Perspectives on Social Work: 2006

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This collection gathers content from two volumes of Perspectives on Social Work published in 2006.


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    Whither Palliative Home Care Interventions for Alzheimer’s Disease?
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2006) Cabin, William D.
    Alzheimer’s disease is a major and increasing cause of illness and death in the United States, imposing significant social, economic, and psychological burdens on patients and their caregivers (Federal Interagency Forum on Aging Related Statistics, 2004; Sadick & Wilcock, 2003). Alzheimer’s disease progresses with the aging process. Symptoms include a gradual and steady decline in being oriented, a decrease in memory and ability to participate in everyday activities, and personality changes. In the twentieth century, Alzheimer’s disease became the most frequently identified type of dementia in the United States and Western society (Cohen, 1998; Whitehouse, 2001).
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    Environmental Equity and Environmental Racism
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2006) Shaw, Terry V.
    Social welfare developed to meet the needs of an industrializing society. During this time of rapid growth, social workers helped to establish many safe guards we take for granted in our society including: employment (workers compensation, unemployment insurance, and Social Security), child welfare (prevention of child abuse and neglect), mental illness (humane treatment of individuals with mental illness), and poverty (Medicaid and Medicare programs). Though social welfare has a history of working with vulnerable populations this history has generally not extended to issues relating to the natural environment. Some social welfare scholars have begun to address environmental issues (Berger and Kelly, 1993; Besthorn, 1997; Cahill, 1994;Coates, 2003; Fitzpatrick, 1998; Hoff, 1994; Hoff and McNutt, 2000; Hoff and Polack, 1993; Pandey, 1998; Park, 1994; Rogge, 1993, 1996, 2000) but much more needs to be done to infuse social welfare with an understanding of the interplay between human society and the environment.
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    Answering the Critics: The Inherent Value of Social Work
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2006) Kindle, Peter A.
    Birthed in the squalor and hardship of the late 19th century ethnic slums of Chicago and New York, social work has struggled since its inception. This struggle has been on two fronts: first, social work has struggled to make a difference in the lives of the destitute; and secondly, social work has struggled to develop a self-confident professional identity. Nearly a century since Abraham Flexner’s denial (1915) of professional status to social work, these struggles have yet to be clearly resolved.
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    Perspectives on Social Work Volume 4 (Fall 2006)
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2006) Russell, Amy; Kindle, Peter A.; Humble, Michael N.; Cabin, William D.; Shaw, Terry V.; Pittman, Donna R.
    This is the full-text volume of Perspectives on Social Work, vol. 4 (Fall 2006).
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    Living with Dying: Chronic Illness through an Existential Lens
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2006) Humble, Michael N.
    Chronic illness and disease (CID) is an umbrella term that encompasses illnesses which do not go away easily, may go on indefinitely, and usually will not be successfully cured (Catlan, & Green, 2001). The medical world views such illnesses as diabetes, cancer, depression, lupus, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) as diagnoses that fall under the definition of CID. Although most of these diseases may eventually lead to death, the road there can sometimes take Copyright University of Houston, 2006 8 a lifetime. That same road can be fraught with psychological and emotional distress if the chronic illness is not emotionally processed. Bishop (2005) stated that for most the onset of CID begins, “lifelong process of adapting to significant physical, psychological, social, and environmental changes” (p. 219).
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    Editorial from Perspectives on Social Work Volume 4 (Fall 2006)
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2006) Russell, Amy
    Editorial for volume 4 of Perspectives on Social Work, by journal editor Amy Russell, LMSW
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    Book Review: Tice, C., & Perkins, K., (2002). The Faces of Social Policy: A Strengths Perspective. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2006) Pittman, Donna R.
    This paper reviews the social policy text, The Faces of Social Policy: A Strengths Perspective, by Tice and Perkins (2002). The authors introduce their text with the intention of telling history from the experience of marginalized people, particularly African Americans and women. Hoping to spark student interest in social policy by “putting a face” on the people who are being served by social work professionals, they include poetry, art, personal narratives, and the texts of historical documents. Tice and Perkins utilize historical analysis to show how modern social welfare policies are based on beliefs rooted in antiquity. The genesis of social work as a profession at the turn of the twentieth century is explored and social reform and social case work models of ameliorating social needs are compared. The authors discuss the dual nature of social work in light of these two models and assert that the dominance of one over the other has fluctuated over time. The authors take effort to exemplify the dangers of reducing social welfare needs to an individual model and warn that this frequently results in pathologizing and blaming the victim. This text is appropriate for BSW required policy courses or as a supplementary text in BSW diversity or history courses.
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    The Texas Marriage Amendment: Policy Brief
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2006) Russell, Amy
    The essence of constitutional Bill of Rights is to reify constructs of civil and human rights into tangible privileges that can be upheld and defended. Such a purpose is evident in Texas’ Bill of Rights: “the general, great and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and established”, the grounding for equality under the law (Texas Constitution, 1876, p.1). With this equality legally founded, many states are scurrying to arrest any chance that this equality extends to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through defense of marriage acts and constitutional amendments. When did this threatening rash of homosexual marriage occur to warrant such precautionary measures? Even if a separate, lesser form of marriage were provided for under such equality clauses, i.e., civil unions, there would be an insignificant rise in such from the gay community. If every self-identified homosexual sought civil unions to formalize and protect domestic partnerships, only 1.0 to 1.5 percent of the population would be rushing to the courthouse (Hertzog, 1996).
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    Causal Role of Marriage Formation in Welfare, Poverty, and Child Well-Being
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2006) Cabin, William D.
    This article examines whether “marriage formation” policy is an effective singular public policy for reducing welfare and poverty and improving child well-being in the absence of other policy reforms. The article proposes two theses regarding marriage formation policy in the United States: 1. There is no valid and reliable evidence which has determined marriage is a singular, independent variable causing improved child-well-being and reduced welfare and poverty; and 2. There is evidence of multiple resource availability and relationship stability variables as the most valid and reliable predictors of adult and child economic and social well-being. The article examines the contrasting philosophical positions on marriage formation policy. The perspective which asserts marriage is the single causal variable is examined through recent proposals by the Bush Administration (Office of Child Support Enforcement, 2003; Administration for Children and Families, 2004) and its underlying theoretical and research justifications (Murray, 2001, 1984; Mead, 2001, 1986; Rector, 2001; Fagan, Patterson, & Rector, 2002; Whitehead, 2004). Evidence of the multiple interdependent variable approach comes from a variety of research studies detailed in the article.
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    Book Review: Berns, Nancy S. (2004). Framing the Victim: Domestic Violence, Media and Social Problems. Piscataway, NJ: Aldine Transaction.
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2006) Sheffield, Sherry
    Nancy Berns presents a compelling argument for how the popular media influences public opinion about domestic violence and other social problems. Her book is the result of her research of the popular media portrayal of domestic violence. Berns’ defines popular media as television, radio, newspaper, movies, internet, books, and magazines. She argues that the general public uses the media as their only resource for information about social problems. Berns’ presents four main points about the problem of domestic violence and how the phenomenon is portrayed in the mainstream media. First, she maintains that the media frame domestic violence as a private matter warranting intervention only in extreme cases. Second, she argues that the media’s focus on the victim holds the victim responsible for ending the violence. Third, the media’s portrayal of the perpetrator emphasizes external factors for the abuse and negates personal responsibility. Finally, the media ignores social and cultural norms that foster abuse. These points are then considered in light of how they construct a common set of beliefs about domestic violence that influences public policy.
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    Perspectives on Social Work Volume 4 (Spring 2006)
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2006) Russell, Amy; Lalayants, Marina; Epstein, Irwin; Savage, Andrea; Kyonne, Jin Man; Shepard, Benjamin; Levy, Denise L.; Patton, Joy D.; Cabin, William D.; Hurst, Carol Grace; Sheffield, Sherry
    This is the full-text volume of Perspectives on Social Work, vol. 4 (Spring 2006).
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    Childhood Abuse, Substance Abuse, Social Support, Psychological Functioning: Study of Low-Income Women in Recovery
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2006) Lalayants, Marina; Epstein, Irwin; Savage, Andrea
    The detrimental effects of childhood physical, sexual, or emotional abuse on psychological functioning in adulthood have been reported in numerous studies. Negative outcomes include dissociation, depression, and difficulties in interpersonal relationships. (Gauthier, Stollak, Messe, & Aronoff, 1996; Sanders & Becker-Lausen, 1995). Stein, Leslie, and Nyamathi (2002), in a study of women homeless in shelters, found that childhood abuse directly predicted later depression and low self-esteem. Not surprisingly, post-traumatic stress Copyright University of Houston, 2006 6 disorder (PTSD) has been described as a highly co-morbid disorder, and is likely to co-occur with depression and anxiety disorders, alcohol abuse, smoking, and drug abuse (Perkonigg & Wittchen, 1999).
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    Criminal Court Jurisdiction and Juveniles: Who Really Suffers the Punishment?
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2006) Patton, Joy D.
    With the passing of juvenile crime policies by legislators to help protect society from the juvenile super-predator, the key question that must be raised is, has it made a difference? Juvenile crime policies have a great deal of impact on more than just the juvenile committing the crime. Understanding criminal court jurisdiction for juveniles helps illuminate the impact these policies have on the juveniles and communities in terms of who really suffers the punishment.
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    How Can We Improve International Students’ Cultural Adjustment in the U.S.A.?
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2006) Kyonne, Jin Man
    At the University of Missouri-Columbia (UMC), over 1,300 international students were enrolled during the 2005 academic year. Their family members, as well as international faculty members who included visiting professors, resided in the city of Columbia near the UMC campus. A support system in the form of an International Center is operated on campus, but it is not sufficient to cover international students’ diverse needs, because the major roles of the center are focused on official works. The purpose of this study was to find an effective way of improving international students’ relationships with American citizens, in order to assist in the international students’ cultural adjustment within, and ultimately their integration into American culture. This research surveyed Korean students as a target group, because they are one of the major international student groups at UMC. Based on the data received, these students’ perceptions of their cultural adjustment were analyzed on their behavioral characteristics, such as the frequency of meeting American friends or neighbors per week, by using analysis of variance (ANOVA) / covariance (ANCOVA), and testing the term of residence as a covariate.
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    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2006) Russell, Amy
    Editorial for volume 4 of Perspectives on Social Work, by journal editor Kenya R. Minott, MSW.
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    Crisis of Faith in Gay Christians: An Examination Using Transformational Learning Theory
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2006) Levy, Denise L.
    This paper examines the social work practice issue of Christian, homosexual individuals facing a crisis of faith. The phrase crisis of faith, though commonly used in scholarly text and popular culture, is not clearly defined in religious, philosophical, or sociological literature. This paper, therefore, will refer to the Wikipedia (2005) definition: Crisis of faith is a term commonly applied to periods of intense doubt and internal conflict about one's preconceived beliefs or life decisions. A crisis of faith . . . demands reconciliation or reevaluation before one can continue believing in whichever tenet is in doubt or continuing in whatever life path is in question. (Para 1) This practice issue will be examined using Mezirow’s (1991) transformational learning theory, which is particularly pertinent because it focuses on making new meanings during and after a crisis. There is relatively little scholarly research on this subject, especially from a social work perspective. Furthermore, there is almost no literature analyzing this issue using transformational learning theory.
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    Book Review: Maguire, Lambert. (2002). Clinical Social Work: Beyond Generalist Practice with Individuals, Groups, and Families. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2006) Hurst, Carol Grace
    In Clinical Social Work: Beyond Generalist Practice with Individuals, Groups, and Families, Lambert Maguire (2002) takes the pulse of the clinical social work profession as a whole. He finds a field changing rapidly in order to try to keep pace with a culture that is “more result oriented and impatient” (p. 279). He argues that contemporary people expect change to happen quickly. People accustomed to accessing desires with the quick click of the computer mouse on the internet don’t need clinical social workers who take a long time to help them. Managed care has also impacted the way clinical social workers must practice. It is no longer enough to state that the effective clinician is part scientist, part artist. The effective clinician must now also be part business person.
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    Sex Panic, Welfare, and the Police State
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2006) Shepard, Benjamin
    In the wake of the 2004 presidential election, one observer noted: “The Democrats' mistake was thinking that a disastrous war and national bankruptcy would be of concern to the electorate. The Republicans saw, correctly, that the chief concern of the electorate was to keep gay couples from having abortions,” (Ricardo Dominguez, personal communication, January 31, 2005). Instead of the election becoming a referendum on a war begun under the auspices of missing weapons of mass destruction which never materialized, a sex panic over abortion and a homosexual menace shifted the course of debate. Faced with the threat to their civilization, the electorate awarded Bush a second term. With victory in hand, Bush claimed a mandate to dismantle core foundations of the U.S. welfare state.