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Chapter 32: Qualitative approaches to career counselling

AUTHORS: M. Watson, M. McMahon

ABSTRACT: Sometimes viewed as a newcomer in the field of career psychology, qualitative career assessment has a long history that has been overshadowed by the dominant story of quantitative career assessment. This proposed book chapter explores the potential of qualitative career assessment to accommodate less tangible and therefore less measurable variables that may influence individual career development. Specifically, a qualitative approach to career assessment may be sensitive to variables such as culture, socio-economic background, barriers to career development and other contextual influences that have been less focused on in quantitative career assessment. The book chapter also considers the issue of complementarity between qualitative and quantitative career assessment from various international perspectives. This proposed chapter describes the development of a qualitative career assessment measure, My System of Career Influences (MSCI; McMahon, Patton & Watson, 2005a, b), which has been developed for use with adolescents in South Africa and Australia. The MSCI was developed according to guidelines suggested for qualitative career assessment by McMahon, Patton and Watson (2003). Subsequently, the MSCI has been translated for use with adolescents in The Netherlands, Iceland and Hong Kong. The chapter also describes the development of an adult version of the MSCI (McMahon, Watson & Patton, submitted a, b) which was trialled in Australia, England and South Africa. The chapter concludes with an overview of recent research using the MSCI on diverse South African population groups of adolescents and adults.

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Chapter 30: The ImPACT Neurocognitive Screening Test

AUTHORS: A. Edwards, V. Whitefield, S. Radloff

ABSTRACT: The recent development of computerized neurocognitive screening programmes has revolutionized medical management in the sports concussion arena where there is a need for mass testing of athletes, and repeat follow up testing of the concussed athlete to monitor recovery and facilitate safe return-to-play decisions.  Automated programmes of this type have the facility for more accurate evaluation on timed tasks than paper-and-pencil testing, are time and cost effective in that group testing can be undertaken, and multiple randomized versions of the tasks reduce the problem of practice effects on repeated test occasions.  In South Africa, the ImPACT test (Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) that was developed within a research context at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, has been employed for clinical and research purposes since 2003, and is the only test of its type registered with the Health Professional Council of South Africa (HPCSA) for clinical use in this country.  This chapter reviews research data derived using the ImPACT test in respect of players of contact sport from school through to the professional level that attests to the clinical sensitivity of this test in the identification of subtle neurocognitive deficit in association with participation in the contact sport of rugby.  In addition, available South African normative indications in respect of the test are presented and discussed.  Finally, the potential to use the ImPACT test to facilitate medical management and increase safety within other contexts is discussed, such as screening of aviation personnel (pilots and ground control employees) on a regular basis to identify the onset of intellectual dysfunction that might have sinister consequences.

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Chapter 29: Using computerised and Internet-based testing in South Africa

AUTHOR: N. Tredoux

ABSTRACT: South Africa was an early adopter of computerised tests, with the earliest testing systems being developed in the late 1970’s. Initially computerised testing systems were developed by state-funded organisations, with some funding from the private sector. As a result of political changes in South Africa, financial support for research and development in Psychometrics in statutory organisations decreased. Psychometrics, and specifically computerised testing, was then advanced by various private commercial interests, with increasing involvement from foreign test publishers. With the development of the World Wide Web and the availability of broadband connectivity, delivery of tests and reports across the Internet became a reality.  Publishers were concerned about piracy of content and cheating by respondents who were doing the tests unsupervised.  The International Test Commission drew up guidelines for computer-based and internet-delivered testing, and these were adapted to the existing South African legislative framework and ethical guidelines for psychologist. A legal battle ensued, resulting in the repeated withdrawal and re-adopting of the South African guidelines. The main point of contention was whether or not unsupervised Internet-based testing should be allowed.  This legal battle eventually led to changes in legislation.  This chapter will discuss the regulatory framework as it currently stands.  The risks attached to different types of computerised implentations of tests will be considered, taking into account the rights of the respondent, the psychometric impact of computerisation, and the exposure for the practitioner to charges of possible misconduct. A proposal for best practice in South Africa will be formulated.

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Chapter 16: The BTI in South Africa

AUTHORS: N. Taylor, G. P. de Bruin

ABSTRACT: This chapter describes the Basic Traits Inventory, a South African developed measure of the Big Five personality traits. The basic premises of the Big Five personality theory are given, along with descriptions of the five personality factors. The development of the BTI is described, where issues surrounding developing tests in the cross-cultural South African context are discussed. Further, research done using the BTI in South Africa is presented. The reliability and validity of the BTI is examined and the subject of cross-cultural bias and fairness is addressed. Lastly, examples of the application of the BTI in various fields, such as education and the workplace, are provided and the future of the BTI is discussed.

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Chapter 13: Neuropsychological assessment in SA

AUTHOR: M. Lucas

ABSTRACT: Neuropsychology is frequently defined as the relationship between brain functioning and behavior but with the collapse of Cartesian dualism, this focus has been expanded.  With the mind today seen as the output of the brain it is therefore available to objective consideration as well.  Modern Neuropsychology thus encompasses not only the understanding and interpretation of structural/functional brain systems but includes broader understandings such as the subjective experience of self (Solms, 2006). There have been two traditions in Neuropsychology: A syndrome based approach, dependent upon a clinic-anatomical analysis, which we will refer to as the clinical approach; and a cognitive neuroscientific approach, with close links to information processing and artificial intelligence.  The former approach has its origins in the times of cortical localization beginning with Broca, Wernicke and Charcot, but more recently is based upon integrated theories of brain function; while the latter approach is based on principles of cognitive psychology and assumes that mental activities operate in terms of specialized sub-systems or modules.  It has primarily researched cognitive systems that can be separated out (dissociated) from each other.  Both approaches are complementary, use case studies, experimental designs and quantitative analysis.  Each adds valuable information to the study of the brain and mind and currently they are moving towards a more unified model.

Clinical neuropsychology is primarily concerned with anatomical brain variants and pathology and uses the syndrome-based medical model as its theoretical basis.  Typically this discipline is concerned with assessment, diagnosis, management and rehabilitation of people who have neurocognitive impairment.  Deficits are usually acquired as a result of illness and injury to the nervous system; may be temporary or permanent but measurable by subjective complaints (e.g. I am forgetful) and objective measures (e.g. psychometric tests, neuro-imaging studies). Further, clinical neuropsychology is concerned not only with the cognitive impairments but the emotional and behavioural consequences of such illness and injury.  Most importantly, these areas are assessed within the framework of person’s social and cultural background. Thus, neuropsychological assessment must take place through use of triangulation using firstly, personal narratives, collateral information, medical records and investigations such as neuro-imaging and secondly, extensive knowledge on the part of the psychologist of mind/brain issues, neuroanatomy, pathology and physiology, and thirdly, careful administration, scoring and interpretation of appropriate measures of cognitive, emotional and behavioural functioning.  Test measures may be in the form of appropriate standardised or individualised batteries. In South Africa, Neuropsychologists have typically used the standardized norms supplied by test manufacturers for their middle-class, usually white, clients and made judgements on levels of function using standardized scores and statistical analyses (e.g. standard deviations, z scores, t scores, percentile ranks etc.).  However, this group forms a small part of the South African population, making this approach an invalid one for most South Africans.  There have been attempts to standardize various tests for the local population but this has met with only limited success (e.g. Nell, 1999).  The general failure to produce working norms has been for several reasons: i) population heterogeneity in terms of language, education, socio-economic status and cultural stance ii) a dynamic and emerging population, thus tests standardized for a group have limited life as members become better educated iii) changes in level of test sophistication as communities move from pre-modern (rural) to modern (urban) lifestyles. In the face of these challenges, it has been recommended that neuropsychologists use a more hypothesis driven approach first promulgated by Luria (Solms, 2008) as a basis.  Test scores can be then interpreted from a differential score or pattern analytical approach (Zilmer, Spiers & Culbertson, 2008).

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