IDVSA Journal Articles

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    Sexual Harassment Among Medical Students: Prevalence, Prediction, and Correlated Outcomes
    (Workplace Health & Safety, 2021-06) McClain, T'Shana; Kammer-Kerwick, Matt; Wood, Leila; Temple, Jeff R.
    Background: Few studies are dedicated to understanding the extent and impact of sexual harassment among medical students. The aim of this study was to use behaviorally specific measures to examine prevalence of sexual harassment toward medical students. Associated mental health and academic impacts were also studied. Methods: A multisite survey was conducted at four medical schools. Sexual harassment was measured using the Sexual Experiences Questionnaire (SEQ), a valid and reliable instrument. Students were also surveyed about depressive and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and their level of academic engagement. We also assessed their perceptions of institutional response and whether they felt safe at their institution. Findings: The final sample included 524 medical students (response rate = 13%). Findings revealed that 36.6% reported sexual harassment by a faculty/ staff member and 38.5% reported harassment by a fellow student. The odds of harassment by faculty/staff, as well as peers, were significantly higher for women with an adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 9.83, 95% confidence interval (CI) = [3.74, 25.80] and multiracial students with an AOR: 2.93, 95% CI: [1.16, 7.39]. Those who experienced sexual harassment were more likely to report academic disengagement and symptoms of depression and PTSD. Conclusion/Application to Practice: Sexual harassment in medical schools can potentially limit a student’s academic success and negatively impact their mental health. Supportive services and efforts to address peer and professional cultures that promote harassment are needed. Experiences of harassment require swift and competent responses by medical school leadership in collaboration with occupational and/or student health services to mitigate detrimental impacts and support medical students throughout their training.
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    Sexual Violence Among Gender and Sexual Minority College Students: The Risk and Extent of Victimization and Related Health and Educational Outcomes
    (Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2019) Kammer-Kerwick, Matt; Wang, Alexander; McClain, T’Shana; Hoefer, Sharon; Swartout, Kevin M.; Backes, Bethany; Busch-Armendariz, Noël
    A multisite survey conducted at eight campuses of a southwestern university system provides the data for the present study, total N = 17,039 with 1,869 gender and sexual minority (GSM) students. Sexual violence was measured using the Sexual Experiences Survey (SES), and analysis included both the participant’s risk of experiencing sexual violence and the extent (or total count) of sexual violence experienced. This study poses the following research questions: What effects do gender identity and sexual orientation have on the risk and extent of sexual violence among students and, among victims, what is the relationship between gender identity/sexual orientation and mental health (posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD], depression) and academic environment (disengagement and safety) outcomes for university students? Multilevel, random effect hurdle models captured this sequential victimization dynamic. GSM and cisgender heterosexual (CH) female students are predicted to be 2.6 and 3 times, respectively, as likely to experience sexual violence compared with CH male students. In addition, GSM students experiencing sexual violence are also expected to experience a greater number of sexually violent acts (74% more) over their college career compared with victimized CH male students. The models confirm that the risk of victimization increases over time (13% per year for CH male students), but GSM students are expected to experience an additional (10%) increase in risk of victimization per year compared with CH male students. GSM and CH female students are also predicted to be more likely to have PTSD and experience more severe depression symptoms than CH male students. GSM students are expected to experience significantly higher rates of PTSD, worse depressive symptoms, and greater disengagement than CH female students. The discussion explores how institutions of higher education might recognize the resilience of GSM students and consider the protective potential of social and community support when developing programs or interventions for diverse populations.
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    “At Least They’re Workin’ on My Case?” Victim Notification in Sexual Assault “Cold” Cases
    (Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2018) Sulley, Caitlin; Wood, Leila; Cook Heffron, Laurie; Westbrook, Lynn; Levy, Nicole; Donde, Sapana D.; Busch-Armendariz, Noël
    Sexual assault is a significantly under-reported, -investigated, and -prosecuted crime in the United States, which criminal justice and advocacy actors across the country are working to address. Law enforcement procedures often involve providing crime victims, including sexual assault victims, with written notification by mail about the status of their case, but little is known about the best practices for victim notification in sexual assault "cold" cases. This qualitative research explored whether this standard law enforcement practice was appropriate for sexual assault victims in “cold cases” particularly when there had been no contact from law enforcement, despite forensic evidence having been tested. The research questions were what do sexual assault victims in cold cases have to say about victim notification protocols and practices? and What do sexual assault victims in cold cases have to say about hypothetical written victim notification protocols? Twenty-three sexual assault victims were asked in focus groups and individual interviews to respond to hypothetical written notification letters for content and the sending authority and to give input on alternative modes of communication. The data were analyzed using grounded theory. Themes related to trust, personal agency, and decision making from notification examples emerged. Recommendations on notification included respecting privacy, including specifics, identifying next steps, normalizing, translating, and providing resources. Implications for developing notification protocols include use of emerging evidence about neurobiology of trauma, use of victim input, and patience for the varying reactions and needs of sexual assault victims.
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    Sexual Harassment at Institutions of Higher Education: Prevalence, Risk, and Extent
    (Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2018) Wood, Leila; Hoefer, Sharon; Kammer-Kerwick, Matt; Parra-Cardona, José Rubén; Busch-Armendariz, Noël
    Sexual harassment is a pervasive problem on college campuses. Across eight academic campuses, 16,754 students participated in an online study that included questions about sexual harassment victimization by a faculty/ staff member or by a peer since enrollment at their Institution of Higher Education (IHE). Utilizing an intersectional theory and hurdle models, this study explored the effects of gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, age at enrollment, student status, and time spent at institution on students’ risk for peer- and faculty/staff-perpetrated sexual harassment victimization, as well as the extent of victimization for students who experience harassment. Across institutions, 19% of students reported experiencing faculty/staff perpetrated sexual harassment and 30% reported experiencing peer perpetrated sexual harassment. Hypotheses related to intersectional impacts were partially supported, with most significant findings in main effects. Time at institution was found to increase both risk and extent of victimization of both types of harassment. Traditional undergraduate students, non-Latinx White students, female students, and gender and sexual minority students were found to be at increased risk for harassment. Being female increases the odds of experiencing both faculty/staff and peer sexual harassment by 86% and 147%, respectively. Latinx students and students with an ethnicity other than White reported less victimization, but those who reported sexual harassment faced greater extent of harassing behaviors. A discussion of these findings for institutional program planning and policy is explored.
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    Climate Surveys: An Inventory of Understanding Sexual Assault and Other Crimes of Interpersonal Violence at Institutions of Higher Education
    (Violence Against Women, 2017) Wood, Leila; Sulley, Caitlin; Kammer-Kerwick, Matt; Follingstad, Diane; Busch-Armendariz, Noël
    Sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, sexual harassment, and stalking are complex crimes and have been a major focus of national attention at institutions of higher education (IHEs). To grasp the extent and nature of these crimes on campuses, institutionally specific climate surveys are being developed and endorsed by the federal government and conducted at IHEs. These climate surveys differ in content and length. This article describes 10 different climate surveys and outlines the variables measured in each tool. Next steps for assessing climate surveys are discussed.
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    Unsettled integration: Pre- and post-migration factors in Congolese refugee women’s resettlement experiences in the United States
    (International Social Work, 2016) Wachter, Karin; Cook Heffron, Laurie; Snyder, Susanna; Nsonwu, Maura Busch; Busch-Armendariz, Noël Bridget
    By 2019, the United States plans to resettle approximately 50,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The purpose of this study was to identify and understand the challenges, risks, and strengths of adult Congolese refugee women resettled in the United States to help policymakers, service providers, and other stakeholders prepare for the arrival of Congolese women and their families. Researchers conducted in-depth interviews and focus groups with Congolese refugee women (n = 28) and resettlement service providers (n = 29) in three US cities. The findings of this study reveal the complex and dynamic nature of Congolese refugee women’s resettlement experiences in the United States and highlight the importance of recognizing the intersection of pre- and post-migration factors during resettlement. This article offers concrete implications for the social work profession and practitioners.
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    Development and Validation of an Instrument to Assess Social Work Students’ Perceptions, Knowledge, and Attitudes About Human Trafficking Questionnaire (PKA-HTQ): An Exploratory Study
    (Research on Social Work Practice, 2015) Nsonwu, Maura Busch; Welch-Brewer, Chiquitia; Cook Heffron, Laurie; Lemke, Melinda A.; Busch-Armendariz, Noel; Sulley, Caitlin; Cook, Sharon Warren; Lewis, Mary; Watson, Elizabeth; Moore, Wayne; Li, Jilan
    Objective: This study sought to develop and evaluate the psychometric properties of a tool designed to assess social work students’ knowledge of and perceptions and attitudes toward human trafficking. To achieve this aim, the Perceptions, Knowledge, and Attitudes toward Human Trafficking Questionnaire (PKA-HTQ) was developed and its psychometric properties were evaluated. Specifically, the factor structure and the internal consistency of the PKA-HTQ were evaluated. Methods: Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and a replication EFA were conducted on two independent samples of university students, an initial validation (n = 325), and cross-validation (n = 212) sample. Findings: The EFA revealed a three-factor structure, that is, self-appraisal of knowledge/skills (α = .89), worldview (α =.78), and help-seeking behavior (α =.66); this three-factor structure was supported by replication EFA. Conclusion: The PKA-HTQ questionnaire shows promise as a meaningful, potentially reliable and valid measure.
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    A kaleidoscope: The role of the social work practitioner and the strength of social work theories and practice in meeting the complex needs of people trafficked and the professionals that work with them
    (International Social Work, 2014) Busch-Armendariz, Noël; Nsonwu, Maura Busch; Cook Heffron, Laurie
    This qualitative research study explored responses to trafficking in persons. Fifty-five (n = 55) interviews were collected and data were analyzed using qualitative iterative processes. The social worker and the utilization of social work perspectives provided a strong and effective framework for service delivery and effective interdisciplinary collaboration. The ecological, strengths-based, and victim-center approaches were a benefit to survivors and professionals specifically around coordinated efforts, trust-building, and increased cultural competence. Findings also support that individuals who are trafficked have unique needs and social workers’ theoretical and practice modalities are well suited to respond to and coordinate these distinct circumstances.
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    Embodying Social Work as a Profession: A Pedagogy for Practice
    (SAGE Open, 2013) Nsonwu, Maura B.; Casey, Kathleen; Cook, Sharon Warren; Busch-Armendariz, Noël
    The purpose of this research is to highlight competing and contrasting definitions of social work that have been the subject of continuous ideological debate. These opposing interpretations have characterized public and professional discourse. It is the growth of, and struggle over, these conflicting versions of social work that we trace by exploring and expanding on the work of African American and White social work pioneers, feminist and empowerment epistemologies, and implications for social work practice and pedagogy. Our discussion emphasizes the construction of meaning through personal experiences by reuniting the head, hands, heart, and soul of our profession. We offer a reconstructed framework that echoes the groundbreaking work of our historical pioneers and collectively weaves their wisdom into contemporary social work practice.
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    Building Community Partnerships to End Interpersonal Violence: A Collaboration of the Schools of Social Work, Law, and Nursing
    (Violence Against Women, 2011) Busch-Armendariz, Noël Bridget; Johnson, Regina Jones; Buel, Sarah; Lungwitz, Jeana
    The article discusses the University of Texas at Austin’s (UT Austin) Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (IDVSA), an institution that was established in 2001. IDVSA is a collaboration of the Schools of Social Work, Law, and Nursing, and 150 community affiliates. Recognizing that interpersonal violence does not occur in a vacuum, the IDVSA operates within an ecological framework in which explanations for interpersonal violence acknowledge that individuals and families are nested in larger mezzo and macro systems, and factors such as gender, poverty, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and immigration status play influential roles in our understanding of these issues. The overarching goal is to advance knowledge and meaningful practice in the field through partnerships with survivors and community practitioners. Specifically, the mission is to advance the knowledge related to domestic violence and sexual assault in order to end interpersonal violence. IDVSA seeks to achieve its mission by focusing on three key areas: (1) rigorous research and scholarship on domestic violence and sexual assault; (2) comprehensive training, technical assistance, and information dissemination to the practitioner community and the community at large; and (3) substantial collaboration with our community partners. This article summarizes the authors’ pursuit.
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    Human Trafficking Victims and Their Children: Assessing Needs, Vulnerabilities, Strengths, and Survivorship
    (Journal of Applied Research on Children, 2011) Busch-Armendariz, Noël; Nsonwu, Maura B.; Cook Heffron, Laurie
    Given the increased awareness and attention to human trafficking, including the establishment of federal laws and policies, federally funded task forces that provide law enforcement responses, and specialized victim services, it is important to assess the impact of these procedures and services on survivors/victims of international human trafficking and their immigrant children. By federal definition, certified victims of international human trafficking are eligible for all services provided to refugees in this country, including reunification with their minor children. This research is based on a qualitative study conducted in Austin and Houston, Texas with human trafficking victims/survivors. The project’s goal was to gain an understanding of the needs of human trafficking survivors after their rescue, their overall integration into American life, and the subsequent needs of their immigrant children after reunification. The project objectives examined the factors that either promote or hinder self-sufficiency, the determination of social service needs, and policy and practice recommendations to strengthen survivors, their children and their families living both locally and abroad. For this project, nine (n = 9) in-depth interviews were conducted with adult foreign-born victims of human trafficking. Researchers gathered data using a semi-structured questionnaire that queried about factors that promote or hinder victims’ services and needs. Interviews were conducted in participants’ homes using bilingual research staff and/or trained interpreters, were digitally-recorded, and subsequently transcribed. Participation in this study was completely voluntary. Specific steps were taken to ensure that the participants’ identities were protected. Open coding of data was utilized and the data were subsequently organized or grouped into properties and later developed into contextual themes around the research questions. The findings are grounded with the use of direct quotes from participants. As a result of progressive U.S. policy, many victims of human trafficking are being reunited with their minor children. Immigrant children are one of the largest and fastest growing populations in the U.S. and for a variety of reasons are vulnerable to exploitation. Research also indicates that victims of trafficking are identified by traffickers because of their perceived “vulnerabilities” or lack of opportunities (Clark, 2003). Therefore, it is important that practices and policies are developed to address the unique needs of these families with an eye toward positive outcomes for parent and child safety and well-being. Social service providers are provided a toolkit that may be utilized before and during the reunification period.
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    Understanding Human Trafficking: Development of Typologies of Traffickers PHASE II
    (2009) Busch-Armendariz, Noël Bridget; Nsonwu, Maura; Cook Heffron, Laurie
    Perpetrator typologies have been useful in understanding other crimes, such as do-mestic violence, and serve a similar purpose in enhancing our knowledge base about human trafficking. Typologies of human traffickers can be useful in improving our understanding about elements needed for successful investigations and prosecu-tions; developing appropriate services for victims and survivors; preventing human trafficking; and increasing community awareness. The goal of this project is to explore the types of traffickers based on key characteris-tics found in the literature and in prosecuted cases. The initial two phases of this re-search, reported here, involve a review of literature, government reports, and media reports of prosecuted cases related to human trafficking and in-depth interviews with prosecutors and national experts who have experience working cases involving human trafficking crimes. In a future phase (using non-OVC funds), interviews will be conducted with offenders who have been convicted on charges related to human trafficking. This phase of the study addresses the following research questions: 1) what types of traffickers and trafficking crimes exist?, and 2) how can they be cate-gorized into criminal typologies?
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    The Use of Expert Testimony on Intimate Partner Violence
    (VAWnet, 2009-08) Ferraro, Kathleen J.; Busch-Armendariz, Noël Bridget
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    Spirituality and Domestic Violence Work
    (Critical Social Work, 2005) Bell, Holly; Busch, Noël Bridget; Fowler, Dawnovise N.
    Spirituality is increasingly recognized as an important resource for clients coping with trauma and crises. Though more limited, research on the use of spirituality by practitioners has also expanded. This qualitative study involves in-depth interviews with 30 counselors about their work with domestic violence survivors. It focuses on the role and function of counselors’ spirituality in their work, and conversely, the impact of their work on their spiritual beliefs.