Advances in Social Work 2018-01-22T11:42:31-05:00 Margaret E. Adamek Open Journal Systems <p><em>Advances in Social Work</em> is a peer-reviewed journal committed to enhancing the linkage among social work practice, research, and education. Accordingly, the journal addresses current issues, challenges, and responses facing social work practice and education. The journal invites discussion and development of innovations in social work practice and their implications for social work research and education. <em>Advances in Social Work</em> seeks to publish empirical, conceptual, and theoretical articles that make substantial contributions to the field in all areas of social work including clinical practice, community organization, social administration, social policy, planning, and program evaluation.</p> The March of Scientific Knowledge in Social Work 2018-01-08T06:51:09-05:00 Margaret E. Adamek <p>In the Fall 2017 issue of <strong><em>Advances in Social Work </em></strong>we are pleased to present 15 manuscripts--12 empirical, three conceptual--written by authors hailing from 15 states, the District of Columbia, and four countries.  Seven papers address various aspects of social work education, including three on research issues, two on child welfare curriculum, one on macro social work, and one on combined public health/social work programs.  The remaining papers include three conceptual offerings and five empirical studies conducted in the field.  </p> 2017-12-17T19:00:00-05:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2017 Reviewer Acknowledgements 2018-01-22T11:42:31-05:00 Margaret E. Adamek Valerie Decker <p>2017 Reviewer Acknowledgements</p> 2018-01-22T11:42:28-05:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Understanding Sampling and Recruitment in Social Work Dissertation Research 2018-01-08T06:51:36-05:00 Rebecca G. Mirick Ashley Davis Stephanie P. Wladkowski <p>The field of social work has increasingly focused on improving the quantity and rigor of its research. For many social work doctoral students, their first independent research experience begins with their dissertation, and yet, little is known about the factors that facilitate students’ success during this process. Sample recruitment is one step where significant and unexpected challenges can occur. As social justice is the central value of the profession, social work doctoral students may focus on research with vulnerable or marginalized populations; however, little research has been done that focuses on social work dissertations, samples used, and the process of recruitment. In this study, 215 doctoral-level social work graduates who completed their degree within the past ten years were surveyed about their dissertation research, with a focus on the sampling strategy and recruitment processes. Findings show that students have a wide diversity of experiences with the dissertation process. While 64.6% anticipant challenges around recruitment and sampling, only 54.9% encounter challenges. Less than half (44.7%) of study participants received guidance during this process and most (80.5%) felt the dissertation experience impacted subsequent research, both positively (40.5%) and negatively (9.8%). Based on these findings, doctoral programs are encouraged to increase supports available to dissertating students, particularly those recruiting study participants from vulnerable and marginalized populations. These supports include community connections, skills for obtaining gatekeeper buy-in, and both relational support and advice from dissertation committees and other colleagues. </p> 2017-12-17T19:00:00-05:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Teaching Statistics to MSW Students: Comparing Credit and Non-Credit Options 2018-01-08T06:51:58-05:00 Ashley Davis Rebecca G. Mirick <p>In professional disciplines like social work, students are expected to be able to understand and apply basic statistical concepts. Graduate programs differ in how they expect students to develop this ability; some require a full-credit statistics course as a prerequisite to admission, and others incorporate statistics into social work research courses. The for-credit requirement has a high financial and time cost for students. This exploratory study examined the feasibility of replacing this requirement with a brief, non-credit statistics course. MSW students (n=168) who took both types of courses were surveyed. No association was found between the type of course and students’ anxiety, confidence, and the perceived relevance of statistics. Students identified factors that impeded or facilitated their learning. The inclusion of the statistics course within the social work program and the use of relevant social work literature was perceived as supporting students’ learning of statistics. The course length was no more of a concern for the non-credit statistics students than for the for-credit students. These findings support the use of a brief, non-credit statistics course as a less costly and time-consuming approach, but raises concerns about consistently high levels of anxiety, and low levels of confidence and statistics ability of MSW students. </p> 2017-12-17T19:00:00-05:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Students’ Perceptions of Service-Learning in an Advanced Research Course 2018-01-08T06:52:12-05:00 Stacy M. Deck Laneshia Conner Shannon Cambron Social work students are often anxious, apathetic, or resistant to learning research knowledge and skills. They may view research courses as irrelevant and disconnected from social work practice. Studies suggest that service-learning improves learning outcomes in social work research courses, but less is known about the processes through which these outcomes are achieved. This study explored the perceptions of 70 Masters-level social work students enrolled in an advanced research course that included a pro bono program evaluation of a shelter serving homeless men. Content analysis of students’ narratives revealed three main themes. First, students perceived that they had changed their thinking about homelessness in positive ways. Second, students made connections between their research experience and the social work curriculum. Finally, an unanticipated theme of curriculum integration emerged. Critical reflection about a meaningful experience—an integral aspect of service-learning—supported students in developing metacognitive insight. This helped students to develop and apply social work research skills. The service-learning project supported students’ mastery of other social work competencies and improved their integrated practice abilities. Because this approach is effective in helping students to embrace research and integrate it with social work practice, application and evaluation of service-learning are recommended for social work education. 2017-12-17T19:00:00-05:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## The Impact of a Title IV-E Program on Perceived Practice Skills for Child Welfare Students: A Review of Five MSW Cohorts 2018-01-08T06:52:23-05:00 Elizabeth Jane Greeno Lisa Fedina Berenice Rushovich Caroline Burry Debra Linsenmeyer Christopher Wirt Title IV-E Education for Public Child Welfare training programs are designed to build knowledge and practice skills among students and current child welfare workers in efforts to build a competent and highly trained workforce. A mixed methods study was conducted to: 1) measure changes in MSW Title IV-E students' perceived confidence to perform skills across 13 practice content areas for public child welfare practice, and 2) to explore students’ perceptions of their competency for child welfare practice. This study also focused on the impact of prior child welfare experiences on perceived child welfare knowledge and skills among Title IV-E students. A total of 224 Title IV-E MSW students over the course of five academic cohorts participated in this study. Surveys were conducted at three time points: pretest, posttest, and retrospective pretest. Twenty focus groups were conducted during the study time period. Findings indicate gains across all practice content areas with the largest gains in areas of working with the courts and conducting assessments. Qualitative findings assessing student's perception of competency to practice in child welfare include themes of students’ preparation to practice post-graduation and differences between the students’ experiences in the IV-E program and what they witness in the field. Specific practice area recommendations include addressing workers’ age and prior experience in Title IV-E seminars and trainings as well the importance of Title IV-E field instructors in helping to prepare students for child welfare practice. 2017-12-17T19:00:00-05:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Competency Curriculum Intervention: Student Task Self-Efficacy and Attitudes in Child Welfare 2018-01-08T06:52:34-05:00 Barbara Pierce Taekyung Park <p align="left">Three cohorts of BSW and MSW Title IV-E and NCWWI student scholars (n= 125) were educated using a university-agency developed competency-based curriculum and field placement. In order to determine if this curriculum and field placement would improve perceived competence and attitudes toward child welfare work, pre and post-field placement surveys were used. Statistically significant change was demonstrated for most competencies. Attitudes toward child welfare work demonstrated no change from the favorable attitudes students had before entering their field placements. There were no statistically significant differences between BSW and MSW students. Students who had higher perceived competence endorsed motivation and intent to remain in child welfare. Based on the findings, we recommend key strategies to keep up the morale of BSW and MSW graduates in child welfare agencies: transition-to-work initiatives by schools, mentoring programs by agencies, manageable caseloads, and the application of skills and knowledge learned. </p> 2017-12-17T19:00:00-05:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Dual Master of Social Work / Master of Public Health Degrees: Perceptions of Graduates and Field Instructors 2018-01-08T06:52:48-05:00 Trina C. Salm Ward Patricia M. Reeves Despite growing interest in Master of Social Work/Master of Public Health (MSW/MPH) programs, limited research literature is available on MSW/MPH graduates and none has examined field instructors’ perceptions of MSW/MPH students. This study describes the perceptions and experiences of MSW/MPH alumni and field instructors from a recently implemented MSW/MPH program at the University of Georgia. Electronic surveys were administered to 32 alumni and 34 field instructors; response rates were 71.9% (n=23) and 70.6% (n=24), respectively. Alumni reported satisfaction with the dual degree and utilization of both social work and public health skills in the workplace. Field instructors underscored the complementary skill sets of dually-trained students and noted the added value of MSW/MPH professionals in their agencies. Dually-trained MSW/MPH practitioners are uniquely prepared to address the need for transdisciplinary and interprofessional collaborations to address long-standing social and health issues. 2017-12-17T19:00:00-05:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Perceptions of Macro Social Work Education: An Exploratory Study of Educators and Practitioners 2018-01-08T06:53:21-05:00 Katharine Hill Christina L. Erickson Linda Plitt Donaldson Sondra J. Fogel Sarah M. Ferguson <p>Social work graduate education is responsive to and reflective of larger environmental forces, including economic and job market trends, regulations by diverse organizations, and student interests. A national online survey of macro social work educators (n=208) and macro social work practitioners (n=383) explored their perceptions of the intersections between these forces and graduate social work education. Findings indicate that while there remains a consistent level of support for and inclusion of macro social work within MSW programs from both groups, macro practitioners identified a concurrent experience of negative perceptions, attitudes, and experiences toward macro social work education while in their graduate programs. We suggest that social work programs seek out opportunities to integrate macro practice content and field experiences into their curriculum, so that students can be better equipped to respond to the complex systemic challenges they will encounter while in professional practice. </p> 2017-12-17T19:00:00-05:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Financial Capability and Asset Building: A Transformational Practice Framework 2018-01-08T06:37:13-05:00 Edward Scanlon Cynthia K. Sanders <p>The promotion of financial capability and asset building (FCAB) is an important and fitting professional activity for social work, which has long been concerned with the economic well-being of individuals and families. Financial capability is attainable only if we assist clients by helping them to build new skills while simultaneously helping them to connect to economic opportunity structures such as savings, job training, or credit repair programs. We propose a person-environment-centered process model for use in FCAB endeavors, using case vignettes to illustrate the application of the process. By drawing upon several theoretical perspectives such as humanistic social work, cognitive behavioral theory, motivational interviewing, solution-focused brief therapy, and diffusion of innovations theory, practitioners may increase clients’ likelihood of successfully connecting to opportunity structures. Attention to behavioral, cognitive, emotional, and policy feedback processes may help to provide the “missing link” between individual financial behavior and the institutional opportunities offered by FCAB programs. </p> 2017-12-17T19:00:00-05:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Epistemic Injustice: Towards Uncovering Knowledge of Bisexual Realities in Social Work Research 2018-01-08T06:38:46-05:00 Gio Iacono Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) individuals experience health risks, with bisexuals experiencing higher levels of health risk compared to heterosexuals, gays and lesbians. These disparities are often attributed to stressors related to minority status. While similarities among LGBTQ experiences exist, it is plausible that bisexuals experience unique forms of marginalization, which may help explain the documented health disparities. Bostwick and Hequembourg highlight unique forms of marginalization that bisexuals experience vis-a`-vis microagressions, falling within the realm of the epistemic. Fricker’s work on epistemic injustice emphasizes marginalization particularly as it is related to knowledge and experience. Drawing on this scholarship, this paper provides a review of existing literature on the bisexual experience, and a discussion to provide a critical lens on bisexual marginalization in society and the minimal attention received in social work research. Approaches to increase bisexual visibility and attention in social work research will be discussed. Some approaches include: developing a queer theoretical perspective in practice and research to allow for greater problematization of social categories; and making a concerted effort to promote research that is inclusive of minority populations within the sexual and gender minority population group. This might include groups with intersecting points of marginalization, such as racialized and gender diverse individuals. 2017-12-17T19:00:00-05:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## The Dilemma of Spare Embryos After IVF Success: Social Workers’ Role in Helping Clients Consider Disposition Options 2018-01-08T06:11:19-05:00 Stephanie Boys Julie Walsh <p style="margin: 1em 0px; line-height: 200%;">Social work services for persons undergoing the in vitro fertilization process<br />(IVF) has greatly lagged behind the medical technology opportunities provided to these clients. Advocacy for social work services for persons undergoing IVF was advanced upon the procedure’s initial development, but there has been a stark lack of recent scholarship regarding social work in fertility health services. The existing literature suggests several talking points regarding the IVF process to be discussed with persons considering IVF, especially the medical and psychological risks of failure. This article discusses a newer and necessary topic to cover in pre-IVF counseling: the possibility of too much success in the form of excess embryos. Although the topic must be covered with sensitivity to the relatively low rate of IVF success, persons receiving care through assisted reproductive<br />technology (ART) need to be prepared for the difficult moral questions raised when IVF procedures result in even more embryos than intended. Social workers need to be prepared to explore the pros and cons of each disposition option with IVF clients.</p> 2017-12-17T19:00:00-05:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Participants’ Perspectives of a Worksite Wellness Program Using an Outcome-Based Contingency Approach 2018-01-08T06:54:15-05:00 David Gerard Bruno James R. Brown Evan D. Holloway <p>Worksite wellness programs in the U.S. are increasingly common. Social workers in healthcare and administration should familiarize themselves with the various wellness programs and the impact they have on workers and organizations. This study examined a worksite wellness outcome-based contingency approach (WWOCA). This approach bases individual employee health insurance discounts on each participant achieving biometric goals. A mixed-method explanatory approach was used. Quantitative health measures of participants (n = 397) and six focus group discussions (n = 45) were conducted using a convenience sample. Results indicate that over half of the participants met their work-based health goals (i.e., body measurements at the average or excellent rankings) with increases from 56% in year one to 87% in year two and 90% by year three. However, focus group participants expressed a high sense of failure in relation to health goal attainment, frustration with loss of the financial incentive, and stress and anxiety linked to negative feedback about their body measurements. These results suggest that many participants’ self-worth was negatively impacted when participants had difficulty conforming to worksite wellness standards. Social workers in healthcare and administration will need to advocate for worksite wellness programs that promote human dignity and avoid discriminating based on employee health status. </p> 2017-12-17T19:00:00-05:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Assessing Receptivity to Empirically Supported Treatments in Rape Crisis Centers 2018-01-08T06:54:31-05:00 Tonya Elaine Edmond Rachel Voth Schrag Survivors of sexual violence are at risk for PTSD, depression, and anxiety. There are several empirically supported treatments (EST) that are effective for addressing these trauma symptoms; however, uptake of these ESTs among Rape Crisis Center (RCC) counselors is low. This research project sought to determine counselors’ attitudes toward evidence-based practices (EBPs); their perceptions of the intervention characteristics of three specific ESTs: Prolonged Exposure (PE), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy; and differences in attitudes and perceptions based on agency setting (urban/rural) and counselor education. The Consolidated Framework for Advancing Implementation Science (CFIR) was used to construct a web-based survey to send to all RCCs in Texas (n=83) resulting in an overall agency response rate of 72% (n=60) and responses from 76 counselors. Counselors’ attitudes towards EBP and perspectives on specific ESTs suggest that dissemination and implementation efforts are needed within the RCC service sector to advance the uptake of CPT, EMDR and PE. 2017-12-17T19:00:00-05:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Destigmatizing Experiences of Combat Veterans Engaged in Civilian Disaster Relief: Implications for Community Transition 2018-01-08T06:41:25-05:00 Derrick Kranke June Gin Rebecca Saia Susan Schmitz Eugenia L. Weiss Aram Dobalian <p>Combat veterans possess some attributes of differentness that may cause others in society to create stigmatized perceptions of them and devalue their skills. Direct interaction/contact allows targeted individuals—in this case, combat veterans—to demonstrate their value by dispelling negative attitudes or beliefs others may have of them. A previous study reported that the disaster relief setting facilitates contact among combat veterans and non-military civilians. This study applied Modified Labeling Theory (MLT) to assess if the stigma and labeling experience among combat veterans volunteering in disaster settings provides a nuanced understanding. Semi-structured interviews were used to assess perceptions of male Team Rubicon (TR) members (n=9) who provide disaster relief in civilian settings. All participants served in combat. Data were thematically analyzed. Findings suggest 1) combat veterans were not stigmatized by their label; and 2) personal contact with civilians impacted by disaster helped TR members a) to demonstrate their value, and b) feel more optimistic about connecting with civilians in other contexts. Our findings suggest that veterans working with peer combat veterans and civilians in disaster settings provided a destigmatizing condition whereby combat veterans felt less stigmatized by others and more interpersonally connected with civilians. It is recommended that since the majority of services for veterans come from civilian community providers, it is imperative that providers be sensitive to military culture and experiences of those serving in combat to avoid further stigmatization of veterans.  </p> 2017-12-17T19:00:00-05:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## New Em@ncipatory Landscapes? Young People With Intellectual Disabilities, Internet Use, and Identification Processes 2018-01-08T06:46:43-05:00 Martin Molin Emma Sorbring Lotta Löfgren-Mårtenson <p>Although research on young people’s identification processes on the Internet is a growing field, few studies illustrate conditions for young people with intellectual disabilities (ID). Previous studies have shown that young people with ID are worried about being marginalized, and that many in fact are lonelier than other young people. Internet and social networking sites might be of vital importance as a space for exploring alternative and less stigmatized identities. This article reports findings from individual interviews with 27 young people with ID in Sweden. The transcribed interviews were analyzed using a thematic content analysis. A prominent finding concerned the informants being well aware of both risks and opportunities using Internet and Social Networking Sites. Consequently, the more they interacted with non-disabled peers, the more they experienced negative consequences of Internet use. These circumstances rather lead to downsizing than upsizing Internet use, and less participation on Social Networking Sites. The experiences of the informants are discussed in a conceptual framework of social identity, participation, and emancipation. We recommend that social work practitioners reflect upon the ways that support can be arranged in order to empower young people with ID to participate on the Internet.</p> 2017-12-17T19:00:00-05:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## “We Pride Ourselves on Being Strong…and Able to Bear a lot”: Examining the Socio-Cultural and Historical Context of Black Americans’ Experiences with Depression and Help-Seeking 2018-01-08T06:43:28-05:00 Rosalyn Denise Campbell <p>Research consistently shows that Black Americans’ symptoms of depression are more severe and persistent than their white counterparts yet they seek out and/or use services at a far lower rate. While trying to understand this disparity, it is important that researchers explore the socio-cultural and historical context around Black Americans’ experiences with depression and help-seeking. This study involved semi-structured in-depth interviews with 17 Black American men and women, aged 21-57, who experienced depression. A thematic analysis revealed that Black Americans’ experiences are often rooted in a socio-cultural and historical context where Black people are seen as a strong people, able to deal with anything, and do not get depressed. These findings suggest that Black Americans may go through a process of reconciling being depressed with certain aspects of their cultural identity as they strive to better understand themselves, their illness, and options to help alleviate their symptoms. Researchers and practitioners alike should pay more attention to this complex process as they attempt to understand the illness experiences and help-seeking behaviors of Black Americans.</p> 2017-12-17T19:00:00-05:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement##