First Advisor

Jeffrey D. Robinson

Date of Publication

Fall 1-22-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Communication






Communication in social work -- Research, Catholic Church -- Charities -- Sociological aspects, Social service -- Quality control -- Measurement, Interpersonal communication -- Research



Physical Description

1 online resource (iii, 242 pages)


This thesis focuses on Catholic Charities (Hereafter CC), a non-profit agency that provides pregnancy and adoption support to families in times of crisis. Research and agency data reflect a positive association between the amount of time clients engage in services and the resolution of crises. Both theoretically and empirically, a key determinant of the depth and breadth of clients' engagement with both for-profit and non-profit services is their satisfaction with such services. In 2009-2010, CC's in-house, client surveys reported a decreasing level of client engagement with services. One clear trend was that clients discontinued services after thirty days or less. Against this trend, CC aims to provide social services for an extended period of time (i.e. longer than thirty days) in order to insure that clients have fully recovered from crises. In order to understand possible reasons for clients' low or short engagement rates, this thesis analyzes clients' satisfaction with CC services. Using a grounded-theory approach, twenty semi-structured interviews with former and current CC clients were analyzed for communication-based themes involving clients' satisfaction with services. Four macro-themes emerged: (1) Positive Caseworker Personality, (2) Feeling Emotionally Supported, (3) Feeling Helped, and (4) Positive Counseling Environment. Findings have implications for both theories of satisfaction and the offering and practice of CC services.


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