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    Factors influencing the crisis pregnancy decision making process of Singapore adolescents
    The primary objective of this study was to find out which factors influenced the crisis pregnancy decision-making process of adolescents in Singapore. In particular, the study looked at whether an adolescent's decision-making process was influenced by her level of cognitive development, social and psychological factors such as her family and friends, and cultural and societal factors, such as her community. The study also looked at whether these adolescents went through decision-making processes which led to specific pregnancy decisions, according to a theoretical framework, which combined the Systems Theory, the Adolescent Decision-Making Theory and the Crisis Theory.

    The study was conducted in four phases, namely, 1) analysis of quantitative data collated from counselling notes of 171 adolescents who attended face-to-face counselling sessions at the Pregnancy Crisis Service (PCS) over a 3-year period, 2) formulation of a checklist of factors for pilot interviews with a counselor and single mother, 3) interview of pilot interviewees and creation of a final list of interview questions from pilot interview data, and 4) interviews of subjects, i.e., counselors, volunteers and adolescents.

    For the quantitative study, all records of adolescents from the Pregnancy Crisis Service were used to form the sample. All counselors from the Pregnancy Crisis Service, Tanjong Pagar Family Service Centre, Rosevilla, and Andrew and Grace Home, and some volunteers from the Pregnancy Crisis Service, were interviewed. Convenience sampling was used for the interviews with adolescents.

    The study found that an adolescent's decision-making was indeed influenced by three main factors, i.e., her level of cognitive development, her family and friends, and cultural and societal values. Within these three main factors, there were a multitude of other influencing factors and issues. However, not all of these factors contributed equally to each type of pregnancy resolution, i.e., abortion, parenting and adoption. Influencing factors for each type of pregnancy resolution and their perceived importance were also identified according to the theoretical framework. Some factors figured prominently in most of the crisis pregnancy resolutions. The most important factors were the attitudes and beliefs of and the degree of support given by the adolescent's parents and family for a particular course of action. The adolescent's ability to process the different facets of her diliemma, and take into account long term consequences, also contributed greatly to the decision-making process. Finally, cultural and societal attitudes towards single motherhood were found to be influencing factor for adolescents considering abortion, but not for those considering parenting.

    Other significant findings were also discussed and presented. Limitations of this study, as well as its implications for future research in the areas of sexuality education and counselling strategies were explored at the end of this paper.
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    Novice group counsellors’ experiences in In-Class Face-To-Face And On-Line Support groups : a qualitative study
    This study presents a qualitative exploration that uses three methodological genres (Conversation Analysis, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis and Modified Grounded Theory) under Elliot’s (1984, 1993) Comprehensive Process Analysis (CPA) framework to analyse the experiences of 16 novice group counsellors (of which 13 were from Singapore and three were from three other Asian countries) in two in-class face-to-face and on-line support groups. The 16 novice group counsellors rotated through the roles of co-facilitators and members.

    The data corpus for analysis included transcripts of all face-to-face and on-line support group sessions, as well as individual and co-facilitator reflection papers. Accuracy of data capture and interpretation was enhanced by analytical checks provided by two research assistants and two external auditors, all of whom spoke two or more languages and had exposure to different cultures in the Asia-Pacific region, including the novice group counsellors’ countries of origin.

    The occurrence and management of resistance of one group member in each group was deemed to be a significant type of critical incident by participants in both groups. This phenomenon of resistance was analysed using Conversation Analysis (CA) to understand how the groups co-constructed their experiences, and key interactional features were identified. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was then used to understand the meaning behind the novice group counsellors’ actions and experiences during the critical incidents. The results of CA and IPA for each group’s experience were then integrated into a story of its experience of resistance. During this process, the five superordinate themes of resistance, i.e. Responsibility, Authority, Alliances, Approach, and Respect, were identified as common to both groups.

    Modified Grounded Theory (Jennings, D’Rozario, Goh, Sovereign, Brogger, & Skovholt, 2008) was used to explore the novice counsellors’ overall experiences of their support groups as members, co-facilitators, and with the face-to-face and on-line modalities. The study yielded three categories with two themes each for members’ experiences, four categories with 18 themes for co-facilitators’ experiences, and six categories with a total of 14 themes for participant’s experiences on face-to-face and on-line platforms. At the end of this process, a model of participants’ overall experiences was constructed using seven superordinate themes divided into three time-frames, Pre-Group, Support Group and Post-Group. Findings revealed that 15 out of 16 members reported enhanced self-awareness, and experienced their support groups as enjoyable and therapeutic. Twelve co-facilitators also reported having increased self-awareness of counselling styles, strengths and weaknesses. Fifteen participants were supportive of using the face-to-face modality for training, but only eight participants were supportive of using the on-line platform for training.

    Overall, the superordinate theme of Alliance, as found in the stories of resistance, was also responsible for the overall membership experience of participants. The results and implications of this study are also discussed.
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    Cross-cultural considerations with Asian Indian American clients: A perspective on psychological assessment
    Research on Asian Indian American indicates anunder-utilization of mental health services within this minority group. This chapter provides a cultural profile of individuals from this ethnic minority group. The primary focus of this chapter is to provide culturally sensitive guidelines for practice in psychological assessment and counseling when working with Asian Indian Americans. The first section provides an overview of the cultural context of the Asian Indian American in terms of issues related to formation of ethnic identity and degree of acculturation, the importance of family, gender roles and expectations, and commonly held cultural beliefs, values and customs. It also indicates potential stressors that may be commonly experienced among Asian Indian Americans. The second section describes the attitudes towards mental illness, disability and help seeking behaviors prevalent among Asian Indian Americans that act as a deterrent in accessing mental health services. The third section provides culturally sensitive recommendations to increase accessibility and acceptance of mental health services among Asian Indian Americans. Guidelines include solutions to increase service utilization by customizing service delivery methods to fit client needs, using systems based and directive approaches to understand the Asian Indian American client, allocating counselors based on client values and gender preferences, and collaborating with medical professionals and indigenous healers to provide more comprehensive mental health services to this minority population.
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    The roles of self-efficacy beliefs and teacher-student relationship (TSR) in student engagement: Perspective from Normal stream students
    (Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore, 2024) ; ; ; ;
    Express stream students rank amongst the top in international benchmarking comparisons in TIMMS and PISA, but those from the Normal Academic and Normal Technical streams obtain lower-than-average scores comparable to students from developing countries. Although a differentiated program has been specially tailored to cater to their pace of learning, many still fail to perform because educators may not have adequately considered the circumstances under which they are willing to participate and learn. Substantial research indicates that besides academics, a range of social, psychological, interpersonal and emotional factors also contribute to educational performance and achievement. To gain perspective on the respective contribution of multiple factors and encapsulate the systemic influences at individual and contextual factors on the long-term academic and non-academic trajectories of these students, this study uses a student engagement framework to unravel the educational challenges facing Normal stream students. Student engagement refers to a student’s active involvement in a task or activity and it captures the gradual process by which they connect with or disconnect from school. This framework describes students’ feelings (affective), behaviours and thoughts (cognitive) about their school experiences, and is predominantly used to understand student problems associated with significant academic or discipline problems and eventual school dropout in research situated in western contexts.
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    Changing conceptualization of the role of educational psychologists in Singapore
    Psychology is a young discipline in Singapore. Hence, perceptions of the roles and responsibilities of an Educational Psychologist (EP) are still constantly being negotiated and redefined. This qualitative study examined how role negotiations and redefinitions could be actively facilitated through an experiential and intensive two-day Basic Counseling Skills training course. This course was attended by eight trainee EPs enrolled in the only Masters Level Educational Psychology training program in Singapore. A grounded analysis of their pre-and-post training qualitative questionnaires and focus group discussion revealed the group’s evolving conceptualizations about their roles as EPs from mere test-administrator to a recognition of the need for a more systemic approach in providing intervention. The EPs also recognized their lack of capacity to respond to emotionally-distressed parents with compassion and sensitivity, and acknowledged the value of basic counseling skills training. Implications for training and future research are discussed.
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