Understanding Alignment in Children’s Early Learning Experiences: Policies and Practices from Across the United States
Despite a large and growing body of evidence pointing to the short-term benefits of early learning programs across the United States, there is considerable variation in children’s PreK experiences with respect to classroom structure, the interactions in which children and families engage, and the quality of instruction delivered. This introduction to a special issue of Early Childhood Research Quarterly reports on a range of studies from across the United States that were designed to explore factors influencing high-quality learning experiences during PreK and across the transition into early elementary school. The introductory article sheds light on practices being used to improve early educational quality and enhance alignment in learning which can guide future research, practice, and policy.
Sexual function in hook-up culture: The role of body image
Hook-up mobile apps are increasing in popularity and research suggests sexual function may be lower among those who hook-up compared to those who have sex in a longer-term relationship. Sexual function is an important predictor of well-being; however, we know little about the psychosocial antecedents of sexual function, such as body image, among those who use hook-up apps. The current study aims to examine two measures of positive body image and one measure of body image self-consciousness during intimate activity among a sample of adult women and men who have hooked up in the previous month using a hook-up mobile app (N = 243). Our results suggest that higher body image self-consciousness during intimate activity was related to lower sexual function composite score and several specific domains (i.e., pain, arousal, orgasm, and lubrication) among women. Higher body appreciation was related to higher sexual satisfaction among women. Higher body image self-consciousness during intimate activity was related to higher erection difficulty, but not ejaculation difficulty, among men. These findings highlight the nuanced nature of body image and sexual function and provide further evidence that interventions for women and men aiming to improve some body image constructs may improve sexual function as well.
Body Image and Sexual Behavior Among Adult Men Who “Hook Up”
Understanding the psychosocial variables associated with sexual behavior is critical, particularly among high-risk individuals such as those who hook-up. It is possible body image is one of these variables. The current study aimed to examine the relationship between body appreciation and body image self-consciousness and three sexual health-related behaviors: 1) condom usage, 2) HIV screening, and 3) STI screening among a sample of adult men who have hooked up at least once in the past month (n = 243). We found that higher levels of body appreciation were related to being less likely to use condoms and higher levels of body image self-consciousness were related to being less likely to be screened for HIV and STIs. The conflicting results suggest additional research is warranted.
Body Appreciation and Health Care Avoidance: A Brief Report
Research suggests that body image is related to health behaviors and health care use, but possible mechanisms for this relationship remain unclear. The current study examined the presence of a relationship between body appreciation and avoiding the doctor to avoid being weighed, using a diverse sample of women (N = 499). Controlling for body size and determinants of health care utilization, logistic regression results suggested that women with higher body appreciation were less likely to avoid health care to avoid being weighed (odds ratio = 0.38, p < .001). In addition, differences in avoiding the doctor to avoid being weighed were found for the covariates (that is, age, race, body mass index, and socioeconomic status). These results inform knowledge regarding barriers to health care use and the relationship between body image and health care use. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications for future research, social work interventions, and social work education to promote women's health and well-being.
Street-Level Bureaucrats and Ethical Conflicts in Service Provision to Sex Workers
Social workers and other service providers are the agents that often have initial contact with sex workers, a highly stigmatised population that has a fraught history with the social work profession. In this paper, I use Lipsky’s theory of street-level bureaucracy and show how social workers use professional discretion when working with this population, even as it might conflict with their personal ethics. Specifically, I focus on the dual service technologies of abstinence and harm reduction, and how service providers have negotiated these technologies in their work with sex workers. In regards to these technologies, I focus on how the emotional and moral discourse surrounding sex work has shaped the response of street-level bureaucrats (SLBs) that work with this population. Using qualitative data from interviews with 29 frontline service providers in a midwestern US state, I argue that these frontline workers use interpersonal modes of discretion to understand ethical conflicts in working with sex trade-involved persons, conflicting with both agency and field-level policy. Implications of this project show how frontline service providers negotiate their responsibilities to this population amidst conflicting personal ethics and service technologies.
“Listen and Let It Flow”: A Researcher and Participant Reflect on the Qualitative Research Experience
Ethnographic research involves prolonged and often personal interaction between the researcher and research participants. This paper is a collaboration between a social work researcher and a research participant who became acquainted through the researcher’s ethnographic fieldwork for her dissertation. Despite differing in numerous and significant ways, not the least of which are age, class, education, and race, the two women developed a quasi-friendship after the researcher exited the field–a time when many researcher-participant relationships wane or terminate entirely. The two recorded and transcribed a series of informal conversations wherein they reflected on their experiences in the research process. Of particular salience is the research participant’s perspective of the immaterial benefits she experienced through her participation in the research and her perception of the qualities of a “good” qualitative researcher: one who approaches listening as a practice and cultivates relationships with participants slowly and naturally. The authors’ reflections indicate that participants may be able to offer valuable feedback on the research experience, and researchers might use participants’ unique perspectives to alter their research approach and/or techniques.
Inequality in Isolation:: Educating Students with Disabilities during COVID-19
Does gender-bending help or hinder friending? The roles of gender and gender similarity in friendship dissolution
We explored how gender and gender similarity affects friendship dissolution following the transition to middle school. We predicted that both gender and gender similarity (measured by perceived similarity to own-gender and other-gender peers) explain dissolution trends and that less own-gender similarity or more other-gender similarity predicts more friendship dissolution. We considered gender and gender similarity at both the individual and dyad level (reflecting the discrepancy between friends). Participants were 198 students in Grade 6 (42% Latinx, 21% Caucasian, 10% Native American, 8% African American, 2% Asian American, and 17% mixed backgrounds; 77% qualified for free/reduced meals) in reciprocated same- or mixed-gender friendships followed from fall to spring of the academic year. Multilevel multimember logistic regression models, nesting friendships within each participating individual, demonstrated that girl–girl friendships were less likely to dissolve than boy–boy friendships, and mixed-gender friendships did not dissolve more than same-gender friendships. Feeling similar to one’s own gender predicted less dissolution, but feeling similar to the other gender did not increase friendship dissolution. There was no support for the hypothesis that feeling similar to both genders (i.e., androgyny) protected against friendship dissolution, nor was there any support for the hypothesis that dyad-level differences in gender similarity would predict dissolution. The discussion focuses on the importance of conducting individual and dyad-level analyses as well as including gender similarity constructs when studying gender differences in friendships and their trajectories over time.
Send Nudes? : Sexting Experiences and Victimization Relating to Attachment and Rejection Sensitivity – Incorporating Sexual Minority Perspectives
As texting continues to serve as an increasingly common method of communication among emerging adults, increases in rates of sexting, or sending sexually explicit messages, pictures, or videos, have also been observed. While consensual sexting can facilitate intimacy in relationships, when used as a tool to victimize others, it has been shown to yield a range of negative outcomes: from embarrassment to severe depression and suicide. This chapter aims to review the existing literature on emerging adults’ engagement in and evaluations of sexting, while also considering the risks associated with sexting victimization. The role that individual characteristics, such as attachment style and rejection sensitivity as well as demographic characteristics such as gender, sexual orientation, and relationship status, play in the relation between experiences with and evaluations of using sexting as a tool for victimization will also be explored.
State Politics, Race, and “Welfare” as a Funding Stream: Cash Assistance Spending Under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
Race and racism have long been identified as influences on state cash assistance policy under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF; “welfare” in the United States) and its predecessor programs. TANF is structured as a flexible block grant with a state contribution requirement and cash benefits now account for only about one‐quarter of all program expenditures. Both proportion of effort devoted to cash assistance and change over time since passage of the 1996 welfare reform law vary by state. In this article, I consider the relationship between prevalence of negative stereotyping of blacks among whites in a state and emphasis on cash assistance as a TANF expenditure priority from 1998 to 2013. I find that prevalence of stereotyping of blacks among whites is related to TANF cash assistance effort, while evidence that it is related to the rate of decline in cash assistance over time is ambiguous.
A House but Not a Home: How Surveillance in Subsidized Housing Exacerbates Poverty and Reinforces Marginalization
A robust literature has shown that surveillance disproportionately targets poor people of color through the criminal justice and welfare systems. However, little empirical research traces the mechanisms through which surveillance reproduces inequality in other domains, such as subsidized housing, where private actors including property owners and landlords do the work of surveilling tenants. In this article, I apply the theoretical lens of surveillance to the case of subsidized housing to explore the symbolic and material consequences of being monitored at home. Drawing on in-depth interviews with 67 low-income Black mothers in the Sunnyside neighborhood in Houston, Texas, I argue that the scrutiny mothers face in and around their homes reproduces inequality through two key mechanisms. First, surveillance creates a home environment devoid of privacy, that mothers liken to being in prison. Mothers interpret this scrutiny as an effort to control and contain them because of their race, reinforcing racialized notions of presumptive Black criminality. Second, surveillance heightens the material risk for mothers of being caught breaking rules, which paves the way for eventual eviction and exacerbates poverty. Although mothers develop strategies to counter and at times resist disciplinary monitoring, these efforts come with drawbacks that can make surviving poverty harder. Taken together, these findings suggest that being surveilled at home not only diminishes low-income Black mothers’ status in society, but also pushes them into deeper economic precarity. This research extends our understanding of the reach of surveillance into the lives of the poor even in spaces considered to be private.
On the Front Lines of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Occupational Experiences of the Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Assault Workforce
In the face of increasing risk for intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual assault during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an urgent need to understand the experiences of the workforce providing support to survivors, as well as the evolving service delivery methods, shifting safety planning approaches, and occupational stress of frontline workers. We addressed this gap by conducting an online survey of members of IPV and sexual assault workforce using a broad, web-based recruitment strategy. In total, 352 staff from 24 states participated. We collaborated with practitioner networks and anti-violence coalitions to develop the brief survey, which included questions about work and health, safety planning, and stress. We used chi-square, t-test, and ANOVA analysis techniques to analyze differences within position and demographic variables. For qualitative data, we used thematic analysis to analyze responses from four open-ended questions. The sample was majority female-identified (93.7%) and essential workers in dual IPV and sexual assault programs (80.7%). Findings demonstrated that since the pandemic began, IPV and sexual assault staff are experiencing more personal and professional stressors, perceive a decrease in client safety, and lack resources needed to help survivors and themselves. Common problems included a lack of food or supplies at home and work and housing and financial support for survivors. There was a 51% increase in the use of video conference for work, which contributed to workforce strain. Reductions in overall service capacity and a shift to remote service provision have implications for both survivors and staff. These findings suggest a critical need for additional training, infrastructure, and support for the IPV and sexual assault workforce. There is an urgent need to classify IPV and sexual assault staff as first responders and address the occupational stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cognitive behavioral intervention for trauma in adolescent girls in child welfare: A randomized controlled trial
Objective This study tested the effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) in adolescent girls involved in the child welfare system. Three outcomes were evaluated: symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and social problem-solving skills. Method A randomized controlled trial was utilized to compare the effects of an adapted version of CBITS with usual care (UC) services. Participants were ages 12 to 19 (N = 249), the majority of whom (69.5%) were African American. Participants’ symptoms of PTSD, depression, and social problem-solving skills were evaluated at pre, post (3 months), and follow-up (6 months) assessments. Linear mixed models were used to compare condition by time interactions using all available data. Control variables were demographics, service use, and number of types of traumas. Treatment fidelity, participant acceptability, and satisfaction with the intervention were also examined. Results Analyses indicated that participants in the CBITS condition showed significantly greater increases in social problem-solving than the UC condition. For both PTSD and depression symptoms, there were no significant differences between the two conditions. Both the CBITS and UC participants showed significant reductions in symptoms. Results also indicated that this intervention is an acceptable model for this population. Conclusions Despite the growth of trauma-focused, evidence-supported interventions for reducing PTSD and depression, knowledge of effective interventions in child welfare youth lags behind. Because CBITS is more effective than UC in increasing social problem-solving skills, this intervention may be an important treatment option for this population.
Academic Safety Planning: Intervening to Improve the Educational Outcomes of Collegiate Survivors of Interpersonal Violence
Demonstrated impacts of intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual assault (SA) for college students include negative outcomes related to mental, physical, emotional, and academic well-being. As a result of increasing awareness of the long-standing epidemic of IPV and SA on college campuses, Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) are expanding the services provided to survivors of IPV and SA, including campus-based advocacy services that are adapted from community models. Like community advocacy, campusbased advocacy services focus on empowerment, support, resource provision, and addressing safety needs. However, the unique context of higher education produces specific student-centered needs, including an increased focus on educational goals, academic accommodations, and safety planning. The current study seeks to shed new light on the specific foci and tasks of advocacy in the context of IHEs, related to what we call “academic safety planning,” and to highlight the experience of student service recipients utilizing these forms of advocacy. Thematic analysis of 48 qualitative interviews with advocates (n = 23) and service users (n = 25) from five programs at three universities was used to discover practices applied by campus-based advocates and to understand student-survivor needs and preferences within academic safety planning. Findings reveal the core components of academic safety planning, which are: (a) Advocating for emotional and physical safety in the university context, (b) Assessing and identifying needed academic accommodations, and (c) rebuilding connections and institutional trust at school. These interviews reveal that academic safety planning has the potential to enhance the academic outcomes of survivors, which in turn could lead to important improvements in long-term personal safety, wellbeing, and economic security for student-survivors.
Experiences With Help Seeking Among Non-Service- Engaged Survivors of IPV: Survivors’ Recommendations for Service Providers
Engaging with formal intimate partner violence (IPV) services can buffer the impacts of violence and reduce future risk. Many survivors do not access or engage with such services. However, much of our knowledge related to the experiences and perspectives of IPV survivors comes from samples drawn from those seeking formal services. Qualitative interviews with 23 survivors of violence who are not currently engaged with formal IPV services were conducted, focused on the process and outcomes of choosing to seek help. Themes emerged within the categories of formal help-seeking experiences, informal help seeking, and recommendations for providers. Keywords service engagement, help seeking, intimate partner violence, access An estimated 22.3% of American women and 14% of American men have experienced severe physical intimate partner violence (IPV; Breiding et al., 2014).
Exploring Advocacy Practices for Interpersonal Violence Survivors on College Campuses: Approaches and Key Factors
Objective: The current study explores campus-based advocacy services for survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence, to increase understanding of how these supportive services are used on college campuses. Method: Semi-structured interviews with campus-based advocates and student survivors who used advocacy programs on 3 college campuses were conducted. The participating programs were diverse in setting and student population. Thematic analysis was used to identify program approaches and distinguishing features for advocacy in higher education. Results: Data from 48 participants were used to identify approaches guiding campus-based advocacy models. Campus-based advocacy models are trauma focused and student/survivor-centered similar to community programs with higher education-based applications. Campus-based advocacy is distinguished by attention to (a) developmental phase, (b) the university community experience, and (c) the role of the institution and institutional policy in services. Campus-based advocacy programs vary in service model and setting based on institutional structure and needs. Confidential advocacy services are critical to meeting student survivor needs. Conclusion: This study illustrates that similar to community approaches, campus-based advocacy models for survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence focus on empowerment, resource provision, and expanding social support during the college experience through a trauma informed lens. Campus-based advocacy programs provide potential benefit to student-survivors expressed needs, including prevention of further violence, enhanced well-being, increased academic outcomes, and support. Further research is needed to assess the outcome of campus-based advocacy and to guide program implementation as advocacy services in higher education grow.
Voluntary, Survivor-Centered Advocacy in Domestic Violence Agencies
Voluntary, survivor-centered advocacy is a model of practice used in domestic violence organizations; however, more information is needed from the perspective of survivors on how to best facilitate survivor-centered approaches in a voluntary service format. This qualitative study used a thematic analysis to uncover core advocacy approaches from 25 female-identified survivors dwelling in domestic violence emergency shelter and transitional housing programs in two states. Themes revealed that three core approaches aid a voluntary, survivor-centered advocacy model: 1) Establishing a safe base for support, 2) Facilitating access and connection, and 3) Collaboration. Advocacy approaches that emphasize safety, mutuality, and availability of support best engage survivors in voluntary services to address needs and meet goals. Use of a strengths-based approach, psychoeducation, and resource-building contributes to the social and emotional well-being of survivors. Findings indicate community DV advocates should use adaptable advocacy models aimed at service access, connection, and collaborative resource acquisition. Voluntary, survivor-centered models use principals of trauma-informed care, though more widespread use of trauma-informed care (TIC) in voluntary services are needed. Advocates need organizational support to meet survivor needs. Implications for research include the need for fidelity studies and longitudinal research.
Pathways From Intimate Partner Violence to Academic Disengagement Among Women University Students
More knowledge is needed related to collegiate intimate partner violence (IPV) and the pathways between experiencing physical and psychological IPV and academic disengagement. Students in a University System in the southwest completed an online survey including measures of physical and psychological IPV, academic disengagement, sense of community, and safety on campus. Conditional process analyses were used to understand key pathways for 6,818 woman identified students. All models found a significant indirect path between physical and psychological IPV and academic disengagement via depression symptoms. Students’ sense of community on campus was associated with less academic disengagement regardless of physical violence. The impact of psychological IPV on disengagement was stronger for those with lower senses of community. Enhancing screening and education, providing effective mental health counseling, and increasing advocacy will help institutions better address IPV.
Coping Behaviors Mediate Associations between Occupational Factors and Compassion Satisfaction among the Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Assault Workforce
The intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual assault (SA) workforce faces significant occupational stressors yet little is known about positive occupational outcomes associated with this work. Therefore, this study analyzed factors associated with compassion satisfaction among the IPV/SA workforce in one southwestern U.S. state (n = 623). Drawing from the Resilience Portfolio Model (Grych et al. 2015), researchers examined the possible role of coping behaviors in mediating associations between compassion satisfaction and workplace resources / assets, perceived job security, and resilience. Analyses revealed partial mediation in the models that included workload, values, and resilience as independent variables, suggesting that these factors both influence workers’ coping behaviors and have an independent association with compassion satisfaction. Models investigating control, rewards, community, fairness, and perceived job security indicated significant total effects of the independent variables on compassion satisfaction. Overall, IPV/SA workers who engaged more frequently in a range of coping behaviors reported higher levels of compassion satisfaction. The findings point to implications for organizational and employee practice, including building in worktime for key individual coping behaviors, balancing workloads among staff members, and enhancing organizational level coping strategies, such as team supervision and team care planning.
Measurement of Economic Abuse Among Women Not Seeking Social or Support Services and Dwelling in the Community
Scholars have defined economic abuse (EA) as tactics used by abusive partners to undermine the self-sufficiency and economic self-efficacy of survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV). However, no measures of EA have been tested in non-IPV-service seeking samples. The current study assesses the psychometric properties of the Scale of Economic Abuse (SEA)-12 (Postmus, Plummer, & Stylianou, 2016) in a nonservice seeking sample of adult females attending community college. A quantitative web-based survey was administered to a simple random sample of female community college students (n = 435). Analyses included confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and exploratory factor analysis (EFA). CFA indicated a poor fit for the three-factor model of the SEA-12 in this sample. The results of the EFA found a single factor model retaining four items (the Scale of Economic Abuse-Short, or SEAS). Women are experiencing EA outside of IPV service-seeking populations, and that tactics of economic control seem to be central to EA in this sample.