Show me the money: Estimating public expenditures to improve outcomes for children, families, and communities
Understanding how money is spent to educate children and support families in local communities can help improve community decision making about public resources. This article reports on a process used in Los Angeles to derive estimates of total public expenditures on services for children and families in the community around the University of Southern California campus. Findings reveal the substantial amount of public resources spent by schools and other public agencies in one inner-city community. They also show that only one-half of the resources available for children in this inner-city neighborhood are controlled by the school district. Because each institution is responsible for its own budget, an overview of combined resources is generally not available to inform policy makers and help community groups take local action. The authors suggest steps that could be used to better understand resource allocation patterns in other communities.
Individual Growth Curve Analysis Illuminates Stability and Change inPersonality Disorder Features
The long-term stability of personality pathology remains an open question. Its resolution will come from prospective, multiwave longitudinal studies using blinded assessments of personality disorders (PD). Informative analysis of multiwave data requires the application of statistical procedures, such as individual growth curve modeling, that can detect and describe individual change appropriately over time. The Longitudinal Study of Personality Disorders, which meets contemporary methodological design criteria, provides the data for this investigation of PD stability and change from an individual growth curve perspective. Two hundred fifty subjects were examined for PD features at 3 different time points using the International Personality Disorders Examination during a 4-year study. Stability and change in PD features over time were examined using individual growth modeling. Fitting of unconditional growth models indicated that statistically significant variation in PD features existed across time in the elevation and rate of change of the individual PD growth trajectories. Fitting of additional conditional growth models, in which the individual elevation and rate-of-change growth parameters were predicted by subjects’ study group membership (no PD vs possible PD), sex, and age at entry into the study, showed that study group membership predicted the elevation and rate of change of the individual growth curves. Comorbid Axis I psychopathology and treatment during the study period were related to elevations of the individual growth trajectories, but not to rates of change. From the perspective of individual growth curve analysis, PD features show considerable variability across individuals over time. This fine-grained analysis of individual growth trajectories provides compelling evidence of change in PD features over time and does not support the assumption that PD features are traitlike, enduring, and stable over time.
Understanding the risks of child neglect: An exploration of poverty and parenting characteristics
A strong association between poverty and child neglect has been established, but the mechanisms that explain this relationship have not been clearly articulated. This research takes advantage of survey and child maltreatment administrative data about families with young children and assesses the influence of poverty and parenting characteristics on subsequent child neglect. The authors find that indicators of poverty, such as perceived material hardship and infrequent employment, and parenting characteristics, such as low parental warmth, use of physical discipline, and allowing a child to engage in frequent television viewing, are predictive of child neglect. Parenting characteristics do not appear to mediate the link between perceived hardship and neglect, although they suppress the link between employment and neglect. Results from this study provide information that is highly relevant to the approach and design of child maltreatment prevention and intervention strategies.
Immigrant mothers’ experiences with ethnic socialization of adolescents growing up in the U.S.: An examination of Colombian, Guatemalan, Mexican, and Puerto Rican mothers
The study explored Colombian, Guatemalan. Mexican, and Puerto Rican mothers’ experiences with the process of ethnic socialization. Using focus group methodology, we asked mothers (N = 90) about the ways that their adolescents learned about their ethnicity. Mothers in all groups discussed (a) strategies by which children were socialized about their ethnicity within the home, (b) ways in which community resources facilitated the process of ethnic socialization, and (c) barriers that hindered their children’s ethnic socialization. Findings suggested that within each of these domains, there were more differences than similarities among the national origin groups. Specifically, mothers were most similar in their accounts of how ethnic socialization occurred within the familial context, but mothers’ experiences with community resources and barriers differed across groups. Findings are discussed within the context of an ecological model.
Family diversity in the classroom: A review of, existing strategies
Given changing demographic patterns in the U.S. population, learning about diversity is important for students in family studies. The current study examined 44 syllabi of courses that addressed family diversity issues. The syllabi were reviewed with respect to (a) how instructors were structuring courses, (b) the level at which these courses were offered (e.g., undergraduate or graduate), (c) the topics that were included in these courses, (d) the departments that were offering the courses, (e) the types of instructional materials utilized, and (f) the assessment strategies employed. In addition to providing descriptive information, evaluative recommendations, and directions for future research, our findings are useful for instructors who are interested in developing or revising courses on family diversity.
Ethnic identity and self-esteem: Examining the role of social context
This study explored ethnic identity and self-esteem among 1062 Mexican-origin adolescents who were attending one of three schools, which varied in their ethnic composition (i.e., predominately Latino, predominately non-Latino, and balanced Latino/non-Latino). Significant relationships emerged between ethnic identity and self-esteem among adolescents in all school settings. Furthermore, controlling for generation and maternal education, adolescents attending the predominately non-Latino school reported significantly higher levels of ethnic identity than adolescents in the other schools. Consistent with ecological theory, these findings challenge researchers to design future studies in ways such that multiple layers of context and their influence on development can be examined.
Book Review: Politics, Language, and Culture: A Critical Look at School Reform, by J. Check
Wolfe reviews Joseph Check’s text, which critiques the “top-down” process of educational reform and focuses on the struggle for school reform in complex urban environments.
Conducting focus groups with Latino, populations: Lessons from the field
We explore the use of focus groups with Latino families. Based on our work with Colombian, Guatemalan, Mexican, and Puerto Rican mothers, we review the factors that make this methodology particularly useful for working with these families. In addition, we provide a number of strategies for making the use of focus groups with Latino populations successful. These strategies can be broadly applied to practical aspects of working with Latino populations, as well as in research settings.
Stressful life event experiences of homeless adults: A comparison of single men, single women, and women with children
This article describes stressful life events experienced by a multi‐shelter sample of 162 homeless adults in the Central Florida area. Participants included homeless single men (n = 54), homeless single women (n = 54), and homeless women with children (n = 54). Subjects were interviewed with a modified version of the List of Threatening Experiences (Brugha & Cragg, 1990). Findings indicate that the two groups of women were more likely to have been both physically and sexually abused as children than single men. Single women were more likely to have experienced sexual violence over the age of 18, experienced domestic violence, and been hospitalized in a psychiatric facility. Single men were more likely to have abused drugs and alcohol, and to have been incarcerated. Women with children were more likely to have lived in foster care. Overall, single women experienced significantly more stressful life events than single men and women with children. These findings suggest that the three groups are unique and would benefit from prevention and/or treatment approaches developed for the specific subgroup.
Conceptualizing Prevention as the First Line of Offense Against Homelessness: Implications for the Federal Continuum of Care Model
The federal continuum of care model does not adequately address prevention as the first line of offense against homelessness. As a result, people with acute housing needs are quickly channeled into emergency shelters, exposing them to the destructive cycle of homelessness. Emergency shelters provide an island of refuge, but remove many people from the social mainstream, weaken their capacity for self-help, and increase risk of long-term dependency. Our position emerges from interviews with people residing in the largest homeless shelter in Central Florida, feedback from a regional advisory committee of civic leaders and service providers, and consistencies with findings reported in the literature. The Community Prevention Model that we offer for discussion reinforces competencies and strengths, promotes independent living and social mainstreaming, and utilizes emergency shelters as a last resort.
International adoptive lesbian families: Parental perceptions of the influence of diversity on family relationships in early childhood
This article explores parental perceptions of living with the multiple identities of being adoptive, transracial, transcultural or multicultural, lesbian families. Analysis is based on qualitative interviews (N=30) with 15 lesbian couples that created multicultural families through the adoption of children born outside the U.S. Interviews focused on the relationships in the early years of adoptive family life. Findings suggested that families face both challenges and opportunities because of their multicultural status. Parental perceptions of racism, homophobia, and heterosexism are discussed, as well as the influence of complex diversity on relationships within and outside the family unit.
Microenterprise Performance: A Comparison of Experiences in the United States and Uganda
This article compares microenterprise performance in the United States and Uganda. In-depth interview data and published sources suggest that many of the same factors affect business performance in both countries although scale and details vary considerably. Micro, mezzo, and macro strategies are proposed to maximize entrepreneurial effort, reduce barriers, and strengthen institutional and policy support in both contexts.
Is there a primary mom? Parental perceptions of attachment bond hierarchies within lesbian adoptive families
Basic tenets of attachment theory were evaluated in a qualitative study of 15 lesbian couples with internationally adopted children, focusing on parental perceptions of a primary mother-child attachment within the families. Interviews with 30 mothers examined variables affecting the hierarchy of parenting bonds, including division of labor, time with the child, and parental legal status. All children developed attachments to both mothers, but 12 of the 15 had primary bonds to one mother despite shared parenting and division of labor between the partners. Quality of maternal caretaking was a salient contributing factor; no significant relationship existed between primary parenting and parental legal status.
Generational differences in resistance to peer pressure among Mexican-origin adolescents
This study examined whether Mexican-origin adolescents (N=1,062) who varied by generational status in the United States would differ with regard to their resistance to peer pressure. After controlling for sex, results indicated that resistance to peer pressure varied significantly by generational status. Adolescents who reported no familial births in the United States were significantly more resistant to peer pressure than those who reported one or more familial births in the United States. No significant differences in resistance to peer pressure emerged among adolescents who reported one familial birth in the United States and those who reported two or more familial births in the United States.
Predicting commitment to wed among Hispanic and Anglo partners
Ethnic differences in commitment to wed were examined between 46 Hispanics (27 women, 19 men) and 160 Anglos (84 women, 76 men). Although limited by sample sizes, findings indicated that Hispanics and Anglos did not differ, on average, on measures of attitudes toward marriage, perceived family influence, commitment to wed, belongingness, and trust. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that, after controlling for age and income, attitudes toward marriage, perceived family support, and trust predicted commitment to wed for women, whereas only perceived family support emerged as a predictor among men. Finally, although no ethnic differences emerged for men, the degree to which trust, perceived family support, and attitudes toward marriage predicted commitment to wed for women varied by ethnicity.
Marital conflict and aggression, children’s aggressive schemas, and child maladjustment: An investigation with clinic-referred families
Various dimensions of marital conflict have been shown to be negatively associated with child functioning. The present study was conducted as an effort to assess the degree to which there is correspondence across different family members’ reports of marital conflict and to increase understanding of the associations between interparental conflict and aggression, children’s aggressive schemas, and child maladjustment in a clinically-referred sample. Thirty-eight children (ages 7 to 13) seeking psychological treatment/evaluation services for behavioral and emotional problems at local mental health clinics were recruited to participate, along with their parents. Mothers, fathers, and children reported on overt interparental conflict, interparental verbal and physical aggression, children’s interpersonal problem-solving strategies and beliefs about aggression, and children’s internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Results indicated a significant degree of correspondence across different family members’ reports of various dimensions of marital conflict. Significant positive associations were found between various aspects of interparental conflict (as reported by parents and children) and children’s internalizing and externalizing problems. Children’s perception of threat during interparental conflict was significantly associated with less accepting beliefs about the legitimacy of aggression, particularly among older children. Children’s perception of interparental conflict as poorly resolved was significantly associated with the endorsement of aggressive problem-solving strategies, particularly for those children whose mothers reported instances of physical or verbal interparental aggression within the past year. Contrary to expectations, parents’ reports of negative conflict characteristics were not significant predictors of children’s aggressive schemas. The strengths and limitations of the current investigation are discussed, along with the implications of these findings for future research and for clinical interventions with children and their families.
Enhancing relationships in nursing homes through empowerment
As our population ages, an increasing need exists for gerontological social workers. An improtant role for these social workers is to help empower older people and their caregivers (Cox & Parsons, 1994). Within the “top-down” hierarchy of nusing homes, the contributions of family members and nurses aides often are overlooked, resulting in feelings of powerlessness and resentment (Mok & Mui, 1996; Tellis-Nayak, 1988). This article describes a model in which social workers help empower these caregivers to become involved in planning the care of nusing home residents.
Staff development and secondary traumatic stress among AIDS staff
This study explored the relationship between staff development in AIDS service organizations and the specific reactions of staff as manifested by secondary traumatic stress (STS) and turnover intention (TI). It was hypothesized that there was a relationship between staff development and secondary traumatic stress, that the type of staff development activity was relevant (training, education, social support) and impacted staff desire to stay on the job. It was also hypothesized that secondary traumatic stress influenced the turnover intention of staff. A total of 322 respondents, currently providing direct service to People with HIV/AIDS (PWAs), from 29 community based AIDS service organizations in New York City completed a four part questionnaire that included the Compassion Fatigue/Satisfaction Scale (CF/S), a scale of staff development activities, demographics, and qualitative questions regarding current work experience.;Analysis resulted in the use of the three dimensions of CF/S, (compassion fatigue, compassion satisfaction, burnout) instead of one score for secondary traumatic stress. Results indicated staff development was significantly related to compassion satisfaction, and burnout, but not compassion fatigue. Social support, training and education were all significantly related to compassion satisfaction. Training and social support were related to burnout. A significant relationship existed between all components of staff development and turnover intention. Turnover intention was also significantly related to all dimensions of secondary traumatic stress. Results of this study highlight the importance of varied and quality staff development in ASOs to enhance retention, decrease burnout and increase compassion satisfaction. The study represents the first time secondary traumatic stress has been linked to workplace conditions such as staff development. The implications of this study are relevant for design and management of staff development in ASOs, the preparation, professional development, and self-care of direct service staff in the HIV/AIDS field, and further theoretical and conceptual clarification of the phenomena of secondary traumatic stress.
The NYC Writing Project: “Neglected `R'”
The October 2003 issue of Education Update features an article on the New York City Writing Project. In it, site directors Marcie Wolfe and Nancy Mintz discuss the core work of the 25-year-old site and talk about ways in which NYCWP is enacting recommendations of the National Commission on Writing in America’s Schools and Colleges.
On-Site Consulting: New York City Writing Project
Nancy Mintz and Alan L. Stein, teacher-consultants from the New York City Writing Project, describe their experiences with weekly on-site consulting in teaching writing at a middle school and with literacy-based school reform at a high school. Introduction by Marcie Wolfe.