Eack, S. M., & Newhill, C. E. (2012, March 1). Racial disparities in mental health outcomes after psychiatric hospital discharge among individuals with severe mental illness. Social Work Research, 36(1), 41–52.
The scholarly article examines a social need of establishing racial discrepancy in mental health outcomes. The problem of race is considered one of the most challenging social problems in the USA. The paper emphasizes the need to maintain equality in giving medical diagnoses for particular mental health conditions and reducing the level of disparities in the use of types of treatment, including pharmacotherapy and inpatient care. The group population is African American people.
For their research, Eack and Newhill utilized 925 participants, including people recruited from psychiatric inpatient units. Members of the survey consisted of African Americans who accounted for approximately 70% of all participants and Caucasian persons, constituting up to 30%. Individuals were from 18 to 40 years old. In addition, up to 60% of all members were male. Over 55% of patients were diagnosed with mood disorders, while about 22% and 21% had substance abuse disorders and psychotic disorders, respectively. In addition, 50% of participants were diagnosed with both substance abuse and psychiatric disorders.
Eack and Newhill implemented the intervention theory of personal growth curve modeling of 925 White and African-American individuals with severe mental illness. The theory aimed at examining the presence of racial differences in mental health results after the discharge from psychiatric hospitals. African-American persons had lower socioeconomic status and higher probability to be diagnosed with psychotic disorders. Members of the survey were examined, while hospitalized with the help of socioeconomic measures and mental health results. Similar plan of mental health outcome was redone every ten weeks annually. They aimed at examining changes in symptomatology and functioning of the human body. Individual growth curve modeling investigated the differential trajectories of treatment results between white and black members over the course of a year after their discharge.
The implemented intervention was effective. The results revealed that the existence of substantial differences in mental health outcomes among White and African-American patients. The disparity existed despite different services and treatment provided to minority groups suffering from severe mental illnesses. For example, African-American individuals showed a lower level of improvements in symptoms, especially mania, and activation, as well as negative symptoms. After the discharge from hospital, few black members of the survey returned to work because their physical and mental functioning was worse than that of white participants. Racial disparities were evident even after the adaptation to social, demographic, as well as diagnostic changes. They were also stable across socioeconomic status, gender, and psychiatric diagnoses. The attained results point to the need of providing more effective and efficient mental health services for those minority members who suffer from severe mental illnesses.
Eack and Newhill used social goals model as a historical model for group work with the aim of raising social responsibility and consciousness. The paper is useful, as few researchers have focused on examining the disparities in mental health outcomes among patients with mental disorders. The study is important for providing proper social work and treatment services for African Americans. The strength of the paper is that it is the first long-term longitudinal research analyzing racial disparities in health outcomes. The attained results underline the significance of further investigations aimed at identifying those service systems that lead to poor mental health outcomes among individuals from minority groups.
Thomas, A. J., Carey, D., Prewitt, K-R., Romero, E., Richards, M., & Velsor-Friedrich, B. (2012). African-American youth and exposure to community violence: Supporting change from the inside. Journal for Social Action in Counseling and Psychology, 4(1), 54-68.
The peer-reviewed journal article investigates the group social need of advancing social justice, especially in the field of exposure to violence, affecting the group population of African-American youth. Violence exposure of urban children and lower-class adolescents of society is related to the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Thomas et al. utilized the group of children attending schools. They selected two schools located in communities characterized by a high rate of violent crimes in the city.
Thomas et al. chose twenty-one young individuals to participate in the survey with eleven persons in the first group and ten in the second one. Fourteen females and seven males, who took part in the groups, were from eleven to fifteen years old. The average age was twelve years.
As intervention theory, Thomas et al. used focus groups designed to provide African-American youth with the opportunity to offer possible solutions to violence exposure through the process of revising curricula. The researchers held four 90-minute sessions after the school program at both schools. The first session focused on the exposure of violence to children and the effective strategies to be utilized. The next ones involved a brief summary and evaluation of each curriculum provided in schools. They focused on such questions as age appropriateness and relevance of materials, the nature of activities, engagement in community organizations, school activities, as well as church groups.
The intervention was effective because focus groups were used as the basis for developing and adapting curricula in accordance with the cultural and social needs. Thomas et al. employed the process and field notes, in order to analyze the nature of the responses to the provided curricula and, consequently, make the necessary revisions. The curricula were altered if the notes proved that the major part of focus group members agreed to conduct changes or if the observers decided that the participants’ responses pointed to the necessity of changing curriculum. Young members of the survey provided efficient and useful feedback on the course of instruction. As a result, the process served as an intervention for the participants. Most members felt pride for being a participant who represented persons of their age and commented on the existing curriculum. In addition, they offered particular recommendations with the aim of enhancing the quality of education and social justice. The participants also gave a detailed feedback on the civic engagement curriculum. It was designed to improve the capacity of children and control the staff, develop leadership abilities and skills, as well as provide positive changes to communities.
The article used reciprocal model of group work that aimed at providing mutual assistance to group participants, improving the level of socialization and justice, as well as achieving adaptation to changes. The paper provides useful data of how to achieve and promote justice for disenfranchised groups, particularly children and youth in educational establishments. The offered sessions provided participants with the opportunity to criticize curriculum and evaluate their experiences. They also enabled individuals to use the activities and materials with the aim of improving the quality of their school education and neighborhood communities. The survey also helped to reduce the negative influence of violence on African-American persons.
Stokes, J., & Schmidt, G. (2011). Race, poverty and child protection decision making. British Journal of Social Work, 41(6), 1105–1121.
The study examined the problem of child security as a group social need. It highlights the importance of understanding the influence of race and social class on child protection decisions. Racial and ethnic minorities, as well as low-income families form the basis for discussions in the field of child welfare. The group population of the research is ethnic minority communities, low-income households, as well as racial groups.
Stokes and Schmidt conducted a study with 118 employees from the Ministry for Children and Family Development, a governmental agency responsible for child protection. More than 80% of participants were female. Most of them were from thirty-five to forty-four years old. Up to 70% had six or more years of expertise in the field of child protection. The paper implemented a factorial survey method as an intervention theory. The research focused on the evaluation of influence of poverty and race on the process of decision-making regarding child protection. The method is effective in studying individuals’ perceptions, judgments, beliefs, as well as decisions. The attained results showed that five of the eight dimensions had five aspects that influenced the risk decision. They included such elements as housing, spousal violence, harm to children, co-operation, as well as substance abuse.
The intervention was effective, as it helped to determine factors that influenced decision-making regarding child protection. It revealed that such factors as race and poverty did not have substantial effect on decisions. The elements that were the most apparent in this field included spousal violence, substandard housing, as well as substance abuse. The article discussed a social group model of a way of analyzing social group of people. It aimed at increasing the level of social consciousness and responsibility concerning the issue of child protection.
The paper provides a relevant and reliable source of data that focuses on the problem of child security. Domestic abuse has raised concerns of researchers and scholars. Therefore, the analysis of the factors that affect the process of making decisions is of high significance. It increases the level of awareness of the harmful impacts on those children who are exposed to domestic violence. The factorial survey method is beneficial, as the construction of the vignettes helped to replicate the complicated real world and remove the factors influencing it. However, the paper has several limitations. Such historical and cultural issues pertaining to aboriginal people as colonization and residential schools are not clear in the assessment process because of the limitations of the risk assessment tools. The major strength of the article is that it underlines the significance of addressing the problems of need and risk in children’s lives, as well as the balancing child protection and welfare. The process of analyzing the causes of parents’ abnormal behavior helps to understand the context of human lives in child protection decision-making.
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