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Social Science


Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Understanding Social Problems by Linda A. Mooney, David Knox, Caroline Schacht (Wadsworth Publishing) This is a comprehensive mid-level paperback text that takes a theoretically balanced, student-centered approach to social problems. The text progresses from a micro- to macro-level of analysis, focusing first on such problems as illness and health care, drugs and alcohol, and family problems and then broadening to the larger issues of poverty and inequality, population growth, environmental problems, and conflict around the world. The social problem in each chapter is framed in a global as well as U.S. context. In every chapter, the three major theoretical perspectives are applied to the social problem under discussion, and the consequences of the problem, as well as alternative solutions, are explored. Pedagogical features such as The Human Side and Self and Society enable students to grasp how social problems affect the lives of individuals and apply their understanding of social problems to their own lives.

Excerpt: Understanding Social Problems is intended for use in a college-level sociology course. We recognize that many students enrolled in undergraduate sociology classes are not sociology majors. Thus, we have designed our text with the aim of inspiring students—no matter what their academic major or future life path may be—to care about the social problems affecting people throughout the world. In addition to providing a sound theoretical and research basis for sociology majors, Understanding Social Problems also speaks to students who are headed for careers in business, psychology, health care, social work, criminal justice, and the nonprofit sector, as well as to those pursuing degrees in education, fine arts, the humanities, and to those who are "undecided." Social problems, after all, affect each and every one of us, directly or indirectly. And everyone, whether a leader in business or politics, a stay-at-home parent, or a student, can become more mindful of how his or her actions (or inactions) perpetuate or alleviate social problems. We hope that Understanding Social Problems not only informs, but also inspires, planting seeds of social awareness that will grow no matter what academic, occupational, and life path students choose.

New to This Edition

The Fifth Edition of Understanding Social Problems includes an exciting new pedagogical feature called ThomsonNOW, which enables students to take an online diagnostic quiz on each chapter of the text to identify the areas that the student has mastered as well as those areas that require further study. The chapters in the Fifth Edition have been reorganized so that topics of poverty and economic inequality, work and unemployment, and problems of education are covered earlier in the text. The chapter previously called "Race and Ethnic Relations" has been renamed "Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration" to reflect the substantial expansion of U.S. immigration issues covered in that chapter. Most of the chapter opening vignettes are new, and many of the chapter features (The Human Side, Focus on Technology, Social Problems Research Up Close, and Self and Society) have been changed. Finally, each chapter has new and updated figures and tables, as well as new and revised material, detailed below.

Chapter 1 (Thinking About Social Problems) now includes a discussion of social change and social movements in the Human Side feature, which also includes new examples of college student activism. The Self and Society feature has been

updated with 2004 freshman norms from the UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute, and the opening vignette now includes 2005 data on Americans' level of satisfaction on a variety of social issues.

Chapter 2 (Illness and the Health Care Crisis) contains new information on the global HIV/AIDS crisis, the problem of inadequate health insurance coverage, and the effects of international free-trade agreements on health. A new section on the growing problem of obesity has also been added, as well as a new Focus on Technology feature that looks at Americans' use of the Internet to find health information, and a new Taking a Stand feature that addresses whether college and universities should require students to have health insurance coverage.

Chapter 3 (Alcohol and Other Drugs) contains an expanded discussion of tobacco and advertising as it relates to marketing cigarettes, particularly of flavored cigarettes, to minors. Alcohol and drug use statistics have been updated using 2004 Monitoring the Future and 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health data. There is new information on fetal alcohol syndrome, binge drinking, and the increased dangers of "crystal meth." This revised chapter also features a new Human Side box containing excerpts from the 2005 autobiography by Koren Zailckas, titled Smashed: The Story of a Drunken Girlhood.

Chapter 4 (Crime and Social Control) presents recent crime statistics available from the National Crime Victimization Survey and the Uniform Crime Reports. It also contains a new opening vignette on Brian Nichols, and expanded sections on white-collar crime, identity theft and internet fraud, child pornography, international incarceration rates, and serial killers. The Focus on Technology feature on DNA evidence has also been updated.

In Chapter 5 (Family Problems), information on changing structures and patterns in U.S. families and households has been updated, and the "marital decline perspective" and "marital resiliency perspective" have been added to the discussion of the opposing views on the state of the family. Other new information in this chapter includes a new section on the role of women in the family, new research on why some adults stay in abusive relationships, a discussion of bans on corporal punishment in other countries, and the current status of sex education programs in the United States. A new Human Side contains an excerpt from the book We're Still Family: What Grown Children Have to Say About Their Parents' Divorce (by Ahrons, 2004), and the new Taking a Stand feature addresses whether or not pharmacists should have the right to refuse to fill a prescription for birth control.

Chapter 6 (Poverty and Economic Inequality) includes a discussion of how poor populations are most vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters, such as the Asian tsunami of 2004 and Hurricane Katrina of 2005. This chapter also has new information about a proposed universal living wage and about efforts to alleviate poverty through the Faith-based and Community Initiative policy of the G. W. Bush administration. Statistics on poverty, economic inequality, and welfare programs have been updated, with an increased emphasis on the growing economic inequality in the United States and throughout the world. The new Self and Society feature presents a "Food Insecurity Scale," allowing students to assess their own level of food security.

In Chapter 7 (Work and Unemployment) there is increased attention to corporatocracy—the system of government that involves ties between government and corporations and that serves the interests of corporations. A new section on "McDonaldization" has been added, and information has been updated on economic globalization and free trade agreements, global and U.S. unemployment, and work-family issues. New material in this chapter also includes a discussion of long-

term unemployment, recent examples of corporate misbehavior, a new Self and Society feature ("How Do You Define the American Dream?"), and the results of the Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights (in the Social Problems Research Up Close feature).

Chapter 8 (Problems in Education) has new sections on bullying, Head Start assessment, total immersion programs, and violence against teachers. A new Human Side feature titled "The Pendulum of Change" describes one teacher's frustration with federal mandates and state-imposed accountability guidelines. This revised chapter also includes updated information on distance education; expanded coverage of President Bush's No Child Left Behind initiative; and new sections on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), special education programs, and school system compliance.

Chapter 9, previously titled "Race and Ethnic Relations," has been renamed "Race, Ethnicity and Immigration" to reflect the new coverage of a topic of growing concern: U.S. immigration. A new Human Side feature describes the experience of an immigrant day laborer in Georgia who was victimized by a violent hate-crime attack, the new Self and Society feature is on attitudes toward U.S. immigrants and immigration, and the new Taking a Stand feature addresses the issue of whether undocumented immigrants should qualify for in-state tuition. This chapter also includes the effects of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath on U.S. race relations, as well as new data on attitudes toward affirmative action.

Chapter 10 (Gender Inequality) includes a new section on gender and religion, and an increased focus on global gender inequality. For example, Table 10.1 includes scores and rankings of the ten countries with the smallest gender gaps and the ten countries with the largest gender gaps. This revised chapter also includes increased coverage of gender issues related to boys and men, including an expanded section on the men's movement, as well as a lengthier discussion of gender as it exists on a continuum. The new Focus on Technology feature discusses sex selection technology and the future of "designer babies." Finally, a new Social Problems Research Up Close discusses "Gender and the Quantity and Quality of Free Time."

In Chapter 11 (Issues in Sexual Orientation), we provide updated information on the legal status of homosexuality and same-sex relationships globally and in the United States. This revised chapter includes updated survey data on same-sex marriage, attitudes toward homosexuality, and discrimination against gays and lesbians. A new section on police mistreatment of sexual orientation minorities has been added. New information also has been added to the sections on reparative therapy ("therapy" that purports to change homosexuals' sexual orientation), religion and sexual orientation, gays and lesbians in the media, discrimination against sexual orientation minorities, and laws and policies that protect gays and lesbians from discrimination. The Human Side feature addresses the effects of a federal marriage amendment on gay and lesbian families. A new Taking a Stand feature asks if religious organizations that receive federal funds to provide social services under the Faith-Based Initiative should be allowed to discriminate in hiring.

In Chapter 12 (Problems of Youth and Aging), we have expanded the section on child prostitution and present new information on child obesity and on children and the death penalty. The revised chapter also includes new sections on adoption and foster care and on phased retirement. The chapter incorporates recent statistics from the Administration on Aging (AOA) and presents new data on income and marital status of the elderly. A new Social Problems Research Up Close feature focuses on television portrayals of the elderly.

Chapter 13 (Population Growth and Urbanization) presents new statistics on population growth and discusses a Population Institute report that identifies rapid population growth as a contributing factor to global insecurity, war, and terrorism. New information is presented on population density, the youth bulge, and the concept of the environmental footprint. This revised chapter contains new sections on the involvement of men in family planning and the role of community development corporations in urban renewal efforts. A new Self and Society feature focuses on attitudes toward walking and on creating better walking communities, and the new Social Problems Research Up Close feature looks at the relationship between urban sprawl, physical activity, obesity, and morbidity.

Chapter 14 (Environmental Problems) includes new data on a wide range of topics, including the effects of free trade agreements on the environment, the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, global warming and climate change, the ozone hole, nuclear power, pesticide use, environmental injustice, disappearing species, environmental destruction by the U.S. military, and growing concern over China's increasing income and consumption. New sections on "green energy" have been added, specifically on biofuels and hydrogen power, as well as new sections on green building and the role of corporations in the environmental movement. A new Self and Society feature focuses on attitudes toward energy and the environment, and the revised Social Problems Research Up Close feature presents the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Third National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals.

Chapter 15 (Science and Technology) contains expanded sections on privacy and security issues, online activities, and Internet addiction. This revised chapter also includes a new section on SCNT (somatic cell nuclear transfer). The new Taking a Stand feature addresses the issue of federal funding of stem cell research and the Focus on Technology feature has been updated with new technological innovations.

Chapter 16 (Conflict, War, and Terrorism) begins with a new vignette that traces the evolution of an Iraqi suicide bomber. This revised chapter highlights the cost of continued military presence in Iraq, including information on military deaths, civilian causalities, and the financial cost of U.S. involvement. Additionally, there is a new section on military abuses and mistreatment of prisoners. This revised chapter also has a new section on social psychological variables associated with being a terrorist, and a new Social Problems Research Up Close feature on attitudes of Generation Xers toward the military.

Social Workers' Desk Reference edited by Albert R. Roberts, Gilbert J. Greene (Oxford University Press) This is by far the best survey of social work standards and practices to cross my desk in years. It is an all-encompassing and well thought-out compendium that the broad range of social work practices, ethics and central theory is at hand. Rumor has it that it is already becoming the essential reference to social work because each of its 146 chapters is assessable and consistently well-written, all by acknowledged scholars in the field.. Social Workers' Desk Reference is a definitely  an outstanding and sourcebook for social work practitioners and academics.


This comprehensive resource is the first of its kind in the field of social work. Written by leading scholars and practitioners in the field, it covers the full spectrum of social work practice. Chapters include up-to-date information, practice guidelines, and treat­ment plans necessary for success in today's managed-care environment. Social work practitioners and agency administrators are increasingly confronted with having to do more with less, and to make decisions and provide services as quickly as possible. There is a widespread need for ready access to essential information about effective ser­vices and treatment approaches-information that is both reliable and highly accessible.

Social Workers' Desk Reference meets this need for an authoritative sourcebook for social work practitioners. This compelling volume focuses on the needs of frontline practitioners in private, non-profit, and public settings-including case managers, clinical social workers, supervisors, and administra­tors. Each of the 146 chapters provides key tools and resources, such as best practices, program evaluations, step-by-step treatment plans, and validated assessment scales. It addresses the needs of social workers work­ing in a variety of areas-including assessment and diagnosis, clinical social work, marital and family therapy, community practice, case management, vulnerable popu­lations and populations at-risk, forensic social work, research, and practice evaluation. Written by expert contributors and guided by a prestigious editorial board, the Social Workers' Desk Reference is not only relevant to but also a vital resource for practitioners. Just as every medical professional must own a Physicians' Desk Reference, this volume is an indispensable reference for every social worker.


Albert R. Roberts, Ph.D., is Professor of Social Work and Criminal Justice at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. He is the founding editor-in-chief of the journal Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention and the founding and current editor of the Springer Series on Social Work. He has authored, co­authored, or edited 150 scholarly publications, including 22 books. Recent books include Crisis Intervention Handbook: Assessment, Treatment and Research, 2nd edition (Oxford, 2000), Battered Women and Their Families, 2nd edition (1998), and Handbook of Intervention Strategies with Domestic Violence: Policies, Programs, and Legal Remedies (Oxford, 2002).


Gilbert J. Greene, Ph.D., LISW, ACSW, is Professor and Chair of the Clinical Concen­tration in the College of Social Work at The Ohio State University. He is a consulting editor for National Association of Social Workers' Children & Schools: A Journal of Social Work Practice. He has authored or co­authored over 40 scholarly publications. He has been a clinical member of the American Association of Marital and Family Therapy since 1983.


The Social Workers' Desk Reference (SWDR) was specially planned and designed as an all-inclusive and practical desktop reference. It includes 146 original chapters written by the most experienced and prominent social work practitioners and pro­fessors in the United States and Canada. The chap­ter authors were invited to prepare concise, read­able, jargon-free, and highly practical skill-based entries on their areas of expertise. Each chapter provides enough basic and advanced information so that all social workers will be able to quickly grasp the essence and useful tools in each chap­ter. No one will ever care as much about account­ability and using best practices as social workers themselves. It is our earnest anticipation that the SWDR will provide ready access to the knowledge base and practice skills necessary to make timely and critical decisions.

Social work practice is ever changing due to developments from within and without the profes­sion. In recent years managed behavioral health care has led to dramatic changes in the funding and practice of social work. Changes in the policies and practices of managed care organizations (MCOs) have led to an emphasis on identifying and using the most cost effective interventions with a wide variety of client populations in managing the care provided. Consequently, social work practitioners are increasingly required to identify and use only those intervention approaches with empirical sup­port for their effectiveness.

The call for using empirically supported inter­ventions in social work practice began over thirty years ago. Initially, the emphasis on empirically supported practice was not well received within the profession. However, acceptance of using em­pirically supported, evidence-based interventions has steadily grown over the years, as has the pub­lished research on social work practice effective­ness. In recent years, there has been a combined

effect of the emphasis of MCOs on using empiri­cally supported interventions and the increase in the research on social work practice effectiveness. One result has been the call for and development of guidelines and protocols for assessment and treatment planning, using specific interventions, treatment approaches, and treatment models for various aspects of social work practice.

Managing the care clients receive and docu­menting its effectiveness requires social workers in almost all practice settings to be accountable to funding sources of social work services. Conse­quently, social workers have to be very system­atic in how services are provided and how their effectiveness is monitored and documented. Usu­ally, social work services are funded by many dif­ferent sources each requiring different documen­tation. In addition to the time it takes to provide the services, social workers feel increasing pres­sure due to the need to complete paperwork re­quired for reimbursement of their services. If the paperwork is not completed then the worker and/ or agency does not get paid.

Given the complexities of social work practice and the increasing time pressures of day-to-day practice, social workers need a quick and ready reference for successfully dealing with the wide variety of practice issues and situations as they arise. The purpose of this volume is to provide all social work practitioners with the latest protocols and guidelines for effectively doing client assess­ments; developing treatment goals and treatment plans; using various models for intervening with individuals, couples, families, and groups; provid­ing case management services; doing community practice; evaluating practice outcomes; and so on. This volume is designed to be a comprehensive practical desktop reference. This is the first vol­ume to include all the social work practice theo­ries, evidence-based practice models, rapid assessment instruments, and therapeutic techniques in the form of a quick and handy one volume desk reference. Our primary goal is to save the reader large amounts of time and energy by having the most practical and useful material available in one book rather than scattered throughout numerous books and journals.

The Social Workers' Desk Reference is com­prised of 146 original chapters. In order to have as many concise and quick reference chapters as possible, we asked the authors to prepare short chapters that reflect the essence of their area of specialization. In addition, we asked the authors to include in their chapters the most up-to-date and cutting-edge research, program developments, and references. The chapters in this volume are writ­ten by the most experienced and prominent social work practitioners and scholars in the United States and Canada. Chapter authors were selected because of their demonstrated expertise in a specific area. The authors represent wide diversity in terms of practice perspectives, ethnicity, gender, and sexual preference. Such diversity is reflective of our pro­fession and the clients we serve.

It is evident that these are challenging times for all those involved in the social work profes­sion. The current state of affairs of social work practice in healthcare, child and family, criminal justice, and mental health settings is complex and rapidly changing. Quality assurance standards, an emphasis on computerized record-keeping and accountability, computerized genograms, stan­dardized assessment protocols and treatment plans, community practices and community partner­ships, and advanced networking and information sharing via the Internet have many promising features and bode well for enhancing social jus­tice and effective social work intervention. Thus, it is important for all social workers to be aware of the recent positive developments in child and family services, forensic mental health, health care and behavioral health care documented in this volume. This is the first all inclusive refer­ence book to include the latest information on:


  1. The selection of rapid assessment instru­ments (RAIs) and the biopsychosocial assessment protocol;
  2. How-to set realistic short-term and interim treatment goals;
  3. Step-by-step treatment plans for specific disorders;
  4. Ethical dilemmas and liability issues confronting social workers;
  5. How social workers can navigate the Internet and locate current and reliable resources;
  6. Multicultural issues and culturally compe­tent practices;
  7. Guidelines and protocols for evidence­based outcome studies, program evalua­tions, and research;
  8. Methods of facilitating client change through the increased use of integrative time-limited treatment frameworks including: motivational interviewing, crisis intervention, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused therapy, strategic therapy, psychodynamic therapy, narrative therapy, and/or family systems therapy;
  9. Increased use of case-management plans and services; and
  10. Implementation of community practices in order to facilitate community organizing, coalition building, community partnerships, social action, and legislative advocacy.


In selecting topical areas for chapters, the editors made every attempt to cover all the most recent and cutting-edge areas of concern to social work prac­tice in today's environment. In addition, we se­lected topical areas that are not new but are still necessary and relevant to today's practice envi­ronment and in which new research and knowl­edge development continues. The Social Workers' Desk Reference is organized into 14 parts. Part I, "The Context of Social Work Practice," consists of ten chapters that provide the latest in­formation on the broader issues and dynamics that can effect the quality of social work services provided at the frontlines of practice.

The strong commitment to values and ethics is at the heart of the social work profession and this is the focus of part II. The chapters in this part cover material that is essential to practicing effec­tively and ethically in today's environment. The widespread reliance on managed care and the use of the Internet raise ethical and value issues that did not exist until recently.

The practices of most social work practitioners are informed by one or more organized treatment approaches. Part III contains 16 chapters on a wide variety of such treatment approaches. This section includes the more recent treatment approaches that have been found to be especially useful in a managed care context with its emphasis on brief, time-limited treatment, as well as some approaches that have a longer history in social work but which many social work practitioners are still using, and further developing.

Assessment has always been an important as­pect of social work practice. In today's practice world social workers need to be competent in us­ing the formal system provided by the Diagnos­tic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) as well as standardized assessment instruments with a variety of client types. Part IV includes a number of chapters on the latest revi­sions in the DSM as well as the use of standard­ized assessment tools. In addition, this section also contains a chapter on assessing client strengths, something that the social work profession has been emphasizing throughout most of its history.

Social work was the first profession to work with couples and families. Social workers have been and continue to be leaders in developing new knowledge on how to work effectively with couple and family systems and this information is covered in part V. This section includes the latest knowl­edge on well-established approaches to working ef­fectively with couples and families, and it also con­tains chapters on some of the relatively newer ideas in this area: working with family resilience, working with only one partner in a couple rela­tionship, working with families of persons with severe mental disabilities, family-centered ser­vices, and mediation and conflict resolution.

In order for MCOs to approve treatment for clients, social workers must have competence in developing and implementing treatment plans. The focus of part VI is on developing such competence. This section contains general information on this topic as well as guidelines on how to develop and implement treatment plans for clients presenting with many of the most common and most chal­lenging disorders social workers encounter.

There are many techniques and components of practice that cut across the different theoretical approaches and work with different types of clients. Part VII systematically covers a wide variety of these techniques and components.

A practice activity in which social workers have been long involved is case management. In recent years the provision of case management services to a wide variety of client groups has been em­phasized and has become increasingly widespread. Part VIII provides a number of chapters on vari­ous approaches to case management with differ­ent types of clients.

Effective direct social work practice does not occur in a vacuum. The policies, practices, and dynamics of the larger context can help or hinder practice effectiveness. Often times, in order to enhance the effectiveness of social work treat­ment, change is needed in the larger systems. In­creasingly social workers need to have compe­tence in both direct and community practice, and part IX contains chapters that will be invaluable to both direct and community social worker prac­titioners.

Social workers have always been concerned with addressing the needs of the most vulnerable members of society. These are often people who are the most marginalized and powerless in so­ciety due to their status, experience, or labels im­posed upon them. Part X includes a number of chapters providing the latest information and guidelines for working effectively with many types of vulnerable clients.

Social workers provide psychosocial services to many clients who find psychotropic medica­tion(s) essential to their well-being and function­ing. Many new psychotropic medications have been developed. Also, with increasing frequency people are regularly trying nonprescription herbal medicines-medicines that are not properly su­pervised by a medical professional (who may not even know that the patients are taking herbal products). Both psychotropic and herbal medi­cations can provide essential benefits to clients, but they can also have deleterious side effects. Consequently, social workers need to have up­to-date knowledge on both psychotropic and herbal medications. Readers will find timely material on psychopharmacology basics in part XI.

Social workers serve many clients who have been involved with the criminal justice system as victims or offenders. These can be some of the most complex and challenging situations social workers will encounter. Part XII on forensic so­cial work provides the latest, comprehensive knowledge base and guidelines for practice in this arena. This section includes information on vic­tims of elder abuse, domestic violence, and child sexual abuse as well as risk assessments and treat­ment of offenders who have a history of mental illness, substance abuse, sexual assaults, and vio­lent behavior.

The need for research and evaluation on social work treatments and interventions is greater than ever. Fortunately, the tools and methods for such research, program evaluations, and outcome stud­ies are more numerous and better than ever. Part

XIII provides very practical step-by-step tools and methods for conducting evidence-based practice research to determine the effectiveness of social work practice with specific client groups, and at­risk populations.

Not only should social workers be as up-to­date as possible regarding cutting-edge develop­ments in the field, but it is prudent to be prepar­ing for future developments, to the extent that we can. Part XIV, the last part of the SWDR, helps us in this endeavor by including visionary perspectives on the future. The focus is on the challenges of the future and how they can be addressed through technologi­cal advances, practice accountability and measur­ing outcomes, a research infrastructure, commu­nity partnerships, advocacy, and social action. The last chapter in this book provides a light-hearted approach to clinical social work research in the future.

One last feature of this volume that readers will find very helpful is the comprehensive glos­sary at the end of the book. This detailed and al­phabetical glossary allows readers to quickly look up key terms.

The editors believe that the Social Workers' Desk Reference is a book that will be of immense value to both graduate students and experienced practi­tioners, a belief the members of our editorial board and chapter authors repeatedly expressed to us. In addition, we believe that members of related human service professions such as nursing, coun­seling, and couples and family therapy will find the SWDR an invaluable asset to their practice. We think that both social work practitioners and members of related professions will want to have the Social Workers' Desk Reference easily and readily available on their desks and bookshelves.

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs: Challenging Myths, Assessing Theories, Individualizing Interventions by Ann Augustine Abbott (NASW Press) Many social workers are well aware of the challenges that alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs pose for them in their daily interactions with clients. What they are less familiar with are the many avenues for intervention in dealing with these clients. Their concern is noted in one of the major social policy statements advanced by the National Association of Social Workers ("Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Substance Abuse"):

Social workers believe that the abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (illicit, over‑the‑counter, and prescribed) is a significant public health problem, and as such the focus should be on prevention in addition to treatment. Social, economic, and environmental factors contribute to alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse. Consequently, social workers support a broad range of intervention approaches focused on addressing the causes and manifestations of substance abuse. These interventions include strengthening communities and individuals through community empowerment; economic development; mutual aid; and group, family, and individual treatment. Social workers need to rely on accurate scientific information for understanding the complex causes of abuse and dependence and on empirically tested intervention for designing effective problem solving.

In addition to the public social policy statement, members of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) banded together to form a practice section devoted specifically to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Although only a relatively small number of NASW members flocked to participate in this section, many additional social workers are working with clients struggling with substance abuse.

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs was written in response to the growing concern among social workers dealing with clients experiencing problems related to substance misuse and the limited material written expressly for work with these clients. It is important to note that there continues to be considerable debate in the field concerning use of the terms "substance abuse" verso,. "substance misuse." For the most part, the term "misuse" is employed throughout the book to denote problematic or inappropriate use of a substance. In some specific instances, for clarification, chapter authors have chosen to differentiate between the two terms. For example, in chapters 4 and 9, the authors chose to use "abuse" to differentiate "use of a substance in a manner, amounts, or situations such that the drug use causes problems or greatly increases the chances of problems occurring" and "misuse" to describe "use of prescribed drugs in greater amounts than, or for purposes other than, those prescribed by a physician or dentist”, “throughout the book, the acronym ATOD is used both as an adjective and as a noun, reflecting either alcohol, tobacco, and other drug, e.g., ATOD misuse; or alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, e.g., the impact of ATOD.

The purpose of the book is to provide the reader with an overview of the problem, an understanding of the effects of substance use on client performance, and a variety of models and strategies designed to address substance misuse and the resulting problems. It is not designed to dwell on the magnitude of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use or to describe in great detail the physical complications and effects of the use of various substances. The book illustrates the importance of a systems perspective. in understanding and addressing the bio‑, psycho‑, and socio‑cultural underpinnings of substance misuse. In addition, it looks to current research to guide and support intervention and prevention strategies.

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs grew out of a five‑year (1990‑95) faculty development grant sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in particular the Public Health Service and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The grant provided funding for five social work educators to participate in concentrated study, clinical experience, and curriculum development in the area of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. The participating faculty not only had the advantage of working with senior faculty at Rutgers who were experts in the field but also had the opportunity to meet with faculty from other schools of social work and nursing programs to share experiences, discuss concerns, and collaborate on the development of educational materials. The grant contained a research component that clearly illustrated that, given appropriate experiences and materials, social workers can learn to be more effective in helping clients address their struggles with substance misuse.

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs reflects the clinical experiences and scholarly research of the original faculty fellows, together with that of numerous other faculty members, social work practitioners, professionals from other fields, and students who struggled together to better understand the complexities of the field of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

Chapter 1 presents an overview of the context of practice; it challenges myths, partial truths, and exaggerations frequently biasing or influencing practitioners in the field. Chapter 2 presents criteria for assessing theories of practice concerning substance misuse; it recognizes the importance of a systems perspective and a bio‑, psycho‑, and socio­cultural framework for practice, and it introduces the use of the problem solving model as an important vehicle for successful intervention. The author references the "transtheoretical" approach to illustrate the importance of selecting relevant theoretical components from various theories in the development of one specific model for assessment and intervention

Chapter 3 emphasizes the importance of values in working with clients struggling with substance misuse and raises ethical foundations of practice. It provides several formats for recognizing and responding to ethical dilemmas common to the field. Chapter 4 delineates the dynamics of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use, and informs the reader about the importance of recognizing stages of substance misuse. Chapter 5 elaborates on the stages of change, essential information not only for understanding the dynamics of use but, more important, also for understanding levels and timing of intervention and the process of recovery.

Chapters 6 and 7 focus on the dynamics of assessment, with chapter 6 discussing engagement and chapter 7 providing guidelines for interviewing and detailed information on a wide battery of assessment instruments. Chapter 8 addresses the importance of goal setting and contracting with the client using alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, and revisits the problem solving model as an essential ingredient for successful intervention.

Chapters 9,10, and 11 focus on intervention strategies for different‑sized client systems: individuals, groups, and families. Each provides guidelines for successful intervention, supported by research findings. Chapter 12 focuses more heavily on macro‑level practice, with strong emphasis on the importance of and strategies related to prevention.

The epilogue ties the work together as a comprehensive whole, citing the strengths of the social work perspective. It summarizes the contents of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs and anticipates challenges as the field enters the new millennium.


Building Community Capacity edited by Robert J. Chaskin, Prudence Brown, Sudhir Venkatesh, and Avis Vidal (Modern Applications of Social Work: Aldine de Gruyter) is a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to a subject of wide cur­rent concern: the role of neighborhood and community structures in the delivery of human services, or, as the authors put it, "a place where programs and prob­lems can be fitted together." To show how that concept plays out on the practical rather than theoretical level, the authors-a research sociologist, an urban policy scholar, and a sociologist who studies street gangs-explore such compo­nents as the development of leaders and organizations, the organizing of com­munities themselves, and the establishment of networks with other communities.

Building Community Capacity speaks to a wide audience of readers con­cerned with promoting urban social change. It addresses the heart of the challenge faced by those working to strengthen and improve poor com­munities: how to repair and reconstruct a community's collective ability to address shared problems and capitalize on opportunities to improve com­munity life. A broad range of people are engaged in this agenda, including practitioners, funders, and scholars from a range of disciplines, each of whom come to this work in different roles and draw on varied intellectu­al strains and traditions.

Of particular importance for this series, the book speaks to a lacuna in current social work practice theory: community change. Much work in this area of macropractice, particularly around "grassroots" community orga­nizing, has a somewhat dated feel to it, is highly ideological in orientation, or-in the case of many "generalist" treatments of the topic-suffers from superficiality, particularly in the area of theory and practical application. Set against a context of an often narrowly constructed "clinical" emphasis in practice education, coupled with social work's own current rendering of "scientific management", "community practice" often takes second or third billing in many professional curricula despite its deep roots in the overall field of social welfare.

Chaskin and colleagues provide a wakeup call to revisit community­level processes, and the book rewards readers' attention to the issues raised. The authors bring to bear the perspectives of a variety of profes­sional disciplines including sociology (Chaskin & Venkatesh), urban plan­ning (Vidal), and psychology and social work (Brown), and provide us with new ways of thinking about "community" that are quite consistent with current theoretical perspectives in the social work field: the ecologi­cal perspective, the strengths or "social assets" perspective, the notion of partnership with clients, and "empowerment." The authors' focus is on community-based approaches to social change and economic develop­ment designed to improve both the current circumstances and life out­comes for people in poverty. Their particular point of departure is to try and provide more specificity and precision to that familiar, but elusive term "community capacity." In their own words:

Like other vanguard terms used to catalyze and drive action in the field, capacity and capacity building at the neighborhood level are elastic: they lack consistent and explicit meaning. What, in concrete terms, does community capacity mean? What are its components? How can they be recognized, measured, and understood in action? What kinds of interven­tions can strengthen them?

Drawing on extensive case study data from three significant community building initiatives, program data from numerous other community ca­pacity-building efforts, key informant interviews, and an excellent literature review, Chaskin and his colleagues draw implications for craft­ing community change strategies as well as for creating and sustaining the organizational infrastructure necessary to support them. The authors pro­mote no panaceas and their thoughtful, critical analyses, while rich in im­plications for community-level practice, are not formulaic. Those favoring a cookbook approach to community change will be disappointed with this present effort. On the other hand, social work scholars and students of community practice seeking new conceptual frameworks and insights from research to inform novel community interventions will find much of value in Building Community Capacity.

Significantly, Building Community Capacity originates from two leading ­edge centers of community analysis-The Chapin Hall Center for Chil­dren at the University of Chicago and the Urban Institute-wherein the tools of empirical research and a variety of disciplinary perspectives are brought to bear on complex urban issues. The resultant "conversation" is alternately rich and illuminating, and perplexing: much theoretical, em­pirical, and practical demonstration needs to be done before the field of so­cial welfare has a definitive answer to the question, What is community capacity? Chaskin, Brown, Venkatesh, and Vidalprovide fresh insights and perspectives that will inform and enrich the knowledge base for social work's community change mission in numerous ways. Their work helps to support a bridge between individual clients and the communities that both sustain and challenge them. Social work students, practitioners and educators, and the clients and communities they serve are in their debt.

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