Abstract: The Unit Assets Inventory: A Support & Resiliency Assessment Tool to Enhance Social Service Practice in the U.S. Air Force (Society for Social Work and Research 14th Annual Conference: Social Work Research: A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES)

12258 The Unit Assets Inventory: A Support & Resiliency Assessment Tool to Enhance Social Service Practice in the U.S. Air Force

Saturday, January 16, 2010: 9:00 AM
Pacific Concourse M (Hyatt Regency)
* noted as presenting author
Gary L. Bowen, PhD , University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kenan Distinguished Professor, Chapel Hill, NC
James A. Martin , Bryn Mawr College, Associate Professor, Bryn Mawr, PA
Background and Purpose: In the context of increases in the frequency and duration of military deployments, the Armed Services have significant expanded their outreach to military members and families. New assessment tools have been developed to inform the design and delivery of human services programs. One such tool is the Unit Assets Inventory (UAI), which is sponsored by the U.S. Air Force's Airman and Family Readiness Center (A&FRC). The A&FRC is the focal agency on Air Force (AF) bases around the globe for addressing individual and family support needs.

Authorized by unit leadership and completed voluntarily by unit members, the UAI is a 62 item, self-administered, web-based assessment tool that examines respondents' perceptions about sources of informal and formal support in their lives (a support profile, nine dimensions) and about their success in adapting to life challenges and meeting AF responsibilities (a resiliency profile, eight dimensions). The online tool takes 12-15 minutes on average for respondents to complete. A&FRC practitioners can view and download a summary group profile that aggregates responses across a unit. A key objective is to work with unit leadership to develop an action plan that focuses on those issues in which the practitioner will play a role.

This presentation examines the validity and reliability of the UAI's 17 core dimensions. After a brief overview of the UAI and the context for its development, we review the procedures and the results of an examination of the tool's psychometric properties. The findings are discussed in the context of the dynamic nature of testing and refining assessments tools to inform social work practice.

Methods: Analyses were based on a nonprobability sample of 9,820 AF members from 49 bases worldwide—the population of members who completed the UAI from October 2006 to March 2009. The analytic process included three steps. First, we performed a descriptive analysis on each dimension and its component items. Next, we studied the internal consistency of the items in each dimension. Finally, we used a three-step method to examine the construct validity of each UAI dimension, including known-groups validation.

Results: The results supported both the internal consistency reliability and the construct validity of the 17 core profile dimensions. Six of the reliability coefficients exceeded .90 (all support dimensions); six were greater than .80; the lowest was .74. In addition, the Pearson correlation coefficients between support and resiliency dimensions theorized in the UAI logic model manifested themselves in the data.

Conclusions and Implications: In the context of cautions for interpreting the findings, the investigation provides evidence of the efficacy of the UAI as an assessment tool to inform the design and implementation of interventions to bolster the functioning of AF members. A six-step unit outreach process is described that frames the administration of the UAI and the use of the resulting data for intervention planning and implementation.