Issue 2
Fall, 2013

Quick Links
University of Michigan
School of Social Work
 Research Office

The U-M School of Social Work is a leader in social work education and research, having received a #1 or #2 rankings from U.S. News and World Report for the past decade and a half.
Research activities are focused on virtually every area of human services and social welfare.
Jorge Delva, Associate Dean of Research

Scott Stanfill, Research Office Senior Manager

Researchers Challenge Universal Aspects of Substance-Using Behaviors 

Professor Jorge Delva and a team of colleagues, postdoctoral fellows, doctoral, graduate, undergraduate students and high school students have been studying substance-using behaviors among adolescents in Santiago, Chile for more than a decade.  


The Santiago Longitudinal Study examines important associations between parental and adolescent substance using behaviors, mental health, family dynamics and neighborhood characteristics in 1,000 families.


For numerous social, political and economic reasons, knowledge about the etiology and distribution of substance-using behaviors among populations in low- and mid-income countries is deeply influenced, and too often determined, by research conducted in high-income countries.  Although some of this knowledge is transferable, a considerable amount is not.  


"My research in Chile and other countries has helped me realize the critical need for studying the substance- using behaviors of individuals, families, and communities in low- to mid-income countries, otherwise our knowledge of these behaviors and possible interventions are constrained by the knowledge generated by a considerably small group of countries,  globally speaking," said Jorge Delva, the principal investigator.  


Labor-Management Committees in Chinese Companies

Although labor-management committees have been on the American industrial relations scene for many years, there is a growing interest in the concept in Asia.  Professor Larry Root is a co-investigator on a research project that is developing labor-management committees in Chinese companies.  


"Our work with Chinese companies on labor-management committees extends the impact of an earlier joint project involving the U.S. Department of Labor and China's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.  


"Based on this experience, we are now moving to assist in the development of collective bargaining in many of these same companies,"  says Professor Lawrence Root.


Late-Life Depression in China


Associate Professor Lydia Li  and colleagues have been developing and testing community-based approaches to prevent and treat late-life depression in China.  They have just begun a 5-year National Institutes of Health funded project in rural China, titled "The Depression/Hypertension in Chinese Older Adults - Collaborations in Health (COACH) Study". 


It is a randomized controlled trial comparing the COACH intervention to care as usual for the treatment of comorbid depression and hypertension in Chinese older adult rural village residents. COACH integrates the care provided by village doctors with that delivered by an aging worker who is a lay member of the village's Aging Association, supervised by a psychiatrist consultant. 


Prior to COACH, the team implemented and evaluated a collaborative care model for late-life depression in urban China. The model involved collaboration between workers of community centers and physicians of primary care units in urban neighborhoods.


Global Research 
Armed conflict, natural disaster, addictions, forced migration, oppression, discrimination and poverty are some of the challenges faced by populations worldwide.  The School of Social Work faculty and PhD students are contributing to understanding and solving these global challenges. 
In this issue, we highlight the global research, consultation, technical assistance and partnerships of our PhD students and faculty with individuals, families and communities worldwide. 


Jorge Delva

Associate Dean for Research
University of Michigan, School of Social Work
The "Skipped Generation"    

 Professor Berit Ingersoll-Dayton, Director Joint Doctoral Program in Social Work and Social Sciences, is on sabbatical in Thailand working on her research project, Migration and "Skipped Generation" - Households. Her research in Thailand examines intergenerational relationships among "skipped generation" households in which older grandparents live only with their grandchildren due to the migration of their adult children.  She is collaborating with researchers in Thailand at Mahidol University's Institute for Population and Social Research to explore the relationships among left-behind family members and their migrant adult children. 


This research will illuminate the complex ways in which family members support one another and overcome the difficulties inherent in migration.  It will uncover the positive and negative effects of these arrangements for the caregiving grandparents.


Yogurt and SSW...What's the Connection?

Associate Professor Andrew Grogan-Kaylor and colleagues from the U-M William Davis Institute are evaluating the effect of the Semilla Project.  The Semilla Project recruits women in Mexico City who are affected by poverty, have little or no education and have difficulty finding employment.  


The project provides these women with sales and marketing training and with Dannon products to sell person-to-person.  The Semilla Project is planning on creating 4,000 jobs in micro distribution of Dannon products by 2015.


 The U-M evaluation team is interested in a broad array of outcomes:  increased income; better mental health; and better parenting of children. By accurately measuring poverty-related impacts on women, the team can learn how these kinds of ventures can improve the quality of life for both poverty-stricken adults and children.




SSW Joint PhD Students Tackling Global Challenges
SSW  provides PhD students pursuing global social work  a supportive environment with access to world-class facilities and experts.
 Learn more about PhD students' Global Research.



Survey of Violence against Women and Children after the Great East Japan Disasters 


Professor Mieko Yoshihama's project "Survey of Violence against Women and Children after the Great East Japan Disasters" examines violence against women and children following the triple disasters of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear reactor failure in northern Japan.


Yoshihama collected survey data from informants who had first-hand information about incidents of violence against women and including a wide range of abuse and exploitation, including:

  • quid pro quo type abuse (e.g., demanding sex in exchange for food or shelter)
  • exploitative, coercive abuse of sexual nature by disaster response personnel and volunteers
  • physical, sexual, and/or verbal assault against women by acquaintances
  • sexual abuse against boys and girls 

The majority of the reported cases of intimate partner violence involved exacerbation or resumption of violence that had been committed prior to the disasters.  Also reported are victim-blaming attitudes and insensitive response of professionals and other individuals to whom victims turned for help. The findings of the study are being presented to national and local governmental officials in Japan and also being disseminated internationally, including a presentation at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women NGO Forum in New York.