Group Therapy on Chemically Dependent Women's Self-Efficacy"
The specific purpose for the study is to determine the effects of both cognitive group therapy and experiential group therapy on the self-efficacy of women that are chemically dependent. The purpose is explicitly stated in both the abstract and the study itself, which makes it very easy to find a focus for the paper and a quick understanding of what they study aims to examine. There was no need to read the entire article simply to understand what the purpose of the study was or what the researcher planned on measuring.
The purpose is very clear on what it intends to study, but is somewhat less clear on how it plans to do this. In other words, the purpose mentions chemically dependent women, but it does not say in the purpose statement where these women will be located, what age range they will be in, what the definition of chemical dependency is, or any other specific factors. That is not to say that this information is not provided in the study, but it is not clearly stated in the purpose statement.
The main concepts of the study deal with the fact that there will be more self-efficacy in women who are not chemically dependent or have been through treatment programs where they are no longer chemically dependent. One way to measure this is to look at these women against women who are chemically dependent and draw comparisons. The problem statement about this issue was not overly clear, but there was enough information in other parts of the study to determine that this was the concept and to also determine what the variables were. Basically, the only variable was whether the woman had been chemically dependent at some point, was chemically dependent now, or had never been chemically dependent.
Other variables such as age and race were not relevant, and the women from various groups were matched up on these points. The statement of purpose was very clear, but the statement of the problem was somewhat less so. The study did, however, indicate that it would provide new knowledge because most of the research into self-efficacy has been in other areas and has not dealt with chemical dependency.
Review of the Literature and Conceptual Framework:
The major concepts presented in the literature review deal with self-efficacy in other areas and also with some of the difficulties that women often face and how chemical dependency can make these problems worse. Most of the concepts that are presented in the literature review are tied in well together, and they relate well to the hypotheses and the purpose statement of the article. The concepts in the literature review reflect the concerns of women and the self-efficacy that many of them struggle with, both generally and socially, and the literature review also serves to indicate that there are deeper issues that must be examined when it comes to the difficulties that women face.
The information that the literature review contains fits very well with the concepts that that are presented for study in the article, based not on chemical dependency but on the issue of self-efficacy and how important it is to women. The literature review is also important in that it is well-organized and provides a good framework for the information that it plans on displaying. The review of the literature also shows that there is a need to undertake a study such as this. This is evidenced by the fact that the literature into self-efficacy is very interesting and complex, but that there is little in the way of self-efficacy literature regarding chemical dependency in women.
The research hypotheses are explicit in that they are clearly spelled out and numbered in the article. They are: that women who are chemically dependent and participate in therapy groups with women who are not will have higher general self-efficacy than those that have not been in these groups, and that women who are chemically dependent and participate in therapy groups with women who are not will have higher social self-efficacy than women who have not been in these groups.
The concepts that have been previously discussed were included in the hypotheses reasonably well. This was evidenced by clear hypotheses that dealt with self-efficacy and women. Even though the self-efficacy discussed in the literature review was for different reasons than what was discussed in the article for review, the concepts were still basically the same. The hypotheses are also clearly written and relate to the information found in the literature review in that they study self-efficacy, but in a different way than has previously been considered. By doing this, they not only relate to the literature review information but also help to advance the study of this problem by providing information that is new and valuable to researchers in the present and the future.
In the hypotheses there are both independent and dependent variables. Independent variables include age, location, and race, while dependent variables include whether the woman has ever been chemically dependent, is chemically dependent now, or is recovering from chemical dependency. Both dependent and independent variables are important to the study as they work together to help the researcher answer the questions that are the focus and concern of the study at hand.
Appraisal of the Study Design:
The study was quasi-experimental in nature, and contained both pre- and post-test assessments. There were two treatment groups and two control groups. Since there were few participants the groups could not be completely randomly assigned. There were multiple settings and the participants were all volunteers. The design is appropriate because of the treatment and control groups. Without control groups there would be nothing to compare the treatment groups to and therefore nothing to determine whether the treatment groups improved their self-efficacy or did not over the course of the study.
From the purpose of the study and the information contained in the literature review, this type of study design came logically and made the most sense of the study designs that could have been used. The authors were concerned about the fact that they could not completely control the study based on the fact that the sample size was small and therefore the groups could not be randomly assigned. There are many strengths of the design study, but the main weakness lies in the fact that the study itself cannot be completely random.
However, the study is still strong and the authors have tried to control for the problems that this lack of randomness might cause. There are concerns for validity that are raised by this inability to create a totally random sample, but these are rather small. Still, it is important that they are addressed. Validity comes into question because of the fact that the sample is so small, as well. Because of the fact that a larger sample was not used, there is concern that the information found may not actually represent the larger sample of individuals in the population who fall into this category.
Sample and Sampling Methods:
The target population could have been any women who had been chemically dependent or were currently chemically dependent. The sample population, however, came from two inpatient centers that dealt with residential treatment. There were 52 chemically dependent women living in these facilities that volunteered for either the cognitive group therapy or the experiential therapy. To participate in the study, women had to be able to read and speak English at least the sixth grade level, had to be nonpsychotic, must have been addicted to at least one chemical, and must have had a primary diagnosis of abuse of substances. Anyone who did not meet one of these criteria or more were not able to participate.
The criteria were consistent with the purpose of the study and worked to obtain the most accurate picture of these individuals without including other issues (such as psychosis) that might complicate the main issue or skew the results of the study. There are few threats to external validity but the small sample size that comes from only two treatment centers being included could affect the results. The sample size was justified based on how many individuals were able to participate and the ability of the researchers to conduct the study. There was no way to obtain a larger sample within the researcher's geographic area.
There could, however, be biases in the sample based on the fact that the majority of the women who were studied were African-American and had a low income. Not all chemically dependent people fit this criteria, although the majority do, but by using a sample restricted to these individuals other facets of society that may contain chemically dependent women are overlooked and this could be significant for the results of the data.
Data Collection Methods:
The individuals that participated in the study were all volunteers, and the information collected from them was kept confidential to protect…