• Chronically ill children and marital adjustment in military families

      Mahlmann, John James; Varghese, Raju (1994)
      One hundred and forty seven married couples with a chronically ill/handicapped child from an Army base were matched with 147 married couples without a chronically ill/handicapped child from the same base to make up the sample. Comparisons were made on a variety of demographic and socio/emotional variables. It was found that respondents with a chronically ill/handicapped child present in the home had less education, family income, and rank status than control group respondents. In spite of these disadvantages, when the two groups were compared on a measure of marital adjustment, no significant differences were observed. Within group analyses of couples with a chronically ill/handicapped child in the home found that mothers, compared to fathers, were most adversely affected both emotionally and socially. Fathers with low levels of marital adjustment reported excessive time demands caring for the identified child and a lack of support caring for the child. The way in which care required by a chronically ill/handicapped child was measured determined whether or not it was related to the level of marital adjustment. This may help to explain the contradictory findings in the literature. When a model of stress appraisal and coping was tested using LISREL8 and social support, care, and psychological coping and marital adjustment were placed in the equation in every possible combination, it was found that for fathers, the model fit the data only when care and marital adjustment were in the model. For mothers, the model fit the data for care and marital adjustment and for social support, psychological coping, and marital adjustment. The model did not fit the data when all three independent variables were entered together. Related other theoretical approaches may prove better able to explain the factors that influence marital adjustment for fathers of chronically ill/handicapped children.
    • An evaluation of an intervention implemented to cause improved adjustment of prisoners

      Pugh, David N.; Varghese, Raju (1991)
      This dissertation is an evaluation of an intervention implemented to improve the adjustment of prisoners. The intervention, known as Decisions, is a structured educational model. It rests upon the assumption that criminals are poor problem-solvers and view themselves as victims of forces over which they have little or no control. Decisions attempts to cause enhanced prisoner adjustment by first causing improvement in problem-solving ability and a shift toward the internal dimension of personal control of prisoners. The literature review revealed three studies directly related to the underlying assumptions of Decisions. None of the studies lend any support to those assumptions. However, the literature does indicate that problem-solving ability and locus of control are related to prisoner adjustment. The literature reviewed also shows that the locus of control of prisoners is subject to at least short-term change via an intervention like Decisions. It was hypothesized that the experimental group would score significantly better on problem-solving scores and significantly more internal on locus of control scores at posttest and follow up. It was also hypothesized that the experimental group would score significantly better in adjustment at follow up. The analysis revealed a significant initial group difference on pretest locus of control scores, and on the scores of one adjustment scale. Attrition resulted in additional group differences on age and education. All analyses showed nonsignificant results. There were no significant differences between groups on posttest and follow up locus of control and problem-solving scores, nor on follow up prison adjustment scores. Only the variable age accounted for any significant variance of prison adjustment. Several interpretations of the results are offered. The first is that outcome is the cause of significant group differences both present at pretest and resulting from a high mortality rate. The second is that skewed distributions of two measures made it difficult for any change in the desired direction to be detected. A third and more plausible interpretation is that the intervention rests upon a weak theory. That is, neither the literature nor the data generated in this study support the assumption that prisoners are poor problem-solvers and externals. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)
    • An evaluation of one method of enhancing the perceived control of spinal cord injured patients in a rehabilitation hospital

      Fiedler, Katherine E.; Varghese, Raju (1995)
      A longitudinal quasi-experimental design was used to assess the efficacy of a psychoeducational group intervention to enhance the perceived control of spinal cord injured patients during their initial rehabilitation. The treatment and contrast groups consisted of thirty subjects each. It was hypothesized that the group intervention would enhance the subjects level of perceived control. It was further hypothesized that enhanced perceived control would result in increased compliance with a prescribed medical regimen and subsequently an improved rehabilitation outcome. The results of the study demonstrate that the group intervention was useful in increasing perceived control and these subjects were also shown to have greater improvement in rehabilitation outcome as measured by level of independence in activities of daily living. No significant relationship was found between level of perceived control and reported compliance with the medical regimen. Suggestions for further research included the construction of more valid and reliable instrumentation and replication of this study with other populations.
    • Love without Violence: A new treatment for spouse abusers

      Stosny, Steven; Varghese, Raju (1993)
      The current work develops a new treatment for family violence offenders, adapted for, and tested on, 100 spouse abusers in a field experiment involving five different community mental health centers in Maryland and Virginia. With standard agency treatment serving as comparison, results revealed large, statistically significant differences between groups. As hypothesized, the experimental treatment greatly reduced recidivism of violence and verbal aggression, while increasing compassion for spouse, well-being, viable strategies to resolve potentially violent situations, and acceptance of personal responsibility for abusive behavior. The treatment is drawn from a reformulation of the problem of spouse violence in a more illuminating context of what can accurately be called, attachment abuse. The theoretical foundation of this view is phenomenological constructivism, which includes attachment theory as a key developmental and integrative explanation for the way individuals construct the meaning of themselves and their environments. Attachment abusers are described as persons afflicted with painful constructions of self, with deficits of affect-regulation and attachment skills. The former makes them feel out of control and powerless, a condition they futilely try to correct by abusively exerting power and control over attachment figures. Because attachment figures serve as illusory reflections of the inner self--a mirror image of the loving and lovable self--attachment abusers succumb to the deeper illusion that they can control painful constructions of self by manipulating the mirror.
    • Pathological gambling behavior and self-concept theory: An investigation of the validity of the addictive personality syndrome (APS)

      Hudak, Clark Joseph, Jr.; Varghese, Raju (1992)
      This study investigated the relationship between the self-concept and the Addictive Personality Syndrome (APS) among a sample of pathological gamblers. Seventy-five respondents met the sampling criteria and were drawn from various Gamblers Anonymous chapters in the Baltimore/Washington/Northern Virginia metropolitan areas, and two professional treatment programs--the National Center for Pathological Gambling and the Washington Center for Pathological Gambling. Self-esteem and self-concept stability were predicted to be causally related to the dependent variable dissociation. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, the New York State Stability of Self Scale, and the Jacobs Dissociation Scale were used to measure self-esteem, self-concept stability, and dissociation respectively. Data were also collected for sociodemographic variables and those for family and gambling backgrounds. The measuring instrument consisted of a 45-item questionnaire which was self-administered in about thirty minutes. The findings lend support to four of the five research hypotheses. Using ordinary least squares linear regressions, statistical analyses tentatively revealed a negative causal relationship between dissociation and self-concept stability. Contrary to prediction was that self-esteem was not found related to dissociation. A leptokurtic univariate distribution skewed toward low self-esteem appeared to account for this latter finding. As predicted, self-esteem and self-concept stability were found unrelated. Further comparative analyses revealed higher levels of self-concept stability among dissociators than non-dissociators. There were no differences between these groups on self-esteem scores. In a follow-up survey of a subset of the study's sample self-concept principles were further explicated. Thus hypotheses four and five were tentatively supported which predicted manifestations of the desired and presenting selves during gambling activity. The findings support the notion that self-concept principles can better explain components of the Addictive Personality Syndrome, and relevance of the tested variables have implications for social work theory, practice, education, and research.