Miriam Schiff, (PhD. MSW, MA) is a Professor and Zena Harman Chair in Social Work at the school. She is also the chair of “social work in health care research group”, a joint partnership between the school and Hadassah Hebrew university medical center. Miriam is a social worker, a licensed school psychologist and a licensed family therapist.
Dr. Schiff research addresses the consequences of childhood and current (acts of political violence) man-made trauma on adolescents and adults. The consequences include: psychological distress, physical health problems, substance use, and violence toward in- and out-group. The studies she conducts in this area in collaboration with Israeli and international colleagues are based on several theoretical frameworks: Conservation of Resources (COR), theories of emotion regulation, and Parental Acception-Rejection Theory (PART). In the past three years, she has expanded her research to two additional fields: parental traumatic grief and bereavement, and social work in health care. The research in these two topics is supported by leading theories in these fields (the bio-psycho-social model in the field of health care and the two-track model in the field of bereavement), but are conducted through the paradigm of translational research from academia to the field of social work, and from practice wisdom to theories and research. This paradigm includes strong collaboration with practitioners as well as mentoring advanced research students (at the MA and PhD levels) who also have senior positions in the field of social work. Below, are brief describion of Dr. Schiff recent work in each of her research areas.
Consequences of childhood and current (acts of political violence) man-made trauma on adolescents and adults.
Two major research studies in this area since my last promotion were: (i) Consequences of children’s exposure to intimate partner violence. Together with Dr. Jake Najman and his research center at the University of Queensland, Australia, School of Public Health, she examined whether adolescents’ exposure to parental intimate partner violence is associated with their psychological distress and substance use in young adulthood, using a large-scale and longitudinal birth cohort study (the Mater/University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy, MUSP). Currently Dr. Schiff continues this line of research including long-term consequences of child Adverse Child Events (ACE’s) on physical and mental health of young adults together with Dr. Melissa Jonson-Reid and Dr. Patricia Kohl from the Brown School of Social Work, Washington University St. Louis, and Dr. Jes Helton from Saint Louis University School of Social Work. (ii) Through the research group at the school on trauma and resilience, headed by Prof. Pat-Horenczyk, of which Dr. Schiff is a member, she and the group conducted a pilot study on risk and protective factors for hate-based violence among Jewish and Arab adolescents based on previous research studies they conducted in this area.
Parental traumatic grief and bereavement
In the past three years, Sr. Schiff established a productive collaboration with the Ministry of Defense, Department of Families and Commemoration. In this context, she implemented research studies on coping with loss of a child during his or her service in the Israeli Defence Forces, and the potential contribution of the social worker who is in contact with the parents from the first day of the loss to the healing process. A pilot qualitative study followed by a large-scale quantitative study on 164 parents (90 of them couples) revealed that many parents displayed personal growth. Formal educational level is associated with better coping. Grief reactions at 5-8 years after their child’s death are greater than at longer passages of time. The strongest predictor for adaptive coping (e.g., lower level of complicated grief symptoms, personal growth and positive daily functioning) was parental decision to continue living, a new concept we discover in this study. Positive therapeutic relationships with their social worker were a significant predictor for parental personal growth out of grief. Several interaction effects with the passage of time were found. Dyadic analyses suggest similarities and some differences in the contributing factors for coping with loss among mothers and fathers. These findings were disseminated to bereaved parents, as well as to practitioners, students, and researchers, in a conference with the Israeli Ministry of Defense (March 14, 2018).
Social work in health care
Using the translational research paradigm, Dr. Schiff research work in the area of healthcare is conducted in full collaboration with the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Department of Social Work, through the social work school research group that she chairs. Thus far, they have completed a study, together with research students’ seminar, on the characteristics of social workers’ psychosocial interventions during acts of political violence (e.g., the “stabbing intifada”), and the associations between hospital length of stay, Acute Stress Reaction (ASR), and the characteristics of the implemented psychosocial interventions.
Another project that was funded through the Israel National Institute for Health Policy Research (NIHP) Study aims to: (1) describe the implementation and outcome of the discharge plan (re-hospitalizations, satisfaction) from the point of the patient and family; (2) examine potential gaps between discharge plan and its implementation by residential area and personal and system variables; (3) compare the process and outcomes of implementation of the discharge plan, with Auslander, Soskolne et al. (2003) findings.
Study sample includes 1080 65+ patients who were hospitalized in the internal, geriatric, surgical and orthopedic departments & seen by a social worker during hospitalization. The study will be conducted in six hospitals: Hadassah, Sheba, Soroka and Rambam (200 each), and Barzilai and Meir (140 each). Data collection will begin soon.
Besides its scientific merit, this study seeks to raise policy-makers’ awareness of the shortage of institutional care for elderly patients’ post-discharge from general hospitals, especially in Jerusalem and the south. Many elders cannot receive their prescribed help in the area, or at all.
Schiff’s Recent publications
Schiff, M. & Pat-Horenczyk, R. (2014). Perceived need for psychosocial services in the context of political violence: Psychological distress among Israeli mothers with young children. Clinical Social Work Journal, 42(4), 346-356.
Schiff, M. & Fang, L. (2014). Adolescent substance-use in Israel: The roles of exposure to political traumas and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 28(2), 453–463. doi=10.1037/a0035603.
Schiff, M., Plotnikova, M., Dingle, K., Williams, G. M., Najman, J., & Clavarino, A. (2014). Does adolescent's exposure to parental intimate partner conflict and violence predict psychological distress and substance use in young adulthood? A longitudinal study. Child Abuse & Neglect, 38(12), 1945-1954. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2014.07.001.
David, P. & Schiff, M. (2015). Learning from bottom-up dissemination: Importing an evidence-based trauma intervention for infants and young children to Israel. Evaluation and Program Planning, 53, 18-24. doi:10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2015.07.012.
Pat-Horenczyk, R., Cohen, S., Ziv, Y., Achituv, M., Asulin-Peretz, L., Blanchard, T. R., Schiff, M. & Brom, D. (2015). Emotion regulation in mothers and young children faced with trauma. Infant Mental Health Journal, 36(3), 337-348. doi:10.1002/imhj.21515.
Schiff, M., Nacasch, N., Levit, S., Katz, N., & Foa, E. (2015). Prolonged exposure for treating PTSD among female methadone patients who were survivors of sexual abuse in Israel. Social Work in Health Care, 54, 687-707. doi:10.1080/00981389.2015.1058311.
Fang, L., Schiff, M., & Benbenishty, R. (2016). Political violence exposure, adolescent school violence, and drug use: The mediating role of school support and posttraumatic stress. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 86(6), 662-670. doi:10.1037/ort0000178.
Schiff, M. & Fang, L. (2016). Adolescents' exposure to disasters and substance use (A review paper). Current Psychiatry Reports, 18(57), 2-6. doi:10.1007/s11920-016-0693-2.
Zemach, M., Schiff, M., Feldman, C., & Sabah, C. (2016). Treatment for children at risk: Out-of-home versus community placement. Society & Welfare: Quarterly for Social Work, 36(3-4), 331-361. (Hebrew)
David, P. & Schiff, M. (2017). Self-efficacy as a mediator in bottom-up dissemination of a research-supported intervention for young, traumatized children and their families. Journal of Evidence-Informed Social Work, 14(2), 53-69. doi:10.1080/23761407.2017.1298072.
Schiff, M. & Roll, A. (2017). Depression, quality of life and smoking in late adulthood. [https://www.ecronicon.com/ecpp/pdf/ECPP-04-00138.pdf]. EC Psychology and Psychiatry, 4(5), 206-215.
David, P. & Schiff, M. (2018). Initial clinician reports of the bottom-up dissemination of an evidence-based intervention for early childhood trauma. Child and Youth Care Forum, 41(1), 115-132. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10566-017-9422-1.
Schiff, M., Pat-Horenczyk, R., Ziv, Y., & Brom, D. (in press). Multiple traumas, maternal depression, mother–child relationship, social support, and young children’s behavioral problems. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 0(0), 0886260517725738. doi:10.1177/0886260517725738.
Sakat, E. & Schiff, M. (in press). Religiosity: Protective or risk factor for posttraumatic distress among adolescents who were exposed to different types of acts of political violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 0(0), 0886260518780775. doi:10.1177/0886260518780775.
Schiff, M., Dekel, R., Gilbar, O., & Benbenishty, R. (2018). Helping the helpers: Post-traumatic distress and need for help among Israeli social workers in foster care agencies following armed conflict. Child & Family Social Work, 23(3), 466-474. doi:10.1111/cfs.12438
Gilbar, O., Benbenishty, R., Schiff, M., & Dekel, R. (2018). Foster parents exposed to political violence: The role of social support in addressing emotional and functional difficulties. Children and Youth Services Review, 85, 211-218. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.12.026; 1.38
Elkins, Y.A., Schiff, M., Aharoni. E., Parnas-Golderberger, S., & Weisler-Mamou, I. (in press). Living with grief and considering life: The experience of bereaved parents who lost their child during military service. Megamot. (Hebrew).
Schiff, M., Lesser, L., Levine, T., Savo, Y., Dashti, T., & Rosenne, H. (in press). Hospital social worker interventions with survivors of acts of political violence in Israel. The Journal of Social Work.
Pat-Horenczyk, R., Zamir, O., Yochman, A., Schiff, M., Brickman, S., Lerner, M., & Brom, D. (2019). Long-term impact of maternal posttraumatic symptoms on children’s regulatory functioning: A 4-year follow-up study. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/tra0000479.
Pat-Horenczyk, R. & Schiff, M. (2019). Continuous traumatic stress and the life cycle: Exposure to repeated political violence in Israel Current Psychiatry Reports, 21(8), 71-80, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-019-1060-x. 3.82 41/146.
Pat-Horenczyk, R., Zamir, O., Yochman, A., Schiff, M., Brickman, S., Lerner, M., & Brom, D. (2019). Long-term impact of maternal posttraumatic symptoms on children’s regulatory functioning: A 4-year follow-up study. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/tra0000479.
Segev, D. & Schiff, M. (in press). Integrating Israeli Defense Force (IDF) veterans with disabilities into the workforce: Characteristics and predictors. Israel Journal of Health Policy Research.