Wednesday, September 4, 2019

By Elianna Novitch

The Iowa Measurement Research Foundation has awarded four faculty members with grants to assist in their research.

Four University of Iowa College of Education faculty members have been awarded grants by the Iowa Measurement Research Foundation (IMRF) as they aim to address various issues with their research.

The IMRF advances and extends knowledge and practice in the field of educational measurement by providing financial assistance to the University of Iowa, the College of Education, and Iowa Testing Programs. The $25,555 grants assist each faculty member in hiring a research assistant to help them with their projects.

The faculty members include the following: Jennifer Sánchez, an assistant professor in the Department of Rehabilitation and Counselor Education; Kayla Reed Fitzke, an assistant professor in the Couple and Family Therapy Program; Megan Foley Nicpon, a professor in the Counseling Psychology Program and DEO of the Department of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations; and Noel Estrada-Hernandez, an associate professor of Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling and DEO of the Department of Rehabilitation and Counselor Education.

Sánchez’s research project, A Measure of Community Integration by and for Person with Serious Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorders: Development and Preliminary Validation, aims to develop and preliminarily validate a community integration scale defined by people with serious mental illness (SMI) and substance use disorders (SUDs), which will be used in future studies with persons with SMI and SUDs.

According to Sánchez, community integration, or participation in life roles, such as parenting, education/employment, and volunteering, are invaluable for conceptualizing health care, psychosocial, and vocational rehabilitation assessment, treatment planning, and intervention needs of persons with SMI and SUDs.

Through the course of her research, Sánchez noted the lack of an appropriate measure of community integration for use with persons with SMI and SUDs. People with SMI and SUDs perceive community integration differently, which is influenced by their worldviews and often differs based on their racial/ethnic backgrounds.

This study will utilize a mixed-methods research design; qualitative methods will be used to develop scale items, and quantitative methods will be used for preliminary validation of the scale. The IMRF grant funds will support Julia Bollwitt, a new master’s student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program.

Reed Fitzke’s research project, An Examination of Developmentally-Appropriate Measures of Resilience among Collegiate Emerging Adulthood, explores measures of resilience and the scholarly debate surrounding the definition of resilience and whether it is a trait or a skill that can be developed. Reed Fitzke’s explains that resilience has been broadly defined as the process or outcome of adaptation in the face of adversity or significant stress; however, disagreement exists regarding its operationalized definition.

She will explore whether three instruments used to measure resilience in emerging adulthood, including the Resiliency Scale for Young Adults, the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, and the Scale of Protective Factors, are comparable instruments that measure trait resilience. The grant funds will support Elizabeth Watters, who is a doctoral student in the Couple and Family Therapy program.

Foley Nicpon’s research, Construction and Validation of Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder Diagnostic Test, will explore Social Communication Disorder (SCD), a new diagnostic category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 that was published in 2013.

People with SCD have difficulty with the social use of language and, unlike autism spectrum disorder that has several measures available to clinicians, there currently are no assessments that exist for SCD. The IMRF grant will help Foley Nicpon and her team, Zeus Pichardo and Jay Hong, create an assessment of SCD symptoms constructed around the criteria specified in the DSM-5 that helps clinicians make informed diagnostic decisions.

Estrada-Hernandez’s research, Measuring Consumer’s Perceptions of Participatory Ethics in Counseling, explores participatory ethics in counseling and how the counselor’s knowledge, professional practice, and counseling relationship create the necessary environment for the client to be an active contributor in the ethical decision-making process that occurs during counseling. With the IMRF grant, Estrada-Hernandez will test the participatory ethics construct from the perspective of those receiving counseling services.

The grant funds will support Eunae Han, who is a doctoral student in the Counselor Education and Supervision program. Results of this study will get to the central application of the participatory ethics construct and its future applications in ethical training of future counselors.

Click here to learn how to apply for an IMRF grant.