• Creating harmony, creating happiness: Subjective well-being of older Koreans in the United States

      Park-Lee, Eunice Y.; Oktay, Julianne S. (2005)
      The present qualitative study examined life and aging experiences of elderly Korean Americans. More specifically, it explored how diverse experiences of older Koreans were used to create the meaning of "the good life" and to appraise their well-being in old age. In addition to observing elderly individuals in various social settings, a series of in-depth, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 15 theoretically sampled elderly Koreans with intact cognitive ability who resided in the Washington Metropolitan area. Guided by the grounded theory approach of Glaser and Strauss (1967) and Strauss and Corbin (1998), data were collected and analyzed concurrently throughout the course of the study. "The good life," to older Korean immigrants, implied having continuity of the self while living in harmony. Only when their relationships with others were harmonious, could older Korean immigrants truly continue being the person they had always been. Harmonious social relationships could be maintained when they had comfort in both mind and body and, subsequently, had the freedom to do what they wanted. Employing their own definition of "the good life," each of the elderly evaluated his or her life circumstances. Upon identifying discrepancies between their actual life and their ideal life, they made behavioral and cognitive efforts to reduce and/or accept them. When their attempts were successful, the elderly could preserve harmony in their relationships with others and create happiness for themselves. Such efforts were continuously required since both aging and immigration/acculturation continually brought about changes in their environment. Hardy/resilient individuals thus were more effective in sustaining their efforts in coping with the discrepancies and creating as well as maintaining a positive sense of well-being. Consistent with Korean culture, "the good life" was not seen as an outcome of an individual's hard work. Instead it was viewed as a collaborative task to which both the elderly individual and the environment contributed. This collaborative orientation towards "the good life," therefore, should be taken into consideration when developing services and policy for well-being of older Korean immigrants. Limitations of the study and the study findings are discussed in relation to existing research.
    • The effects of stress, role ambiguity, and social support on burnout among home health aids caring for the frail elderly: "Toward the prevention of maltreatment"

      Tompkins, Catherine Jeanette; Oktay, Julianne S. (1995)
      The need for long-term care services has been increasing rapidly, and a continuous increase is expected for several decades. Home health aides who provide services such as assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and homemaker chores are critical to the success of home-based, long-term care. It is imperative that these services be of the highest quality. Burnout has been found to be a serious problem among human service workers, but has not been empirically studied among home health aides caring for the frail elderly. Burnout can lead to poor quality care including maltreatment of patients (Pillemer, 1988); burned-out workers are less efficient, and turnover is high. In order to improve quality of care in home health care, we need to begin examining factors that predict burnout in home health aides. The purpose of this study was to explore how job role ambiguity, perceived stress and social support affect burnout among home health aides. The three components of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization and Personal Accomplishment) were used to measure burnout. The Depersonalization scale had low reliability (Cronbach's Alpha =.36), so it was not used as a dependent measure. Fifteen home health care agencies participated in the study, yielding a sample size of 117 home health aides. Generally, the home health aides were African-American women, unmarried, with 13 years of education. The respondents had been employed as home health aides for an average of 8 years working 36 hours per week. Cross-sectional data were obtained by interviewer administered questionnaires. Multivariate analyses supported the hypotheses that job role ambiguity, perceived stress and social support (social network) had direct relationships to burnout (one or both of the subscales of the MBI). Age and education also showed significant relationships to burnout. A buffering relationship between social network, perceived stress and Personal Accomplishment was found. Results suggest that stress, social network, age and education are important when examining the effects of burnout among home health aides. Results imply that interventions to reduce stress and that target specific home health aides based on age and education level need to be implemented.
    • Experiences of African American families at an AIDS bereavement camp: A descriptive study

      McFeaters, Susan J.; Oktay, Julianne S. (2000)
      African Americans have been disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Data from HIV/AIDS prevalence surveys continue to reflect the disproportionate impact of the epidemic on minority populations, especially women, youth and children. One consequence of the AIDS pandemic is the multiple losses sustained by low-income African American families. Little is known about the difficulties and challenges that families face that have experienced an AIDS-related loss, particularly low-income, urban African American families. Historically, AIDS services have not been designed to meet the needs of child rearing; bereaved families and practitioners have not had experience in intervening with theses families. Additionally, bereavement services have not existed for AIDS-affected families. The purpose of this study was to describe an innovative bereavement program for low-income, urban African American families impacted by AIDS-related loss. This study also describes the experiences of families and the specific interventions designed to assist them in coping with AIDS-related loss. A qualitative ethnographic technique was employed and participant observation was utilized as the primary method of data collection. Triangulation, reflexive journaling and cultural and grief consultants were utilized to increase validity. The analysis identified three categories of stressors experienced by the families: stressors resulting from AIDS-related loss, stressors, resulting from living with AIDS, and stressors resulting from new family configurations. Two primary types of interventions were implemented at the camp: bereavement interventions and interventions that strengthened and built families. The bereavement interventions consisted of building a safe environment, encouraging emotional expression and putting closure on the weekend. The interventions that strengthen and build families focused on raising the self-esteem among family members, promoting family unity and creating ongoing support among families in order to avoid future isolation. Further, the research showed how three cultural components, spirituality, rituals, and kinship bonds helped to facilitate the interventions. The results of this study indicate that practitioners working with AIDS-bereaved families need to assist them in not only resolving grief, but to recognize and address the multiple stressors affecting the families. Practitioners also need to utilize techniques that assist in strengthening and building low-income, urban African American families in a culturally competent framework.
    • Hospital social workers and AIDS patients: Stressors, potency, burnout and physical symptoms

      Egan, Marcia; Oktay, Julianne S. (1991)
      This study examined a model of stress and cognitive appraisal as it applies to burnout in hospital social workers providing services to AIDS patients. The research was done in response to reports of the stresses on healthcare workers presented by the AIDS epidemic, and to calls in the burnout literature to examine coping responses in specific practice areas. Questionnaires were mailed to social workers in hospitals of over 350 beds in the ten states with the highest incidence of AIDS. The sample was comprised of 128 social workers who had provided services to 10 or more AIDS patients within the previous six months. The questionnaire measured background variables (demographic variables, work and practice characteristics), independent variables (stressors of practice with AIDS patients, potency and how difficult the social workers found their practice with AIDS patients) and dependent variables (burnout and physical symptoms). The research was guided by the theories of Lazarus, Maslach and Ben Sira. Univariate, bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to test hypothesized relationships between the dependent and independent variables. Background variables were used as controls. The analyses supported the hypotheses that stressors of practice with AIDS patients and difficulty in practice were correlated, and that potency interacts with stressors as they relate to difficulty. That is, in persons with high potency, the relationship between stressors and difficulty is lower than is the case in persons with low potency. The three measures of burnout were related to difficulty. Potency also had a strong direct effect on burnout and physical symptoms. The results suggest that potency is an important factor in burnout, and should be studied further. If substantiated in further research, the results imply that employers and educators need to develop strategies to increase the sense of mastery, self-confidence and faith in societal justness (potency) if they hope to decrease burnout in social workers who practice with AIDS patients.
    • In the Shadow of the Ivory Tower: Neighborhood Relations in a College Town

      Powell, Kathleen H.; Oktay, Julianne S. (2013)
      Residential neighborhoods adjacent to a higher education institution are home to diverse groups of people who share neither a common sense of community (McMillan & Chavis, 1986) nor the same degree of attachment to place (Low & Altman, 1992). These neighborhoods are characterized by transience and a lack of cohesion. They are highly prized by higher education institutions, municipal governments, and private developers who vie for control of their assets that include an ample supply of park-like spaces and ready access to cultural, educational, and sporting events and facilities. Despite this interest, the existing research on campus-adjacent neighborhoods is emerging and lacks internal consistency and methodological sophistication. Without a base of knowledge to understand these neighborhoods, the movement to establish stronger university-community partnerships is likely to be compromised. The aim of this year-long ethnographic study was to examine the culture of a campus-adjacent residential neighborhood in a small Appalachian city that is home to a public university in order to better understand the intergroup relations among residents who call this neighborhood "home." The study's design was informed by a paradigmatic synthesis and a social ecological framework. It included multiple methodological components to allow for multivocality and triangulation. Those components included participant observation, archival research, interviews, photography, GIS mapping, a series of focus groups, and a small Photovice project. Findings from the study were grouped into five major themes: (1) life in a "company town;" (2) historical context; (3) "hosts" and "guests;" (4) alcohol and other drugs; and (5) studentification (a term used to describe the transition of a campus-adjacent neighborhood from one dominated by owner-occupied homes to one dominated by "student rentals"). These findings were analyzed metaphorically and theoretically. Theoretically, the findings were linked to three areas: self and collective efficacy, intergroup relations, and ghettoization. The study reaffirms social work's commitment to community practice including neighborhood organizing, community development, and social planning. Its insights shed light on intergroup relations in diverse neighborhoods dominated by an anchor institution.
    • Interactions between older persons with cognitive impairment and staff in an adult day care setting

      Berry, Marijean; Oktay, Julianne S. (2003)
      As society ages, an increasing number of elderly people suffering from dementia of various etiologies, especially Alzheimer's Disease, will require professional care. Understanding the nature of interactions between caregivers and people with dementia can help social workers, and other health professionals, to improve the services they provide to their elderly clients. This qualitative study explored the experience of seven cognitively-impaired participants as they interacted with five staff members in an adult day care setting. The researcher employed participant observation and interviewing as primary methods of data collection. Prolonged engagement over sixteen months, peer debriefing, triangulation, member checking, negative case analysis, and auditing enhanced the validity of the study. Derived from symbolic interactionism, concepts of self and society, along with dramaturgical notions of roles, stage, and script, supplied a framework to organize information. Grounded theory, thick description, and narrative interpretation were used to analyze the data. Based on analysis, interactions, including verbal and nonverbal gestures, routines, and structured activities, were divided into six major analytic categories. Nurturance describes the staff's efforts to care for clients. Management encompasses the staff's maintaining order and ensuring the safety of clients. Dignity concerns staff's balancing the amount of assistance offered to clients with respect for their autonomy. Social Grace corresponds to clients' early socialization patterns. Emotional Connectedness applies to the emotional communication between clients and staff. The Continuing Self refers to the continuity of clients' selves from the past to the present. These categories were further separated into two broader themes: actions taken by staff, and the internal processes of clients. Specifically, Nurturance, Management, and Dignity describe staff-initiated interactions by which staff cares for, stimulates, and respects clients. Social Grace, Emotional Connectedness, and Continuing Self relate to clients' inner dynamics as affected by client-staff interactions. These social interactions are hypothesized to kindle clients' ingrained patterns of socialization and recall early emotional bonds, linking who clients are now with who they were. Consideration was given to the limitations of this small study about people with dementia, and to its implications for more research, for theory development, and for practice issues involving social work and other health care professions.
    • Older women: An analysis of the influences of race, health status, and social network involvement on use of community services

      Soniat, Barbara Ann; Oktay, Julianne S. (1992)
      This study examined the effect of race, health status, socioeconomic status and social network involvement on use of community services by elderly women. The data for the study were extracted from the 1984 Supplement on Aging, a national survey of older Americans. The sub-sample used in this study consisted of 6578 Black and White women age sixty-five and older. The Andersen behavioral model of service utilization was used to examine the predictive values of predisposing, enabling and need variables for determining use of community services. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the individual and combined effects of demographic, individual and sociocultural factors on use of community services by older women. A key issue addressed by this research was utilization of community services by elderly Black women. When race and use of social and support services were examined without controls, there were no significant racial differences in use of social services. However, Black women were more likely to use support services. In logistic regression analyses that controlled for the influences of the other study variables, Black women were more likely to use social services, but race did not have any additional explanatory value for predicting use of support services. When the Andersen model was applied separately to the two groups, the results revealed that the predictive factors operated differently. For example, Black women's use of social services declined with age. Age had an opposite effect for White women, with service utilization increasing with age. The study indicates that strategies for targeting services to diverse racial groups need to consider both within and between group differences in utilization behaviors.
    • A study of factors that contribute to the discrepancy between the high number of women receiving college education and the low number of women participating in the labor force in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

      Samergandi, Rogayah Shokrallh A.; Oktay, Julianne S. (1992)
      The basic research question was why Saudi women are not working despite their educations and the government's need for their services (Saudi Arabia is the largest importer of foreign labor in the Arab world). With the recession period in the 1980s it became apparent that there was a pressing need for educated women to use their educational degrees appropriately and to contribute to the work force, thus meeting the women's increased personal needs and the government's need for labor. The research focused on the changes in modern Saudi women's roles and the ensuing problems. Empirical examination based on the concepts of modernization (particularly Riggs's prismatic theory), cultural lag, and status inconsistency theories framed the research. The research also examined Muslim women's roles and attempted to explain how in highly traditional societies, such as Saudi Arabia, religious and cultural norms suppress certain aspects of the modernization process by enforcing the role of women. Qualitative methods were used to conduct in-depth interviews with sixty-nine professional Saudi women (workers and nonworkers) in the city of (L) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The study examined factors such as professional work opportunities; motivational factors for seeking a college education and for choosing not to work outside the home; and professional employment; social restraints; degree of family support; religious, modernization, and individual factors. Findings indicated that the importance of motherhood and wife roles, women's motivations for college educations for goals other than careers, lack of economic need before the recession in the 1980s, absence of employment opportunities (women's jobs were saturated), limited fields of education available for women (education, social work, and recently, medicine), and religious restraints were the most important factors that influenced women not to work outside their homes. Implications for practice include a need for increased services to assist women in balancing the demands of their roles. To solve transportation and childcare problems for working women, car pooling and childcare centers should be provided. Employment services, should be created such as job banks as well as full-time and part-time job sharing.
    • Volunteer Guardians in the Community: A Mixed Methods Exploration of a Complex Volunteer Task

      Jones, Andrea L.; Oktay, Julianne S. (2013)
      Demographic trends indicate a significant increase in the number of adults over 65, especially those 85 and older (Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, 2010). Community services may be reduced or eliminated due to fiscal constraints (NGA, 2010). Recruiting and retaining volunteers to act as legal guardians (VGs) for incapacitated older adults may be essential in meeting increased community service demand for guardians. This mixed method study built upon prior research to include themes of qualitative semi-structured interviews and quantitative results from the Volunteer Functions Inventory (VFI; Clary et al., 1998; Clary, Snyder, & Stutkas, 1996) with VGs from a mid-Atlantic not-for-profit guardianship agency. Quantitative data suggest VG motivations score higher than the comparison sample on subscales measuring factors, such as Values (humanitarian, altruistic reasons), and lower than comparison sample on the Career, Enhancement, and Protective factor subscales. Qualitative data were collected using a semi-structured interview guide and analyzed using the Generic Inductive Qualitative Method (Hood, 2007). Interviews conducted with 12 volunteer guardians indicated themes related to why VGs chose this task, such as `helping the unbefriended (Values factor),' `giving back/paying forward,' and `learning to help.' Themes illustrative of how the guardians performed this volunteer task included `how they with conflict,' `need for a good match (client to volunteer),' and `asking for help.' In addition, findings seem to indicate that volunteers with human service training employed a more directive case management style. Volunteers without human service training provided more collaborative, functionary guardian services. Qualitative interview data were also collected from six board and agency staff and indicated a difference in perception between administration and VGs related to the `need for a good match,' as well as `recruitment' methods. Implications for practice include the need to provide more support and assistance to volunteers without human service training, understanding the need for guardian-client matches that would be more compatible with the guardian type, as well as a need for improved, specific recruiting methods. Implications for future research include the development of a model to recruit and train volunteer guardians that could be replicated by social service, faith-based, and other not-for-profit agencies.