Research on Social Work Practice

Published by SAGE Publications
Online ISSN: 1049-7315
Publications
Article
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this research was to evaluate the effectiveness of a comprehensive, strengths-based model of case management for clients in drug abuse treatment. METHOD: 503 volunteers from residential or intensive outpatient treatment were randomly assigned to one of three conditions of Iowa Case Management (ICM) plus treatment as usual (TAU), or to a fourth condition of TAU only. All were assessed at intake and followed at 3, 6, and 12 months. RESULTS: Clients in all four conditions significantly decreased substance use by 3 months after intake and maintained most gains over time. However, the addition of ICM to TAU did not improve substance use outcomes. CONCLUSION: Overall, the addition of case management did not significantly improve drug treatment as hypothesized by both researchers and clinicians. Some results were mixed, possibly due to the heterogeneous sample, wide range of case management activities, or difficulty retaining participants over time.
 
Article
This study tests the applicability among adolescents in Mexico of the keepin' it REAL (refuse, explain, avoid, and leave) strategies that are common and effective ways that U.S. youth resist substance use. Following a social learning, communication competence and ecological theory integrated approach, the study draws on self-reported questionnaire data from a non-probability sample of 327 adolescents attending two public high schools in Monterrey, Nuevo León. Multivariate regressions were used to test whether the respondents' use of the REAL strategies by the participants could be predicted by key demographic variables. Separate models were estimated for the frequency of use of each strategy and for different substances. Findings indicate that most adolescents in this sample utilized each of the REAL strategies as well as other strategies to respond to offers of alcohol, cigarettes, or marijuana. Mexican and U.S. youth residing close to the US border appear to use similar drug resistance strategies. Use of the strategies varied considerably by the level of exposure to offers, but only minimally by gender and age. There were no notable differences by socioeconomic status or academic performance. Implications for prevention science, social work practice and social work research are discussed in the context of the bi-national border region and the applicability and prospect for dissemination of U.S. evidence based youth substance use prevention interventions.
 
Article
Child welfare and criminology research have increasingly sought to better understand factors that increase the likelihood that abused and neglected children will become involved in the juvenile justice system. However, few studies have addressed this relationship among African American male adolescents. The current study examines the relationship between child maltreatment (i.e., neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and other/mixed abuse) and the likelihood of a delinquency petition using a sample of African American males (N = 2,335) born before 1990. Multivariable logistic regression models compared those with a delinquency-based juvenile justice petition to those without. Results indicate that African American males with a history of neglect, physical abuse, or other/mixed abuse were more likely to be involved in the juvenile justice system than those without any child maltreatment. Additionally, multiple maltreatment reports, a prior history of mental health treatment, victimization, and having a parent who did not complete high school also increased the likelihood of a delinquency petition. Implications for intervention and prevention are discussed.
 
Participant flow.  
Demographics
Perceived norms for IPV and drinking as function of intervention group.  
Poisson Regression Results for Intervention Effects on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and Substance Use at 30-Day Follow-Up
Means and Standard Deviations for Baseline and Follow-Up Variables by Intervention Condition
Article
OBJECTIVE: To preliminarily evaluate telephone-delivered motivational enhancement therapy (MET) in motivating unadjudicated and nontreatment seeking intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetrators, who also use substances, to self-refer into treatment. METHOD: 124 adult men were recruited via a multimedia marketing campaign and were randomly assigned to the intervention (MET) or comparison group following a baseline assessment. Participants in the MET condition received a personalized feedback report on their IPV and substance-use behaviors, consequences, and social norms beliefs. RESULTS: Results supported the likely effectiveness of MET in short-term reduction of IPV behavior, increasing motivation for treatment seeking, and changing perceived norms for IPV and substance abuse (SA). CONCLUSIONS: Applications for brief MET interventions to facilitate voluntary treatment entry among substance-using IPV perpetrators are discussed.
 
Weighted Linear Regressions Predicting Depressive Symptoms (CES-D; n ¼ 1,208) and Serious Psychological Distress (K6; n ¼ 1,209) Among African American Men in the National Survey of American Life (2001-2003) 
Weighted Linear Regressions Predicting 12-Month and Lifetime Major Depressive Disorder Among African American Men (n ¼ 1,217) in the National Survey of American Life (2001-2003) 12-Month MDD Lifetime MDD OR [95% CI] OR [95% CI] 
Article
This study examines the demographic correlates of depressive symptoms, serious psychological distress (SPD), and major depressive disorder (MDD; 12-month and lifetime prevalence) among a national sample of African American men. Analysis of the National Survey of American Life (NSAL) data set provides first-time substantiation of important demographic differences in depressive symptoms (measured by the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale [CES-D]), SPD (measured by the K6), and 12-month and lifetime MDD among African American men. Findings illuminate the heterogeneity within the African American male population. Findings also demonstrate the need for additional research focusing on within-group differences and a comprehensive research and mental health promotion agenda that recognizes the importance of improving access to education and employment and promoting healthy coping behaviors, while acknowledging the larger social context in which African American men live.
 
Participant flow chart through the study. *The Tross et al. study (2008) demonstrated that an effective ‘‘dose’’ of safer sex skill building (SSB) required attendance at three or more of the five sessions. 
Baseline Characteristics of Completers and Noncompleters for Follow-up Interviews*
Time effects on six outcomes of interest. 
Interaction between group and time for sex with condoms. Group 1 1⁄4 SSB þ A group; Group 2 1⁄4 HIV education (HE) group. 
Article
Objective: A pilot randomized clinical trial (RCT) examined effectiveness of HIV/STD Safer Sex Skills Building + Alcohol (SSB+A) intervention for women with Alcohol Use Disorders (AUDs) in a residential treatment setting. Method: After randomizing thirty-six women with AUDs and reporting having intercourse with a male partner in the past 180 days to SSB+A or HE (standard HIV/STD education) groups, rates of penetrative intercourse with and without condoms at 60 day and 180 day follow-up were compared between SSB+A or HE groups. Results: There was a significant difference in mean number of sex acts with condoms between SSB+A and HE groups over time. Specifically, SSB+A and HE groups did not differ at 60 day follow-up, but at 180 day follow-up, mean sex acts with condoms among SSB+A group was significantly higher than HE. Conclusion: Pilot study findings affirm the effectiveness of the SSB+A in reducing sexual risk behaviors of AUD women and support the need for further research, testing the SSB+A intervention in a larger sample of women and across different treatment modalities. The present study also illustrates the critical link between practice and use of a step by step model of intervention research.
 
Article
To determine the concordance between the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID) and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) in diagnosing anxiety and depressive disorders. Fifty women seeking psychiatric services for their children at two mental health centers in Western Pennsylvania were assessed for anxiety and depressive disorders using the SCID and the PHQ. Twenty-five women met SCID criteria for at least one anxiety disorder, 11 (44%) of whom the PHQ failed to identify. The PHQ was particularly limited in identifying individuals with anxiety disorders other than panic disorder. Seventeen women met SCID criteria for at least one major depressive disorder, 6 (35%) of whom the PHQ failed to identify. The PHQ was particularly limited in identifying depressed individuals with dysthymia. Caution should be used when screening for anxiety and depression with the PHQ. Implications for improving diagnostic accuracy in social work practice are discussed.
 
Article
Few social science theories have a history of conceptual and empirical study as long as does the diffusion of innovations. The robustness of this theory derives from the many disciplines and fields of study in which diffusion has been studied, from the international richness of these studies, and from the variety of new ideas, practices, programs, and technologies that have been the objects of diffusion research. Early theorizing from the beginning of the 20th century was gradually displaced by post hoc empirical research that described and explained diffusion processes. By the 1950s, diffusion researchers had begun to apply the collective knowledge learned about naturalistic diffusion in tests of process interventions to affect the spread of innovations. Now, this purposive objective has given form to a science of dissemination in which evidence-based practices are designed a priori not just to result in internal validity but to increase the likelihood that external validity and diffusion both are more likely to result. Here, I review diffusion theory and focus on seven concepts-intervention attributes, intervention clusters, demonstration projects, societal sectors, reinforcing contextual conditions, opinion leadership, and intervention adaptation-with potential for accelerating the spread of evidence-based practices, programs, and policies in the field of social work.
 
Article
OBJECTIVES: This study tested the quality of data collected with the online ESSP for Children from a diverse sample of 1,172 third through fifth graders. METHODS: Mplus confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) procedures for ordinal and clustered data were used. RESULTS: Of 80 original items, 61 loaded on 13 dimensions in a first-order model that had good fit in three random subsamples. Children in grades 3 through 5 may not be reliable reporters about neighborhood adults' caring. However, 12 statistically sound and independent dimensions related to school, peers, family, and well-being were obtained. CONCLUSIONS: The ESSP for Children provides school staff with quality data to use in conjunction with family and teacher ESSP data to guide intervention choices in schools.
 
Child and Parent Report Measures on the Elementary School Success Profile 
Article
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the current study was to examine the practice validity of a new ecological assessment instrument for 3(rd) through 5(th) graders in terms of whether it provided school staff with new knowledge about students. METHOD: Pre-assessment knowledge of school staff was compared to data obtained from 21 children and their parents on 29 measures. Data were collected using the Elementary School Success Profile (ESSP). School staff pre-assessment knowledge was compared to obtained data across seven domains of children's lives (neighborhood, school, family, peers, parent educational involvement, well-being, and home behavior), data sources (child and parent), and grade level of students. RESULTS: Pre-assessment knowledge was not highly correlated with obtained data; pre-assessment expectations matched obtained data only about 41% of the time; and knowledge varied by domain, source, and grade level. CONCLUSIONS: Ecological assessments can address gaps in school staff's knowledge of targetable factors that influence the success of students.
 
Article
Despite growing evidence that child welfare youth are at increased risk for juvenile delinquency, little is known about gender-specific processes and effective treatment programs for girls. Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC), an empirically validated intervention for child welfare and juvenile justice populations, has demonstrated efficacy in reducing arrest rates in delinquent boys and girls. In this study, the efficacy of MTFC on school attendance and homework completion was examined in juvenile justice girls who were referred to out-of-home care (N = 81). Results from this randomized intervention trial suggest that MTFC was more effective than group care in increasing girls' school attendance and homework completion while in treatment and at 12 months postbaseline. In addition, the previously reported effect of MTFC on reducing girls' days in locked settings was mediated by homework completion while girls were enrolled in the intervention setting. Implications for policy and practice are described.
 
Article
OBJECTIVES: There is a growing literature indicating that organizational and individual worker-level factors affect decisions about whether or not empirically supported treatments (ESTs) are adopted within health care agencies. The purpose of this pilot study is to further investigate and measure worker's attitudes within a community organization. METHOD: A small organization participated in the study due to their diversity in services offered. Of the 92 workers eligible for participation in the study, 66 (72%) completed the Evidence-Based Practice Attitude scale survey. RESULTS: Multivariate analyses revealed that female workers scored higher on both Openness and total score; workers with nursing, education, or psychology majors scored lower than workers with other (excluding social work) majors on both Divergence and total score; and that older workers scored higher on Divergence. CONCLUSION: Although small, this study identifies individual characteristics that are most likely to fit the profile of an EST adopter.
 
Article
This study utilized data from the National Survey of American Life to investigate the use of professional services and informal support among African American and Caribbean black men with a lifetime mood, anxiety, or substance use disorder. Thirty-three percent used both professional services and informal support, 14% relied on professional services only, 24% used informal support only, and 29% did not seek help. African American men were more likely than to rely on informal support alone. Having co-occurring mental and substance disorders, experiencing an episode in the past 12 months, and having more people in the informal network increased the likelihood of using professional services and informal supports. Marital status, age, and socioeconomic status were also significantly related to help-seeking. The results suggests potential unmet need. However, the reliance on informal support also suggests a strong protective role that informal networks play in the lives of black men.
 
Article
As evidence-based practice is increasingly accepted in social work, the challenges associated with its actual implementation become more apparent and pressing. This article identifies implementation as a critical issue for research; implementation itself must be better understood if evidence-based practices are to be used and resultant improvements to practice are to be realized. Social work needs to engage more fully in (a) service system research and (b) implementation research, each of which complements and has potential to extend the benefits of efficacy and effectiveness research. Service system research can enhance the fit of empirically supported treatments to the needs of real-world practice and thus facilitate their implementation. Implementation studies examine the acceptability of evidence-based interventions, the feasibility and likelihood of their sustained use, and the decision-support procedures that can help practitioners apply probabilistically based, empirically supported treatments to the individual case in real-world practice.
 
Article
OBJECTIVE: In the context of the importance of valid self-report measures to research and evidence-based practice in social work, an argument-based approach to validity is presented and the concept of developmental validity introduced. Cognitive development theories are applied to the self-report process of children and cognitive pretesting is reviewed as a methodology to advance the validity of self-report instruments for children. An application of cognitive pretesting is presented in the development of the Elementary School Success Profile. METHOD: Two phases of cognitive pretesting were completed to gather data about how children read, interpret and answer self-report items. RESULTS: Cognitive pretesting procedures identified validity problems with numerous items leading to modifications. CONCLUSIONS: Cognitive pretesting framed by an argument-based approach to validity holds significant potential to improve the developmental validity of child self-report instruments.
 
Moderating Effect of Group Engagement in Predicting Reduced Risk of Negative Placement for Hispanic Caregivers  
Multilevel Variance Components and Intra-Parent Group Correlation for Unconditional Model a 
Multilevel Logit Model for Probability of Negative Placement Disruption (n = 337 Families, n = 59 Groups) 
Article
OBJECTIVE: The authors conduct a within intervention group analysis to test whether caregiver engagement (e.g., participation, homework completion, openness to ideas, apparent satisfaction) in a group-based intervention moderates risk factors for foster child outcomes in a state-supported randomized trial of caregiver parent training. METHODS: The intervention is delivered in 16 weekly sessions by trained leaders. Outcomes are pre-post change in problem behaviors and negative placements. RESULTS: Analysis of 337 caregivers nested within 59 parent groups show caregiver engagement moderates number of prior placements on increases in child problem behaviors, and moderates risk of negative placement disruption for Hispanics. CONCLUSIONS: Variance in parent group process affects program effectiveness. Implications for practice and increasing effective engagement are discussed.
 
Article
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this article is to highlight the benefits of collaboration in child focused mental health services research. METHOD: Three unique research projects are described. These projects address the mental health needs of vulnerable, urban, minority children and their families. In each one, service delivery was codesigned, interventions were co-delivered and a team of stakeholders collaboratively tested the impact of each one. RESULTS: The results indicate that the three interventions designed, delivered, and tested are associated with reductions in youth mental health symptoms. CONCLUSION: These interventions are feasible alternatives to traditional individualized outpatient treatment.
 
Article
This paper presents preliminary outcomes associated with an experimental, longitudinal study of a Multiple Family Group (MFG) service delivery approach set within thirteen urban outpatient clinics serving children and their families living in inner-city, primarily African American and Latino communities. Specifically, this paper focuses on parent reports of child oppositional behavior and parenting stress over time. MFG is a flexible, protocol-driven approach designed to address the most common reason for referral to outpatient child mental health clinics, childhood behavioral difficulties. The MFG also aims to enhance family-level engagement and retention in ongoing care. Further, the service delivery model was collaboratively developed with intensive input from parents rearing children with conduct difficulties, parent advocates, community-based child mental health providers and services research staff in order to ultimately expand the number of effective service models that can be situated within "real world," urban child mental health settings.
 
Article
OBJECTIVES: With the continued push to implement empirically supported treatments (ESTs) into community-based organizations, it is important to investigate whether working condition disruptions occur during this process. While there are many studies investigating best practices and how to adopt them, the literature lacks studies investigating the working conditions in programs that currently use ESTs. METHOD: This study compared the culture and climate scores of a large organization's programs that use ESTs and those programs indicating no EST usage. RESULTS: Of the total 55 different programs (1,273 frontline workers), 27 programs used ESTs. Results indicate that the programs offering an EST had significantly more rigid and resistant cultures, compared to those without any ESTs. In regard to climate, programs offering an EST were significantly less engaged, less functional, and more stressed. CONCLUSION: Outcomes indicate a significant disruption in organizational culture and climate for programs offering ESTs.
 
Employment Characteristics Among Individuals With Early Schizophrenia Treated for 2 Years With Cognitive Enhancement Therapy or Enriched Supportive Therapy 
Article
To examine the effects of psychosocial cognitive rehabilitation on employment outcomes in a randomized controlled trial for individuals with early course schizophrenia. Early course schizophrenia outpatients (N = 58) were randomly assigned to Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET) or an Enriched Supportive Therapy (EST) control and treated for two years. Comprehensive data on cognition and employment were collected annually. Individuals treated with CET were significantly more likely to be competitively employed, had greater earnings from employment, and were more satisfied with their employment status by the end of treatment compared to EST recipients. Mediator analyses revealed that improvements in both social and non-social cognition mediated the CET effects on employment. CET can help facilitate employment in early schizophrenia, by addressing the cognitive impairments that limit functioning in the disorder. Inclusion of cognitive rehabilitation in social work practice can support more optimal functional recovery from schizophrenia.
 
Article
In the United States about 17% of adolescents meet diagnostic criteria for mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. Six million young people receive treatment services annually for mental, emotional, or behavioral problems. These problems affect 1 in 5 families and cost $247 million annually (O'Connell, Boat, & Warner, 2009). Some strategies for preventing mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders in young people have been developed, tested, and found to be effective in preventing the onset, persistence, and severity of psychological disorders, drug abuse, and delinquency. Unfortunately, tested and effective prevention policies, programs, and practices are not widely used (O'Connell, Boat, & Warner, 2009). This paper highlights recent advances in prevention science and describes some opportunities and challenges in advancing the use of science-based prevention in communities. The chapter concludes by exploring the potential role of social work education in developing a workforce ready to increase community access to effective prevention strategies.
 
Article
OBJECTIVE: The present study has two goals: to assess the difference between secondary trauma and job burnout and to examine the utility of secondary trauma in predicting psychological distress. METHOD: The data come from a survey of social workers (N = 236) living in New York City 20 months following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC). RESULTS: Social workers' involvement in WTC recovery efforts is related to secondary trauma but not burnout. Analyses also reveal that both secondary trauma and burnout are related to psychological distress after controlling for other risk factors. CONCLUSION: This study supports the importance of compassion fatigue as a risk factor for social workers counseling traumatized clients and its association with psychological problems.
 
Article
OBJECTIVES: This article describes the process of developing a culturally based family intervention for Spanish-speaking Latino families with a relative diagnosed with schizophrenia. METHOD: Our iterative intervention development process was guided by a cultural exchange framework and based on findings from an ethnographic study. We piloted this multifamily group 16-session intervention with 59 Latino families in a randomized control trial. Data were collected on family- and client-level outcomes, and poststudy focus groups were conducted with intervention participants. RESULTS: Preliminary evidence indicates that the intervention is effective by increasing illness knowledge and reducing family burden. CONCLUSIONS: This work can provide a model for how to integrate cultural factors into psychosocial services and enhance interventions in real-world settings for culturally diverse populations.
 
Article
OBJECTIVES: The authors examine if some of the reason clients from racial and ethnic minority groups experience outcome disparities is explained by their therapists. METHOD: Data from 98 clients (19% minority) and 14 therapists at two community mental health agencies where clients from racial and ethnic minority groups were experiencing outcome disparities were analyzed using hierarchical linear modeling with treatment outcomes at Level 1, client factors at Level 2, and therapists at Level 3. RESULTS: There were substantial therapist effects that moderated the relationship between clients' race and treatment outcomes (outcome disparities). Therapists accounted for 28.7% of the variability in outcome disparities. CONCLUSIONS: Therapists are linked to outcome disparities and appear to play a substantial role in why disparities occur.
 
Article
Grant writing is a necessary skill for becoming an independent and successful social work researcher. Since social work dissertation grants are a relatively new trend, students face many challenges in identifying, preparing, and submitting dissertation grants. Lack of resources and experiences, difficulties in protecting time for grant writing, and the uncertainty of success can hinder work on dissertation grants. Thus, this article provides an overview of dissertation grants, including a review of grant mechanisms, suggestions for preparing grants in the context of program milestones, and identifying institutional infrastructure to facilitate submissions. Strategies discussed include how to learn about funding priorities, how to establish timelines to account for grant deadlines, and how to use peer reviews to guide the revision process.
 
Conceptual model of implementation research. Source. Proctor et al. (2009). 
Schematic of search and exclusion process.
Summary of Included Studies.
(continued)
Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) Domains and Subdomains Targeted by Strategies in Each Study.
Article
This systematic review examines experimental studies that test the effectiveness of strategies intended to integrate empirically supported mental health interventions into routine care settings. Our goal was to characterize the state of the literature and to provide direction for future implementation studies. A literature search was conducted using electronic databases and a manual search. Eleven studies were identified that tested implementation strategies with a randomized (n = 10) or controlled clinical trial design (n = 1). The wide range of clinical interventions, implementation strategies, and outcomes evaluated precluded meta-analysis. However, the majority of studies (n = 7; 64%) found a statistically significant effect in the hypothesized direction for at least one implementation or clinical outcome. There is a clear need for more rigorous research on the effectiveness of implementation strategies, and we provide several suggestions that could improve this research area.
 
Article
Federal policy regarding the protection of human subjects in research has led to the creation of institutional review boards (IRBs) at every institution that receives federal funds for research. The function of the IRB is to review research that involves human subjects to ensure that this research is completed in an ethical manner. Social work research undertaken by researchers at federally funded institutions using human subjects and aiming to build knowledge that is generalizable is subject to IRB review, as is any research that is not specifically exempted from IRB oversight by the law. Social work practitioners and researchers who use research designs to evaluate practice effectiveness should comply with the ethical standards of the profession and may be subject to the standards specified in federal policy The relationships among social work research, the IRB, and the evaluation of social work practice are examined in light of the federal policy for protecting human subjects. Guidelines are given as to the types of research and evaluation that fall under the purview of the IRB.
 
Article
The purpose of this article is to describe mediating variables and moderating variables and provide reasons for integrating them in outcome studies. Separate sections describe examples of moderating and mediating variables and the simplest statistical model for investigating each variable. The strengths and limitations of incorporating mediating and moderating variables in a research study are discussed as well as approaches to routinely including these variables in outcome research. The routine inclusion of mediating and moderating variables holds the promise of increasing the amount of information from outcome studies by generating practical information about interventions as well as testing theory. The primary focus is on mediating and moderating variables for intervention research but many issues apply to nonintervention research as well.
 
Article
The principles and methods of parent training provided by social workers are described with an emphasis on working with abusive and neglectful parents using cognitive and/or behavioral approaches. Two emotionally abusive and neglectful groups of parents ( n = 10 parents per group; aged 16–38 yrs) were assessed, trained, and followed up for 2 years. Group 1 received individual parent training only and Group 2 received similar individual parent training plus 10 sessions of parent training provided in groups. Group 2 improved significantly better in areas other than child care. The results are discussed in terms of their applications to the provision of parent training by social workers. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
The inaugural issue of Research on Social Work Practice was published in January, 1991, fully 20 years ago. At the time, some social workers believed that there was no need for a further social work journal focused on research, but a comprehensive market survey of Deans and Directors of social work programs by Sage Publications produced such positive results that the publisher was encouraged to move ahead on the development of a new research journal. For academics, a journal’s impact factor is widely seen as a measure of its significance to the field. Impact factors are based on the extent to which an article published in a given journal is cited in print during the next 2 years. The journal provides an exceptionally quick turn around time in terms of arriving at an initial editorial decision to accept, invite a revision, or to reject a given submission. The quality of the blind peer review is very high, and quite positively evaluated by authors. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
The article presents an announcement about the retirement of Elsie M. Pinkston and reflects on her achievements and also gives an introduction to the papers included in the journal. Elsie began her career at the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration (SSA), in l973. She retired from there in June 2002. Elsie received national and federal fellowships and grants during her academic career to support her research on effectiveness of parent training procedures, family care giving and the elderly, and child welfare practices with African American children, adolescents, families, and service providers. At SSA, Elsie devoted her career to teaching students seeking masters and doctorate degrees and conducting applied clinical research with the elderly, children, families, state institutions, and inner-city community organizations. Through her personal commitment to the application of science to social work, Elsie has blazed a trail for accountable social work practice. The following case studies in this special section describe the application of behavioral models developed by Elsie and her husband Donald M. Baer. Taken together, the studies in this special section of Research on Social Work Practice reveal that the more scientifically rigorous we are in every aspect of social work, be it observation, reportage, the development of behavioral parent training models, or the validation of an instrument, the better we will serve our clients and further the study and development of social work practice. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
J. T. Pardeck responds to comments to his article (see record 1993-15224-001) that questioned the competence of social work (SW) journal editorial board members (EBMs). Comments were made by J. G. Hopps (see record 1993-15221-001), J. R. Schuerman (see record 1993-15227-001), F. G. Reamer (see record 1993-15226-001), A. E. Fortune (see record 1993-15219-001), D. F. Gillespie and S. Khinduka (see record 1993-15220-001), D. Lindsey (see record 1993-15222-001), and W. M. Epstein (see record 1993-15218-001). After reading the comments, the author is more convinced that additional research needs to be done on the quality and scholarship levels of EBMs of SW journals. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Outlines multicomponent strategies for preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among adolescents. Grounded in theory (social cognitive and problem behavior theories and community-based prevention models) and reflecting empirical data, these strategies reflect the mutual and synergistic importance of school-based approaches to prevention which enlist the support of parents, other family members, and key community members. Intervention materials are being developed for 2 target groups: students in Grades 7–8 and Grades 9–12. Although similar in emphasis and theory base, the 2 sets of interventions call for different approaches to reducing the risks of HIV and other STDs among students in each group. The authors note that in the field of prevention, the translation of theory and data into practical strategies offers advantages for social work professionals. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Reports findings from an initial evaluation of a new multidimensional assessment tool, the Multi-Problem Screening Inventory (MPSI). The inventory gathers information on 27 different areas of personal and social functioning and is designed for use by human service practitioners in a variety of settings. Ss were 311 undergraduate or masters-level social work students (mean age 32.4 yrs). Basic guidelines for using the MPSI are detailed with emphasis given to the preparation and interpretation of graphic profiles for rapid but comprehensive client assessments. Reliabilities and validities obtained for each of the subscales are then reviewed, along with suggestions for further development and use of the MPSI in clinical trials and research applications. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Questions whether editorial competence can be determined through citation records as J. T. Pardeck (see record 1993-15224-001) contends. The author argues that Pardeck fails to justify his hypothesis that social work (SW) editorial board members (EMBs) will be less frequently cited than psychology (PSY) EMBs. A 2nd problem with the hypothesis is that there are 2.5 times more PSY EMBs than SW EMBs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Assessed the effectiveness of a 17-session HIV-prevention group intervention with gay and bisexual males. 159 18–65 yr old gay and bisexual males were matched and assigned to receive group counseling or remain in a wait-list condition. Treatment focused on skills training in coping with high-risk situations. The intervention appeared to be more effective with exclusively gay than with bisexual men. More positive outcomes were associated with safer behavioral patterns at baseline, higher self-efficacy for safer behavior, accurate personal assessment of HIV infection risk, the absence of alcohol/drug use in association with sex, and satisfaction with social support. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Guided by theory, empirical research, and clinical experience, a 12-session group intervention was tested with 38 inner-city children (aged 6–12 yrs) who had lost a caregiver. The design of the group intervention was guided by the psychodynamic tradition of the sponsoring agency, themes from the bereavement literature, and findings from intervention research on bereaved children and adults. Attendance for the group intervention was high among those 29 children who completed posttests. The loss of the parent figure often had an impact on caregiving and living arrangements. Children rated themselves as significantly more depressed at pretest than their caregivers rated them, but at posttest this difference diminished. However, the majority of children remained depressed throughout the study. Pretest and posttest comparisons suggest that the treatment intervention may have enabled children to develop a more mature concept of death. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Challenges J. T. Pardeck's (see record 1993-15224-001) finding that social work journal editorial board members (EBMs) were cited less frequently than were psychology journal EBMs. Issues addressed include (1) definition of who the journal gatekeepers are, (2) criteria for competent manuscript reviewers, and (3) appropriateness of comparison of citation counts between disciplines. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Comments that the finding by J. T. Pardeck (see record 1993-15224-001) that social work (SW) journal editorial board members (EBMs) were cited less frequently than were psychology (PSY) journal EBMs is probably correct and reflects different missions and traditions in SW and PSY. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Regarding J. T. Pardeck's (see record 1993-15224-001) finding that social work (SW) journal editorial board members (EBMs) were cited less frequently than were psychology (PSY) journal EBMs, the author challenges the following assumptions: (1) whether all EBMs must be current publishers, (2) whether scholarly publication is the only criterion for editorial competence, and (3) whether it is appropriate to compare SW with PSY only. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Comments that in finding that social work (SW) journal editorial board members (EBMs) were cited less frequently than were psychology (PSY) journal EBMs, J. T. Pardeck (see record 1993-15224-001) incorrectly assumed that editorial boards play a significant role in article selection. Also, the comparison of PSY and SW journals should have been adjusted for differences in the volume of work published. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
Objective: This study examines the quality of evaluation studies using qualitative research methods in the social work literature in terms of a number of criteria commonly adopted in the field of qualitative research. Method: Using qualitative and evaluation as search terms, relevant qualitative evaluation studies from 1990 to 2003 indexed by Social Work Abstracts were examined, and their quality was evaluated. Results: The review shows that the quality of published evaluation studies using qualitative research methods in the social work field is not high and that many of the reviewed studies are not sensitive to the following issues: philosophical base of the study, auditability, bias, truth value, consistency, and critical interpretations of the data. Conclusions: Social workers using findings arising from published evaluation studies using qualitative research methods in social work should be cautious and social workers conducting qualitative evaluation studies should be sensitive to the issue of quality. Adequate training for social workers on qualitative evaluation should also be carried out.
 
Article
This is a report of the second biennial symposium on “Decisions, Assessment, Risk and Evidence in Social Work” held near Belfast, Northern Ireland, in July 2012. The third symposium is planned for July 2014.
 
Article
Objective: The purpose of the study was to (a) evaluate a 26-week batterer intervention program by investigating changes in psychological variables related to abuse (i.e., truthfulness, violence, lethality, control, substance use, and coping abilities) between pretreatment and post treatment assessments in a sample of men involuntarily placed in treatment and (b) to investigate the differential effectiveness of this same program for African American and Caucasian batterers. Method: The study employed a secondary analysis of 142 treatment-completers who were randomly selected from a larger pool of 733 men. Results: Analysis failed to provide empirical support for the contention that both African American and Caucasian batterers would demonstrate significant changes, in the desired direction, on psychological variables related to violence, as a result of their participation in a 26-week batterer treatment program. Conclusion: Implications of the findings for social workers are explored and discussed.
 
Article
Objective: This article reports findings of three studies addressing convergent validity and test-retest reliability of the Youth Rating Scale of the Behavioral and Emotional Rating Scale-Second Edition (BERS-2). Method: Pearson product-moment correlations were used in all three studies, the first two addressing convergent validity and the third addressing test-retest reliability. Results: Analysis indicated that (a) the six BERS-2 subscales and overall strength index were generally highly positively correlated with the social skills composite score from the Social Skills Rating System-Student Form (Secondary Level, Grades 7 to 12), (b) the BERS-2 subscales and strength index were generally moderately negatively correlated with the Problem scales of Achenbach’s Youth Self-Report, and (c) test-retest reliability coefficients over a 1-week period were all above .80. Conclusions: Results provide evidence that the BERS-2 Youth Rating Scale has acceptable psychometric properties and may be considered for use by social work practitioners in assessment and intervention activities.
 
Static-99 and LSI-R Risk Classification (n = 30) 
Article
Objective: This study compares sex offender risk classification using two popular actuarial risk assessment instruments—the Static-99 and the Level of Service Inventory–Revised (LSI-R). Despite their extensive use, the two scales assess different types of risk factors and research has yet to compare them. Method: Static-99 and LSI-R risk assessments were compared for 30 adult male sex offenders attending a community-based treatment program. Results: A paired Wilcoxon signed-rank test showed a significant difference (Z = –3.962,p < .001) between the instruments, with 63.3% of the sample classified as higher risk for reoffending by the Static-99 than by the LSI-R. Conclusions: The Static-99 may be a more conservative risk assessment tool. Yet because the LSI-R provides useful information about an offender’s current needs not included on the Static-99, treatment providers should use both instruments. This more comprehensive assessment of criminogenic risk and need will better inform supervision and intervention decisions.
 
Effect of a Challenge Course on Abstinence Self-Efficacy and Group Cohesion
Article
Substance abuse researchers identify self-efficacy and group cohesion as important components in alcohol and other drug-dependency treatment. Objectives: The purpose of this single-group, pretest–posttest study is to explore the therapeutic value of a challenge course intervention on the self-efficacy and group cohesion of nine chemically dependent, adult females. Methods: Data were collected using two validated outcome measures administered before and after the intervention. Focus groups provided insight into the experiences of participants and were examined using manifest and latent theme analysis. Results: Findings indicate statistically significant improvements on both outcome measures with medium to large effect sizes. Several themes were identified including group unity, trust, interpersonal growth, and self-confidence. Conclusions: Suggestions for practice and future research are provided.
 
Article
Objective: The current study seeks to provide estimates of the adequacy of journal coverage in the Social Work Abstracts (SWA) database. Method: A total of 23 journals listed in the Journal Citation Reports social work category during the 1997 to 2005 period were selected for study. Issue-level coverage estimates were obtained for SWA and PsycINFO, the comparison database. Results: Both databases provided less than optimal coverage of social work journals, and SWA performed significantly worse than did PsycINFO. Both databases provided better coverage of National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Press journals than non—NASW Press journals. Conclusion: The results provide evidence of substantial deficits in SWA that merit serious concern.
 
Article
Objective: A meta-analysis was conducted to evaluate the ability of parent training programs to reduce parents’ risk of abusing a child. Method: A total of 23 studies were submitted to a meta-analysis. Outcomes of interest included parents’ attitudes toward abuse, emotional adjustment, child-rearing skills, and actual abuse. Conclusions: Immediately following treatment and prior to moderator analyses, effect sizes for all outcomes were in the moderate range (d = 0.45-0.60). Moderator analyses suggest inclusion of home visitors and conducting parent training in both a home and office setting significantly enhanced the effectiveness. In addition, inclusion of a behavioral component and delivering some of the parent training in an individual setting, as opposed to group only, enhanced outcomes significantly.
 
Article
Objective: The objective of the present article is to review and discuss Familias Unidas, an empirically supported, family-based, culturally specific drug abuse and HIV prevention intervention for Hispanic immigrant adolescents and their families. Method: The authors focus on engagement and retention as well as on intervention delivery. Conclusions: The present article serves as a guide for social workers and mental health practitioners in carrying out effective family-based adolescent substance use and HIV preventive interventions. Recommendations for and challenges to implementing the intervention in practice-based settings are discussed.
 
Top-cited authors
Brad Lundahl
  • University of Utah
Eileen Gambrill
  • University of California, Berkeley
Derrik R. Tollefson
  • Utah State University
Karen A. Blase
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Daniel Shek
  • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University