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Background: Gentrification is impacting urban communities across the globe. Some urban communities have undergone major displacement of longtime residents thus placing older persons at particular risk of social isolation and the loss of social networks. Objective: The objective of the article is to bring attention to the impact of gentrification on communities and specifically addresses the impact on older persons, especially as it relates to displacement, social isolation, and social networks. Additionally the article aims to address implications for social work practice. Method: A review of the literature was used to gather information on this important topic. Additionally, newspaper articles were reviewed that discussed gentrification in urban neighborhoods. Content analysis was used to gather themes that would inform practice recommendations. Additionally the author used community mapping through personal observation. Findings: Gentrification is perceived as both positive and negative, depending on the stakeholder. It also has been associated with negative health effects as well as social isolation and the loss of social networks. Older persons of color are particularly at risk of displacement. Emotional and financial hardships. Conclusions: Practice implications include an examination of quality of life factors, introduction of financial counseling and advocacy for policies that respect the quality of life of older persons faced with gentrification.
- Go to article: Alcohol and Condomless Insertive Anal Intercourse Among Black/Latino Sexual-Minority Male Non-PrEP Users
Alcohol and Condomless Insertive Anal Intercourse Among Black/Latino Sexual-Minority Male Non-PrEP Users
This study examined factors associated with alcohol use and condomlessinsertive anal sex among a sample of BLMSM (N = 188), self-identified as HIV- negative, ages 18–40. The influence of alcohol use on sexual positioning during condomless anal intercourse among Black and Latino men who have sex with men (BLMSM) warrants research attention because of the pervasive misinformation regarding the risk of HIV transmission and the disproportionate impact of the HIV epidemic for this population.
Self-report survey questionnaires were administered in real time at bars/clubs; public organized events; local colleges/universities; social media advertisements; private men's groups; and organized events in Los Angeles County.
Logistic regression predicted those reporting risky sex when using alcohol were seven times more likely to report condomless insertive anal sex.
Clear messaging about alcohol moderation, dispelling the myths about strategic positioning, and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use among HIV negative BLMSM could potentially reduce HIV acquisition/transmission.
- Go to article: The Association of Racial and Homelessness Microaggressions and Physical and Mental Health in a Sample of Homeless Youth
The Association of Racial and Homelessness Microaggressions and Physical and Mental Health in a Sample of Homeless Youth
Homeless youth are at higher risk for trauma, school dropout, justice system involvement as well as physical and mental health issues, including substance abuse.
This article focuses on experiences of microaggressions, or subtle forms of discrimination, in homeless youth by describing the development of a new scale measuring homelessness microaggressions and demonstrating the association between microaggressions, and health/well-being in a sample of homeless youth.
Previously validated measures include the Child Behavioral Checklist and the Racial and Ethnic Microaggressions Scale.
Demonstrated that experiencing higher levels of microaggressions was related to more externalizing and aggressive behavior and somatic symptoms in homeless youth.
Implications for urban communities and urban social work are discussed, with suggestions offered for practitioners and future research.
The Autumn Divas study objective was to examine the lived experiences of women of color who achieved doctoral degrees after the age of 50. This study used qualitative methods to reflect the thoughts, feelings and experiences of the participants; the strengths they had in common, the support of family and friends, and the personal, professional, and financial challenges they faced in their respective journeys. This phenomenological study described the meaning of the experience for the participants, as they matriculated through their doctoral programs, explored in three focus group sessions, with nine participants. Results showed that they experienced similar journeys, which led to the advancement of their personal growth, and sought to motivate other women of color. Most participant's pursuit of a doctorate at this time in their lives was a means of self-fulfillment and empowerment. In conclusion, the participants had deferred this goal, but were receptive to new challenges and perspectives, and validated each other's stories in the focus group discussions. Most had a message for the sisters coming behind them: pursue your dreams; make the investment in yourself; be a source of support and wisdom for each other; and contribute to uplifting your community.
- Go to article: Barriers to the Delivery of Teen Dating Violence Programs in Urban School and After-School Settings Serving Mexican-Heritage Youth
Barriers to the Delivery of Teen Dating Violence Programs in Urban School and After-School Settings Serving Mexican-Heritage Youth
Teen dating violence (TDV) is increasingly recognized as a national health priority, impacting overall well-being and school success. However, there are overlooked barriers to TDV program delivery in schools and youth-serving organizations and these are ideal settings to reach youth universally. In this study, we conducted 10 focus groups with school (e.g., administrators, social workers, nurses) and after-school personnel regarding barriers to TDV programming within a large urban community serving predominantly Mexican-heritage youth. Findings offer practice-driven considerations for the implementation of programs within urban communities. These include attention to limited resources, inhibitive and non-existent policies, competing demands, a lack of training, and demand for culturally competent curricula and wrap-around services.
Culture and racial or ethnic background are important variables to consider when conceptualizing families and resilience. Working effectively with Black families requires culturally competent interventions that honor and build upon their strengths and give attention to the intricate dynamics of relationships. This paper offers an examination of the unique stressors and adversity experienced by Black families as well as factors influencing their adaptive functioning. Enriched structural family therapy (ESFT), a versatile, skill-based, systems approach, is introduced as a viable model to promote resilience in Black families. Through ESFT interventions, Black families are able to successfully manage and cope with stressors while improving overall functioning.
- Go to article: A Black Feminist Approach Toward Engaging Social Work Students in Social Justice Collaboration
The national emergence of Black Lives Matter, the #CollegeBlackOut, and the #MeToo demonstrations across university campuses as a response to race and gendered-related police brutality, violence against women, and racism has captured the need for social work education to develop spaces within the academic setting to foster knowledge of racial inequalities, create critical dialogue and personal reflection, broaden racial and social consciousness, and mobilize student activists. This article will suggest the usefulness of integrating a Black feminist framework into social work education and practice, demonstrate the importance of developing student-led Black feminist organizations as a catalyst for social change, and share student perspectives and involvement with the Black feminist organization.
The coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is devastating the well-being of college students and society. This article examines the need for attention to collegiate mental health during public health emergencies, with a particular focus on college students in urban settings. The article begins with a brief description of the unique challenges faced by cities during pandemics and continues with a historical overview of pandemics. College students attending three public colleges (n = 719) were surveyed regarding the impact of COVID-19 on their psychological health. Preliminary findings reveal a prevalence of students (44.9%) reporting moderate or severe traumatic stress symptoms in response to COVID-19 stressors. A definition of what we define as “astonishing” is the high trending prevalence of college students reporting that they know someone who died due to COVID-19 (70.6%). The article concludes with recommendations for future research and offers person-centered approaches for social workers and leadership in higher education.
- Go to article: Capturing Context: The Role of Social Support and Neighborhood on the Psychological Well-Being of African American Families
Capturing Context: The Role of Social Support and Neighborhood on the Psychological Well-Being of African American Families
Mental health is a serious public health concern that is uniquely devastating for African American families.
This study systematically critiques the body of work documenting the mediating role of social support and neighborhood context on the psychological well-being of African American families.
This review used the PRISMA multistate process.
Several important findings are drawn from this study: a) social support and neighborhood context shape psychological well-being, b) existing studies are limited in capacity to capture context despite having contextualized frameworks, c) African centered theory is missing.
Social support and neighborhood context matter. Future researchers must employ methods to capture this context and the link to mental health in African American communities where disproportionate risks exist.
- Go to article: Case Management and Employment Training Outcomes for Welfare-Reliant African American and Latinx Women Heads of Household
Case Management and Employment Training Outcomes for Welfare-Reliant African American and Latinx Women Heads of Household
Case management has historically been a pillar in the social work profession, and has never been more pertinent than it is with recipients of the federal program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. There is a chasm of biblical proportions, however, when the case management ideals are compared with the realities “on the ground.”
The study examines welfare-reliant women heads of household (N = 30) to assess their experiences and outcomes in a welfare-to-work program designed to prepare them for employment opportunities.
A purposive sample was used for data collection and included longitudinal survey analysis. A Structured Interview Schedule Welfare-to-Work Success Index (WSI) were the primary data collection instruments.
Fifty-seven percent of the respondents were African American and 43% were Latinx women. The mean age of the African American and Latinx cohorts were 32.7 and 37.5, respectively. The vast majority of both groups were single heads of household. Sixty percent of the African American women were high school graduates versus 39% of the Latinx women. Twelve of the original 30 respondents found a job, with the African American cohort faring slightly better, in terms of salary, work hours, and duration of employment. Fringe benefits were not received by any of the study respondents who succeeded in finding employment.
Respondents had an unusually high number of case managers assigned to them, with limited success in finding meaningful jobs. Implications are discussed regarding case manager training, retention, the effectiveness of interventions with welfare-reliant clientele, and accountability.
- Go to article: Color-Blind Racial Attitudes and Their Implications for Achieving Race-Related Grand Challenges
The American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare established 12 social work grand challenges to address critical social problems in America. Some of these social problems include health disparities, income inequality, and the lack of social justice, among others. These social problems are deep and daunting especially for people of color. Tackling these challenges would require a focus on the racial attitudes in society, such as color-blind racial attitudes, that maintain the power structure that fuels inequality. This article introduces color-blind racial attitudes and discusses their impact on social work practice and policy. Lastly, it presents strategies for addressing color-blind racial attitudes related to the grand challenges.
- Go to article: Community Resident Voices Empowered: Exploring Public Housing Resident Needs and Assets Through a Qualitative Lens
Community Resident Voices Empowered: Exploring Public Housing Resident Needs and Assets Through a Qualitative Lens
Incorporating residents’ voices in needs assessments and decision-making activities affecting public housing initiatives is supported by various research. This approach of increasing communal empowerment and growth informed a needs and assets assessment to support an urban community center servicing ethnically and culturally diverse public housing residents. This study employed qualitative methods to gather insights from focus group participants about their perceived needs of the community. The data gathered from the focus groups provided an opportunity for community voices to expand on understanding the assets and needs of the community. The five themes that emerged in the focus group discussion were: (1) Yearning for home and community; (2) Appreciation for diversity; (3) Conditions supporting human dignity; (4) Continual growth of programs & affordability; and (5) Emphasis on trust. These insights support the importance of including community voice for future programming, policies, and research.
Child obesity prevention is a relatively new phenomenon in developing countries where food insecurity and malnutrition have been the public health focus. Yet obesity is a global health problem. The purpose of this study was to compare healthy and unhealthy food choices among a convenience sample of 114 adolescent youths from ethically and economically diverse communities in Cape Town, South Africa and New York City using surveys and focus groups. Findings showed no significant differences in healthy food choices among participants regardless of socioeconomic status (SES). For unhealthy food choices, there were significant differences between adolescents from low and middle SES levels. Interviews indicated that unhealthy choices were influenced by money, convenience, and parents. School feeding programs were influential in initiating and sustaining healthy choices, whereas barriers included money and convenience of access to unhealthy food options. Parents and schools provided the most influence on these adolescents’ healthy options by including fruits and vegetables in homemade and school program lunches.
- Go to article: The Consequences of Environmental Degradation on Native American Reservations: An Exploration of Initiatives to Address Environmental Injustice
The Consequences of Environmental Degradation on Native American Reservations: An Exploration of Initiatives to Address Environmental Injustice
Research has demonstrated the significance of the relationship that Indigenous populations have with the land. Environmental degradation on Native American reservations not only results in negative consequences for health, but also directly affects the relationship that Native American populations have with the surrounding natural environment or their sense of place. This conceptual paper explores how environmental degradation impacts tribal members residing on Native American reservations, utilizing a theoretical framework of a four-dimensional model of place attachment (Raymond et al., 2010). This place attachment model is comprised of place identity, place dependence, nature bonding, and social bonding. Using this model to understand tribal relationships with the land, or place, I interviewed the Natural Resources Director of the Penobscot Nation in a phone interview in 2016 followed by an in-person interview in 2019. During these interviews, I learned how environmental degradation directly impacted the Penobscot Nation reservation and community, which resulted in health and economic consequences for the tribe. Moreover, I also acquired an understanding of how colonization, capitalism and neoliberalism contribute to the roots of the problem of environmental degradation on Native American reservations. These interviews, concurrent with a literature review, underscore the relevance of social work macro-level community-based initiatives to assist Native American reservations. Community-based initiatives help combat the challenges of environmental degradation. These initiatives also increase awareness of why environmental degradation and its impact on marginalized populations are priorities for the National Association of Social Workers.
- Go to article: A Critical Race Perspective of Police Shooting of Unarmed Black Males in the United States: Implications for Social Work
A Critical Race Perspective of Police Shooting of Unarmed Black Males in the United States: Implications for Social Work
Recent high-profile killings of unarmed Black males underscore a stark reality in America: though Black men have the same constitutional rights as all other citizens of the United States, in practice their rights are often violated. The negative stereotype that all Black males are criminals has created an environment that perpetuates the killing of unarmed Black males by police officers as justifiable self-defense. In this article, critical race theory (CRT) provides a theoretical lens to examine and understand the persistent racism underlying the social inequities that have been thrust upon Black males in the United States of America. The authors conclude with implications and recommendations for social work education.
There has been much controversy surrounding critical race theory (CRT) and the discussion of race and racism in education. The national emergence of racial injustices such as state-sanctioned violence, police killings of people of color, schools’ pipeline to prison, and COVID-19 racial disparities, in addition to racial justice movements such as #BlackLivesMatter, #SayHerName, and #BlackAndMissing has ignited the need for the social work profession to bring awareness to the pervasiveness of race and to fully acknowledge the role of white supremacy on education, social systems, institutions, legal systems, and culture. This article highlights the need for social work education to develop anti-racist education and practice and increase awareness of white supremacy in the United States. In addition, this article suggests the value of infusing CRT as an anti-racist pedagogy and tool to teach race, actively oppose racism, and organize social change.
- Go to article: Cultural Differences in Parental Self-Efficacy in Communicating With Teens About Sex: A Pilot Study
Despite the declining national teen birth rates, racial disparities persist. Black and Hispanic teens in some communities continue to experience disproportionately higher teen birth rates. This pilot study explored parental perspectives regarding teen pregnancy and parental self-efficacy in communicating with teens about sex. Seven focus groups were conducted with 35 Black and Hispanic parents who reside in five targeted zip codes with exceptionally high teen birth rates, ranging from 84.2 to 112.9 per 1,000. These rates exceed the 26.5 per 1,000 national teen birth rate by more than 300%. Results reveal cultural differences in parental self-efficacy between Black and Hispanic parents in communicating with teens. Black parents reported higher self-efficacy. Hispanic parents reported cultural beliefs as communication barriers with teens.
- Go to article: Developing Leaders, Building Collaborations, and Addressing Social Justice: One Historically Black College and University's Experience
Developing Leaders, Building Collaborations, and Addressing Social Justice: One Historically Black College and University's Experience
To address the challenges present in urban communities and develop social work leaders who are equipped to confront a myriad of social and economic justice issues, Coppin State University established the Dr. Dorothy I. Height Center for the Advancement of Social Justice (DHC). Housed in the Department of Social Work, the DHC is a community-based resource whose mission is to heighten awareness regarding national and international human rights and social justice issues that impact marginalized communities. The DHC utilizes social work interns who focus on community engagement as operationalized via social justice–related advocacy, research and education initiatives. This article will highlight the experiences of these student interns and the impact of the internship on their development in the areas of social justice and leadership.
The Afrocentric perspective embodies the essence of thought for social workers to be culturally competent. The Afrocentric Perspective provides both the knowledge and practice behaviors for working within the African American community.
This article moves the paradigm in social work education toward incorporating the Afrocentric Perspective as a recognized core theoretical framework for social work practice.
This article discusses the integration of the Afrocentric perspective into core courses at the baccalaureate and graduate levels. Discussion of knowledge gaps, application, and integration of the perspective in social work education and practice are presented.
A model (DIASPORA: An Afrocentric Perspective for Social Work Students) provides assignments and activities for teaching cultural competency, critical thinking, and self-awareness skills to social work students. In addition, the author provides sample student learning outcomes and course objectives.
Afrocentric social work provides an alternative perspective on the delivery of social services to African American families. This alternative perspective seeks to decolonize the standard methodology adhered to which addresses the social oppression towards the African American community. To move the paradigm forward, this author believes that a social work curriculum design teams for teaching the Afrocentric perspective should incorporate concepts of decolonizing, inquiry, Sankofa practices, political implications, oppressions, oppositions, and opportunities focus that allows students to reconstruct social issues through acquiring effective knowledge. As such, the DIASPORA Model may serve as an example for both BSW and MSW programs for teaching the Afrocentric Perspective principles, concepts, and application.
Youth experiencing homelessness (YEH) are at an increased risk from their housed counterparts for a multitude of mental and physical health issues. This article addresses disparities in discrimination experiences among homeless and housed low-income youth in an effort to understand more about the specific vulnerabilities of homeless youth.
Data were collected from 47 homeless youth at two different drop-in centers in New York City (NYC) and 36 nonhomeless, low-income first-year college students.
YEH (M = 4.51, standard deviation [SD] = 3.20) reported more than twice the level of average total experiences of discrimination than youth who were not homeless (M = 2.14, SD = 2.2), t (79) = 3.81, p = .005).
Implications for social work practitioners, educators, and researchers are discussed.
- Go to article: Does Adolescent Free Time Matter? Exploring the Association Between Adolescent Leisure Activities and Dating Violence Perpetration
Does Adolescent Free Time Matter? Exploring the Association Between Adolescent Leisure Activities and Dating Violence Perpetration
Adolescence is a developmental period characterized by independent leisure activities and increased interest in intimate dating relationships. Despite focused examinations on dating violence (DV), research has not yet explored connections between leisure activities and DV.
This exploratory study uses Birmingham Youth Violence Survey (BYVS) Wave 3 data to elucidate the relationship between leisure activities and DV perpetration among urban youth aged 16–23 (N = 497, Mage = 17.64, 52% female, 81.3% Black, 18.7% White).
Findings support the relationship between specific types of leisure activities and DV perpetration.
Practitioners, researchers, and policy makers with a vested interest in adolescent health should pay attention to specific leisure activities (e.g., social, sports, and media) given their associations to DV perpetration.
The health trajectory of Black immigrants receives little attention in minority health discourse despite Black immigrants representing a notable share of the Black population. One aspect of their health that requires increased attention is the immigrant health paradox. This draws attention to the deteriorating outcomes of immigrants as they assimilate into the host country. Although a few scholars have acknowledged the role of race in this trajectory, few have examined it from a critical perspective. This article embraces critical race theory to argue that racial processes intersect with other forms of structural oppression to produce the immigrant health paradox. An understanding of this health trajectory of Black immigrants is instructive in understanding the impact of race on minority health.
Youth in communities with high rates of crime and low rates of collective efficacy are at risk of depression, substance abuse, and other types of delinquency.
This article presents a formative evaluation of an empowerment-oriented program intended to reduce depression and risky behaviors by improving social support, providing adult mentors, and facilitating prosocial action.
Qualitative interviews and observations are used to describe program delivery and a quantitative survey is used to identify correlates of program participation.
Qualitative data describe a systematic process of program engagement that supported individual and group empowerment. The analysis of quantitative survey results identifies an association of program participation with less depression and more self-esteem—with reduced feelings of loneliness as the mechanism of these effects—although without comparable patterns for substance abuse and other risky behaviors.
Empowerment-oriented programs that involve young people in supportive peer teams should be developed to help foster constructive social change.
- Go to article: The Evaluation of a Narrative Intervention for Health-Care Professionals in an Urban Oncology Inpatient Unit
The Evaluation of a Narrative Intervention for Health-Care Professionals in an Urban Oncology Inpatient Unit
Oncology professionals in fast-paced urban hospitals are at risk for burnout and secondary traumatic stress.
This exploratory study evaluated the effectiveness of a workplace narrative intervention for oncology professionals in regard to reducing burnout and secondary traumatic stress.
Thirty-five oncology health-care providers from three inpatient oncology units within an urban medical center completed the Professional Quality of Life Scale and the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey before and after four monthly group narrative oncology interventions during the work day.
Findings lend tentative support to the effectiveness of this intervention in reducing different aspects of burnout and secondary traumatic stress.
Oncology social workers are in a prime position to take a leadership role in instituting such interventions in urban hospitals.
- Go to article: Expanding Strengths-Based Urban Social Work: Distinctive Approaches to Serving Diverse Communities
- Go to article: Exploring the Meaning of Sexual Health Through the Voices of Black Adolescents With HIV-Positive Mothers: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Exploring the Meaning of Sexual Health Through the Voices of Black Adolescents With HIV-Positive Mothers: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Youth who have a parent living with HIV represent a population that may experience negative sexual health outcomes particularly if they reside within social and cultural contexts (e.g., families, communities, schools) that contribute community-level risks associated with HIV infection.
This study sought to understand how adolescents with HIV-positive mothers engage in parent–child communication about sex and give meaning to their sexual health attitudes, beliefs, and experiences.
An interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) approach was used to collect focus group and individual interview data from fourteen Black adolescents residing in an urban U.S. city that is characterized to have a generalized HIV epidemic. NVivo supported qualitative data analysis, which was guided by a six-step heuristic framework.
Three themes were associated with HIV-affected adolescents' meaning-making around sexual health—Being Ambivalent about Sex, Making Decisions about Sex, and Reflecting on Sexual Health. These themes describe participants' perspectives of informal parent–child communication about sex and offer an interpretation of their sexual health attitudes, beliefs, decision-making, and risk-taking behaviors.
Despite informally engaging in parent–child communication about sex with their mothers, many participants did not articulate comprehensive sexual health knowledge and furthermore sought opportunities for increased dialogue around decision-making concerning their sexual health.
- Go to article: Factors African American Men Identify as Hindering Completion of a Graduate (MSW) Degree
Using semi-structured interviews, 15 African American men were interviewed with the goal of understanding factors that hinder African American males from completing a graduate social work degree (MSW). Afrocentricity theory, which gives authority to Black ideals and values, was used in this qualitative, exploratory study as a framework of organization. Important results fell under three major categories of isolation, racism, and social work curriculum. Statements from men such as “It's hard because people look at you as if you are speaking for everybody but you are speaking from your experience” describe isolation. The men also described racism in many scenarios, one in particular: “I was asked by one of my peers was I awarded advance standing because I was a minority.” In viewing the social work curriculum, some of the men thought, “The curriculum assumed I was female or white male.” Another obstacle shared by the men was financial hardships. Strengths emphasized in the men's statements were the need for support and mentorship. Implications of these findings coming from the respondents' comments suggest additional research and a more inclusive teaching as practice for the social work profession are needed.
- Go to article: Families in the Urban Environment: Understanding Resilience, by Jason Anthony Plummer
- Go to article: Fathering Despite Perpetual Penalties: Examining Fathers’ Involvement Amidst the Collateral Consequences of Previous Criminal Justice Involvement
Fathering Despite Perpetual Penalties: Examining Fathers’ Involvement Amidst the Collateral Consequences of Previous Criminal Justice Involvement
Background: The role that fathers play in the lives of their families, particularly, the lives of children, is vitally important. Research has found positive associations between father involvement and factors, such as infant cognitive outcomes, children’s school-readiness where levels of mothers’ supportiveness are low, better socioemotional, and academic functioning in children. Black males, many who are fathers, are disproportionately overrepresented within the criminal justice system. High incarceration rates have significant economic and social impacts on families and communities. Objective: This article examines differences in father involvement among Black fathers with criminal records and explores relationships between fathers’ involvement, the amount of time served in jail, fathers’ employment status, and fathers’ education levels. Method: Secondary analysis of the third wave of Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing (FFCW) public-use dataset was used for this article. The FFCW study follows a panel or cohort of 4,700 children born to unwed (3,600) and married (1,100) parents. The Fragile Families study employed a stratified random sample of 75 hospitals across 20 U.S. cities with populations over 200,000. Findings: The results of the analyses found (a) that the time served in jail had no effect on fathers’ involvement, (b) no statistically significant differences in fathers’ involvement based on fathers’ education level, and (c) fathers who were working were more engaged in the lives of their children, as compared to fathers who were not working and under correctional supervision. Conclusion: This article’s exploration of differences and relationships between father involvement and socioeconomic variables among Black fathers with criminal records further demystifies the complexities of fragile family compositions and circumstances while informing future policy, practices, and research.
- Go to article: Food for Thought: Culturally Diverse Older Adults' Views on Food and Meals Captured by Student-Led Digital Storytelling in the Bronx
Food for Thought: Culturally Diverse Older Adults' Views on Food and Meals Captured by Student-Led Digital Storytelling in the Bronx
Through the lens of a digital storytelling project exploring food traditions, social connectedness, and aging among diverse older adults, this article demonstrates how innovative pedagogies can contribute to developing a more culturally responsive workforce better prepared to meet evolving needs of diverse urban communities.
In the fall of 2017, 25 undergraduate students enrolled in an interdisciplinary gerontology practice course engaged in a digital storytelling project to explore food traditions and social connectedness among older adults living in the Bronx.
The stories underscore the importance of food and meals in everyday life, particularly for people growing old far from their home of origin. The words and images indicate that food practices can assert identity, sustain cultural ties and social connectedness, and mediate losses both physical and emotional.
The article suggests that integrating innovative pedagogies across health profession curricula and fostering interdisciplinary and interprofessional collaborations are two ways to better meet client needs. Moreover, providing opportunities for experiential learning extends higher education's commitment to integrating best practice pedagogies across the curriculum.
- Go to article: Food Pantries and Food Deserts: Health Implications of Access to Emergency Food in Low-Income Neighborhoods
Food Pantries and Food Deserts: Health Implications of Access to Emergency Food in Low-Income Neighborhoods
Access to emergency food is critical for the survival and health of vulnerable populations, but its importance is not understood in the context of food deserts. Using a cross-sectional survey based on Albany and Troy, New York, we compared the two food desert models, one based on paid (e.g., grocery stores) and the other based on free food options (e.g., emergency food sites such as pantries and soup kitchens). Structural equation modeling was conducted to identify pathways among people’s access to food sites, food consumption patterns, food insecurity, and health conditions. Access to grocery stores did not show significant links to food insecurity or health conditions, whereas access to emergency food, especially time taken to such food outlets, was found to be a significant factor for increased consumption of fresh food. Among the diet-related variables, food insecurity showed the strongest link to negative health outcomes. Access to free or low-cost options needs to be taken into consideration when designing research and practice concerning food deserts, food insecurity, and subsequent health effects.
- Go to article: Forensic Social Work: Psychosocial and Legal Issues Across Diverse Populations and Settings, by T. Maschi and G. S. Leibowitz
- Go to article: Forensic Social Work: Psychosocial and Legal Issues Across Diverse Populations and Settings, edited by Tina Maschi and George S. Leibowitz
- Go to article: The Formation of the Black Medical Movement and Its Implications for Social Work, Part I: African American Physicians
The Formation of the Black Medical Movement and Its Implications for Social Work, Part I: African American Physicians
“The world cannot progress beyond its present impasse...unless we begin to learn again what really happened in the world...to give credit where credit is due and have a different conception of the human being regardless of the race or color of that human.”
Health deficits have been present among Black and African American communities since having been brought to and enslaved in the United States. Black Americans have a legacy of finding ways to make ways to acquire the resources and access to medical care desperately needed among their communities. However, the narrative of how these communities gained access to medical methods, education, and training is largely neglected in the context of social work or in social work education.
This historical review examines the efforts and accomplishments of African Americans to acquire medical training and resources to address the health disparities among their own and neighboring communities in need.
Thematic analysis is used to investigate the existence of efforts of African Americans to acquire access to medical resources.
The findings of this analysis identify that the efforts and achievements of Blacks and African Americans to acquire medical training and resources culminate in the Black Medical Movement (1788-Present).
This existence of the Black Medical Movement presents at least four implications for the social work profession. A brief background of the genesis of health deficits among African American communities of provided, then followed by a description of the Black Medical Movement from its inception to present. This analysis concludes with a call to interrupt systems of oppression by using the presented findings to inform social work ways of knowing, practice, research, and approaches to social justice.
- Go to article: Global Learning Among Undergraduate Social Work Students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Global Learning Among Undergraduate Social Work Students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
While global learning among undergraduate students of color has slightly increased over the past decade, there are major research gaps regarding students of color attending historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), more specifically, the number of undergraduate students of color majoring in social work. The primary goal of this article is to discuss barriers that may prevent students of color who attend HBCUs from participating in global learning experiences. Also, provided in this article is a discussion regarding a Global Learning Visits Program within an undergrduate social work program at Bowie State University, an HBCU, which can serve as a model to assist students with addressing and overcoming barriers in order to take advantage of study abroad learning opportunities.
- Go to article: Género Y Sexualidad: A Nationwide Study of the Social Determinants of Latine Gender Difference in HIV Testing
Género Y Sexualidad: A Nationwide Study of the Social Determinants of Latine Gender Difference in HIV Testing
Latine communities comprise 18% of the U.S. population but account for 27% of all new HIV infections in 2019. Arguably, a key ingredient to reducing HIV infection rate is knowing one’s status. A precursor to knowing is actually getting tested for HIV. The more information one has concerning how social determinants serve as conduits and barriers to getting testing, the more beneficial to all communities, especially marginalized ones. To help fill this knowledge gap, this article utilizes critical race theory and intersectionality as theoretical frameworks, employs secondary analysis of the Latine sample within the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as hierarchical logistical regression modeling to examine the relative impact of health and healthcare, substance use, and key demographics on whether or not a respondent gets tested for HIV. Furthermore, to examine gender differences across these relationships for Latine adults, analyses are performed first for both genders and then separately for male and female respondents.
- Go to article: Helping Older African Americans Thrive in Urban Communities: Empowering Lessons From Detroit
Urban-dwelling African American older adults are disproportionately victimized by systems, which relegate them to disparities in health, education, and economic security as well as inequitable access to resources that support overall wellness (Brown, 2010; Jackson et al., 2004; Kahn & Pearlin, 2006; Zhang et al., 2016). The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020–2021 revealed poorer outcomes and a “double jeopardy” for African American older adults who suffered poor health outcomes (Chatters et al., 2020). As a result, avenues to promote healthy aging through health and wellness literacy, self-empowerment, and social-community connections are critical (Chatters et al., 2020; Pourrazavi et al., 2020; Waites, 2013). A qualitative study was conducted with African American older adults in Detroit to understand how to promote health literacy and overall wellness for those who are aging in place. An empowerment-oriented wellness framework (Dunn, 1961; Dunn, 1977; Hettler, 1976) was employed. Findings indicated that these African American older adults aging in the urban communities strived to maintain their independence while recognizing that they may need some assistance as they age in place. While some elders defined themselves by their disability and expressed feelings of being pushed aside by family and society, many rejected stereotypes associated with aging and reinforced a sense of pride and empowerment. They called for programs to: 1) assist older adults with health literacy and a comprehensive understanding of overall wellness; and, 2) provide activities and tools to support proactive overall wellness; and 3) employ strategies that actively encourage social engagement as well as outreach to their less engaged peers. Participants also suggested that a strategy to enlighten younger generations about the “senior world,” and aging is also crucial.
The purpose of this study was to investigate help-seeking behaviors among 228 self-identified culturally Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals living in Washington, DC, and the surrounding metropolitan area. Results indicate that the vast majority of participants reported feeling stressed, worried, or anxious. A large proportion of the sample reported feeling sad, unhappy, or depressed and experiencing discrimination because of being deaf. Despite these reports, more than three quarters of the sample reported that they were unlikely to seek help if they experienced a serious personal or emotional problem. Race and physical abuse were significant predictors of seeking help. Culturally sensitive interventions can contribute positively to Deaf individuals seeking help.
- Go to article: Hispanic-Serving Institutions: Vehicles of Upward Mobility, Drivers of Transformative Change
- Go to article: Historically Black Colleges and Universities' and Hispanic-Serving Institutions' Contributions to Social Work Education
Historically Black Colleges and Universities' and Hispanic-Serving Institutions' Contributions to Social Work Education
The establishment of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) dates back over 150 years, during a period in history when White institutions denied African Americans access to education. HBCUs made the education of Black people their primary mission, which affected the lives of millions of people around the world (Hopps, 2007; Williams & Ashley, 2004). Subsequently, HBCUs' establishment in and of itself incorporates the fundamental and foundational social work core values established by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Historically, the training of social workers at HBCUs embodies NASW core values: integrity, dignity, worth of an individual, and social justice.
- Go to article: Holistic Justice Instruction Through High-Impact Educational Practices at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Holistic Justice Instruction Through High-Impact Educational Practices at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
As a high-impact educational practice, living-learning communities (LLCs) have been found to promote engaging learning environments for students. It is suggested that LLCs have an excellent parallel with HBCUs due to their history and mission and inherent nature of social capital on campus. An Afrocentric strengths-based perspective was incorporated within the collaborative environment of the EMPOWER LLC, to support student learning specifically related to social and economic justice. The many facets of the EMPOWER LLC at an urban historically Black college and university (HBCU) provide a conceptual model to support a holistic approach to social work student social justice learning.
Inherent to the principles of human rights, all persons are entitled to such rights regardless of geographic location. Yet, social work's commitment to the person-in-environment perspective demands that location be considered in practice.
This article details an elective course focused on human rights within the city of the campus' location.
A study abroad at home format is introduced as a form of immersion learning for nontraditional students interested in human rights within the local context.
A review of the course development and suggestions are provided for designing similar courses.
- Go to article: “I Can’t Even Wear a Simple Dress in Peace”: A Digital Ethnography of Black Adolescent Female Experiences Navigating Gender-Based Violence
“I Can’t Even Wear a Simple Dress in Peace”: A Digital Ethnography of Black Adolescent Female Experiences Navigating Gender-Based Violence
This study explored how Black females make meaning of their experiences with threats of sexual and gender-based violence while navigating urban community contexts using the framework of intersectionality.
Data derived from podcast episodes of audiorecorded focus group and dyad discussions were guided by two central aims: (a) how Black adolescent females describe their daily experiences living in an urban community, and (b) understand Black adolescent female perceptions of other peoples’ perspectives of their realities.
Digital ethnographic methods were used to examine podcast episodes. Findings: Findings were categorized across three themes: attracting unwanted attention; feelings of limited occupational opportunities; and coping strategies related to sexual assault.
Overall, Black adolescent females discuss their daily strategies and thought processes as a means of survival within the urban context. Social work implications are discussed.
- Go to article: Immigrants and Refugees in Cities: Issues, Challenges, and Interventions for Social Workers
The number and diversity of immigrants in cities have increased greatly in recent years. As social workers frequently work with immigrants, this article will focus on the following important topics: legal definitions, origins, employment, and health of immigrants and refugees, as well as micro and macro interventions in social work with this population. Micro interventions such as the culturagram for greater understanding and engagement of immigrant clients, as well as macro issues involving agency structure and government policies and laws will be explored. Advocacy continues to be an important tool for social workers to use especially with current challenging policies.
- Go to article: The Impact of Social Determinants of Health on the Identification and Outcomes of Depression in Primary Care
The Impact of Social Determinants of Health on the Identification and Outcomes of Depression in Primary Care
Social determinants of health (SDOH) may significantly impact treatment outcomes for depression in primary care. An analysis of patients in collaborative care was conducted to explore the association between SDOH and depression baseline scores and treatment outcomes as assessed by the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ9). Although individuals’ baseline PHQ9 scores did not differ by SDOH flag, there was a direct effect of SDOH on PHQ9 reduction rates. SDOH did not significantly moderate the association between collaborative care treatment and depression outcomes. Individuals flagged with SDOH showed higher depression scores at the end of the treatment despite a higher clinical dosage. Routine screening for SDOH in collaborative care and primary care should be further explored.
- Go to article: Improving Social Work Student Competence in Practice With Older Adults Affected by Substance Misuse: Spotlight on the Bronx
Improving Social Work Student Competence in Practice With Older Adults Affected by Substance Misuse: Spotlight on the Bronx
Through the lens of a case study, this article suggests ways to increase social work student competence in gerontology and substance abuse treatment to better meet needs of growing numbers of diverse clients in urban settings. Focusing on a client residing in the Bronx, New York, it explores how changing demographics and a lack of workforce preparedness can combine in an urban context to increase risks for older adults and reduce quality of life in late life. Aiming to reduce knowledge and service gaps, suggestions are made on how to improve social work student competence. These include interpreting client cases through a theoretical framework to deepen understanding about the intersection of advancing age and substance use and improving treatment skills.
- Go to article: I Need to “Man Up” and Be Accountable: Generativity, Positive Transformations, and the Freddie Gray Uprising of 2015
I Need to “Man Up” and Be Accountable: Generativity, Positive Transformations, and the Freddie Gray Uprising of 2015
This study explored how selected returning citizens in Baltimore, Maryland, who experienced the Freddie Gray Uprising of 2015 (the Uprising) quelled community violence, stopped looting, and cleaned up the community in the aftermath of the unrest. These men, who had been incarcerated for between 5 and 20 years, provided narratives that expressed how they made meaning of their experiences during and after the Uprising. Their actions spanned the spectrum of helping through relational actions such as mentoring to helping through political action, advocacy, or civic actions such as cleaning up the neighborhood.
The focus of this study was on the effects of the Uprising as a means for studying whether civic engagement can influence or change how returning citizens integrate back into their communities.
Exploratory qualitative narrative research methods were used to investigate the life stories of returning citizens (i.e., individuals who were formerly under the supervision of the criminal justice system) and who also experienced the Uprising.
There were differences in reoffending among participants following the Freddie Gray Uprising of 2015. Participants who helped through relational actions and political actions were more likely to report reoffending post-Uprising than those who helped through civic actions.
- Go to article: Integrating Substance Use Disorder Education at an Urban Historically Black College and University: Development of a Social Work Addiction Training Curriculum
Integrating Substance Use Disorder Education at an Urban Historically Black College and University: Development of a Social Work Addiction Training Curriculum
Substance use disorders continue to have adverse consequences for a significant number of individuals and families. Despite the increasing need for behavioral health clinical social work practitioners trained to effectively work with this population, social work programs continue to lag behind in providing courses, which will adequately address this need. According to the Council of Social Work Education, approximately 4.7% of accredited social work programs had one or more required course offerings related to addressing substance use disorders. The purpose of this article is to address the identified gap by describing the development of a content-specific curriculum related to addressing substance use disorders while also providing a working framework for other Master of Social Work programs to consider.
- Go to article: An Integrative Pedagogical Model for the Teaching of Diversity and Social Justice in Social Work Education: The Integrative Sociopolitical and Psychological Analysis Model
An Integrative Pedagogical Model for the Teaching of Diversity and Social Justice in Social Work Education: The Integrative Sociopolitical and Psychological Analysis Model
Social work students need to learn how to synthesize sociopolitical and psychological theories into an integrative practice approach if they are to become effective agents of social change and social justice. Academic resources used to scaffold these skills oftentimes implicitly presume that the social worker is white and the client is “other”—Hispanic, African American, and so forth. The integrated sociopolitical and psychological analysis model, ISPA, presented and applied herein to the analysis of societal racism, provides an integrative framework for the teaching and practice of social work and social justice. The model promotes the decolonization of social work educational spaces, while providing Hispanic and African American social work students with an integrated framework that decenters “whiteness” and examines its individual and societal effects.
- Go to article: Intentional Weaving of Critical Race Theory Into an MSW Program in a Hispanic-Serving Institution
Hispanic-serving institutions' (HSIs') settings for social work programs present a unique challenge as a context for implementing social work programs due to their unique mandate to serve Hispanic students. Moreover, this context invites innovative and “out of the box” programmatic ideals that address social justice values. This article presents an example of the implementation of critical race theory to frame a social work program at a medium-sized university in Southern California. Testimonios, a LatCrit empirical method, is used in this article to tell the story from the perspective of two of the founding faculty.
- Go to article: Interprofessional Experiences From a Different Lens: BSW Students Foster Partnerships to Support Underrepresented College Students
Interprofessional Experiences From a Different Lens: BSW Students Foster Partnerships to Support Underrepresented College Students
Empowering social work students to address structural challenges and inequalities on their university campus through partnerships with other disciplines is an opportunity to engage in interprofessional education experiences. This article presents a social work student-led initiative to develop an interprofessional group on their college campus to address the emotional and racial climate. This article recommends ways to create interprofessional education opportunities on college campuses to bring awareness to health issues faced by vulnerable groups. Recommendations and implications for social work education and practice are offered.
- Go to article: The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Rap Music Perceptions: A Content Validation Study of the Rap-Music Attitude and Perception Scale
The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Rap Music Perceptions: A Content Validation Study of the Rap-Music Attitude and Perception Scale
This study examines the content validity of a newly developed measure, the Rap-Music Attitude and Perception (RAP) scale.
Utilizing data from a racially diverse sample of undergraduate college students (N = 871), this investigation highlights an underutilized mixed method, qualitative–quantitative scale development approach, while investigating relationships between race, gender, and rap music views.
Results indicate overlap between themes identified in participants' qualitative responses and RAP scale items. Furthermore, there were several within and between (race and gender) group differences in the endorsement of RAP scale items.
Implications of these results support the utility of the RAP for examining perceptions of rap music and provide insight into how the intersection of race and gender relates to hip-hop music themes.
Behavioral alternative schools (BAS) serve students who are unsuccessful in traditional schools due to low academics and behavioral challenges.
The current study examined the impact of attending a BAS on student grades.
Study researchers used a pretest-posttest design with a random sample of 170 middle school students. ANOVA was used to test the effect of race, gender and grade level on GPA before and after BAS. Multiple linear regression was used to model the effect of age, attendance and covariates on GPA before and after BAS.
For boys, there was no change in GPA after attending the BAS, while girls’ GPA worsened after attending the BAS. Results also showed an effect of attendance and grade level. Although BAS have existed for over 40 years and continue to enroll large numbers of America’s students, their impact on student grades remains debatable.
The BAS system should not imply a goal of improving students’ grades if its main existence is to correct negative behaviors. Restorative practices within the regular educational setting may produce better academic outcomes than BAS.
- Go to article: Justice-Involved Individuals and Admission Into Urban Undergraduate Social Work Programs
Research on the effect of arrests or convictions on college admissions decisions, while limited, suggests that college admission is a major hurdle for applicants with criminal histories. The purpose of this study was to examine admission application policies and practices at undergraduate social work programs in the South for justice-involved individuals or persons with criminal backgrounds. The qualitative study design recruited program directors through professional relationships for interviews and selected programs in urban cities in the South using the Council on Social Work Education’s Accredited Program Directory. The surveys consisted of three questions and the interviews consisted of eleven semi-structured questions focusing on the policies and practices associated with the application process. Study results reveal that slightly more than one half of all programs asked questions about criminal backgrounds, firm policies are not in place, and practices vary from institution to institution.
- Go to article: Kept in the Dark: Exploring Children’s Preparation for Parental Incarceration and Reentry
Parental incarceration is a challenging and pivotal experience for families. Efforts to prepare children can hinder or promote children’s abilities to adapt.
This study addresses the research question: How informed and prepared are children for parental incarceration, family reentry, and re-incarceration?
Fourteen young adults shared their experiences related to childhood parental incarceration and family reentry through individual interviews.
Regardlessof the parent’s stage of criminal justice involvement – arrest,incarceration, reentry, or re-incarceration, participants reported receiving very little information about what was taking place, why, or what they could expect.
Small efforts to prepare and inform children were perceived to be helpfulas children. Resources and brief interventions that mitigate this experience of being kept in the dark are described.
- Go to article: Leadership, Legacy, and Opportunity: The Mississippi Child Welfare Institute Conference, 2003 to Present
Leadership, Legacy, and Opportunity: The Mississippi Child Welfare Institute Conference, 2003 to Present
Jackson State University (JSU) School of Social Work (SSW) sponsors the Mississippi Child Welfare Institute Conference (MCWIC) in Jackson, Mississippi.
The MCWIC plays a critical role in disseminating information about concerns related to African American children and communities.
Using primary and secondary data sources, the authors explore the historical development of JSU, the SSW, and the MCWIC.
Particularly, this article (a) offers a discussion of the present curriculum and ways to infuse conference content, (b) examines MCWIC's African American–focused child welfare scholarship and its link to social issues, (c) explores the conference's community impact, and (d) lastly, discusses how MCWIC provides leadership and professional development opportunities within the HBCU context.
Implications for replication are offered.
- Go to article: Long-Term Care Planning and the Changing Landscape of LGBT Aging: Student Research With Diverse Elders in the Bronx
Long-Term Care Planning and the Changing Landscape of LGBT Aging: Student Research With Diverse Elders in the Bronx
This article reports on an exploratory study examining end-of-life planning among members of a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) senior center in the Bronx, New York, that provided social work students hands-on qualitative research experience in an urban setting. Despite health disparities such as increased rates of depression and isolation and shortened life expectancy as compared to non–LGBT-identified peers, older members of LGBT communities demonstrate resilience as they face their own aging and mortality without traditional family caregivers. Findings suggest that previous experiences providing care for dying adult loved ones can improve well-being by clarifying personal care wishes, promoting planning for end of life, and diminishing anxiety about death. Implications extend beyond LGBT older adults to persons facing late life without care partners for a variety of reasons.
- Go to article: A Meta-Theoretical Framework for Understanding Educational Disparities Affecting Black Youth in the United States: Implications for Social Work
A Meta-Theoretical Framework for Understanding Educational Disparities Affecting Black Youth in the United States: Implications for Social Work
Black youth are disproportionately disadvantaged in nearly every indicator of academic performance.
This analysis seeks to understand the role of racism in the genesis of educational disparities affecting Black youth.
Drawing from structural functionalism, modern capitalism, and critical race theory, we provide a meta-theoretical framework to explore the underpinnings of racial disparities that disadvantage Black youth in U.S. public schools.
This meta-theoretical framework suggests a critical need to examine the history of racism as well as the social, political, and economic structure of the U.S. to understand the educational disparities affecting Black youth.
Social work professionals can use this meta-theoretical framework to inform research, policy, and practice addressing educational disparities and ultimately create more equitable, fair, and just school environments.
- Go to article: Mixed Methods Evaluation of a Mindful Movement Program to Improve Mental Health in Urban High School Students
Mixed Methods Evaluation of a Mindful Movement Program to Improve Mental Health in Urban High School Students
This study reports on a mixed methods evaluation of a Mindful Movement (MM) program for mental health outcomes in an urban high school during the 2017–2018 school year. The MM program had been previously designed and implemented several years prior to this evaluation.
Students were randomly assigned to participate in either the MM group or a health class (comparison group) at the start of the school year. The MM program ran for 5 days a week for 18 weeks as part of the high school curriculum. Quantitative measures were administered at the beginning of the program and at the end of the semester, and included measures of mood, self-esteem, mindfulness, perceived stress, and self-regulation.
At pretest, the MM group fared significantly worse than the health group in confusion, vigor, and emotional regulation, which were not detected at posttest. However, there were also no significant differences between groups from pretest to posttest, or significant improvement from pre- to posttest for the MM group. The qualitative results demonstrate that the students did make improvement in the targeted outcomes.
The results of this study provide qualitative evidence that the program helped students in several areas of functioning. The quantitative results suggest that the skills and tools learned in the program may serve as protective measures against decline in functioning. The discrepancies between findings are discussed with implications for future research and program development.
- Go to article: Mothers’ and Fathers’ Report of Coparenting Relationship Quality, Attitudes Toward Father Involvement, and Paternal Prioritized Roles
Mothers’ and Fathers’ Report of Coparenting Relationship Quality, Attitudes Toward Father Involvement, and Paternal Prioritized Roles
Little is known about mothers’ and fathers’ opinions related to the roles that fathers should prioritize in their parenting. To fill this gap, this study analyzes data collected from parents receiving services from an urban Healthy Start program related to coparenting relationship quality, attitudes toward fathers’ involvement, and the roles that fathers should prioritize in their parenting. The results revealed that mothers had divergent opinions from fathers about the roles that fathers should prioritize in their parenting. Qualitative analyses revealed a link between coresidence and reports of good fathering. Furthermore, the reported discrepancies were related to fathers’ expectations that mothers facilitate their involvement and mothers’ expression of fatigue and resentment from feeling responsible for having to facilitate fathers’ involvement.
- Go to article: Neighborhood Disorder, Urban Stressors, and Street Codes: A Model for Exploring Social Determinants of Life-Course Trajectories
Neighborhood Disorder, Urban Stressors, and Street Codes: A Model for Exploring Social Determinants of Life-Course Trajectories
This article reviews relevant literature and proposes a theoretically grounded conceptual model by which to inform, and potentially advance, the exploratory study of the effects of neighborhood disorder on the psychosocial, emotional, and cultural pathways that are thought to influence social and developmental outcomes for African American youth and young adults. Similar to the social determinants of health model which asserts that the distribution of social and economic resources across populations influences differences in health status, the proposed model posits that environment determines social and developmental outcomes and hence life-course trajectories.
- Go to article: Persistence and Desistance Narratives: Understanding the Role of Correctional and Probation Officers in Reducing Recidivism
Persistence and Desistance Narratives: Understanding the Role of Correctional and Probation Officers in Reducing Recidivism
Forensic social workers and criminal justice reform advocates must better understand how correctional and probation officers influence offender recidivism. Justice system reform efforts focusing on policing and the courts often ignore the roles of correctional and probation officers. Returning citizens' internal “persistence” and “desistance” narratives influence future criminality and successful reintegration into their communities. Correctional and probation officers may influence these persistence and desistance narratives. A narrative analysis investigating the experiences of three Black male returning citizens in Baltimore, Maryland, shows that a person's ability to make sense of their interactions with probation officers while serving community corrections sentences and their interactions with correctional officers within prisons may be one of many factors that influence persistence and desistance narratives.
- Go to article: Policy Transfer Model: Can the United States Successfully Borrow From Portugal's National Drug Policy?
Policy Transfer Model: Can the United States Successfully Borrow From Portugal's National Drug Policy?
Facing a drug crisis and opioid epidemic in the 1990s similar to the current struggle in the United States, Portugal took a bold strategy completely redesigning drug policy different from not only their previous approach, but also diverging from the United States and the existing norms of the European Union. The most known aspect of that plan was the decriminalization of all drugs.
What resulted from Portugal's National Plan for Reducing Addictive Behaviors and Dependencies were public health successes that other countries might hope to emulate; however, the structural, political, and cultural differences are vast.
The policy transfer model, which originated in comparative policy analysis, provides a roadmap to evaluate the likely barriers of successful policy transfer.
This article will present the unique elements of the Portuguese National Plan, highlight where they were successful, provide an overview of the policy transfer model, and ultimately an analysis of the possibility of adopting Portugal's drug policy in the United States using the Policy Transfer Model.
This pilot study, conducted at a public univerisity in an urban community, collected the experiences of 42 social work students enrolled in a required course on diversity.
This research utilizes Critical Race Theory as a framework and expands on the themes experienced by recievers of microaggression insults, assaults, and invalidation (Sue et al., 2007).
Participants in this qualitative study completed three survey questions about: their microaggression experiences, immediate responses, and how they felt.
Student feelings provided beginning insights as to how they coped with their microaggression experiences.
Social work educators may find this research supports the importance of cultural awareness and culturally responsive pedagogy.
- Go to article: Protective and Adverse Experiences: Young Adult Voices on Parental Incarceration in Adolescence
Parental incarceration represents a life-altering event for children and families. This study speaks beyond the statistics, highlighting the voices of fourteen young adults who experienced parental incarceration during adolescence. Participants shared their retrospective experiences through interviews focused on the following qualitative research questions: 1) What adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) did participants identify? and 2) What supports or protective factors did participants experience? Participants identified various ACEs, with 11 out of 14 participants revealing four or more. Key areas of support include family, school, friends, and extracurricular activities. Findings have implications for practitioners assisting children and families affected by criminal justice involvement, and for organizations most likely to play a pivotal role in addressing children’s needs.
- Go to article: Psychosocial Correlates of Depressive Symptoms Among Preadolescent African American Youth
The present study seeks to explore the correlations of depressive symptoms among African American youth. The sample included 118 African American preadolescents (age range: 9–12, M = 10.54; SD = 1.02) living in an urban environment. The sample was primarily female (64.4%, n = 76) and in the 4th grade (43.2%, n = 51). Depressive symptoms were negatively associated with spiritual well-being, self-esteem and positively associated with exposure to violence and bullying. This study identified correlations as well as predictors of depressive symptoms. The predictors include spiritual well-being, bullying, exposure to violence, and self-esteem. These findings documented individual and social level psychosocial factors as an important determinant of depressive symptoms. Furthermore, these findings provided needed empirical evidence documenting factors that affect depressive symptoms among African American children.
- Go to article: Reflexivity, Ethics, and Divergent Perspectives: A Transformational Journey of Social Work Educators
Reflexivity, Ethics, and Divergent Perspectives: A Transformational Journey of Social Work Educators
Using classroom vignettes, this article portrays the experiences of four White social work educators with minority-view inclusion and conflict management that is a result of divergent perspectives in the classroom. The use of reflexivity is explored as a strategy for understanding educators' biases and assumptions in teaching. In addition, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics is applied as it refers to helping social work students learn to think critically to meet the needs and rights of clients and to address social inequalities, diversity, privilege, and oppression. The authors provide recommendations based on their experiences and reflections.
- Go to article: Response to the Drug Crisis in One Appalachian City: A Collaborative Early Warning System Approach
The community of Huntington, an Appalachian city in West Virginia with the highest overdose rate in the nation, participated as an Innovation Community in a grant funded Community Assessment and Education to Promote Behavioral Health Planning and Evaluation (CAPE II) project. Activities entailed designing and implementing an innovative, replicable, and sustainable early warning protocol that addressed a locally determined set of community behavioral health issues. Using 192 publicly available indicators tracked for a year throughout 12 geographic neighborhoods, the authors developed an early warning system and analyzed relationships between key indicators and substance overdose and arrests. Community interventions were designed to address these relationships from the perspective of social workers, law enforcement officers, and community members.
- Go to article: Revisiting Zero Tolerance Policy in Public Schools: The Case for Wraparound Services, Community Partnerships, and Antiracist Policies in Alternative Schooling
Revisiting Zero Tolerance Policy in Public Schools: The Case for Wraparound Services, Community Partnerships, and Antiracist Policies in Alternative Schooling
The disparities and inequalities that exists in the education system are perpetuated through behavioral alternative schools (BASs). It is suggested that assignment to a BAS does not significantly improve students' grades but rather leads primarily Black impoverished students through the school-to-prison pipeline.
Although BASs have existed for more than four decades and continue to enroll annually large populations of America's students, implications for policy, practice, and future research remain relevant.
This review offers a brief history of BASs and zero tolerance policy (ZTP) in public schools.
The review offers ZTP recommendations for policy restoration and provides an outline of a four-step process for implementing ZTP fairly and equally.
Moving current alternative schools into self-directed learning with social and community supports, not only promotes social justice, but also allows for restoration of ZTP to focus on the undeniable need to keep children of all races safe in school.
- Go to article: The Role of Life Stressors in the Relationship Between Work-Related Stress and Depressive Symptoms Among Working Black Adults in the United States
The Role of Life Stressors in the Relationship Between Work-Related Stress and Depressive Symptoms Among Working Black Adults in the United States
Work-related stress (WRS) has been considered a major source of stress for adults in the United States for more than a decade and it is higher in urban settings and greater among Black adults. Although research has established a connection between WRS, life stressors, and depressive symptoms, no previous studies have explicitly examined the association between spillover from life stressors to work and depressive symptoms using a nationally representative survey of Black Americans.
This current study examines how work related stressors are related to depressive symptomatology among working Black adults in the United States (defined as Black adults 18 years or older who were employed at the time of the interview), and whether this relationship is mediated by life stressors.
Multivariate logistic regression analysis compared work-related stress and other life stressors between working Black adults with depressed symptoms and working Black adults without depressive symptoms. Mediation of life stressors between work-related stress and depressive symptoms was also analyzed.
Work-related stress (OR: 1.79, 95% CI: 1.37, 2.32), (OR: 1.39, 95% CI: 1.14, 1.71), neighborhood stressors (OR: 1.40, 95% CI: 1.15, 1.70), and financial stressors (OR: 2.00, 95% CI: 1.54, 2.60) were associated with higher odds of experiencing depressive symptoms with low educational attainment serving as a critical component. Life stressors partially mediates the relationship between WRS and depressive symptoms (OR: 1.10, Bias-corrected 95% CI: 1.04, 1.16).
This study provides the foundation for the inclusion of other stressors (i.e., neighborhood and financial), beyond familial stressors, when exploring the spillover effect for working Black adults; taking into consideration the differential effects among high and low educational stratum. Organizations must begin to take a holistic and comprehensive approach when integrating policies and programs aimed at promoting interventions into their work-related stress prevention programs for Black adults—focusing on the full stress experience among workers at lower educational levels.
- Go to article: The Role of Racial Identity in the Relationship Between Life Stressors and Depressive Symptoms Among Black Adults in the United States
The Role of Racial Identity in the Relationship Between Life Stressors and Depressive Symptoms Among Black Adults in the United States
The disproportionate rate of life stressors coupled with the unexpected lower rates of mental disorders among African Americans demands concurrent consideration of their cultural coping capacity. Racial identity (β = −.15, p < .01) and the interaction term assessing the moderating effect of racial identity on the relationship between life stressors and depressive symptoms (β = −.08, p < .01) remained significant when controlling for social demographics, despite the significant relationship of age, income, educational status, and work status. Findings from the analyses indicate that higher racial identity significantly reduced the relationship between life stressors and depressive symptoms, and lower racial identity significantly increased the relationship between life stressors and depressive symptoms even in the presence of social demographics.
- Go to article: Self-Care in an Era of Pathos: The Effects of the Trump Presidency on the Well-Being of Social Workers
Self-Care in an Era of Pathos: The Effects of the Trump Presidency on the Well-Being of Social Workers
The importance of self-care for social workers as first responders is underscored in light of the sociopolitical, economic, and pandemic challenges that accompanied the presidency of Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States.
We conducted an extensive review of the literature on the conceptualization, dimensions, benefits, importance, and indispensability of self-care for social workers, especially in stressful socio-political and toxic work environments. Chaos theory served as the theoretical scaffold of our research.
Inevitably our research found that the ability of social workers to effectively serve as first responders during chaotic times depends on a proactive and consistent practice of self-care by social workers as an essential best practice.
The consequences of the policies of the 45th president of the United States have taken their toll on the citizenry, with the increase in stress in the nation. Undoubtedly, social workers as first responders, therapists, and educators are at the receiving end of ensuing political and socioeconomic uncertainties. We posit that for social workers to remain steadfast, unshakable, and abiding in the solemn pursuit of social justice and an egalitarian society, this is the era for social workers to embrace and persistently practice self-care.
- Go to article: Sexual Risk Behaviors, Perceived Future Life Chances, and Leisure Activities Among Black Youth in One Urban City
Sexual Risk Behaviors, Perceived Future Life Chances, and Leisure Activities Among Black Youth in One Urban City
Black youth continue to experience persistent sexual health disparities that can adversely impact their lives. There is a dearth of research examining adolescent sexual health and the role of perceived life chances and leisure activities.
This study uses data from Wave 3 of the Birmingham Youth Violence Study (BYVS) to explore these variables among urban Black youth (N = 404).
Key findings support the role of certain leisure activities and improved life chances with regard to sexual risk behaviors. Greater time in social leisure activities was associated with earlier sexual initiation and more sexual partners whereas academic and media leisure activities were linked to delayed sexual initiation.
This study underscores the importance of leisure activities in prevention and intervention approaches for urban youth.
- Go to article: Shifting the Narrative and Ending the Silence: Juvenile Prostitutes or Juvenile Victims?
Public perceptions of juveniles involved in commercial sexual activity are heavily shaped by media and communication frames, and these perceptions influence the direction of public policy priorities.
A systematic critical analysis of trends in the literature was conducted to evaluate the framing of this population as either deserving of policy aid or undeserving of policy aid.
The language of professionals in medical, legal, and social science peer-reviewed journals was assessed, encompassing the years 1985–2015.
Findings suggest that the framing of these juveniles is slowly shifting away from a perspective of juvenile culpability and toward a perspective of juvenile exploitation.
Current research efforts are imperative and should be focused on the reconceptualization of these juveniles as victims of abuse and exploitation.
- Go to article: Social Work Analysis of Social Change Reflecting Renewed Plans for Effective Urban Community Policing in Baltimore City
Social Work Analysis of Social Change Reflecting Renewed Plans for Effective Urban Community Policing in Baltimore City
Background: Despite the plethora of social ills which came to bear on the death of Freddie Gray, the charm of Baltimore City is being revitalized through social work liberation-collaborative efforts toward effective urban policing. Objective: Social workers, community leaders, faith-based groups, gang members, fraternities/sororities, and businesses united under the auspices of one banner to strengthen Baltimore’s promising future. Methods: Using the strengths, prevention, empowerment, and community conditions (SPECS) framework, an urban community policing agenda was developed. Findings: This United Baltimore adopted the slogan of “One Baltimore” and generated a comprehensive agenda with 9 specific endeavors. Conclusion: Social workers in particular are called to action given their justice-oriented professional ethics to assist in Baltimore City’s recovery and to become catalysts of positive social change.
School social workers are crucial in recommending alternative disciplinary practices to prevent suspensions and expulsions in schools (Cameron & Sheppard, 2006; National Association of Social Workers, 2013), particularly in urban school districts, which experience higher rates of discipline disproportionality between students of color and White students (Barrett, McEachin, Mills, & Valant, 2017).
Grounded in an ecological systems perspective, the purpose of the study is to determine if the presence of a social worker predicts school suspensions by race and gender in an urban school district.
Key findings show that the presence of school social workers has a negative relationship with school suspensions for students of color.
We advocate for an increase in social worker representation in urban schools and strategic practices to address school discipline.
- Go to article: Social Work Practice With LGBTQIA Populations: An Interactional Perspective, edited by Claire L. Dente
- Go to article: So Much Trouble on My Mind: African American Males Coping With Mental Health Issues and Racism
The current discussion examines the mental health needs and challenges of African American males within a social context undergirded by racism. There is a dearth of empirical research on African American males in this regard.
To effectively address the needs of this population, this article reviews the extant literature on cultural, social, and contextual factors that may be salient factors in the mental health status and outcomes for African American males.
This includes an examination of the roles of race, religious participation, social support, gender role expectation in mental health and well-being outcomes.
The current discussion is intended to serve as a prospective guide for future research, prevention, and intervention initiatives designed to improve such outcomes for a vulnerable and at-risk population group.
- Go to article: A Strengths-Based Multidisciplinary Leadership Team: A Case Study in an Urban Middle School
For school leaders challenged with meeting the needs of students, staff, parents, and community members, strengths-based leadership approaches have proven beneficial in accomplishing goals of teacher/staff development, addressing school climate, improving relationships between parents and school, and planning interventions for student success. The purpose of the present study is: (a) to offer a description of a multidisciplinary leadership team that employs a school social worker as a school administrator in a sixth–eighth grade middle school; (b) to identify the social worker's view of the strenghs-based approach and how this influences her administrative role; and (c) to consider whether the social worker’s unique skills are valued by others in the school community, when the social worker is a member of the school’s leadership team.
A case study approach was used in this study.
The study identifies key areas in which school leadership can be informed and opportunities for further research on how multidisciplinary teams using strengths-based approaches in intervention could prove beneficial to K–12 educational reform.
The number of American children with a mother who is incarcerated increased by 131% between 1991 and 2007, impacting more than one million children. Because of increased focus on the problems surrounding parents in prison, there has been a growing recognition of how incarceration negatively impacts children and that repairing these relationships is critical to improving family functioning.
The focus of this article is to present a community-based participatory study that measured the impact of a support group provided to mothers during incarceration.
In this pilot study we used a nonexperimental design for an 8-week support group assessed at baseline and post intervention.
This study demonstrated favorable results in forming social connections and promoting positive communication between group members.
Community-based organizations, which offer support to parents, grandparents, and children impacted by incarceration, need continual funding.
Students and faculty of color are demanding action to the recent racially charged incidents across campuses of higher education.
As a Black male academician and social work practitioner, activism is at the forefront of my work to educate students and contextualize the intersecting identities of those existing at the margins. Therefore, in order to create livable spaces that acknowledge and value marginalized bodies, a critical social-justice informed pedagogy must be implemented to raise consciousness and create awareness among students, Black people, and historically excluded communities.
Using the frameworks of Crenshaw's (1991) notion of intersectionality and Freire's (1972) concept of domesticating and liberating education as a theoretical guide, this article aims to elucidate the plexus of my identity as a Black male faculty member with that of the evolving discourse around the #BlackLivesMatter (BLM) movement and the challenging influence on my lectures within a White postsecondary institution.
Implications for social work practice and education will be discussed.
- Go to article: Teaching While Black and Male and Preparing Students for Urban Social Work Practice Matters
This article unpacks the pedagogical reflections of a Black male professor, bringing attention to issues associated with teaching while Black and preparing students for urban social work practice. The article asserts that contemporary forms of injustice cannot be understood without grasping critical historical analyses of race and racism in the United States. Ideas related to critical race theory, racial oppression, and social identities are explored. Finally, the article explicates the importance for students to become comfortable talking about racism and racial injustice in the context of working with clients.
- Go to article: Transformations of the Self: Learning From the Experiences of Returned Citizens Participating in Peer Mentor Support Training
Transformations of the Self: Learning From the Experiences of Returned Citizens Participating in Peer Mentor Support Training
The integration of peer mentors with a history of incarceration is a strengths-based intervention, primarily emerging within large urban U.S. cities. The Credible Messenger Institute is an innovative training program that aims to prepare adults who were formerly incarcerated to mentor justice-involved youth. Through two focus groups, this study explored the change experiences of 11 peer mentors who participated in the 6-week training. Data analysis revealed five themes and one subtheme that identified the change outcomes and the conditions and relationships that supported internal change. Findings suggest that relationships and specific conditions were critical factors in supporting the peer mentor's identity change process. Implications and recommendations for practice and future research on peer mentor interventions with justice-involved populations are provided.
Transition milestones (e.g., telling family members that one is transgender and beginning hormone treatments) are specific transition-related events in transgender persons’ lives that demarcate what their life circumstances were before versus after the milestone was reached. This article examines the relationship between transition milestones and psychological distress in a large sample of transgender adults. Data from the 2015 U.S. National Transgender Survey were used to examine 11 specific transition milestones in a sample of 27,715 transgender Americans aged 18 or older. A majority (64.6%) of respondents reported that psychological distress had affected them “some” or “a lot.” Along with nine of the demographic measures and 13 of the support/discrimination measures, nine of the 11 transition milestones under study were found to be related to psychological distress levels. Reaching specific transition milestones plays an important role in many transgender adults’ lives and may be highly beneficial in helping them to reduce psychological distress.
- Go to article: Transportation Infrastructure as a Social Justice Issue: Mixed Methods Analysis of a Suburban Boomtown
Transportation Infrastructure as a Social Justice Issue: Mixed Methods Analysis of a Suburban Boomtown
This sequential, mixed methods study assessed economic growth and transportation infrastructure development in a suburban Texas boomtown, where population growth exceeded 100% over a 20-year-period. Researchers applied empowerment theory to investigate and compare how environmental justice (EJ) and non-EJ residents perceive the growth. Results from 200 surveys and four focus groups were analyzed and paired with GIS mapping. Findings confirmed incongruence between transportation infrastructure development and economic growth, suggesting a lack of intentional planning, with the consequence of reinforcing societal inequities. Findings underscore need for innovative and inclusive urban planning in the context of rapid growth.