Salient Worries of At-Risk Youth: Needs Assessment Using the Things I Worry about Scale

By Esters, Irvin G. | Adolescence, Summer 2003 | Go to article overview

Salient Worries of At-Risk Youth: Needs Assessment Using the Things I Worry about Scale


Esters, Irvin G., Adolescence


Worry has been defined as "a chain of negative and relatively uncontrollable thoughts and images" (Borkovec, Robinson, Pruzinsky, & Depree, 1983). Borkovec et al. (1983) go on to say that worry may be engaged in by an individual to serve the purpose of solving future problems even though solutions are rarely forthcoming due to the worrying. The link between worry and anxiety in clinical populations has been documented (Weems, 2000). In fact, worry is identified as the prominent diagnostic feature of Generalized Anxiety Disorder in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV; American Psychiatric Association, 1994). On a less pathological level, worry can generate negative affect and fear and preoccupy the worrier so that other activities and tasks are adversely affected (Borkovec et al., 1983). While the role of worry in mental disorders has been documented, there is little empirical evidence as to the effect of worry in the nonclinical population. This is especially true among special populations, including adolescents.

Efforts to ascertain the worries, or concerns, of nonclinical adolescents have typically been conducted by questioning adults (Gallagher & Millar, 1996; Porteous, 1979). Several researchers have gone straight to the source, however, surveying adolescents and children about salient worries (Antilla, Poikolainen, Uutela, & Lonnqvist, 2000; Boehm, Schondel, Marlowe, & Manke-Mitchell, 1999; Gallagher & Millar, 1996; Millar & Gallagher, 1996; Silverman, La Greca, & Wasserstein, 1995). The general consensus among these researchers is that adolescents worry about a variety of things, including personal issues, family-related concerns, employment, academics, global events such as war and famine, career, death of self or loved ones, and health. What adolescents worry about should interest the school counselor, upon whose shoulders rests the development of the guidance curriculum and the design of reactive counseling services delivered in educational settings. In order for school counselors to design the most appropriate interventions and developmental activities, the concerns or needs of the population they serve must be known (Schmidt, 1999). While needs assessments may take many forms, including surveys administered to students, teachers, and parents, a thorough appraisal of students' salient worries should be an integral part of a comprehensive needs assessment.

Needs assessments serve two primary functions. First, and most obviously, they help the school counselor understand the needs of the subpopulations they serve (e.g., students, parents, teachers). Second, needs assessments help to establish priorities, which aid in the construction and continual improvement of comprehensive counseling programming (Cook, 1989; Erford, 2003). It is posited here that the Things I Worry About Scale is a useful tool in assessing the emotional, social, and personal needs of students. Understanding the composition of students' worries and concerns may help counselors tailor interventions to address these worries.

The present study was designed to ascertain the salient worries of a sample of at-risk American adolescents using a psychometrically sound instrument, with the express purpose of using the data as a component of a comprehensive needs assessment. The data collected from this sample were then compared with the results from a normative sample composed of adolescents in Northern Ireland (see Gallagher & Millar, 1996; Millar & Gallagher, 1996). The goal of this secondary analysis was to shed light on the generalizability and utility of the instrument.

Specifically, two questions were investigated: (1) What do at-risk adolescents worry about? and (2) Is the identified pattern of at-risk students' worries different from the worries of a normative sample in Northern Ireland?

METHOD

Participants

Sixty-six students enrolled in a public charter high school (grades 9-12) in the southern United States participated in the present study. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Salient Worries of At-Risk Youth: Needs Assessment Using the Things I Worry about Scale
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.