Perspectives on Social Work: 2011

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This collection gathers content from the volume of Perspectives on Social Work published in 2011.


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    Perspectives on Social Work Volume 9 (Spring 2011)
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2011) King, Patricia A. Lee; Lo, Winnie; Holloway, Ian; Sesay, Edward; Sethi, Bharti
    This is the full-text volume of Perspectives on Social Work, vol. 9 (Spring 2011).
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    Editorial from Perspectives on Social Work Volume 9 (Spring 2011)
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2011) Cummings, Tawana; Patrick, Rhonda; Duron, Jacquelynn; Plowden, Keisha; Ford, Amanda; Rose, Alexis; Hill, Larry E.; Tittsworth, Josephine; LaChappelle, Alicia; Torres, Melissa
    Editorial for volume 9 of Perspectives on Social Work by the editorial board.
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    Towards a Critical Understanding of Difference and Diversity
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2011) Lo, Winnie
    Difference is the defining character of our globalizing and postmodern times. Difference is also the basis of oppression. Social work practitioners need to be cognizant that the way difference is deployed in public discourses is not benign. As such, a critical understanding of difference has crucial implications in anti-oppressive as well as social work practices. Furthermore, much of our understanding and perception of difference is implicit, subliminal, and often enmeshed with existing oppressive social relations. Not making visible and bringing to our critical consciousness how difference is understood and perceived would risk reproducing and perpetuating oppressive relations unwittingly in both daily and professional interactions. The objective of this article is, therefore, twofold. First, to understand the meaning of difference and its implications in anti-oppression from a critical social work perspective. The politicized meaning of difference will be further elucidated by being distinguished from a similar yet more diluted term of diversity. This more nuanced understanding of difference and diversity is important to social workers as they critically engage social critiques and social justice debates regarding issues of difference and diversity. Second, to foreground the meaning of difference to our consciousness, and thereby disrupt our unconscious complicity in oppressive relations. In bringing what may be an implicit acceptance of existing meanings of difference to the fore of our critical consciousness, one may be better positioned to resist participating in and reproducing oppression in daily mundane as well as social work interactions.
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    Integrating Diverse Theoretical Perspectives to Evaluate Potential Racial, Ethnic, and Socioeconomic Differences in Perinatal Depression
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2011) King, Patricia A. Lee
    Perinatal depression is a prominent unwanted outcome associated with childbearing impacting approximately 14.5% of women during pregnancy and the postpartum period (Gaynes et al., 2005). Perinatal depression adversely impacts maternal well-being, mother-infant attachment, and child development (Beck, 1995, 1998; Postmontier, 2008a, 2008b). Despite its prevalence and implications, we know little about its etiology across diverse racial and ethnic groups of women with low socioeconomic status. The absence of a clear theoretical foundation that explicates potential racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic group differences impairs our ability to understand and accurately screen for perinatal depression across diverse women. This article integrates bio-psycho-social theory, the stress and coping model, and the life-course perspective and evaluates how these viewpoints enhance and/or limit our understanding of group differences in the experience of perinatal depression. This integrated theoretical perspective is proposed as a framework for future research to evaluate and improve perinatal depression screening and ultimately treatment across an increasingly diverse population of women at risk.
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    Network Characteristics of a Social Support Organization for Gay Men in Southern California
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2011) Holloway, Ian
    Gay men are at risk for a range of negative health and mental health issues, including HIV and depression. The extant literature demonstrates the integral role that social support can play in improving health and well-being among gay men, yet little empirical evidence exists to document the supportive social networks of gay men. The present study sought to understand the network structure of a social support organization for gay men in Southern California. Cross-sectional data collection was conducted online using name generator- and roster-based surveys. Participants were asked their age, organizational tenure, level of organizational involvement, and whether or not they had attended that year’s organizational retreat. Thirty-nine men participated in the study (response rate: 87%). The overall density of the social network was 26.57%; the social network had a high degree of centralization (51.86%) and an average path length of three, indicating a cohesive and well-integrated social network. Social network structure was correlated with age (r = 0.109, p = 0.006), organizational tenure (r = 0.188, p = 0.000), organizational involvement (r = 0.130, p = 0.002), and retreat attendance (r = 0.216, p = 0.000). Results demonstrate the connectedness of members of the social support organization examined in the present study and the utility of empirically examining social support network structures of gay men. Strengths-based intervention strategies that capitalize on social support network structures may be helpful in buffering negative health outcomes for gay men.
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    Asians Americans Living In the United States of America
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2011) Sesay, Edward
    Many Asian Americans come to the United States of America searching for a better life and for better opportunities that were not available in their native countries. However, this is not always the case for many Asian Americans who travel to America especially early Chinese immigrants during the California Gold Rush. They encountered mistreatment, deportation, discrimination and government laws that were enacted to prevent them from coming or returning to America. Soon after the United States and China became allies after the Second World War, older Asian Americans who immigrated back to the United States held on to their traditional lifestyles; while younger generations are more in line with American popular culture. All the culture shock they had to endure, learning a new language while maintaining old traditional lifestyles caused them frustration and mental health issues. For that reason, a social worker working with this diverse population needs to be culturally competent. He or she needs to have knowledge about Asian American culture in order to help them meet their challenges
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    In Search of My ‘Real’ Self, My Ontological ‘I’, and ‘The Eastern Researcher’ Through Journeying with Berger and Luckmann’s “The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge”
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2011) Sethi, Bharti
    This article is a conscious reflection of my ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ selves engaged in research with new immigrants in Brantford and Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk counties, a mid-sized rural/urban town in Ontario that is now experiencing unprecedented immigration. I use Berger and Luckmann’s work in “The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge” to clarify my own personal and academic values. Specifically, their critical analysis of the concepts such as ‘Identity’, ‘Socialization’, ‘Roles’, and ‘Knowledge’ raises questions for me about the validity and legitimization of my knowledge claims and praxis. The authors work challenges me to probe deeper into the process of newcomer integration. In the process of this enquiry I am able to dismantle my ideology(s), both as an immigrant and as a researcher and witness the dialectic dance of identity construction between ‘self’ and ‘society’ . I witness my ‘self’ and the ‘other’ not as binary selves but as twin selves. In other words, the ‘other’ though a separate entity is also a reflection of myself. In solitude I embrace the jewels in the womb of both my Western formed ‘I’ and Eastern formed ‘I’.