January 2003, Vol. 8, No. 1
ISSN 1540 5273

Feature Article

Cremation: History, Process, and Regulations

Marsha A. Goetting and Claire DelGuerra


In response to clientele interest in cremation, the Montana Extension Service developed a program and a MontGuide (fact sheet) on cremation. The purpose of this article is to briefly describe the history of cremation, cremation rates, reasons why people choose cremation, the cremation process, cost of cremation, and regulations regarding the disposition of cremated human remains. The article also makes recommendations for Extension educators who want to develop a similar program in their states.

Applied Research

Assessing Decision-making Skills of Youth

Claudia C. Mincemoyer and Daniel F. Perkins


The 4-H youth program helps youth to develop life skills through participation in a variety of programs and activities.  Many programs and projects are designed to teach decision-making skills. However, no scientifically tested instrument is available to assist local youth and family educators in assessing youth’s decision-making skills.  Knowledge of decision-making deficiencies among youth participants can provide information that will assist curriculum developers and program planners in modifying or increasing the decision-making skills practiced by youth in programs.

The purpose of this study was to develop and validate an assessment tool to measure decision-making skills of youth ages 13-19.  The importance of decision-making skills in adolescence, in combination with the fact that these skills can be taught and practiced, provides strong rationale for the development of a decision-making skills assessment instrument.  Research in non-formal educational environments, such as 4-H, is needed to determine whether these environments and the curricula designed to teach decision-making skills are effective and successful.

Use of Kitchen Ventilation: Impact on Indoor Air Quality

Kathleen Parrott, JoAnn Emmel, and Julia Beamish


Indoor air and human health are major housing issues. Biological pollutants, such as molds, are health threats. These pollutants require a moist environment. Regular use of kitchen exhaust ventilation systems can help control excess moisture in the home. As part of a comprehensive study of kitchen design and usage, 78 households in a purposive sample were interviewed about their use of kitchen ventilation systems. Despite the fact that participants regularly and frequently cooked, about one-third rarely ventilated when using the cook top and almost half never ventilated when using the oven. Results of the study suggest that cooks who do use ventilation systems use them to solve cooking problems and not to prevent indoor air quality problems, like those that result from not controlling moisture. Consumers need to better understand the value of kitchen ventilation systems, and how to use them effectively to improve indoor air quality.

Programs to Showcase

Navigating the Resource Maze: A Simulation of Resource Finding for Families of Young Children with Special Needs

Sally Bowman and Sharon Rosenkoetter


One of the most persistent challenges for families with young children with special needs is finding and coordinating the resources available to support them and their children. These challenges are simulated in an interactive workshop designed for 25 to 75 participants to sensitize them to the day-to-day realities faced by a family with an infant, toddler, or young child with disabilities. The simulation has been used successfully with community service providers from multiple agencies and disciplines. It has applicability to all practitioners who work with children and their families.

Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service and the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative

Rachel A. Neal and Lynda C. Harriman


The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service (OCES) is a major contributor to the collaborative efforts of the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative (OMI). OCES is committed to enhancing the lives of Oklahomans and is implementing relationship education to promote healthy relationships and decrease marital distress and divorce. Through the delivery of the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP®), OCES Educators have reached hundreds of Oklahomans within only six months of being involved with the OMI. The goal of this statewide collaborative effort is to decrease the state divorce rate by one-third by the year 2010.

Nonrefereed articles


Calling All Caregivers: The Caregiving Crisis in America

Katherine Brandt


The Worst Day of My Life, So Far, by M. A. Harper

Reviewed by Edna L. Ballard

Recent Developments

Updates in resources for job hunters and home modifications for older adults.

Editor’s Corner

Ethical Issues of Advance Directives

Carol A. Schwab, Editor, FFCI

Cite this article:

Abstracts. 2003. The Forum for Family and Consumer Issues 8(1).



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