This series contains dissertations from Penn's Doctorate in Social Work program. For more information about University of Pennsylvania dissertation requirements and guidelines, please consult the dissertation manual.
Theses/Dissertations from 2018
"It Gets Easier, Not Better": Ambiguous Loss and Resiliency in Adult Children Caring for Their Parent with Alzheimer's Disease, Maria L. Balintona
The Clinical Significance of Companion Animals for LGBT+ Youth:Unconditional Love in a Straight Society, Jeffrey Neal Jin
THE WARRIOR’S PROVIDER FROM BOOTCAMP THROUGH DISCHARGE: EDUCATING AND TRAINING AN ARMY OF SOCIAL WORK STUDENTS TOWARDS CLINICAL AND CULTURAL COMPETENCE WITH SERVICE MEMBERS, VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES, Kenneth J. Marfilius
The Training Needs of Community Service Providers of an Intensive Mental Health Program in Virginia’s Public School Settings, Cristina V. Reamon
Theses/Dissertations from 2017
USER-INVOLVEMENT/ORIENTED MODELS OF CARE AND RESIDENTIAL SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER CARE, Kathryn D. Arnett
MALE PATIENT EXPERIENCE RECEIVING PRE-EXPOSURE PROPHYLAXIS FOR THE PREVENTION OF HIV THROUGH PRIMARY CARE, Nathaniel L. Currie
A Two-Article Examination of the Integration of Trauma-informed Care with Adult Medical Care, Sharon Czabafy
THE EXPLORATION OF HOMOPHOBIA WITHIN INSTITUTIONAL SETTINGS: EXPLORATION OF HOMOPHOBIA IN SCHOOLS, Paul S. Heffner
An Ecological and Intersectionality Approach to Understanding African-American Men’s Perceptions of the Intersections of Gender, Race, and low SES and Social Determinants of Health, Georgia M. Jennings
CHANGES IN SEXUAL BEHAVIORS DUE TO THE UTILIZATION OF PrEP AS A PREVENTIVE METHOD FOR THE TRANSMISSION OF HIV, Michael D. Kaltenbach
Evaluating the effectiveness of The Body’s Story in Building Resilience in School-aged Children Exposed to Violence, Sara Kotzin
MAKING THE CONNECTION: USING SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIVIST THEORY TO EXAMINE DIALYSIS SOCIAL WORKERS’, Charisse E. Marshall
A Comparative Effectiveness Study of the Trauma Recovery Empowerment Model (TREM) and an Attachment-Informed Variation of TREM, Melanie Masin-Moyer
Reconstructing The Center: The Institutional Logics of a Structural Intervention for a Post Incarceration Community, Alison Neff
AGED-OUT PREGNANT AND PARENTING TEENS SPEAK OUT ABOUT ACADEMIC ENGAGEMENT AND PERFORMANCE – A RETROSPECTIVE STUDY, Serena K. Ohene
The Role of Mindfulness as a Buffer Against Psychosocial Stress Among African-American Men, Thomas E. Owens
HOW PROFESSIONAL PROVIDERS ADDRESS THE SELF-ESTEEM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN ADOLESCENT GIRLS LIVING IN LOW-INCOME COMMUNITIES, Khidhra S. Poole
Beyond the Loss of a Child in the NICU: The Social Worker's Role, Anniesha D. Quann-Walker
COMBAT-RELATED STRESS AND DEPRESSION IN FEMALE OEF/OIF/OND VETERANS, Holly A. Sairsingh
School social work: An introductory course for MSW students, Jamie Siegel
Theses/Dissertations from 2016
Trauma Narratives with Inner City Youth: The Storiez Intervention, Meagan Corrado
Child Massage Integrated Therapy: A Preliminary Intervention Manual for Psychological Trauma Treatment, Sylvie P. Demers
Risk and Protective Factors Explaining First Year College Adjustment, Marissa Kahn
A Mental Minute: A Qualitative Exploration of Work-Related Stress in Brain Injury Rehabilitation Professionals, Gillian MN Murray
CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN TOGETHER: SOCIAL WORKERS’ CONSTRUCTIONS OF POSITIVE REACTIONS FROM TRAUMA WORK, Meg A. Myers
TOWARD A SECURE THERAPEUTIC BASE: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ADULT ATTACHMENT PATTERN AND THEORETICAL ORIENTATION AMONG CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKERS, Marisa Miller Nero
Experiences and Utilization of Certified Peer Support Specialists Employed on Dialectical Behavior Therapy Teams, Megan Schutt
“I am not CF, I have CF”: Social Connection and Isolation During Young Adulthood With Cystic Fibrosis, Chelsea E. Toth
The Desire for Hastened Death in Home Hospice Care, Sarah E. Wichman
Theses/Dissertations from 2015
Breastfeeding-A Protective Intervention for Child Maltreatment of NICU Graduates, Janeen E. Cross
A two-Paper Examination of Secure Body Attachment in the Prevention and Treatment of Eating Disorders, Suzanne Daly
Social Work Supervision Through a Relational-Cultural Theoretical Lens, Lisa Eible
The Life Stories of Individuals Who as Adults Were Identified as Experiencing the Effects of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Anna CK Erb
Educating Students About the Social Constructs of Sex Work: Integrating a Course Focused on Prostitution into the Social Work Curriculum, Halcyon Francis
Spiritual Development and Baccalaureate Social Work Education: One Historic Program, Lloyd Gestoso
From Foster Care to Adulthood: Success Stories, Sabrina R. Gonzalez
Client-Clinician Texting: An Expansion of the Clinical Holding Environment, Gina M. Innocente
Teacher Anxiety: Study of Effectiveness of Mindfulness Therapy (MT) Intervention for Anxiety Reduction, James K. Joseph
The Philosophies and Practices of Alcoholics Anonymous From a Psychodynamic Perspective, Noah Kass
Getting the Picture: A Cartoon-Based Assessment Tool for Complex Trauma in Children, Jennifer A. King
Disenfranchised Grief In Postpartum Women: A Heuristic Inquiry Into Women's Lived Experience Of Loss Of The Dreamed-of Birth, Rumyana P. Kudeva
A CHAIR BASED YOGA WORKSHOP FOR SELF-CARE AND STRESS MANAGEMENT FOR SOCIAL WORKERS AND MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS, Aileen J. McCabe-Maucher
The Therapist’s Pregnancy: Toward a Therapeutic Fourth A Two-Paper Examination, Mary C. McCluskey
A PILOT STUDY OF CROSS-CULTURAL IMMERSION AS A PEDAGOGICAL APPROACH FOR TEACHING CULTURAL COMPETENCE, Monica M. Murray Smith DSW
A TWO-PAPER EXAMINATION ON THE INTEGRATION OF HUMOR INTO CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK, Stephanie Nathanson
The Therapeutic Usefulness of Video Narrative Playback: A Pilot Comparative Effectiveness Study, Scarlett Leas Robertson LCSW
A BUDDHIST-INFORMED CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK FOR APPROACHING DIFFICULT EMOTIONS IN PSYCHOTHERAPY, Pamela A. Szczygiel
Theses/Dissertations from 2014
Exploring the Dynamics of High-Challenge Encounters in Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Settings, Annapoorna Ayyagari
Evidence Based Social Skills Interventions for Young Children with Asperger’s Syndrome and the Montessori Educational Method: An Integrative Review, Jennifer A. Fulton
Problem-Solving Therapy for Informal Hospice Caregivers: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study, Christin Ann Gregory
Hearing His Story: A Qualitative Study of Fathers of Pediatric Stroke Survivors, Lois J. Robbins
FROM VIOLATION TO REVELATION: FINDING FAITH IN THE DEPTHS OF PRISON HELL, Darcella Sessomes DSW
A Grounded Theory Approach to Exploring the Impact of Machismo on Second-Generation Latina Women's Identity Formation, Marilyn Valenciano
Theses/Dissertations from 2013
SUPPORTING TRANSITIONALLY HOMELESS WOMEN IN RURAL REGIONS: THE NEED FOR TRAUMA-INFORMED CASE MANAGEMENT, yodit K. Betru
Bridging the Gap Between Adult Children and Their Aging Parents: Developing and Assessing a Life Review Education Program, Kathryn M. Brzozowski DSW, LCSW
How Does a High Profile Child Death Impact Child Protective Service Workers?, Toya V. Clebourn-Jacobs
LOOKING FOR ATTACHMENT SOLUTIONS IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES: OUT OF CONTROL SEXUAL BEHAVIOR AS A SYMPTOM OF INSECURE ATTACHMENT IN MEN, Michael Crocker
Practice Settings and Dialectical Behavior Therapy Implementation: A mixed method analysis, Matthew Ditty
PROBLEM-SOLVING THERAPY FOR DEPRESSED OLDER HEMODIALYSIS PATIENTS: A PILOT RANDOMIZED TRIAL, Shiloh D. Erdley
Utilizing Social Norms Theory to Delay the Sexual Debut of Early Adolescents: An Intervention Strategy, Anna M. Gerard
How do social workers in the ICU perceive their role in providing end-of-life care? What factors impede or help them in carrying out this role in end-of-life care and is social work education a contributing component?, Allison L. Gonzalez
Incorporating Clients' Underlying Religious and Spiritual Beliefs in Therapy May Improve Substance Abuse Treatment Practices, Especially for Persons of Color, Marguerite E. Hendrickson
The Invisible Epidemic: Educating Social Work Students towards Holistic Practice in a Period of Mass Incarceration, kirk a. james
RACIAL MICROAGGRESSIONS AND THE THERAPEUTIC ENCOUNTER: A QUALITATIVE STUDY ON THE EXPLORATION OF THE INTERSECTION IN A CROSS-RACIAL DYAD WITH WHITE CLINICIANS AND CLIENTS WHO ARE SECOND GENERATION ASIAN AND LATINA AMERICAN WOMEN OF COLOR, Kristine Miranda
Contextual Adaptation. Human Functioning as Dynamic Interaction: A Social Work Perspective, Naomi B F Pollock
Do You Know What I Know? Examining the Therapist's Internal Experience when a Patient Dissociates in Session, Jacqueline R. Strait
A Case-Control Study: The Psychosocial Functioning and Academic Achievement in Siblings with and without Sickle Cell Disease, Lisa N. Thaniel
AFRICAN AMERICAN GIRLS AND PHYSICAL AGGRESSION: A RESILIENCE STUDY ON HOW ADULT AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN OVERCAME PHYSICALLY AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR POST ADOLESCENCE, Kietra L. Winn
Awareness of, Degree of Knowledge About, and Attitudes Toward the Body Image Concerns and Eating Practices of Middle-school Aged Girls: A Survey of School Social Workers, Stephanie M. Worrall Mrs.
The Role of Social Support in Relation to Parenting Stress and Risk of Child Maltreatment among Asian American Immigrant Parents, Anderson S. Yoon
Theses/Dissertations from 2012
Locating Women's Global Narratives and Local Needs in Our Own Backyard: Global Critical Race Feminism for Direct Social Work Practice, Carly Goldberg
TEACHERS’ EXPLICIT AND IMPLICIT ATTITUDE TOWARD HOMOSEXUALITY: THE ROLE OF INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL MOTIVATION TO RESPOND WITHOUT PREJUDICE, Christina C. Graham
Caregiver Views on Medication Treatment for Persons with Schizophrenia in a Cultural Context, Tracy H. Griffith
Moving Families to Future Health: Reunification Experiences After Sibling Incest, Bianca M. Harper
EXPLORING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING AND SMOKING CESSATION TREATMENT, Kia Kerrin
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: EXPLORING THE UNSEEN WOUNDS OF AN OIF/OEF VETERAN & A CIVILIAN WITH TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY, Aswood M. LaFortune
AN EXPLORATORY STUDY OF GRADUATE SOCIAL WORK PROGRAMS TO IDENTIFY METHODS UTILIZED IN TEACHING STUDENTS CULTURALLY COMPETENT PRACTICE, Jack B. Lewis DSW
Responding to College Campus Acquaintance Rape: Contextual Issues and the Challenge of Inter-Organizational Collaboration, Deborah V. O'Neill
Recovery From Traumatic Loss: A Study Of Women Living Without Children After Infertility, Marni Rosner
FROM PARTIAL TO FULL-ENOUGH RECOVERY: A DEVELOPMENTAL MODEL OF RECOVERY FROM EATING DISORDERS, martina verba
CONVERSATIONS IN THE SAND: ADVANCED SANDPLAY THERAPY TRAINING CURRICULUM FOR MASTERS LEVEL CLINICIANS, Jacquelyn E. Warr-Williams
Theses/Dissertations from 2011
Child Welfare Social Work and the Promotion of Client Self-Determination, Ginneh L. Akbar
THE USE OF SPIRITUALLY INTEGRATED INTERVENTIONS AMONG BAHÁ’Í MENTAL HEALTH PRACTITIONERS, Guia Calicdan-Apostle
We Need To Talk: Advancing Urban School Social Worker Knowledge of ADHD and Collaboration with Teachers, Mery F. Diaz
Development in Crisis: Adolescent Sibling Bereavement, Erica D. Goldblatt
SURVIVORS OF A MILITARY SUICIDE DEATH: EXPLORING DISTRESS AND POSTVENTION PEER SUPPORT, Jill A. Harrington-LaMorie
EXPLORING INTERGENERATIONAL TRANSMISSION OF TRAUMA IN THIRD GENERATION HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS, Melissa C. Kahane-Nissenbaum
Family Process Through the Prism of Living Donation: Courage, Coercion, Calculus and Coalescence, Laura V. Kotler-Klein
Beginnings and Endings: An Inquiry into the Attachment Orientations and Termination Approaches among Clinical Social Workers, Katherine C. Ledwith
THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL SUPPORT AND FAMILY RESILIENCE ON PARENTAL STRESS IN FAMILIES WITH A CHILD DIAGNOSED WITH AN AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER, Jennifer C. Plumb
An Investigation of Unstructured Play in Nature and its Effect on Children’s Self-Efficacy, Paul E. Starling
Theses/Dissertations from 2010
Mending Fences: How Heterosexual Married Individuals Perceive Breaks in their Connection to their Spouses and How Couples Repair Them, Jane B. Abrams
Educational Entertainment as an Intervention with Adolescents Exposed to Community Violence, Valerie Dorsey Allen
A Multi-paper examination of the history of non-erotic love within the psychotherapeutic dyad, Danna R. Bodenheimer
The Effects of Oppression on Queer Intimate Adolescent Attachment, Cynthia Closs
A Comparative Study of Adopted and Nonadopted Women's Attachment Within Romantic Relationships, Mary Ann A. Groncki
An Exploration of Appearance-Related Issues of Breast Cancer Treatment on Sense of Self, Self-Esteem, and Social Functioning in Women with Breast Cancer, Margaret M. Preston
A Narrative Intervention with Oncology Professionals: Stress and Burnout Reduction through an Interdisciplinary Group Process, Nicole M. Saint-Louis
The Met and Unmet Needs of Families of Patients in the ICU and Implications for Social Work Practice, Heather Sheaffer
The Organizational Context of Mental Health, Eric S. Stein
The sun is shining but many students won't see the daylight. Because it's that time of year again – dissertation time.
Luckily for me, my D-Day (dissertation hand-in day) has already been and gone. But I remember it well.
The 10,000-word spiral-bound paper squatted on my desk in various forms of completion was my Allied forces; the history department in-tray was my Normandy. And when Eisenhower talked about a "great crusade toward which we have striven these many months", he was bang on.
I remember first encountering the Undergraduate Dissertation Handbook, feeling my heart sink at how long the massive file took to download, and began to think about possible (but in hindsight, wildly over-ambitious) topics. Here's what I've learned since, and wish I'd known back then…
1) If your dissertation supervisor isn't right, change. Mine was brilliant. If you don't feel like they're giving you the right advice, request to swap to someone else – providing it's early on and your reason is valid, your department shouldn't have a problem with it. In my experience, it doesn't matter too much whether they're an expert on your topic. What counts is whether they're approachable, reliable, reassuring, give detailed feedback and don't mind the odd panicked email. They are your lifeline and your best chance of success.
2) If you mention working on your dissertation to family, friends or near-strangers, they will ask you what it's about, and they will be expecting a more impressive answer than you can give. So prepare for looks of confusion and disappointment. People anticipate grandeur in history dissertation topics – war, genocide, the formation of modern society. They don't think much of researching an obscure piece of 1970s disability legislation. But they're not the ones marking it.
3) If they ask follow-up questions, they're probably just being polite.
4) Do not ask friends how much work they've done. You'll end up paranoid – or they will. Either way, you don't have time for it.
5) There will be one day during the process when you will freak out, doubt your entire thesis and decide to start again from scratch. You might even come up with a new question and start working on it, depending on how long the breakdown lasts. You will at some point run out of steam and collapse in an exhausted, tear-stained heap. But unless there are serious flaws in your work (unlikely) and your supervisor recommends starting again (highly unlikely), don't do it. It's just panic, it'll pass.
6) A lot of the work you do will not make it into your dissertation. The first few days in archives, I felt like everything I was unearthing was a gem, and when I sat down to write, it seemed as if it was all gold. But a brutal editing down to the word count has left much of that early material at the wayside.
7) You will print like you have never printed before. If you're using a university or library printer, it will start to affect your weekly budget in a big way. If you're printing from your room, "paper jam" will come to be the most dreaded two words in the English language.
8) Your dissertation will interfere with whatever else you have going on – a social life, sporting commitments, societies, other essay demands. Don't even try and give up biscuits for Lent, they'll basically become their own food group when you're too busy to cook and desperate for sugar.
9) Your time is not your own. Even if you're super-organised, plan your time down to the last hour and don't have a single moment of deadline panic, you'll still find that thoughts of your dissertation will creep up on you when you least expect it. You'll fall asleep thinking about it, dream about it and wake up thinking about. You'll feel guilty when you're not working on it, and mired in self-doubt when you are.
10) Finishing it will be one of the best things you've ever done. It's worth the hard work to know you've completed what's likely to be your biggest, most important, single piece of work. Be proud of it.
• This article was previously published on Guardian Students on 2 May 2012.