Research and Publications - Department of Human Development and Family Studies

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    Social Network Gap Analysis Evaluation A Case Study of the Southeastern Health Equity Council
    (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2019) Bright, Candace Forbes; Cozart, Thometta; Bagley, Braden; Scott, Hannah; Dennis, Jonathan; East Tennessee State University; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa; University of Southern Mississippi; Jackson State University
    Despite the growing emphasis on collaboration in public health, there remains a dearth of literature providing tools for the evaluation of coalitions and councils. This study employed social network gap analysis as an evaluation tool. Survey data collected from the Southeastern Health Equity Council members were used to assess connections among members as a whole, by committee, by state, and by health specialty area. Analysis of how well Southeastern Health Equity Council met the representation outlined in its strategic plan was also conducted. Recommendations for improving the network and opportunities to effectively recruit and advance the work of Southeastern Health Equity Council are discussed.
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    Trauma-Informed Supervision and Related Predictors of Burnout and Secondary Traumatic Stress Among Prelicensed Counsellors During the COVID-19 Pandemic
    (Springer, 2023) Cook, Ryan M.; Fye, Heather J.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    In the current study, we examined individual factors, organizational factors, COVID-19 anxiety, and trauma-informed supervision as predictors of prelicensed counsellor burnout and secondary traumatic stress (STS). In a sample of 282 prelicensed counsellors, we conducted two hierarchical regression analyses for counsellor burnout and STS. The variables of interest accounted for 38% of the variance in counsellor burnout and 32% of the variance in counsellor STS. In the model of counsellor burnout, statistically significant variables included age, caseload, setting, COVID-19 anxiety, and trauma-informed supervision. For STS, statistically significant predictor variables were age, caseload, COVID-19 anxiety, and trauma-informed supervision. Implications of the findings for prelicensed counsellors, supervisors, and counselling researchers are discussed.
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    The Role of Resilience in Ethnic Minority Adolescent Navigation of Ecological Adversity
    (Springer, 2021) Wilcox, Lisa; Larson, Kim; Bartlett, Robin; University of North Carolina; East Carolina University; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Adverse childhood experiences and health disparities profoundly affect the health of ethnic minority adolescents and influence their overall well-being. In light of current health disparities and civil unrest, this secondary analysis sought to better understand resilience among ethnic minority adolescents living in rural eastern North Carolina (NC). Using Ungar's (2013) Theory of Resilience and Seven Tensions, the two tensions that depicted the most adversity for these adolescents were social justice and power and control. Racism and discrimination were identified as prevalent risk factors. Four tensions in the model, cultural adherence, identity, cohesion, and access to material resources, were linked to protective factors and represented ethnocultural pride. Findings suggest that rural-dwelling African American and Latinx adolescents share concerns related to racial adversity but navigate their ecological experiences in unique ways.
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    Resign or carry-on? District and principal leadership as drivers of change in teacher turnover intentions during the COVID-19 crisis: A latent growth model examination
    (Wiley, 2022) Matthews, Russell A.; Wayne, Julie H.; Smith, Claire; Casper, Wendy J.; Wang, Yi-Ren; Streit, Jessica; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa; Wake Forest University; Bowling Green State University; University of Texas Arlington; Northern Kentucky University
    During the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers in the United States, an already at-risk occupation group, experienced new work-related stressors, safety concerns, and work-life challenges, magnifying on-going retention concerns. Integrating the crisis management literature with the unfolding model of turnover, we theorize that leader actions trigger initial employee responses but also set the stage for on-going crisis response that influence changes in teachers' turnover intentions. We apply latent growth curve modelling to test our hypotheses based on a sample of 617 K-12 teachers using nine waves of data, including a baseline survey at the start of the 2020-2021 school year and eight follow-up surveys (2-week lags) through the Fall 2020 semester. In terms of overall adaptation, teachers on average, experienced an increase in work-life balance and a decrease in turnover intentions over the course of the semester. Results also suggest that district and school leadership provide unique and complementary resources, but leader behaviours that shape initial crisis responses do not similarly affect employee responses during crisis, contrary to theory. Instead, teachers' adaptive crisis response trajectories were triggered by continued resource provision over the semester; increasing provision of valued resources (i.e., continued refinement of safety practices) and improvements in work-life balance prevented turnover intentions from spiralling throughout the crisis. Crisis management theory and research should continue to incorporate temporal dynamics and identify factors that contribute to crisis response trajectories, using designs and analyses that allow for examination as crises unfold in real time.
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    Social support in a parenting Facebook group during the COVID-19 pandemic
    (Wiley, 2023) Hooper, Alison; Schweiker, Claire; Kerch, Cailin; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Objective: This paper includes a mixed methods content analysis of a parenting Facebook group focused on COVID-19. We analyze participants' posts to identify the types of support parents sought and gave. Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in increased parental stress and challenges related to children's development. Many families turned to social media as a source of information and social support. Method: We analyzed 1,180 posts from a large, closed Facebook group focused on parenting during COVID-19. We coded posts using a modified version of social support theory and supplemented this analysis with codes related to giving and receiving support, post format, and topic. Results: Participants frequently offered informational support, typically reposting content from other sources. There were fewer instances of soliciting support, but these posts had significantly more comments. The most common topics discussed were parenting and child development, remote schooling support, literacy, and adult mental health. Conclusion: Findings illustrate the benefits and challenges of online support communities for parents, especially those on social media platforms.
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    Addressing Barriers to Recruitment and Retention in the Implementation of Parenting Programs: Lessons Learned for Effective Program Delivery in Rural and Urban Areas
    (Springer, 2018) Smokowski, Paul; Corona, Rosalie; Bacallao, Martica; Fortson, Beverly L.; Marshall, Khiya J.; Yaros, Anna; University of Kansas; Virginia Commonwealth University; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa; Centers for Disease Control & Prevention - USA; Research Triangle Institute
    Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of family-based programs for reducing adolescent risk behaviors and promoting adolescent health; however, parent engagement, specifically in terms of recruitment and retention, remains a consistent challenge. Recruitment rates for family-based prevention programs range from 3 to 35%, while, on average, 28% of caregivers drop out before program completion. Thus, engagement of parents in prevention programming is of utmost concern to ensure families and youth benefit from implementation of family-based programs. In this manuscript, two Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded projects share their experiences with engagement of parents in violence prevention programs. Problems related to parent engagement are reviewed, as are structural, attitudinal, and interpersonal barriers specific to recruitment and retention. Examples of successful implementation strategies identified across urban and rural sites are also analyzed and lessons learned are provided.
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    Gender, violence and resilience among Ugandan adolescents
    (Pergamon, 2017) Namy, Sophie; Carlson, Catherine; Norcini, Andrea; Faris, Devin; Knight, Louise; Allen, Elizabeth; Devries, Karen; Naker, Dipak; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa; Columbia University; University of London; London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
    Resilience, commonly understood as the ability to maintain adaptive functioning in the face of adversity, has emerged as a salient entry point in the field of positive youth development. This study makes a unique contribution by exploring dimensions of resilience among adolescents in Uganda, examining associations between violence from different perpetrators and resilience, and testing whether sex moderates these relationships. Analyses are based on data from 3706 primary school students. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) identified five factors underlying the construct of resilience: Emotional Support; Family Connectedness; School Connectedness; Social Assets; and Psychological Assets. We used regression analysis to investigate associations between these dependent variables, background characteristics, and experiences of violence (including exposure to intimate partner violence against female caregivers). Results reflect a complex relationship between violence and resilience, with patterns varying by perpetrator (e.g., teacher, peers, caregivers) and some evidence that the sex of the student moderates these dynamics. Overall, there is a consistently negative relationship between all violence measures and Psychological Assets. In addition, teacher violence is associated with lower resilience across factors and both caregiver violence and exposure to IPV are consistently associated with decreased Family Connectedness. These findings suggest that adolescents experiencing (and exposed to) violence from adults may be particularly vulnerable to internalizing and/or externalizing behaviors and withdrawal from the family. Findings point to preventing violence from teachers complemented with enhancing family relationships as promising avenues for resilience-strengthening interventions, and also emphasize the need to consider gendered strategies to ensure girls and boys benefit equally.
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    Is Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) Effective in Reducing Trauma Symptoms among Traumatized Refugee Children? A Systematic Review
    (Springer, 2021) Chipalo, Edson; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    In 2019, more than 25.9 million children under 18 were displaced due to unending political conflicts. Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) has a high level of empirical evidence to support its efficacy in processing trauma and behavioral problems in non-refugee children. Yet, little is known about its long-term effectiveness in refugee children. This study conducted a systematic review that assessed the evidence of the effectiveness of TF-CBT in reducing trauma symptoms among refugee children under 18 years of age. A systematic review was conducted from peer-reviewed literature databases (12 databases): PsycINFO, PubMed, Scopus, Google Scholar, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (PQDT), Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, PROSPERO, EBSCOHost, Campbell Collaboration Library of Systematic Reviews, Social Sciences Index, and grey literature sources published from 1990 to 2019. The search yielded 1650 articles, and 4 peer reviewed studies were identified that met inclusion criteria and yielded a sample size of 64 refugee children from 21 different countries. All 4 studies provided evidence that supported TF-CBT's effectiveness in decreasing trauma symptoms and sustainment during the follow-up assessment among refugee children participants. Despite TF-CBT effectiveness for trauma symptoms treatment, there is still limited evidence to suggest that TF-CBT is effective for all refugee children due to the pilot nature of the studies, and its underutilization in traumatized refugee children from different cultural backgrounds. Future studies should conduct more TF-CBT interventions with diverse refugee children to provide more empirical support for its effectiveness with that population.
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    Caregiver Perceived Stress as a Link Between Family COVID-19 Experiences and Early Adolescent Mental Health Symptomology
    (Sage, 2023) Berryhill, M. Blake; Horton, Abby G.; Masters, Stephanie L.; Mack, Daniel R.; Cross, Allison N.; Parker, Jeff G.; Barth, Joan M.; McDonald, Kristina L.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    The COVID-19 pandemic is associated with family adjustment, heightened adolescent mental health symptomology, and increased caregiver stress. The current study used a diverse sample of caregivers and early adolescents to examine the association between pandemic-related experiences, caregiver perceived stress, and adolescent mental health. Two hundred and 34 caregivers and their adolescents (10-14 years old) from the Southeastern United States completed surveys during the early stages of the pandemic. Structural equation modeling analyses tested the relationship between COVID-19 experiences, caregiver perceived stress, and adolescent mental health, and whether perceived stress could explain the relationship between COVID-19 experiences and adolescent mental health symptomology. Findings reveal that perceived stress was a significant indirect effect in the relationship between COVID-19 experience and adolescent mental health symptomology.
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    Bidirectional Relationships Between Parenting Processes and Deviance in a Sample of Inner-City African American Youth
    (Wiley-Blackwell, 2017) Harris, Charlene; Vazsonyi, Alexander T.; Bolland, John M.; Miami University; University of Kentucky; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    This study assessed bidirectional relationships among supportive parenting (knowledge), negative parenting (permissiveness), and deviance in a sample (N=5,325) of poor, inner-city African American youth from the Mobile Youth Survey over 4years. Cross-lagged path analysis provided evidence of significant bidirectional paths among parenting processes (knowledge and permissiveness) and deviance over time. Follow-up multigroup tests provided only modest evidence of dissimilar relationships by sex and by developmental periods. The findings improve our understanding of developmental changes between parenting behaviors and deviance during adolescence and extend current research of the bidirectionality of parent and child relationships among inner-city African American youth.
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    Change in Age-Specific, Psychosocial Correlates of Risky Sexual Behaviors Among Youth: Longitudinal Findings From a Deep South, High-Risk Sample
    (Springer, 2014) Ritchwood, Tiarney D.; Howell, Rebecca J.; Traylor, Amy C.; Church, Wesley T., II; Bolland, John M.; University of North Carolina; University of North Carolina Chapel Hill; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    The current study examined psychosocial predictors of change in intercourse frequency and number of sexual partners among youth within a socio-ecological framework and assessed whether these determinants vary by stage of adolescent development. Longitudinal data were derived from a large, community study of adolescent risky behavior among predominantly high-risk, African American youth. Significant predictors of intercourse frequency for early adolescents included age, gender, self-worth, and familial factors; for older youth, age, gender, self-worth, curfews, and sense of community exerted significant effects. Among early adolescents, age, gender, self-worth, familial factors, and sense of community predicted change in the number of sexual partners in the previous year, while age, gender, self-worth, parental knowledge, curfews, and sense of community were predictive of change in the number of sexual partners in the previous year among older youth. Study implications and future directions are discussed.
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    Pathways to Suicidal Behavior in Children and Adolescents: Examination of Child Maltreatment and Post-Traumatic Symptoms
    (Springer, 2022) McRae, Elizabeth; Stoppelbein, Laura; O'Kelley, Sarah; Smith, Shana; Fite, Paula; University of Alabama Birmingham; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa; Jacksonville State University; University of Kansas
    Suicide in youth exacts significant personal and community costs. Thus, it is important to understand predisposing risk factors. Experiencing adverse childhood experiences (ACES), such as child maltreatment (CM-ACE), and the presence of post-traumatic stress disorder has been identified as a risk factor of suicidal behaviors among adults. Theoretical models of suicide suggest that the presence of painful experiences such as CM-ACES increase the risk of suicidal behaviors. The relation between child maltreatment, post-traumatic stress symptom clusters (PTSS) and suicidal behaviors has not been explicitly examined among youth. The present study examined the relations between CM-ACES, PTSS clusters, and suicidal behaviors in a clinical population of children. Children, male, ages 6 to 14, enrolled in a residential treatment program completed self-report measures to evaluate variables of interest. Path analyses revealed statistically significant direct effects of CM-ACES and PTSS clusters on suicidal behaviors. Significant total indirect effects and marginally significant individual indirect effects of intrusion and avoidance symptoms were observed for the relation between CM-ACES and suicidal behavior. Findings suggest that symptoms associated with specific PTSS clusters might help explain the relation between CM-ACES and suicidal behavior, and therefore, present important implications for clinical practice and future research.
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    Ricky and Lucy: gender stereotyping among young Black men who have sex with men in the US Deep South and the implications for HIV risk in a severely affected population
    (Routledge, 2018) Lichtenstein, Bronwen; Kay, Emma Sophia; Klinger, Ian; Mutchler, Matt G.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    HIV disproportionately affects young Black men who have sex with men in the USA, with especially high rates in the Deep South. In this Alabama study, we interviewed 24 pairs of young Black men who have sex with men aged 19-24 and their close friends (n = 48) about sexual scripts, dating men and condom use. Three main themes emerged from the study: the power dynamics of top' and bottom' sexual positions for condom use; gender stereotyping in the iconic style of the I Love Lucy' show of the 1950s; and the sexual dominance of trade' men. Gender stereotyping was attributed to the cultural mores of Black families in the South, to the preferences of trade' men who exerted sexual and financial control and to internalised stigma relating to being Black, gay and marginalised. The findings suggest that HIV prevention education for young Black men who have sex with men is misguided if gendered power dynamics are ignored, and that funded access to self-protective strategies such as pre-exposure prophylaxis and post-exposure prophylaxis could reduce HIV risk for this severely affected population. ResumeAux Etats-Unis, le VIH atteint les jeunes hommes de race noire qui ont des rapports avec des hommes de maniere disproportionnee, avec des taux particulierement eleves dans le Grand Sud. Dans cette etude conduite en Alabama, nous avons eu des entretiens avec 24 couples - composes de jeunes hommes noirs ages de 19 a 24 ans et ayant des rapports avec des hommes, et, pour chacun d'eux, d'un ami proche (n = 48) - pour examiner les scripts sexuels, les rencontres avec d'autres hommes et l'usage du preservatif. Trois themes majeurs ont emerge des entretiens : la dynamique du pouvoir entre les positions sexuelles << top >> ou << bottom >>, en ce qui concerne l'usage du preservatif ; les stereotypes de genre inspires du style emblematique de la serie televisee des annees 50 << I love Lucy >> ; et la domination sexuelle des << trade men >>. Les stereotypes de genre etaient attribues aux mOEurs culturelles des familles noires du Sud, aux preferences des << trade men >> qui exercaient un controle sexuel et financier, et au stigma interiorise, ayant rapport avec le fait d'etre noir, gay et marginalise. Les resultats suggerent que l'education a la prevention du VIH chez les jeunes hommes noirs qui ont des rapports avec des hommes est erronee lorsque la dynamique du pouvoir entre les genres est ignoree, et que le financement de l'acces a des strategies d'autoprotection telles que la PrEP et la PEP pourrait diminuer les risques lies au VIH dans cette population gravement touchee par le virus. ResumenEn Estados Unidos, el vih afecta de manera desproporcionada a hombres jovenes afroamericanos que practican sexo con hombres, constatandose la existencia de tasas de incidencia particularmente altas en el Sur Profundo. Para el presente estudio, realizado en Alabama, se entrevisto a 24 parejas de dichos hombres, cuyas edades oscilan entre 19 y 24 anos, y a sus amigos cercanos (N=48). Los temas abordados versaron sobre guiones sexuales, citas con hombres y el uso de condones. De las entrevistas surgieron tres temas principales: las dinamicas de poder relacionadas con la posicion sexual superior o inferior para decidir el uso de condones; los estereotipos de genero asociados al estilo iconico del programa I Love Lucy transmitido en los anos cincuenta; y la dominacion sexual ejercida por hombres comerciantes [trade men]. Los estereotipos sexuales son atribuidos a las practicas culturales de las familias afroamericanas del Sur, a las preferencias de los comerciantes que ejercen el control sexual y financiero, asi como al estigma interiorizado a partir de ser negro, gay y marginalizado. En este sentido, los hallazgos sugieren que, cuando la educacion orientada a prevenir el vih entre jovenes afroamericanos que practican sexo con hombres no toma en cuenta las dinamicas de poder de genero, esta mal enfocada. Asimismo, establecen que el financiamiento que proporcione acceso a estrategias de autoproteccion, incluyendo la profilaxis postexposicion (ppe) y la profilaxis preexposicion (ppre), puede reducir el riesgo de que esta poblacion gravemente afectada contraiga el vih.
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    Trauma and Stress in Children, Individuals, and Families
    (2023) Laird, Robert D.; Guiney, Jennifer Brown; Downs, Karly J.
    This textbook is a formal structured approach for communicating about stress and trauma. The textbook explains scientific concepts surrounding stress and trauma, including psychological and biological systems and structures. The textbook discusses how stress and trauma are linked to psychiatric disorders commonly diagnosed in children and adolescents. The textbook presents strategies for developing and maintaining healthy stress response systems.