Student Dissertations

Coleen Cicale, Social Work Track

Dissertation Chair: Dr. Bonnie Yegidis
Dissertation Title: Risk Factors Associated with the Arrest for Adolescent to Parent Abuse

This study explored risk factors associated with the arrest for adolescent to parent abuse (ATPA) when compared to arrest for a similar violent misdemeanor against a non-parent. Using 18,548 risk assessment screens performed with adolescents (12-17) arrested in Florida for a violent misdemeanor and guided by previous literature and social ecological and social bond theories, this analysis explored the relationship between risk factors (categorized as individual characteristics, beliefs, behavior, commitment and involvement and attachment) and arrest for ATPA versus arrest for a violent misdemeanor against a non-parent.

Of the 17 hypothesized risk factors, 9 risk factors were found to be significant risk factors associated with the arrest for ATPA versus the arrest for a violent misdemeanor against a non-parent. Age and ethnicity/race were both found to be associated with ATPA arrests. Risk factors found to increase the likelihood of being arrested for ATPA included a history of mental health problems, the adolescent witnessing domestic violence, the adolescent being a victim of abuse, and adolescents' normative beliefs in resolving conflict. The findings of this study add to the current body of literature and can be used to inform the creation of new policies and interventions in the realm of ATPA and family violence.

Carla Sampson, Health Services Management and Research Track

Dissertation Chair: Sr. Lynn Unruh
Dissertation Title: The Effect of Registered Nurse Supply on Population Health Outcomes: A Distributed Lag Model Approach

To date, research on the relationship between healthcare provider supply and population health has focused on physician supply. This study explored the effect of RN supply on population health outcomes in the U.S. This is a retrospective, cross-sectional study of U.S. counties and county equivalents using national data. Seven population health outcomes (total and disease specific mortalities and low infant birth weight rate) were the response variables. The predictor variable, RN supply, and some control variables were anticipated to have an asynchronous effect on the seven outcome variables in the hypothesized relationship. Therefore, these variables were examined using three different models: contemporaneous; a three-year lagged; and a distributed lag (both contemporaneous and lagged variables).

Data were obtained from 19 states using historical RN Supply data for 1,472 counties, representing 47% of the total target population of 3,108 U.S. counties and county equivalents. Regions with rural populations—the Midwest and Southeast—were overrepresented. Higher RN supply is positively related to higher mortality rates from ischemic heart disease, other cardiovascular disease, and chronic lower respiratory disease in the distributed lag models. Higher RN supply is not significantly related to rates of low infant birth weight, infant mortality, or mortality from cerebrovascular disease in any model. Higher RN supply is positively related to total deaths in the contemporaneous and lagged model. The results suggest a counter-intuitive, but non-linear relationship between RN supply and health outcomes. More research is needed to understand these relationships and policies must be devised to reduce the current and growing future RN shortage.

Brittany Haupt, Public Administration Track

Dissertation Chair: Dr. Naim Kapucu
Dissertation Title: The Use of Crisis Communication Strategies to Build Community Resilience: Evidence from Emergency Managers

The ability to assess resilience plays a strong role in understanding the capability of a community to face a range of threats. Additionally, issues with communication uncovered the need to understand how administrators collect, disseminate, and adapt critical information through understanding crisis type and local community needs.

This dissertation discusses the connection between public administration and emergency management, the evolution of crisis communication and strategies, resilience and its measurement, along with Situational Crisis Communication Theory. This study conducted an online-survey of county, and county-equivalent, emergency managers across the United States. Results of Structural Equation Modeling included statistically significant relationships between Crisis Type and Local Community Needs on Crisis Communication Strategies as well as between strategies onto Community Resilience. Comparative analysis with the Baseline Resilience Indicators for Communities showed stark contrast in perceived resilience capacity. Follow-up, semi-structured interviews were conducted with voluntary respondents and analyzed via axial, deductive coding. Comparing quantitative and qualitative analysis highlighted the importance of county characteristics, critical relationships, overcoming obstacles, need for learning and adaptation, and importance of communication.