Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




P. Michael Politano


The purpose of this study was to validate a model of Structural Family Therapy promulgated by M. S. Sale and Thomas Hendren and in use by many public agencies in the Commonwealths of Virginia and North Carolina since 1981.;The Newport News Department of Social Services was chosen as the main site for the investigation as this author had learned the model while working there; and at the time the research began, all social workers at the agency were being trained in the model. Many middle to lower class SES clients were receiving SFT at the time for a variety of referral reasons--child abuse/neglect, marital or family issues, divorce mediation, etc.;Since the model's authors believed that changes in the control/nurture dimension was the most important for clients to demonstrate success in therapy, measuring changes in that dimension was chosen as a way to validate the model. It was hypothesized that after 10 therapy sessions (1) pretest and posttest measures of control and nurture using the Firo-B and FES would not agree with the therapist's predictions of where the clients were functioning along that dimension and (2) pretest and posttest measures of control and nurture by each instrument would not show any significant differences.;It was concluded that there was no significant agreement between the test predictions and the therapist predictions. Also concluded was that there were no significant differences between the pretest and posttest measures of control and nurture for either test.;Further study is needed to pre-validate the instruments, to increase the sample size and to test the effect of increasing the number of sessions that clients receive between pretest and posttest.



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