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Scholars Symposium 2023: Social Work

To advocate and advance the scholarly work of students and faculty at Cedarville University

Social Work

Refugees and Mental Health

by Rachel GC Nesmith (Undergraduate) and Jordan L. Parsons (Undergraduate)

The aim of this study is to qualitatively assess the mental health needs of refugee populations within the Dayton area. We will conduct an exploratory, cross-sectional study through an open-ended focus group. Participants will be chosen based on the following criteria: Dayton residency, refugee status, and involvement with a refugee resettlement agency that does not provide mental health services. A researcher will conduct the focus group, with the assistance of a transcriber and an interpreter, who will also serve as a cultural broker for the group. Participant data will be transcribed and analyzed to identify common themes. This information will contribute to the general knowledge about the needs of refugees in the Dayton community.

The aim of this quantitative study is to describe the impact of community-based mental health resources on the mental health symptoms present in the refugee population. We will conduct a quasi-experimental nonequivalent control group study. Two groups will be analyzed, one that has access to, and participates in community-based mental health programs, and one that does not. Participants in both groups will be chosen based on the following criteria: refugee status and the presence of at least two mental health symptoms. Participants will fill out a questionnaire before and after either participating in an intervention, or after the span of three months. Data will be analyzed using SPSS. We hypothesize that community-based mental health programs will decrease the prevalence of mental health symptoms in those who participate, and that the control group will show no change.

Educational Resources Available for Healthcare Professionals Working with Human Trafficking: What's There?

by Hannah G. Abel (Undergraduate) and Hannah J. Amundson (Undergraduate)

Human trafficking is an illegal form of human exploitation. Healthcare professionals (HCPs) are often first line workers in anti trafficking efforts. Unfortunately, HCPs are often unprepared and lack confidence to properly engage with potential human trafficking victims. Without the proper training or resources, HCPs are often unable to identify possible victims. The purpose of this study is to review available educational resources for HCPs about human trafficking, and to survey HCPs to determine what they feel is needed to be effective when serving this population. Using a cross-sectional mix-methods design, this study seeks to explore how to better prepare and serve HCPs and the victims of trafficking they may come in contact with. When HCPs are appropriately educated and equipped to identify and serve victims of human trafficking, they can provide resources and services that further anti-trafficking efforts and protect and aid this population.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Substance Use Disorder

by Stephanie A. Courtsouridis (Undergraduate) and Elisa J. Owens (Undergraduate)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder [ADHD] and Substance Use Disorder [SUD] are disorders that are commonly comorbid. While many studies assess the severity, and extensiveness of symptoms in patients with comorbid ADHD and SUD, additional research would be useful to determine the specific factors that connect the two diagnoses. Supplemental research would also help determine how effective treatment will vary based on the comorbidity of the diagnoses. This proposal seeks to address any factors that contribute to comorbidity of ADHD in adults who have a SUD. Additionally, this proposal aims to determine the difference, if any, in medication regimen for adults with ADHD versus those with comorbid ADHD and SUD. For the quantitative portion of this study, a quasi-experimental, static group design will be used to compare treatment methods for adults with a SUD and ADHD versus those who have a comorbid diagnosis but do not desire receiving treatment. The qualitative research will be conducted using a cross-sectional survey of individuals with comorbid SUDs and ADHD to examine the common denominators that may be contributing factors to the comorbidity of both conditions. Based on the findings of this study, future professionals will be able to develop both preventative and remedial treatment for individuals at risk for both ADHD and SUDs.

Education for Students with Autism

by Elayna F. Cantrell (Undergraduate) and Heidi Anne Hecker (Undergraduate)

Secondary general education teachers are struggling to meet the needs of students who have autism in the current inclusive classroom setting (Boe, 2006; Goodrow, 2016). The research we found highlighted a gap in evidence-based teacher training and how it will correlate with social interaction. There is controversy over what a quality education means for students with disabilities. For the purpose of this study quality education will be defined as the provision of personalized instruction with sufficient support services to permit the handicapped student to benefit educationally (Educating children with autism 2001). This study will identify areas that need improvement for students to receive a quality education while focusing on the effectiveness of teacher training.

The Impact of Fatherlessness on Child Welfare

by Samantha Fay Wisor (Undergraduate) and Abigail Susannah Adams (Undergraduate)

The goal of this study is to examine those within the Miami Valley region who have received services from the child welfare system and if there is a significant difference with mental health between adolescents with present fathers and those without. Using an explanatory quasi-experimental posttest design, we will explore participants’ mental health after leaving the child welfare system through a one-page survey. The data will be understood through the use of frequency distributions and measures of central tendencies. With the data collected, we will run an independent t-test to determine the difference between the mental health of adolescents with present fathers and those without. We anticipate findings will indicate those with present fathers will show a substantially higher overall mental health than those without. Implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research will be discussed.

Teaching Youths About Consensual Sex

by Carrie N. Below (Undergraduate) and Elizabeth K. Nevarez (Undergraduate)

Problem: Research on the effectiveness of abstinence-only sex education and comprehensive sex education to teach consent is limited. A lack of knowledge regarding consent can lead to higher levels of sexual assault, rape, and unwanted sexual events (Jozkowski & Peterson, 2013). This study will seek to analyze the effectiveness of abstinence-only sex education and comprehensive sex education in regards to the topic of consent. Research Question: Do young adults who receive abstinence-only sex education or comprehensive sex education practice higher levels of consent? Method: We will conduct interviews with young adults from ages 18-34. In order to discover the type of sex education curriculum participants were taught, data will be configured to reveal the type of education received and the general understanding of sexual health. We will distribute a survey to young adults from ages 18-34. The survey will include data collection of their concept of consent according to Muehlenhard’s definitions of consent (Muehlenhard, 2016). We will observe these young adults' perception of comfortability and knowledge of sexual education as we conduct both the interviews and surveys.

Do Single Mothers Increase Their Independence Due to Educational Support Groups?

by Olivia M. Burkett (Undergraduate) and Sarah Talmage (Undergraduate)

There is minimal research on the effects of educational support groups on single mothers in poverty and their interdependence. Single mothers are facing a significant rate of poverty, as well as various stressors due to these circumstances. This study aims to examine an intervention for this population by using an explanatory research design. Previous research has found that educational support groups can increase independence in those dealing with poverty or similar situations. However, this has not yet been explored for single mothers who face additional poverty-related struggles. This study will use a mixed-method approach, by using both surveys and interviews to gather data. This data will be collected using a repeated cross-section, longitudinal study to test the hypothesis. We expect to find that educational support groups increase social support, economic status, and access to resources for single mothers. We hypothesize that these variables will contribute significantly to a single mother's interdependence and provide further insight into supporting this population.

The experiences of couples with domestic violence pre and post Covid-19

by Mark Gallimore (Undergraduate)

Domestic Violence (DV) is a widespread and pervasive issue. According to “The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey”, one in four women and one in nine men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime (Smith et al., 2017). The prolonged state of emergency and restrictions that occurred during the Covid 19 pandemic had a significantly negative impact on domestic violence worldwide (Grzejszczak et al., 2022; Istihak & Khaleda, 2021; Rakubu & Olofinbiyi, 2022). The restrictions implemented during the pandemic forced victims of DV to stay in the home and restricted their access to services (Frederick & Regardt, 2020; Popescu, 2021). Although the current literature on DV is comprehensive, one area of research that has not been discussed in depth is how Covid has changed the landscape of DV now that the post-covid period has surpassed the span of broadly-enacted restrictive policies. This research study compares the experiences of couples with DV during the Pre-Covid-19 and Post-Covid-19 periods. The participants will be recruited from DV shelters in the Miami Valley area. The methods utilized will be surveys and interviews from which data will be collected for further analysis. This is an exploratory study to begin understanding the experiences of couples with DV during this unique timeline, and to inform future research into effective interventions for this population.


Recidivism in Youth: The Impact of Parental Incarceration

by Haley Jean Caudill (Undergraduate) and Mackenzie Grace Williams (Undergraduate)

There is an abundance of research on juvenile offenders. However, there is little to no research on if having at least one parent impacts recidivism of youth. This study seeks to analyze the impact of parental incarceration on recidivism rates of incarcerated youth. We will be conducting an explanatory non-experimental cross-sectional study that will take the form of surveys to be handed out to randomly selected youth in Ohio juvenile detention centers and correctional facilities between the ages of 14 and 17. These youth will complete the survey and answer questions about their parents and themselves regarding the length of incarceration, how many times they have been incarcerated, and their age at the incarcerations. We will analyze this data using a chi square to assess for association between recidivism and parental incarceration. We expect that having at least one incarcerated parent increases the likelihood of recidivism in incarcerated youth.


Language Barriers in Health Care

by McKenna R. Kaneversky (Undergraduate) and Abigail F. Gentile (Undergraduate)

Research is limited within the empirical literature when it comes to the use of professional interpretive services. This study seeks to explore if there is a certain interpretation company, or number of hours that seems to increase the wellbeing of clients with LEP (limited english proficiency) at Miami Valley Hospital. The methods of study will consist of structured interviews with doctors, nurses and maybe some clients about their interaction with different types of interpreters. We anticipate finding may differ among clients and doctors alike due to the goals of each during a hospital stay being different.