would enable them to delay adopting one or more of those roles, experiencing an accelerated transition to adulthood.  An accelerated transition can pose more challenges in the form of economic or housing hardships and may hinder the ability of individuals to accumulate additional and necessary human capital. This dissertation applies an institutional lens to the study of the transition to adulthood in order to help illuminate the role of social structures in shaping individual lives during childhood, adolescence, and the transition to adulthood, and consists of three analyses. Chapter 2 examines the experiences of a general sample of diverse, urban youth, and chapters 3 and 4 focus on foster youth aging out of care. Chapter 2 considers whether the normative socializing institutions of family and school play a role in shaping the transition to adulthood, whether extended or accelerated, and whether the individual’s bond to these institutions mediates the relationship.  Although the findings indicate that the prosocial socialization process operating in the family and school does not play a role in explaining differences in who experiences an extended or accelerated adulthood, other characteristics of the family play an important role, such as parent school expectations, a family disruption, and immigrant status. Chapter 3 examines the impact of legal system involvement on foster youth in preparation for the transition to adulthood on criminal activities during the transition to adulthood. The findings indicate that legal system involvement is associated with higher levels of criminal activities at age 21. In addition, legal system involvement initiates a process of social exclusion where youth are less likely to graduate from high school by age 19, and this has an impact on their employment status at age 21. Chapter 4 investigates the impact on arrests of extending foster care support during the transition to adulthood; the findings indicate that extended support in the first year after turning 18 reduces the risk of arrest, but this effect declines after the first year. Together, this dissertation research finds that during childhood and adolescence, as well as during the transition to adulthood, institutions play an important role in shaping the transition to adulthood.

Diasporic Intersectionalities: Exploring South Asian Women's Narratives of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender through a Community-based Performance Project

Gita Rani Mehrotra
2012

Although South Asians constitute one of the largest, fastest growing Asian groups in the country, there is a paucity of U.S.-based social work literature about this community.  Further, professional social work organizations and feminist social work scholars have called for the field to build paradigms and practices that address the intersections of oppressions facing individuals and communities, such as race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class, in a global context. Drawing from intersectionality theorizing, transnational feminisms, diaspora studies, and theories of narrative identity, this study explores how a local group of South Asian women construct their experiences of race/ethnicity, gender, class, and diaspora.  Thirty-one in-depth interviews were conducted with participants of a culturally-specific, community-based performance project,Yoni Ki Baat (Talk of the Vagina).  Thematic analyses, with attention to context and discourse, elucidated important similarities and differences across women’s narratives.

While all participants communicated a high sense of agency in defining themselves in terms of race/ethnicity, first and second generation women’s narratives diverged significantly in the following domains: use of racialized vs. ethnic constructs, nationality, significant life events impacting racial/ethnic identification, and ways women perceive race/ethnicity assigned to them by others. In contrast, despite differences in age, generation, religion, and other life experiences, all participants narrated the centrality of marriage as a “cultural script” that produces ideal, middle-class, South Asian womanhood. Women’s narratives illustrate some everyday ways this cultural script is communicated, enforced, and negotiated within families and communities. 

Overall, this study demonstrates the utility of narratives and cultural scripts for understanding meaning and self-making processes within diverse communities. Research findings herein also challenge traditional social work frameworks that often rely on essentialized representations of social groups, single-oppression analyses of inequality and identity, and/or U.S.-centric approaches to understanding oppression and experience.  Analyses of South Asian women’s narratives point to the need to expand intersectionality theorizing and social work education to incorporate: context; temporality, age, and lifecourse; transnational experiences; concepts of diaspora; and relationships between experiences of privilege and marginalization.  Fostering deeper understandings of intersecting oppressions and processes impacting transnational populations in these ways can contribute to more liberatory social work scholarship and practice.

Overrepresented, Underserved: The Experiences of LGBTQ Youth in Girls Detention Facilities in New York State

Sarah E. Mountz
2012

Among LGBTQ youth, queer women, transgender and gender non-conforming youth have been particularly marginalized in both social science research, social service settings, and in the community, where they are especially vulnerable to violence and significantly more likely to become involved with law enforcement. This is particularly the case for queer young women, transgender and gender non-conforming youth of color and youth or who are low-income. For my dissertation research, I have conducted an oral ethnography with young adults, ages 18-25, who have been incarcerated in girls detention facilities in the Juvenile Justice system in New York State. The study design used the principles of Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) and was facilitated by a Community Advisory Board composed of practitioners, legal advocates, researchers, activists, and young people. Life History Interviewing was used to gain insight into participants’ experiences in relation to the research questions asked. It was determined to be the most appropriate methodological tool for its capacity to dialogically elicit a narrated panorama of young people’s lives that elucidated pathways prior to and following their involvement with the Juvenile Justice system in order to identify life choices, systemic barriers, experiences of violence and harassment in detention and elsewhere, and childhood and family history and events. Moreover, Life History Interviews allowed participants to delve richly into questions of how they negotiate their sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and race in relation to various contexts, relationships, and systems, over time. Interviews were analyzed using Carol Gilligan’s Listening Guide. Findings from the study revealed themes related to identity processes, the role of family acceptance and rejection in systems involvement, pipelines and revolving doors between and amidst child welfare, educational, and juvenile justice systems, the prevalence of interpersonal and state sanctioned violence in participants lives, and participants’ tremendous capacity for resiliency and creative modes of collective and community based healing. Findings suggest profound importance of hearing LGBTQ young adults’ own stories about their lives and experiences in the juvenile justice system and beyond, the need to decriminalize young people’s survival strategies, and to challenge the use of detention facilities, and the rampant abuse of power by law enforcement towards LGBTQ young people within and outside them. This dissertation research draws upon my direct practice experience with LGBTQ youth in the child welfare system and as a queer activist.

Sexual Assault Response Teams: Exploring the Discursive Negotiation of Power, Conflict, and Legitimacy in Coordinated Service Delivery Models

Carrie A. Moylan
2012

To improve services for sexual assault victims, many communities have adopted coordinated models of service delivery, often called Sexual Assault Response Teams (SARTs).  Uniting law enforcement officers, rape crisis advocates, and health care professionals, SARTs frequently aim to create a seamless and compassionate experience for victims who engage with formal helping services.  There is some indication that the process of implementing SART is contentious.  Furthermore, replicating in practice the ideals of SART coordination has proved elusive for some communities.  This research explores the challenges of SART implementation, focusing on why there is sometimes a disconnection between the philosophy of integrated services and the realities of front-line service delivery.  Using a qualitative within-case and cross-case method, interviews with 24 SART professionals were analyzed, resulting in three studies of SART functioning.  The first study explored the discursive construction of conflict in SARTs.  Analysis identified how SART professionals discursively positioned one another in terms of authority, expertise and credibility in order to protect their own professional autonomy and to stake a claim on setting the agenda for the team’s work together.  The second study explored strategies that interviewees used to manage conflict in teams.  Four categories were identified including preventative, responsive, unobtrusive, and resignation strategies. All professions were engaged in processes of managing conflict, but advocates talked much more about strategies and were almost exclusively responsible for all discussions of unobtrusive and resignation approaches to managing conflict.  The final study draws on institutional theory to explore how external forces shaped the adoption and operation of SARTs.  The analysis revealed two simultaneous processes.  The first process illustrated how SART was discursively legitimized, starting with the framing of sexual assault service delivery as a moral imperative for communities and continuing with the identification of coordination as a means of meeting the moral imperative.  Concurrently, a process of decoupling is indicated by the continuing resistance both to the moral imperative and the logic of coordination, as well as by the inconsistent and incomplete implementation of SART.   Implications for SART practice and future research are also discussed.

Community Coalitions: Resolving the Gap between Research & Practice for the Prevention of Youth Mental, Emotional, & Behavioral Problems

Valerie B. Shapiro
2012

A part of every dissertation or thesis is the executive summary. This summary or abstract is the first part of your dissertation that will be read. Only after reading the abstract is the dissertation further reviewed. Therefore, it is important that the abstract is well written and that you draw out the correct information here.

The dissertation abstract has three functions

1. Explanation of the title of your dissertation

The first function of the abstract is to further explain the title of your dissertation. This allows readers of your dissertation to better determine if your dissertation is interesting enough for them to read. A well-written abstract can encourage more people to consider your dissertation important and, thus, to intend to read it.

2. Short version of your dissertation

Secondly, the abstract serves as a short version for readers who don’t have the time to read the complete dissertation. Often, managers and scientists read only the abstract and not the entire piece.

3. Overview of your dissertation

Third, the abstract’s function is to serve as an overview of what readers can expect. This makes it easier for the reader to understand and to place in context the material in the dissertation. A well-written abstract ensures that difficult material in your dissertation is better understood.

Length, place and time of the abstract

A rough rule of thumb for the length of the abstract is no more than five percent of the entire dissertation, with a maximum of one page. The reason behind this rule is that it must always be possible to quickly review the abstract.

Place the abstract after the preface and before the table of contents. Write the abstract in the present tense or present perfect tense.

Examples abstract in present tense or present perfect tense

Example of present tenseThe study shows that the majority of the respondents prefer to watch a film at the movie theater rather than at home on TV.

Example of present perfect tenseThe study has shown that the majority of the respondents prefer to watch a film at the movie theater rather than at home on TV.

What should be in the abstract?

For each paragraph, answer the following questions:

  • What is the problem? Indicate the objective, problem statement and research questions of your dissertation. If you have used hypotheses in your dissertation, indicate them here.
  • What has been done? Briefly explain the method and approach of your research.
  • What has been discovered? Provide a summary of the most important results and your conclusion.
  • What do your findings mean? Summarize the key points from the discussion and present your recommendations.

Use of acronyms

Since your reader should be able to read and understand your abstract without going through the rest of your dissertation, you have to introduce acronyms when you use them.

Source referencing

Just like with the rest of your dissertation you have to include references when you use a source. However, in an abstract you often don’t use any references because you mainly write about your own findings and research.

Example abstract

We made an example of an abstract in which we used all of the points of the checklist..

Show example

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