Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Social Work, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Dr. Matthias J. Naleppa


To advance social work practice and decrease the research practice gap, this dissertation followed a model development paradigm consisting of several phases. Based on the task-centered model of social work practice and motivational interviewing, a new combined model was construed. The two underlying models were analyzed and synthesized, using technical eclecticism as the integrative approach. The resulting combined model was described by guidelines and manualized. To test the combined model in an applied setting, a study was designed in collaboration with social workers at a substance abuse counseling center. There, the combined model intervention was implemented in an outpatient medication assisted treatment program dispensing methadone and buprenorphine to a mainly African-American population. The agency program aimed at detoxification, but also provided methadone maintenance. It offered additional groups and acupuncture. Ten clients and four social work practitioners participated in the intervention study. The study used a mixed-method approach in data collection and analysis. Client practitioner verbal interaction was recorded using digital audio recording. The digital audio files were loaded directly into Atlas.ti software to be used for analysis. Qualitative data analysis with Atlas.ti was performed for two research tasks, a) assessing implementation fidelity of the manual based intervention and b) exploring model development aspects to improve model guidelines. Treatment fidelity was analyzed through deductive coding and frequency counts. Model development analysis was performed similar to a grounded theory model and used content analysis and constant comparison methodologies. Addiction Severity Index and Readiness Ruler, urine drug screens, problem change, and task accomplishment ratings were used as quantitative outcome measures to produce time series data in order to chart individual case progress in a single system design. After testing the intervention, a focus group with participating practitioners was conducted. Overall beneficence with clients improving and progressing successfully in the program was found. The integration of the underlying models was deemed successful. Their elements were found to be complementary and intricately linked. Crucial for successful implementation is that the program environment supports and accepts client choices. Model guidelines were reviewed and improved for further field testing.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

Social Work Commons