Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

RCL Career Resources Human Services: Social and Human Services

RCL Social and Human Services + Choice Titles

Baker and Schneiderman are both leaders in research on child abuse and parental alienation.  Here they examine published memoirs and stories of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of children, identifying themes from the literature and illustrative narratives. Though the authors do not elaborate on the themes or on how children make sense of maltreatment by parents, the writings Baker and Schneiderman examine reveal children's fear and dread, yearning for approval, and coping strategies as they try to please parents—enabling readers to travel with children through trauma, deprivation, and the quest for parental approval.  The book reveals children's need for parental approval and recognition even when parents are not present, do not approve of their children, or do not see children as separate beings.  Mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia, substance abuse, personality disorder) often figures in, preventing parents from appreciating children’s needs.  The authors point out that despite pain, suffering, and/or deprivation, children often yearn for parental love, approval, and recognition; without therapeutic intervention, that yearning can continue into adulthood.  This book will be helpful for understanding child abuse and children's bonds with abusers. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; graduate students; professionals; general readers.

--S. M. Valente, University of California, Los Angeles; department of Veterans Affairs

Successful social work practice requires excellent writing skills. This volume will benefit students, researchers, and practitioners of social work. The 15 essays, written by social work professors, are organized into three parts: "The Foundations of Good Writing," "Applied Professional Writing," and "Writing in Distinct Fields of Practice." Topics covered include writing the academic paper, writing for a social work journal, proposal development, advocacy, and administrative writing. Each well-organized essay concludes with a bibliography, and many essays feature examples of effective writing. The advocacy essay is particularly useful because the author teaches readers how to liven up the language, tell a story with the use of literary devices, and choose evidence. Other choices in this field would be Karen Healy's Writing Skills for Social Workers (2nd ed., 2012), which is set up more like a textbook with review exercises and hot tips, and Philip Musson's Effective Writing Skills for Social Work Students (2011), which is brief and has a British slant. A valuable acquisition, even at the hefty price for the hardback. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above.

--J. E. Sheets, Baylor University

This handbook features an impressive collection of essays written by experts worldwide. Focusing on the theoretical foundations of social work and designed as a resource for the profession, it is divided into four volumes. Each has its own preface, list of contributors, and index; however, the set lacks a comprehensive index covering all the volumes. Volume 3, Social Work Practice, reflects the current professional emphasis on evidence-based or evidence-informed practice. The new 20th edition of the Encyclopedia of Social Work (CH, Nov'08, 46-1262) has similar goals, content, and length. The Encyclopedia, however, seems to focus more on practice and populations; the Handbook has fewer and longer articles, and devotes more space to policies, theories, and the historical background of each topic. Both have valuable bibliographies attached to each article. The Handbook's bibliographies provide references to seminal, classic publications in the field of social work and also to important, useful recent books and articles. Both sets should be added to all but the smallest academic libraries. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through professionals/practitioners.

--J. E. Sheets, Baylor University

Subrahmanyam and Smahel examine the ways in which adolescents approach the digital media and how digital media may be shaping adolescents' development. The authors' methodology was to generate a comprehensive list of topics of interest to specialists in human development--a list that embraces theoretical frameworks, physical and psychological effects, and issues of well-being (e.g., violence, cyber bullying, and victimization). The result of this wide reach is a book that is exhaustive but not deep. The authors present useful data drawn from such sources as the World Internet Project (coordinated by the Annenberg School for Communication), but more advanced readers will prefer to seek information from the original data sources. And researchers may regret the absence of examples from the sociology of human development (e.g., the effect of the Internet in transforming the lives of youth living in impoverished conditions). However, those interested in learning more about the topic of media and adolescent development will find the book a reasonable introduction to the world of research on media and human development; and the references at the end of each chapter should prove useful. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; general readers.

--P. Flattau, Institute for Defense Analyses

Besides the thorough and concise descriptions of medical and legal terms, legislative acts and court cases, and state and federal agencies that were found in the first edition (CH, Feb'90), the second edition provides information about court cases and legislation that have transpired since 1989--for example, "Megan's Law" and the Louise Woodward case (under "shaken infant syndrome"). Charts outlining the legal requirements and considerations of all 50 states are located throughout, and the appendixes offer additional information, such as contact numbers, addresses for state agencies, charts and graphs with additional statistics, and the texts of national child abuse laws in the US and Canada. An excellent bibliography follows. The broad selection and thorough, concise coverage of terms make this volume an excellent addition to programs that focus on child welfare, education, and social concerns. All libraries. This review refers to an earlier edition.

--M. Lawler, Louisiana State University in Shreveport

The 20th edition of this encyclopedia is available in print and electronically http://www.oxford-naswsocialwork.com/. Although the social work profession is the stated primary audience, scholars, students, and policy makers likely will find this set useful. Most contributors are from the US, but the number of international contributors has increased over previous editions (19th ed., CH, Nov'05, 33-1257; ed. by R. L. Edwards et al.). Contributors address historical, current, and emerging issues in their entries and include multicultural perspectives, current research, and theory. Appendixes include the National Association of Social Workers' Code of Ethics and Standards for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice, a chronology titled "Distinctive Dates in Social Welfare History" (beginning in the 17th century), and a table illustrating the historical evolution of social service organizations back to the 19th century. This encyclopedia features about 400 signed entries with reference lists, suggestions for further reading, helpful links, and more.

The book begins with a browsable alphabetical list of entries, has see references throughout, and includes a substantive index. A topical outline provides further guidance to help users navigate the largely alphabetical arrangement. The outline is arranged according to subject classifications that illustrate the scope and content of the volumes: human behavior, knowledge development, practice interventions, the profession, social conditions and challenges, social environments, social justice, and biographies. Summing Up: Essential. Colleges and universities with a social work department supporting upper-level undergraduates and above. Highly recommended. Academic settings with related coursework and other institutions with similar focus.

--S. M. Metcalf, Western Carolina University

Over the past century, the number of Americans over age 65 has increased tenfold, making social services to older adults more significant and necessary than ever. Social work professors Richardson (Ohio State Univ.) and Barusch (Utah College) have compiled a well-organized, exhaustively researched work covering all aspects of gerontological social work. Divided into four parts, the book covers various theories of aging and stages of gerontological social work services; common concerns of older adults, such as depression, anxiety, isolation, bereavement, dementia, and substance abuse; therapeutic interventions commonly used by gerontological social workers; and sociopolitical issues of older people, such as poverty, health insurance concerns, and end-of-life care. Packed with practical intervention strategies and realistic case examples, the chapters flow neatly and end with useful discussion questions appropriate for undergraduate and graduate-level students. Throughout, the authors give equal attention to micro (individual) and macro (policy-based) concerns and interventions, and organize their ideas into a clear framework for working with older adults. This book would serve well as required reading for all levels of gerontological social work coursework, and as supplemental reading for health sciences and nursing students. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.

--J. K. Downey, California State University, San Bernardino

Another in a growing collection of books by social workers designed to summarize and clarify a variety of conceptual paradigms that purport to explain human behavior in its social context. The book is useful and timely and compares favorably with similar works. It covers traditional perspectives, including Freudian, classical ego psychology, cognitive and learning theories, Rogerian humanism, and group theory. Although it cites Yalom's work on groups, it fails to use his more creative and valuable treatment of existential perspectives in therapy. Other humanist approaches are not included, but the book is particularly useful for its coverage of symbolic interactionism and the ecological perspective; treatment of these is commonly obscure and murky in other works. The organizing theme is the "person in the environment," a useful and pragmatic model for social work practice. However, Greene and Ephross, not unlike others before them, fail to contend honestly with issues of individual value and dignity in a society that is increasingly controlling and oppressive. Outstanding bibliography. Upper-division undergraduates and graduate students. This review refers to an earlier edition.

--F. J. Peirce, emeritus, University of Oklahoma

Immigrants represent an expanding presence in the US; as their numbers grow, so does research on various aspects of their American experience. There is growing recognition that the immigrant family is particularly important because it shapes immigration in profound ways. For instance, family-related migration clearly dominates contemporary migration to the US. Recognizing such realities, the editors present a cogent collection of readings meant to illustrate how family frames immigrants' assimilation into a number of societies. The book's three sections aim at being broad based. Consequently, section 1 pulls from a variety of disciplines to provide a theoretical overview; section 2 illustrates diversity in family processes; section 3 examines the diversity of social contexts affecting families. Some articles omit well-known sociological theories of assimilation, inclusion of which would sharpen discussion of that process. But, on the whole, these articles are short and sharp, presenting a great deal of information in a small space. They are highly readable, and their cross-cultural focus is a major strength of the book. Readers will learn a great deal about the immigrant family and why it is so important. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.

--M. Vickerman, University of Virginia

Fontes (Union Institute and Univ.) presents an exhaustive, appealing, and persuasive guide for those conducting interviews with, as she writes, "people who are not 'just like' [them]." The author presents basic material in chapters devoted to preparation, biases, rapport, nonverbal communication, language competence, use of interpreters, reluctance, interviewing children and adolescents, and reports and documents. The final two chapters look at issues associated with specific professions and common interview dilemmas and misunderstandings. The author's knowledge and experience are evident in her extensive case histories and anecdotes and clear direction and advice: "I've been there. This is what you do. This is what you avoid." Although the primary consideration of interviewing is gathering information to guide decision making, a secondary aim is to build a relationship. In this regard, the book is also useful for nonprofessional, "friend-to-friend" conversations as a guide to enhancing interpersonal intimacy, whether or not cultural differences exist. An excellent contribution to the applied literature and relevant to a broad audience, this volume deserves a place on the bookshelf next to Paul Pedersen, Hugh Crethar, and Jon Carlson's Inclusive Cultural Empathy (CH, Dec'08, 46-2378), which has the same perspective. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals.

--D. Sydiaha, emeritus, University of Saskatchewan

Outstanding Academic Title

Stuart-Hamilton (developmental psychology, Univ. of Glamorgan, Wales) has written an accessible, user-friendly, and exceptionally helpful book. Despite the fact that aging is one of the only truisms in the world, family members are often left to their own devices in terms of understanding the aging of loved ones. A respected authority on the subject, Stuart-Hamilton is an excellent choice for crafting a book that demystifies and simplifies what is known about this topic from the psychological literature. He successfully challenges the layperson perception that aging is about large, systemic, and general declines in cognitive performance--change is broad and encompassing. For example, in discussing reaction time he looks at differences between "simple reaction time" and "choice reaction time," demonstrating that though age-related declines do occur, they are not necessarily as systemic or dramatic as general perceptions suggest. A valuable resource for those who work with family members of aging individuals, or are interested in exploring this subject. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers.

--R. E. Osborne, Texas State University

Outstanding Academic Title

With the advent of increasingly effective generations of medications and expanding media coverage and portrayals of mental illness, one could easily conclude that the stigma of mental illness is a thing of the past. In this timely and important work, Hinshaw (Univ. of California, Berkeley) argues convincingly that this is not the case and, more important, offers suggestions about what can be done about it. It is the "agenda for change" that makes this such a pivotal work. By combining perspectives from social psychology, sociology, and evolutionary psychology, the author is able to demonstrate why stigma is so pervasive and why efforts to change that must be intentional to be effective. Chapter 8 is particularly important, since it articulates the concept of resilience and links an understanding of resilience to new directions in understanding the impact of stigma on stigmatized individuals. Offering rich and enlightened historical analysis and articulation of new directions for research, this book will be invaluable either as a classroom text or as a resource for those interested in the history of mental illness. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals.

--R. E. Osborne, Texas State University--San Marcos

Pimpare (social work, Yeshiva College) writes passionately about poverty in the US. Departing from the usual way of writing history, the author puts the microphone in the hands of the poor and lets them speak about their experience of poverty. Pimpare is convinced that the non-poor in the US do not understand poverty. Government welfare and charities have depersonalized the ones they claim to help. Programs to aid the poor have made them ashamed, taken their freedom, and essentially imprisoned them. Restrictions and rules have tended to keep people in poverty. A constant refrain is that poor people want to work, not receive crumbs from the tables of the rich. Poverty in the US led to food riots and violence, and laws were enacted to control tramps, vagrants, beggars--the poor. Pimpare does not give anything approaching linear history. He might have improved his book if he had not allowed the poor to have the microphone so long. The book's anecdotal style makes it somewhat fragmented, repetitive, and difficult to follow, but the voices of the poor give valuable insights into the experience of poverty. Summing Up: Recommended. Most undergraduate libraries.

--J. W. McCant, emeritus, Point Loma Nazarene University

Iceland (sociology, Univ. of Maryland) examines poverty issues in the US from a sociological perspective. Reviewed briefly is the evolution of social views about poverty. The debate over the proper way to measure poverty--whether to use an absolute or relative measure--is treated with great care and insight. The authors examine data from a variety of sources to discuss the extent, depth, trend, and geography of poverty for the nation as a whole and by demographic group; the dynamics and intergenerational transfer of poverty; and US poverty in comparison with the rest of the world. The chapter "The Causes of Poverty" gives equal time to a variety of economic, social, and cultural explanations. Iceland cites his own research to support his view that economic factors are primarily responsible for the stubborn persistence of poverty rates at levels first reached during the 1970s. He critiques contemporary strategy of social welfare programs. His discussion of distributive justice and equal opportunity issues is all too brief. The book would serve well as a text for undergraduate sociology courses on poverty. For readers interested in this topic, see also The Persistence of Poverty in the United States, by Garth Magum, Stephen Magum, and Andrew Sum (CH, Jan'04). Summing Up: Recommended. All collections. This review refers to an earlier edition.

--R. S. Rycroft, Mary Washington College

The intergenerational perspective used in this text offers a new, refreshing approach to understanding and working with the multiple layers and contexts of multigenerational African American families. Not only do the essays enhance the reader's understanding of intergenerational connectedness within social-historical contexts, but the authors also put forth recommendations for the application of culturally and intergenerationally sensitive techniques that enhance practice competencies. The attention to broadening the reader's knowledge base regarding the sociohistorical context, intergenerational relationship patterns, and "family-in-environment" contexts make this text an important one for social workers and those interested in the social sciences in general. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.

--S. H. Smith, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Editor Mallon (Hunter College) and 16 contributors present "a comprehensive [graduate] textbook for understanding a wide range of issues that may present for social workers with LGBT clients." Each author provides important relevant practice information and applies current theories regarding LGBT practice issues. This second edition adds two important population groups: bisexual and transgender persons. The book's focus is to improve and reinforce competent practice with LGBT persons and their families in multiple settings. Using a semester format (15 chapters), the text begins by describing how an ecological approach and research are applied to LGBT people. The remaining chapters provide specific information regarding LGBT practice with individuals, couples, groups, families, parents, and the community. Social work ethics, advocacy, and practice are a unifying theme. This text provides 76 pages of references and numerous case examples. As a textbook, this work is lacking in consistency and learning resources. For example, only three chapters provide a list of Internet resources, and there is only one figure in 15 chapters. There are no ancillary materials. Summing Up: Optional. Reference, graduate students, faculty, practitioners.

--R. I. Hooper, Idaho State University

Rooney focuses theoretical and practice attention on the most common population seen by social workers and other counseling professionals. The critical actors here are perpetrators of domestic and sexual abuse; the chemically dependent; street people who are offensive to the well-washed majority; prostitutes; and others who would avoid help, if given a choice, from the legion of counselors, social workers, and similar practitioners charged by a disinterested and uncaring society with fixing clients who are forced to accept their ministrations. The book is thorough, thoughtful, and well organized. Its single most outstanding feature is the dramatic but judicious use of case examples. The first section provides a complete review of the factors that serve as parameters of work with these clients. Of particular value is the section devoted to legal concerns--especially the principle of due process--and to recognition of the significance of interpersonal influence in the helping process. The second section treats practice activities with involuntary clients and can serve as a model for the explication of practice with any client population. Rooney makes wide use of both printed and video materials. Chapter notes are thorough and complete. No comprehensive bibliography, but excellent subject and author indexes. Advanced undergraduate; graduate; faculty; professional. This review refers to an earlier edition.

--F. J. Peirce, emeritus, University of Oklahoma

Forty-seven chapters are organized into seven sections that cover the traditional arenas of social work: welfare and social policy, perspectives, practice, values and ethics, research, social work in context, and future challenges. There is nothing new about the content areas, but a strength of the handbook is the international focus. This volume is ambitious in that regard and not very day-to-day practical; on the other hand, the diverse perspectives provide a wealth of faceted ways of thinking about justice, welfare, oppression, immigration, and mental health. The strongest sections are on research, social work in context, and future challenges, as those are the sections that offer the most in terms of challenging existing ways of thinking from authors with diverse perspectives about the place and functions of social work. Though the writing is at times dense, each section stands on its own. There is some duplication of concepts but not more than is often the case when considering various aspects of social work. Libraries should offer this reference text. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.

--K. E. Murphy, Northwestern University

Barker's fifth edition adds more than 1,000 terms and updates some 2,000, now offering 9,000 defined terms, some internationally recognized and some in common if improper use (with explanations why competent professionals consider their use improper). It is valuable for human services professionals and for academic readers, first-year students to seasoned experts. Barker explains that definitions for every term have been evaluated, edited, and modified by a panel of not less than three experts and two editors. This edition holds place as an invaluable and highly acclaimed ready reference for definitions, organizations, concepts, and values relevant to social work and human services. Biographies are included for distinguished deceased members of the social work profession. A chronology of significant policies and practices and a list of acronyms are also included. The author invites practitioners to participate in compiling future editions. Complementary titles include The Encyclopedia of Social Work: 2003 Supplement, ed. by Richard A. English, Social Workers' Desk Reference, ed. by Albert R. Roberts and Gilbert J. Greene (2002), and The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Social Work, ed. by Martin Davies and Rose Barton (2000). Summing Up: Highly recommended. All collections. This review refers to an earlier edition.

--S. G. Marvin, West Chester University

Katz (Univ. of Pennsylvania) has written a provocative, insightful, and much-needed update to the first edition of his The Undeserving Poor (1990). Like the first edition, this gives a comprehensive and well-thought-out interpretation of the history of how the poor have been dealt with in the US, based largely on the Poor Laws in Europe. However, in this edition Katz goes several steps further by discussing the framework that defines the ongoing contention among those concerned with policy making regarding the poor: how to draw boundaries between those who deserve to be helped and those who do not; how to provide help without creating more dependence on social aid; and what we owe the poor. Challenging centuries-long debate surrounding these questions, Katz convincingly argues that the interaction among political economy, resources, and power offer clues to addressing these questions, and that ad hoc deliberation, rather than ineffective consistency that has dogged past efforts to combat poverty, must be the order of the day. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Academic audiences, upper-division undergraduate and up; researchers; professionals; general readers.

--L. T. Grover, Southern University and A&M College