Recent Submissions

  • The Necessity For Disability In Social Work Education

    Mirick, Rebecca; Jarvis, Alexa (2023-05-01)
    Although over a quarter of the United States population has one or more disabilities, past studies and reviews of the social work curriculum indicate that students do not receive a well-rounded education on the topic. Building upon previous studies, this research study aimed to further understand social workers’ education around disability in their social work programs. Social work students and graduates (N=78) completed an anonymous online survey exploring this topic. Social workers strongly believe that this is an important topic for social work education. While most learned about mental health disabilities, fewer than half reported learning about other types of disabilities (e.g., cognitive/intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, hearing disabilities, visual impairments, invisible disabilities). Only one-third believed they had learned how to recognize ableism in practice. These findings suggest that while some programs include substantial disability content, other programs have substantial work to do in this area. Implications from this study urge social work programs to enhance visibility about disability in both the curriculum and the community. Most social work students understand the importance of disability education and wish it was covered more in the classrooms. The voices of disabled students indicate that disability is something that warrants more presence and celebration in social work programs. Another important implication is that the level of disability education a social work student receives is dependent on the program they attend, so disability is a topic that is being covered in some courses and programs. This demonstrates the need for consistency amongst accredited social work programs to ensure students are equally prepared to work with disabled clients.
  • An Exploratory Analysis of the Lived Experiences of the Glass Sibling

    Simmons, Lamont; Ritchie, Abigail (2023-05-01)
    Glass siblings are siblings of individuals with disabilities or chronic physical or mental illnesses. While the literature is replete with information on individuals with disabilities, there is limited research about the lived experiences of glass siblings. This qualitative research study seeks to understand the experiences of individuals with siblings with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Three themes emerged from the study, including (a) Carrying Guilt, Anxiety, and Empathy, (b) Social Support is Essential, and (c) Doing What Needs to be Done. The overall findings implicate social work professional efforts that validate the glass siblings’ experiences, increase connections to adequate support, and mobilize resources that reduces stress related to caregiving.
  • Sub-Saharan African Immigrants’ work culture and remittance: Do social workers know enough to care for this population?

    Mbao, Mbita (2023-02-06)
    Learning objectives of presentation: Deepen knowledge and ability in working with sub-Sahara African Immigrants. Understand the significance of remittance as a stressor for many Sub-Saharan African immigrants. Analyzing the impact of immigration on the mental health of sub-Saharan African immigrants. Demonstrate awareness and incorporate the concept of cultural humility as it relates to social work practice with sub-Saharan African immigrants.
  • Examining Solitary Confinement On The Well-Being Of Black And Hispanic Men

    Simmons, Lamont; Flores, Karina (2022-05-01)
    Solitary confinement practices are harmful to the health and well-being of individuals. Little is known about how these practices affect the overall well-being of Black and Hispanic men. This paper aims to examine the overall well-being among Black and Hispanic men experiencing solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and assess if their experiences preclude them from pursuing a quality of life upon release. The paper sought to answer two questions: (1) What is the relationship between solitary confinement and well-being among Black and Hispanic men? (2) Is solitary confinement harmful to societal reintegration efforts among formerly incarcerated Black and Hispanic men? Findings reveal that solitary confinement negatively affects the well-being of Black and Hispanic men and that these men are more likely to recidivate without effective rehabilitation.
  • Resiliency In Child Welfare Workers Through The COVID-19 Pandemic

    Amato, Felix; Bertrand, Grace (2022-05-01)
    The purpose of this study is to understand the overall impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on child welfare workers. First a deep investigation into resiliency in social work, strategies for resiliency, and worker resiliency through the pandemic in general was done. Next, a section on child welfare workers explains the challenges they face along with research on resiliency in the field. Lastly a section on COVID-19 investigates the possible impacts of the pandemic on child welfare workers and globally to give context. This research has found that child welfare workers have felt burnt out, isolated, and negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Recognizing the Impact of Sensory Processing Differences: Social Work Assessment and Intervention

    Walbam, Katherine (2021-10-20)
    Sensory processing differences impact up to 20% of the general population of the United States, yet social workers may not receive training on this neurobiological condition. Sensory processing in an important concept for practicing social workers to understand, as the underlying cause of behavior is what guides our treatment; accurate intervention relies on accurate assessment. This presentation will introduce the theory of sensory integration and current neuroscience understandings of sensory processing, discuss symptom presentation, co-morbid and differential diagnoses, and implications for social work assessment and intervention.
  • Disability Competence: An Often-Overlooked Aspect of Cultural Competence in Social Work

    Slayter, Elspeth (2021-04-05)
    In this talk on cultural competence, we will examine the social construction of disability as distinct from impairment. We will learn about the basics of disability oppression and the response of disability communities in the form of various resistance movements. A review of various hot topics in current U.S. disability culture will be presented. An overview of the guiding principles of empowerment-oriented disability social work practice will be offered before workshop participants will have a chance to explore their own able-bodied privilege. Learning objectives: To discuss social construction of disability; To introduce basics of disability oppression; To review disability resistance movements; To describe hot topics in disability culture; To identify guiding principles for empowerment-oriented disability social work practice; To explore able-bodied privilege.
  • Shameless: An Examination of Addiction and Alcoholism in the Family

    Amato, Phil; Carreiro, Bianca Andrade (2014-05-17)
    The principle objective of this paper is to examine the effects of alcoholism and addiction on the family system through the analysis of a fictional family, the Gallaghers from Shameless. To explore the role of alcoholism and addiction in the family, this paper analyzes the family system through resilience, happiness, and family intervention. Because alcoholism and addiction are stigmatized in the media, people suffering from these two diseases have been dehumanized. The producers of Shameless have the opportunity to create a television series that accurately portrays alcohoism and addiction and the effects it has on families. A realistic depiction of alcoholism and addiction impacts the audience's perception of the two diseases.
  • Resiliency: Do We Choose It? Exploring the Possibility of a Choice Component of Resilience

    Mirick, Rebecca; Manteo, Tori Anna (2015-05-01)
    By examining how participants view their own resiliency, this study looked to explore how people view resiliency and if they believe they make a choice to be, or not be resilient in the face of stress or trauma. By examining past moments of participant resilience, this study explored the possibility of a choice component that may impact resiliency. This study utilized a questionnaire of 28 questions to survey Salem State University students (N=113). 71% felt there was a “tipping point” to a person being resilient or not. 75% of the participants also believed that there is a choice made for a person to be resilient. In addition, 85% of participants believe that they are aware of a choice that is made when looking at lesser adverse situations. The implications of these findings on the topic of resilience is discussed.
  • Raising The Voices Of Sex Workers

    Mirick, Rebecca; Normand, Michaela (2021-05-01)
    Sex workers have a long history of oppressive legislation and a stigmatized view in the United States. Many of these policies, both federal and state-level, do not include the opinions of sex workers. This research project surveyed current and former sex workers (N=6) on their thoughts about policy surrounding sex work in the United States. All six participants agreed that there needs to be a change in current policies, and the majority of participants agree that sex workers need to be included in the writing of policy for it to truly benefit sex workers. This research suggests that sex workers would like to be included in conversations and politics surrounding their work.
  • Accessibility Of Social Service Agencies For Clients With Limited English Proficiency

    Mirick, Rebecca; Musema, Suzanne (2021-05-01)
    This study examined the accessibility of social service agencies in the city of Lynn, Massachusetts for clients with limited English proficiency (LEP). Social service agencies (N=27) participated in phone interviews and/or an online survey, exploring services offered by the agencies, the availability of translation services and if so, in what languages and procedures for providing translation services. Results showed that more than half of the agencies provided oral translation services to clients who prefer to engage in a language other than English by relying on bilingual staff members, and family and friends of the client to act as the interpreters. Many agencies only offered services in Spanish and English. The study's findings offered some important insight into the availability of services to the sizable portion of the city's residents who have LEP status, revealing the disparities that exist in access to language assistance.
  • Here Comes The Sun

    Mirick, Rebecca; Caprio, Gianna (2021-05-01)
    Sunlight exposure is a natural part of one’s daily life. This study (N=30) researched how sunlight exposure affects one’s physical, mental and cognitive health in order to observe sunlight’s impacts on one’s overall wellness. Participants completed a brief, online survey about overall well being, perceptions of well-being, and time spent outdoors in order to explore a relationship between well-being and exposure to sunlight. No significant correlations were found between the number of hours participants spent in direct sunlight and wellness. Some correlations neared significance, suggesting the possibility of relationships. These findings suggest that increased sunlight exposure may not affect one’s overall wellness. The implications of these findings for social work practice and future research are discussed.
  • Lasting Psychological Effects On Survivors Of Intrafamilial Child Sexual Abuse And The Available Resources And Interventions In Massachusetts

    Mirick, Rebecca; Hartman, Adrianna (2021-05-01)
    Individuals who experienced intrafamilial childhood sexual abuse (ICSA) as a child/adolescent often are impacted as adults by this experience. Many clients of social service agencies may have experienced ICSA as a child or adolescent, but it is unknown how knowledgeable social service agency workers are at recognizing the long-term symptoms and referring these clients for treatment. This research study (N=32) explored the variety of services survivors of ICSA are offered and professionals’ perspectives on the level of effectiveness of these services. All three interventions studied in this research – Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Therapeutic Programs, and Group Psychotherapeutic and Psychoeducational sessions or Individual Psychoanalytic Therapy - were deemed helpful by at least 91.30% of participants and referred by at least 52.38%. The goal of this study is to explore the variety of services survivors of ICSA are offered and professionals’ perspectives on the level of effectiveness of these services. The findings from this study and previous research emphasize the importance of education on the topic as well as awareness of the local available resources and interventions. Taking these steps would positively impact survivors of ICSA because the individuals who work with this population would be more knowledgeable about the proper interventions, helpful services/resources, and the subject in general.
  • A Path To 2030: Targeting Women And Girls To End The Hiv/Aids Epidemic In Sub-Saharan Africa

    Mirick, Rebecca; Saunders, Jacquelyn (2018-01-01)
    HIV/AIDS remains a significant problem in sub-Saharan Africa, even though international efforts have been working in the region for the last fifteen years. This paper examines HIV/AIDS data from four international health organization, the ONE Campaign, PEPFAR, the WHO, and the UN. Findings suggest UN’s Fast Track goals will not be met by 2020, which will jeopardize eradicating HIV/AIDS by 2030, unless changes to programing are made. First, women and girls who are HIV positive in the sub-Saharan Africa should follow the WHO’s Treat All Approach to prevent HIV transmission and those who are HIV negative should be placed on pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent infection. Second, pregnant women should follow the WHO’s Treat All Approach in order to prevent mother to child transmission. Third, non-medical interventions such as reducing gender based violence and increasing access to education should be increased. Fourth, men’s health should be changed to help reach the Fast Track goals. These changes would include discrete testing services for men to encourage them to know their HIV status and get treated and an increase in voluntary make circumcisions to reduce infection rates. Funding is a major barrier to these recommendations. In order to close the funding gap, the US must keep its funding at current levels and G7 countries and middle and low income nations must increase their funding levels.
  • Natural Resource Exploitation In Indigenous Communities: An Exploration Of Violence Against Indigenous Women

    Butler-Mokoro, Shannon; Lima, Kelsey (2018-01-01)
    This thesis is an investigation of the connectedness of violence against American Indigenous women and natural resource extraction using corporate colonialism as a framework. In this investigaiton the implicaitons of corporate colonialism on violence against Indigenous women are illustrated in the United States. The case study that will be used in this thesis will be Dakota Access Pipeline protests at Standing Rock, North Dakota. It is important to bring awareness of the relationship between fossil fuel extraction and gender-based violence, using colonization as a framework. This brings awareness that fossil fuel extraction is not just an environmental issue, but that it is a social justice issue as well. Moreover, imperative to inform readers that this is not just happening in other countries, that this is happening in the United States as well. Another purpose of this study is to inform readers that the impacts of colonialism are ongoing and that it is not just a thing of the past. Qualitative methods of research were used to analyze impacts of gender-based violence and intergenerational trauma. Scholarly articles as secondary sources are used for this thesis. Quantitative methods of research or interviews were not conducted as this may lead to further exploitation of Indigenous women and their individual experiences. This topic is an important issue to research because “Indigenous women experience violence at higher rates than non-Indigenous women and that police and the state have failed to provide adequate standards of protection to Indigenous women,” (Walker). Moreover, “Indigenous communities worldwide are disproportionately affected by resource extraction in their territories,” (Walker). Another reason this topic was significant was because in the case of the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, “indigenous women and girls experience higher rates of sexualized violence from the frontline workers and security forces hired by national and transnational corporations seeking to exploit the natural resources in Indigenous lands,” (Walker). Violence against women, especially violence against women of color, is a catastrophic issue in the United States and every region of the world. This subject is innovative because it highlights the interconnectedness between environmental justice and social justice.
  • The Disappeared Children of El Salvador's Civil War: The Search for Identity and Truth

    McAndrews, Robert; Frias, Flor (2014-05-17)
    This thesis focuses on the adopted children of El Salvador, who were taken from their parents at a young age and adopted by parents in the United States. This was due to a civil war that happened in El Salvador during the 1970’s. By looking at identity formation, acculturation, attachment theory, and social learning theory, it searches for an understanding of the different psychological effects that these children could have suffered. The book “How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents” is used in this thesis to compare how the Garcia girls and the adopted children from El Salvador both went through similar situations while adapting to their new environments.
  • Issues with Lack of Transportation Supports for Suburban Dwelling Older Adults: A Modern Conundrum

    Mirick, Rebecca; Hylton, Stacy-Ann (2016-05-01)
    Although there is increased life expectancy among baby boomers, many experience physical illness and debilitating issues that may decrease their mobility. These issues often result in them not being able to drive safely and may require them to explore additional transportation supports. Many older adults in Massachusetts live in suburban communities. Little is known about the impact of lack of transportation supports in the suburbs on older adults. The purpose of this research study was to determine whether there was declined activity, emotional and financial effects, on suburban-dwelling older adults who did not have access to adequate transportation supports. Adults 65 years and older (N=57), were recruited from senior canters (N=2), in suburban communities that do not have adequate access to much public transportation, through convenience sampling (word of mouth). Responses from the surveys revealed that most people still owned and operated their own cars. Those who didn’t drive used town-owned senior transportation. In conclusion, the majority of people senior centers in suburban areas had access to transportation to some extent but thought that access was limited, and additional affordable transportation options would be beneficial.