Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ecotones, Boundaries, and Culture: Intersections of Korean American and Other Communities in Howard County, Maryland

Pearl L. Seidman, School of Human and Organizational Development

This research is positioned at the interface between ecological and social systems. In both, how and where we draw boundaries is consequential, as are the relationships in the space between. Do findings from ecology about the nature of ecotones and boundaries apply to social systems at a community level, in particular to individuals who play a bridging role between Korean Americans and their counterparts from Other cultural communities in Howard County, Maryland? The term “Other” is capitalized to denote the plurality of heritages other than Korean that comprise the diverse cultural landscape of Howard County.

In ecology, an ecotone is an intermediary, or transition zone, between two adjacent ecosystems where species from both communities co-mingle. The nexus between distinct communities is typically characterized by greater diversity, tension, adaptive capacity, and resilience. Interstitial spaces cannot be defined without understanding the boundaries that create and maintain them. An ecological boundary classification system (Strayer, Power, Fagan, Pickett, & Belnap, 2003) is contrasted with frameworks in the social sciences, acting as a discursive bridge to increase translatability between disciplines.

Group and individual interviews involved sixteen cultural connectors and leaders of note in the community. Relational research methods acknowledged the interdependent and intersubjective construction of meaning. Thematic analysis was used to organize data.

The cultural ecotone was brought to life through voices that evoked the sources of boundaries and the nuances of diversity and tension. Necessity fueled adaptive capacity, not only for the Korean American community, but for the larger community. Community adaptive capacity was enacted in many examples by the corridor creation functions of cultural connectors. Change is more likely to occur at the intersection of differences. The processes of change dynamics created the environment in which differences unfolded. Findings failed to confirm evidence of community resilience given the definition used.

As migration is an ever increasing area of importance, this additional lens may be of value to researchers and practitioners. This study also creates a more permeable boundary for increased flow across ecological and social disciplines. Ecological and cultural humility or ecohumility is an appropriate stance in this space between.

Key Words: ecotones, cultural ecotones, Korean Americans, boundaries, diversity, tension, adaptive capacity, group interviews, ecological and cultural humility, ecohumility.


Drew R. Suss, School of Human and Organizational Development

Effective leadership is essential for life sciences (LS) organizations developing successful treatments for diseases and reliable sources of food. As the world population grows and ages, the importance of their success increases. Sustainability demands that complex organizations be populated with effective decision makers, but data shows organizational life spans are relatively brief (Agarwal & Gort, 2002). This suggests effective decision making is uncommon. The literature review explored the concept of leadership effectiveness, analyzed the complex systems framework of the adaptive learning management system (ALMS) (Ackoff, 1999a) and the servant leadership (SL) model (Greenleaf, 1977). The analysis found ALMS, and SL theoretically aligned. This suggests SL may encourage effective workplace decisions (EWD) and may therefore be the preferred model for complex organizations as Bass (2000) suggested.

The hypothesis tested was: In LS organizations there is a statistically significant correlation between the workers’ perceptions of servant leadership enacted by LS leaders, and followers’ perceptions that they are empowered to make effective workplace decisions.

A mixed-method approach measured SL and EWD behaviors quantitatively. Two instruments were used: The 30-item SLS survey, developed and validated by van Dierendonck and Nuitjen (2011), and the 8-item EWD instrument validated in a pilot study. The SLS has 8 subscales which enabled multiple factor analyses. Qualitative data were gathered to enable triangulation.

The total sample (n= 77) produced a positive correlation: r =.48, r2 = .22 (p<.0001). Sample participants focused on commercialization (n=43) had a positive correlation: r = 0.37, (p 0.0313). Science-focused participants (n=34) generated a stronger positive correlation: r = 0.59, r2 =.35 (p<.001) with two SLS factors demonstrating significant variance values: Courage and empowerment measured r2 =.33 and r2 =.39 respectively (p <.0001). Qualitative data supported H1. This empirical study produced significant empirical support for H1.

It is the first to show the correlation of servant leadership (Greenleaf, 1970 ) and Ackoff’s (1999a) systems-focused management theory. This lends credence to suggestion that SL is beneficial to organizational sustainability (Bass, 2000; Greenleaf, 1970; Senge, 1990). It provides evidence that leaders who practice SL enable people to grow in their capacity to be effective (Ackoff, 1999a, 1999b).


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Validating a New Measure of Life Stress for the Military

Shenae Whitehead, Student, Psychology; Jeremy Jinkerson; April Harris-Britt, Faculty, Psychology

Military spouses endure stressors that are unique to the military lifestyle. Current research has shown that relocations, separations from family, risk of injury or death, deployments, PTSD, and other factors can negatively impact military families (Easterling & Knox, 2010; Burrell et al, 2006). Unfortunately, there is not an instrument that assesses common military-related spousal stress across all five branches. This study surveyed the common military-related stressors among military spouses in order to construct and validate such a tool. The initial phase utilized a qualitative, focus group design in which over 50 military service members and military spouses were interviewed and asked to discuss the common stressors of military life that they were experiencing. The various stressors identified were compiled and a pool of questions were constructed and compiled in survey format, the Military Family Stressor-Item Pool (MFS-IP), which included questions relating to family, work, education, and health stressors. The second phase utilized a descriptive survey approach, in which a sample of 224 military service members and military spouses completed the MFS-IP, the Life Events Questionnaire (LEQ), and Military Lifestyle Demands Questionnaire (MLDQ).

A sample of n = 132 female military spouses completed the demographic questionnaire and three stessor surveys. Ages ranged from 19 to 56, with a mean age of 32, SD = 7.5. Most participants identified as European-American/White (82.6%), whereas 9% were African-American/Black, 7% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 5% identified as Other. Participants included 56.8% Army, 27.3% Navy, 8.3% Air Force, 6.8% Marines, and 0.8% Coast Guard military spouses. The majority (93.9%) of participants’ spouses were Active Duty, with 1.5% Reserve, 0.8% National Guard, and 3% Other status. Sixty-one percent of participants’ spouses were enlisted, whereas 39% were officers.

All items from the MFS-IP, LEQ, and MLDQ were analyzed together utilizing exploratory factor analysis (Principle Components Analysis). Eight of the identified components had eigenvalues greater than 1.5 and were above the Scree plot’s point of inflexion. Cumulatively, these components explained 61.42% of the data. These eight components were Personal Health, Business, Educational, Illness/Injury, Relational Difficulties, Deployment/Move Strain, Social & Familial Changes, & Deployment Fears. Because the factors were largely comprised of LEQ items, the resultant instrument was interpreted as an updated version of the LEQ for military spouses, the Life Events Questionnaire – Military Spouse version (LEQ-M). Reliability analyses were conducted for both the total LEQ-M v1.0 and its individual component scales. The total LEQ-M v1.0 was found to be highly reliable, Cronbach’s alpha α = .889. The Personal Health scale was very reliable, Cronbach’s alpha α = .904. The Business component was highly reliable, Cronbach’s alpha α = .852. The Educational component was very reliable, Cronbach’s alpha α = .866. The Illness/Injury component was very reliable, Cronbach’s alpha α = .801. The Relational Change component was very reliable, Cronbach’s alpha α = .816. (However, its reliability improved to .823 with the deletion of one item.) The Deployment/Move Strain component was very reliable, Cronbach’s alpha α = .786. (However, its reliability improved to .797 with the deletion of one item.) The Social & Familial Changes component was very reliable, Cronbach’s alpha α = .783. The Deployment Fears component was very reliable, Cronbach’s alpha α = .859. (However, its reliability improved to .917 with the deletion of one item.) With the deletion of three items, the Life Events Questionnaire – Military Spouse version (v. 1.1) contained 37 items and eight subscales. With the deletion of these three items, the LEQ-M remained highly reliable, Cronbach’s alpha α = .889.

What We Do At Work: Time-Space Intelligence in Child Protective Services

Colette Michelle Street, Student, Human & Organizational Development

What do Child Protective practitioners do at work? What do they think and feel about their day-to-day duties? In the aftermath of various child fatalities in Los Angeles County, the Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) is beginning a massive reorganization effort in order to strengthen work processes for keeping children safe. Many of the fatality cases had parents or Caregivers that utilized hostility and sometimes violent behavior toward the social workers, which may have prevented access to and spatial movement within the home environment. In addition, super-polychronicity while conducting home visits creates unnecessary distraction for social workers because of completing administrative tasks that could be addressed by clerical staff. The ability to complete tasks and conduct accurate safety assessments, including their own personal safety, requires social workers to manage chronos time and to remain open for auspicious moments. Thus, the question of inquiry is: When engaging in day-to-day workplace relations, in what ways do Child Protective Services (CPS) practitioners utilize Time-Space Intelligence? Furthermore, what does this mean for the future of child safety, practitioner safety, and Child Protection Practice?

The 11 participants, consisting of three (3) Supervising Children’s Social Workers and eight (8) Children’s Social Workers eagerly provided their voices via a narrative methodology to help the profession expand and create new ideas for CPS practice. Through their voices, the Time-Space Intelligence Assessment Loop for Child Protection © was created. It is a new Framework that incorporates the practitioners’ inductive/intuitive capacities along with empirical evidence.

Rape Trial Jurors Biased by Sexual Orientation and Victim Gender but Not Race

Shaneika Smith, Student, Psychology; Damon Taylor, Student, Psychology; Kristine Jacquin, Faculty, Psychology

This research examined the influence of victim gender, victim and defendant sexual orientation, and victim and defendant race on juror decisions in a rape trial. Participants (N = 505) found the defendant guiltier when he was accused of raping a homosexual victim compared to a heterosexual victim. The defendant was judged guiltier when he was heterosexual and the victim was male, or when he was homosexual and the victim was female. Victim and defendant race did not impact juror decisions. The results suggest that sexual orientation should not be revealed in rape trials to reduce the risk of juror bias.

The Fat Man Sang and It Ain't Over: An Autoethnographic Study in Obesity and Discrimination

Sebastian J. Romeo, Student, Educational Leadership for Change

This autoethnographic dissertation explored my personal accounts of the dynamics that are associated with how society views and treats obese individuals and the negative impact it has with regards to overcoming personal barriers that impair one’s ability to overcome obesity. Using three personal scenarios, I explored and exposed issues surrounding obesity and weight discrimination (Andreyeva et al. 2008; Puhl& Heuer, 2012). The first scenario, exposed how media portrays obese individuals through theatre and how this influences society’s perception of them and self-perceptions as well. In the second scenario, I point to the treatment I received from both teachers and fellow students in elementary school. I highlight this particular time period because these experiences caused me to turn to food for emotional comfort that caused long lasting negative effects (Danielsen et al., 2012; O’Moore & Kirkham, 2001). In the third scenario, I point to discriminatory encounters that I had with various healthcare professionals, which have serious health implications (Amy et al., 2005). My intent was to provide insight into how these three influential systems contribute to negative self-perceptions of obese individuals. Recommendations for educators and health care professionals are:

- Continued work with obese people to become healthy and emotionally well

- Informing/educating society that people are obese for many reasons

- Informing/educating that normalcy occurs in all body types

-Continued support and education of zero tolerance of bullying policies

- Health Professional should focus their discussions from appearance to health behaviors

Will DSM-5 become obsolete in 2015?

Ashlee Oroczo, Student Psychology; Keith D. McGoldrick, Student, Psychology; Sandra Viggiani; Kimberly S. Hutchinson, Alumna; Lawrence Dilks; Chelsi King; Kelly DeRoche; Adrian Julian

Purpose: The series of guides referred to as The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) were propagated by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to facilitate communication among professionals, establish a standard nomenclature and promote research in the behavioral sciences. The first DSM, published in 1951 enjoyed wide acceptance and was followed by four generations of texts. Most of the world, however, for both medical and psychiatric diagnosis, preferred the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) manuals supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) that is in its 10th edition. The DSM-IV/5 and ICD-10 are not harmonious in the realm of mental health and the ICD has been gaining influence with clinicians, government agencies and the insurance industry.

Method: The new DSM-5 has numerous attributes and has functioned admirably since its introduction. Its more notable features include establishing a standard for diagnosis across the United States, enhancing diagnostic communication among different professions, providing a consistent foundation for billing and reimbursement, and integrating biological advancements into the diagnostic schema.

The DSM-5 has not been without its detractors who have pointed out it failed to live up to its promise of a new concise diagnostic model, had large response variances in reliability studies in field trials, was rushed into production for economic reasons, lacked transparency during its construction, was unduly influenced by the pharmaceutical industry, and lacked harmony with ICD-10.

Results: Unlike DSM-5 that addresses only psychiatric-behavioral issues ICD-10 addresses all medical subspecialties in 68,000 diagnostic codes. Only section “F” addresses mental health issues but its F codes were constructed in conjunction with other medical disorders.

The ICD-10 was developed for the same reasons as the DSM-5 but was promoted worldwide by the United Nation’s World Health Organization and has more adherents. Its attributes include coordinating mental health diagnosis with other medical problems, data analysis is cross-cultural and global, the data base is more extensive, there are a greater number of specifiers resulting in more specific diagnosis, and finally it is expandable beyond numeric codes.

Discussion: The most recent edition of the DSM acknowledges the importance of ICD-10 by including the alphanumeric code numbers in the body of the text. In the forward of DSM-5 it acknowledges this is to facilitate the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 in October of 2015 for all medical specialties, not just psychiatry.

With the adoption of ICD-10 the underlying value of the DSM-5 may be called into question. If ICD-10 continues to grow in popularity with clinicians, is utilized by the insurance industry and possesses a better, broader research basis, and is accepted as the world standard there might not be an economic or scientific reason to maintain DSM-5. The APA has emphasized the similarities in the two systems but it is the similarities not the differences that may be the DSM-5’s downfall. It will simply be redundant.

Living Essence: Exploring Aesthetic Factors in Leadership Development Experiences

Valerie J. Nishi, Alumna, Human & Organizational Development

New frameworks and practices are needed to foster leadership, learning and innovation in complex organizational systems. This exploratory case study improves understanding of how aesthetic factors (creation of symbolic objects and acts) influenced the experiences of five executives in a leadership development program involving aesthetic design approaches. Perspectives from organizational studies, transformative learning and organizational aesthetics provide a cross-disciplinary lens for understanding aesthetics and learning.

This study found that aesthetic factors were catalysts for transformative learning by increasing self awareness through the integration of sensory, emotional and rational ways of knowing. This enabled participants to challenge habitual meaning making systems, reflect on assumptions, and shift their perspectives and actions. Participants described the safe, caring, and physically beautiful learning environment as instrumental to their ability to be open, creative, and vulnerable, and to form strong learning relationships within the group. Creative, playful and novel activity generated feelings of lightness and enjoyment that enabled difficult and conflicting feelings to be accessed and resolved. Aesthetic objects served as tools to support expression, co-inquiry and embodied memory that gave rapid form, meaning and clarity to an emerging vision for their leadership. From these results, a framework for aesthetic learning design was developed as a unique contribution of this study.

Blame Is Not a Game: Healthcare Leaders’ Perspectives on Blame in the Workplace

Cheryl Mitchell, Alumna, Human & Organizational Development

This exploratory research increases knowledge and understanding of blame in the workplace. Attribution theory, moral philosophy, and social cognition provided a theoretical framework to understand individual blame determination as a precursor to understand systemic blame. Systemic blame is informed by complex systems theory and research on “no blame” cultures in a healthcare setting.

Interpretive description, supported by applied thematic analysis, provided the methodological framework for this qualitative study. The 17 senior leaders interviewed for this research study were selected through purposive sampling, and individually had an average 28 years of experience in healthcare. The semi-structured interviews were designed to gather experiences and stories that informed the participants’ perspectives on blame in the workplace.

Constant comparative thematic analysis of the data resulted in four main findings. First, blame is prevalent in the workplace. Second, blame begets blame through a vicious cycle of blame. In this cycle there is often unwarranted blame. Blame feels bad, which results in fear of blame and avoidance of blame. One way to avoid blame is to blame someone else. This positive reinforcing feedback loop of blame creates a culture of blame. Third, a culture of blame includes characteristics of risk aversion and mistrust. Risk aversion decreases innovation, and mistrust decreases transparent communication. Fourth, blame has an inverse relationship to accountability, where less blame may result in more accountability. These findings both confirm and contradict the current literature. The resulting conclusion is blame is not a game.

A Neuropsychological Perspective of Left Hemianopsias

Keith D. McGoldrick, Student, Psychology; Ashlee Oroczo, Student, Psychology; Sandra Viggiani; Kimberly S. Hutchinson, Alumna; Lawrence Dilks; Chelsi King; Adrian Julian; Kelly DeRoche

Purpose: Hemianopsia is a form of blindness in one half of the visual field. Hemianopsias are typically right or left and split along the vertical midline of the eye. The most common underlying cause is cerebral vascular accident, infection, brain tumor or some form of trauma, especially involvement in a motor vehicle accident. The term Homonymous is added if the visual loss is bilateral and on the same side of each eye. As the brain is counterlateral for vision the visual loss is opposite to the impaired area. Thus, insult to the right side of the brain or the right visual tract will cause a left fields and vise versa. Homonymous hemianopsias are more common than unilateral hemianopsias. This presentation will compare and contrast a bilateral and unilateral left hemianopsias and the subsequent sequella.

Method: Patient One: A 53-year-old female who was injured in a motor vehicle accident and later diagnosed with Cognitive Disorder secondary to Traumatic Brain Injury. She demonstrated a left homonymous hemianopsia, loss of global cognitive ability, mild impairment in attention, deficiency in recent visual and auditory memory, and motor apraxia. Preserved skills centered on tactile and auditory sensory abilities, expressive and receptive language, and higher order executive functions. Secondary issues revolved around depression and anxiety. The patient’s premorbid history was unremarkable.

Patient Two: An 80-year-old female who suffered a cerebral vascular accident at the age of 79. She demonstrated a left hemonianopsia in her right eye with the left eye being unencumbered. Her neuropsychological evaluation was significant for global cognitive decline, impairment in attention, deficiency in immediate and recent visual memory, poor visual analysis, color blindness (post CVA only). Her most significant loss was reading as she suffered word blindness (visual anomia) in this realm. Preserved abilities centered on auditory memory, expressive speech and left fine motor ability. The patient denied depression and anxiety and measures were negative. Her premorbid history was significant for a CVA occurring 20 years earlier.

Procedure: Both clients were evaluated on an outpatient basis. Each was evaluated in two four-hour sessions in a cool, quiet room by a licensed neuropsychologist and a certified assistant. Tests were administered and scored according to the publisher’s instructions. Protocols of administration were similar but not identical. No unusual circumstances occurred to contaminate the findings. The Protocols and results were reviewed with each client.

Client one experienced many more visual problems and was unable to complete a number of standardized tests. Her overall level of functioning however was judged to be better than client two.

Discussion: In considering the totality of the test data it should be recognized that the level of impairment of client two is greater than the impairment of client one with the exception of vision. It should also be evident that the array of impaired skills versus preserved skills in explaining overall presentation is more complex than simply noting that left the hemisphere manages right vision and motor abilities and vice versa. Multiple variables have been in play to construct the ultimate sequella. An analysis of vision reveals that client one has more visual impairment than just field deficits. There is clear evidence of color loss in client number two suggesting more occipital involvement than parietal. It is likely that client one had a more localized leason to the anterior parietal and right optic tract while client two experienced a more complex and evolving CVA encompassing a greater volume of tissue which affected more structures and functions. Client one enjoys a better prognosis. The limitations of this study stem from the differences in the ages of the participants and the underlying etiology; TBI vs. CVA. Future research might focus on combining neuropsychological assessment with MRI data.

Comorbid Cognitive Disorders in Adolescent Males in Residential Treatment: Prevalence Rates and Treatment Recommendations

Keith D. McGoldrick, Student, Psychology; Ashlee Oroczo, Student, Psychology; Kimberly S. Hutchinson, Alumna; Lawrence Dilks; Sandra Viggiani; Chelsi King; Adrian Julian; Kelly DeRoche

Objective: Adolescent males in residential treatment facilities often present with a combination of psychiatric and cognitive problems. When the presence of a psychiatric disorder is combined with a cognitive disorder treatment can be far more challenging, result in poor prognoses, and require continual need for treatment and services. Furthermore, psychotherapeutic approaches may require adaptation to attend to cognitive impairments. This combination of a psychiatric disorder and a cognitive disorder is defined as a comorbid cognitive disorder (CCD) (Bogacki & McGoldrick, 2014). This poster presents results from a pilot study to assess the CCD prevalence in a residential treatment facility and provide treatment recommendations.

Methods: Chart reviews of 25 adolescent males admitted to a residential treatment facility were reviewed for cognitive and educational functioning. All residents were court ordered for treatment, had at least one previous residential treatment facility admission, and diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. Wechsler Adult Inelegance Tests, Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV) and Wide Range Achievement Test, Fourth Edition (WRAT-4) scores were analyzed for CCD Criteria.

Results: The age range of males admitted to the locked residential unit ranged from 16 to 19 years old. Mean standard scores for the WAIS-IV were: FSIQ = 77, VCI = 80.4, PRI = 84.2, WMI = 78.9, and PSI = 77.9. WRAT-4 mean scores were: Word Reading = 87.5, Sentence Comprehension = 77.1, Spelling = 87.9, Math Computation = 78.4, and Reading Composite = 81.4.

Conclusions: Often treatment in residential facilities focuses on the psychiatric and behavioral disorders with little focus on the cognitive functioning. The results of this study suggest the prevalence of CCD in adolescent males in a residential treatment facility is high with 72% falling in the borderline range on the WAIS-IV FSIQ. Educationally, the majority held broad academic abilities at or below the fifth grade level: Word Reading = 55%, Sentence Comprehension = 55%, Spelling – 55%, and Math Computation = 70%. These results indicate that these adolescents in residential facilities need to have these comorbid conditions must be treated in unison. Treatment considerations will be discussed.

Attitudes toward Environmental Activism and Conservation: Independence and Norms as Moderators of Commitment to Environmental Sustainability

Kevin Joseph LeGrand, Alumnus, Human & Organizational Development

Can the human species provoke sufficient lifestyle changes worldwide to avert ecological collapse? Prior research asserts the central role of context in shaping behaviors and suggests social contexts supportive of pro-environmental choices may reduce future environmental damage. While some people act to produce such contexts (i.e., engage in environmental activism), others, who may be as concerned about the environment, do not.

This study investigated whether certain individual values (conformity and self-direction assessed by the Portrait Values Questionnaire; Schwartz, Cieciuch, Vecchione, Davidov, Fischer, Beierlein, … Konty, 2012) and perceived social norms moderate relationships between environmental concern and select environmental attitudes. Study results affirm a positive relationship between environmental concern and private-sphere pro-environmental attitudes. Level of independence (calculated as self-direction minus conformity) did not affect this relationship; norm perception (a proxy for context) had a main effect rather than interacting with environmental concern. Turning to public-sphere pro-environmental attitudes, environmental concern was a significant predictor but explained less variance here than for private-sphere attitudes. Independence was associated with greater environmental activism propensity when environmental concern was high. Perceptions of environmental activism as a social norm predicted higher environmental activism propensity across various levels of environmental concern.

This study required the development of a new instrument, the Environmental Activism Propensity (EAP) scale, which measures willingness to act to change social institutions and norms so social contexts encourage pro-environmental behavior. The investigation produced knowledge and approaches that can be put to practical use by environmental and ecological justice advocates.