Week 1 Response Assignment

Classmate 1: Alora

Social Problem Related to My Dissertation

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For my dissertation, the social problem that I have chosen to explore surrounds adolescent bereavement. Currently, there is neither adequate understanding of, nor adequate support systems in place to facilitate post-traumatic growth for adolescents who have experienced the sudden death of a close friend. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021), the leading cause of adolescent death in the United States is unintentional injury, the majority of which are related to automobile accidents. Adolescence is a particularly sensitive time of life in regard to identity development, and adolescent identity is largely tied to peer relationships (Berk, 2018). These sudden deaths can therefore be particularly traumatizing and destabilizing, yet few interventions exist to support healthy post-traumatic growth and recovery.


My Dissertation Research Problem

At present, the scholarly community does not know about the lived bereavement experiences of emerging adults who as adolescents suffered the sudden death of a close peer, especially in regard to factors and resources that may have contributed to negative effects and/or post-traumatic growth. Much research has been conducted on adolescent grief as it relates to loss of a parent or sibling, but there is a dearth of literature relating to adolescent bereavement following peer loss.


Differences Between the Social Problem and the Research Problem

Though often conflated with one another, a social problem and a research problem are not identical (Walden University Center for Research Quality, 2016). While social problems focus on circumstances that are undesirable within a given community, research problems are topics of study that home in on an issue, problem, or concern (Walden University Center for Research Quality, 2016; Memmott, 2014). In the case of my dissertation topic, there are several distinctions between the social problem and research problem presented. For instance, the social problem focuses on a lack of resources available to bereaved adolescents; alternately, the research problem seeks to discover through academic inquiry what resources may be most useful to this demographic. Another notable difference is that the social problem points to a concern within a community of people (grieving adolescents) while the research problem points to a hole or ‘gap’ within the knowledge of the scholarly community as it relates to the aforementioned community of people. Ideally, beginning to answer the research problem will lead to “options for resolution” for the social problem (Walden University Center for Research Quality, 2016). These are several of the most significant differences between the social problem that will inform my dissertation study and the research problem that I have crafted to explore this topic.



Classmate 2: Jelenny


Social Problem Related to My Dissertation

A social problem is distinguished from a research problem in that “it should be seen as an undesirable situation in one’s community or some other specified context” (Burkholder, Cox & Crawford, 2016, loc. 4198).  Social problems are usually associated with the idea that ‘something must be done’. Social problems represent conditions that should not be allowed to continue because they are perceived to be problems for society, requiring society to react to them and find remedies (Babbie, 2017). Where private troubles are matters for the individuals involved to resolve, social problems demand a public response.  In health psychology, social problems address how biological, psychological, behavior, and social factors influence health and illness.

Research Question

The first and most important step of a research is formulation of a research problem (Creswell & Creswell, 2018, p. 118).  A research problem is a specific issue or gap in knowledge that aims to address a social problem (Jones, 2017).  The research problem is like the foundation to building a house; it seeks to lay out the plan for what is to come. Moreover, to solve a problem one has to know about the problem. Therefore, the problem identification and formulation are crucial for the researcher before conducting a research (Babbie, 2017).

Differences Between the Social Problem and Research Problem

The focus of my dissertation will relate to child advocacy.  My study will assume a qualitative approach and will relate to examining the lived experiences and attitudes of foster parents of children with a documented history of sexual abuse.  From the information derived from the study, I would like to understand how organizational policies can be better structured to prepare and educate foster parents to deal with the challenges that may be apparent in fostering a child with a history of sexual abuse.  My objective is to discover meaning by observing the attitudes and lived experiences of the foster parents; hence, I will be employing a case study approach.  There social problem is that there is limited research relating to the factors or reasons that prevent foster parents from fostering a child who has been sexually abused or understanding why they discontinue care to those who have already been placed in their care when they discover the child had been previously sexually abused.


Classmate 3: Sheila

Social Problem

The social problem that I am wanting to utilize for my dissertation explores the development of depression or PTSD after childbirth. Research has revealed that some women who develop depression or PTSD after childbirth felt as if they had little control over their bodies, self, and environment during childbirth (Sawyer & Ayers, 2009). Women who develop PTSD after childbirth can range anywhere from 1%-30% (Grekin & O’Hara, 2014). Women who experience depression or PTSD after childbirth can experience difficulties within their maternal bonding which is a pivotal moment during an infant’s life (Hairston et al., 2018).

Research Problem

Hairston et al. (2018) discussed a further need of research focusing on attachment and bonding difficulties since only three studies have been

conducted with this particular focus. In addition, the studies focused more on the birth mother’s attachment style instead of the attachment style the child has developed due to the mother’s inability to bond or connect with the child as a result of her depression and/or PTSD related symptoms after childbirth. This is significantly important since a child with insecure attachments can experience issues within their socioemotional  development, cognitive functioning, mental health, and overall health as a result of maternal distress and impaired mother/child bonding (Ranson & Urichuk, 2008; Simpson & Catling, 2016).


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