• The effectiveness of social group work with head trauma rehabilitation patients

      Futeral, Susan Todd; Ephross, Paul H. (1993)
      This study investigated the relationship between the use of social group work methods and self-esteem of closed-head injured adolescents and young adults. Head injury is damage to the brain as a result of traumatic injury. There are approximately 3 million head injuries each year, resulting in 30,000 deaths. Head injuries are often caused by vehicular accidents, falling objects, gunshot wounds, sharp instruments, or projectiles. The lengthy psychosocial rehabilitation period of head injured persons is often complicated by the combined effects of the pre-injury history as well as the post-trauma physical and psychological changes. The study was conceptualized as action research. The design of this study was a pre-test/post-test design using multiple group comparisons. Trained social workers collected data in group interviews, and patients completed self-report questionnaires. The instruments used were the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, the Piers-Harris Self-Concept Scale, and an exit interview. The sample size was 25 outpatients and 25 community persons, which had sustained head injuries. The theoretical frameworks are symbolic interactionism and social group work theory. The study sought to develop findings which may contribute to clinical social work practice, theory, group work, and related fields. The goal of the study was to add to the present body of knowledge about effective treatment of head trauma patients. The experimental and comparison group members were matched on demographic variables of age, race, gender, residence, etc. One of the most significant differences of the demographic variables studied was the level of education, specifically that the participants in the comparison group completed more years of formal education than the participants in the experimental group. Both groups were matched similarly in their pre-test scores on the Piers-Harris and Rosenberg scales and both groups showed improvement in the desired direction over time. Using T tests to compare the pre-test to post-test scores, the following differences were statistically significant: the total Piers-Harris score, three subscales of the Piers-Harris (the Behavior, Intelligence and Anxiety subscales), and the Rosenberg scale. Overall the hypothesis that group work enhances self-esteem was supported by this study. In conclusion, this author advocates the use of group work for head trauma recoveries as an effective therapeutic intervention to increase group members' self-esteem. This study has implications for future research for inpatient and outpatient settings.