NASW Press Journals – Social Work- July 2008

Volume 53 Number 3 July 2008

Editorial
197 The Presidential Election Jorge Delva
Social Work, Vol. 53, No. 3, July 2008 pp.197-198
Articles
199 Child Welfare Worker Characteristics and Job Satisfaction: A National Study Richard P. Barth; E. Christopher Lloyd; Sharon L. Christ; Mimi V. Chapman; Nancy S. Dickinson
Social Work, Vol. 53, No. 3, July 2008 pp.199-209
Abstract
The education, recruitment, training, and retention of a quality child welfare workforce is critical to the successful implementation of public policy and programs for the nation’s most vulnerable children. Yet, national information about child welfare workers has never been collected. The National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being is a study of children who are investigated for child maltreatment that also offers information about the child welfare workers (unweighted N = 1,729) who serve them in 36 states and 92 counties. These cases represent the national population of child welfare workers, estimated at more than 50,000, serving children approximately 12 months after a case was opened. Child welfare workers having any graduate or social work degree in a nonurban setting were more satisfied than their peers. Regression results indicate that worker satisfaction is associated with quality of supervision and urban setting but does not have a clearly independent relationship with having a degree in social work. Practice implications are discussed.
211
Available Supports and Coping Behaviors of Mental Health Social Workers Following Fatal and Nonfatal Client Suicidal Behavior Laura Ting; Jodi M. Jacobson; Sara Sanders
Social Work, Vol. 53, No. 3, July 2008 pp.211-221
Abstract
Research indicates that mental health social workers risk being confronted with fatal and nonfatal client suicidal behaviors during professional practice. Although reactions to client suicidal behavior have been documented, there is little empirical evidence about coping behaviors and available supports following client suicidal behavior. This study explores types of supports available, perceived effectiveness of support resources, and coping behaviors of 285 mental health social workers who experienced either fatal or nonfatal client suicidal behavior. Factors predicting positive and negative coping were also explored. Predictors of positive coping included increased levels of secondary traumatic stress, the availability of family and friends, group therapy, religion, older age, and male gender. Predictors of negative coping were increased levels of secondary traumatic stress, male gender, having support from family and friends, and the lack of administrative support. Future research recommendations and implications for social work administrators and practitioners are discussed.
223
What if the Spirit Does Not Move Me? A Personal Reconnaissance and Reconciliation Carlos A. Hoyt
Social Work, Vol. 53, No. 3, July 2008 pp.223-231
Abstract
The burgeoning recognition of the influence of religion and spirituality in personal, cultural, and political affairs has spurred discussions regarding the need for social work practice to be sensitive and responsive to the presence of spirituality in the lives of clients. However, though attending properly to clients’ coping styles involving religion or spirituality is indeed crucial, discourse on spirituality and practice too often involves unclear definitions and problematic assumptions about the prevalence and relevance of spirituality in the lives of clients. This article considers spirituality from the perspective of a nonspiritual social worker who is nevertheless committed to practice that recognizes the importance of spirituality in the lives of many clients. This article discusses some problematic aspects of dominant discourse on spirituality and offers recommendations, pedagogy, and assessment for spirituality in clients’ lives that should work well for all social workers, no matter their personal views on the subject.
233
Conation: A Missing Link in the Strengths Perspective Karen E. Gerdes; Layne K. Stromwall
Social Work, Vol. 53, No. 3, July 2008 pp.233-242
Abstract
Conation is action derived from instinct, purposeful mode of striving, volition. It is a conscious effort to carry out self-determined acts and, as such, may result in the same goal being approached by different individuals through the use of different actions. It is a critical, yet neglected aspect of the “tripartite” human mind, which is composed of cognitive, affective, and conative elements. Because most social workers are not familiar with the concept, client behavior that represents action toward a goal might not be understood or might be misunderstood. A true strengths-based approach to social work requires this understanding. The authors use case studies to describe conation and to demonstrate its applicability. They present examples of how clients’ and social workers’ conative ability are important to the assessment and intervention process and describe implications for research.
243
Notation of Depression in Case Records of Older Adults in Community Long-Term Care Enola K. Proctor
Social Work, Vol. 53, No. 3, July 2008 pp.243-253
Abstract

Although significant numbers of social service clients experience mental health problems, virtually no research has examined the responsiveness of social service agencies to mental disorder. This article examines the extent to which client depression is reflected in records of a public social service agency, community long-term care (CLTC). Researchers assessed new, consenting CLTC clients for depression using standardized research criteria in a telephone interview. Agency case records were abstracted to determine the extent to which client depression was noted. Sensitivity and specificity of depression notation were 25.21 percent and 92.80 percent, respectively, indicating that agency records reflected depression for about one in four clients meeting depression criteria. Factors associated with accurate depression notation included cognitive impairments, low social support, psychotropic medications, and mental health treatment. The depression notation rates found are comparable to those in medical settings. Structured screening and assessment might enhance detection of mental disorder for social service clients.
255
Social Work with Religious Volunteers: Activating and Sustaining Community Involvement Diana R. Garland; Dennis M. Myers; Terry A. Wolfer
Social Work, Vol. 53, No. 3, July 2008 pp.255-265
Abstract
Social workers in diverse community practice settings recruit and work with volunteers from religious congregations. This article reports findings from two surveys: 7,405 congregants in 35 Protestant congregations, including 2,570 who were actively volunteering, and a follow-up survey of 946 volunteers. It compares characteristics of congregation volunteers and nonvolunteers. Volunteers tended to be married, older, more highly educated, longer term congregational members, and to score higher on all measures of faith maturity and faith practice than did nonvolunteers. Volunteers perceived their involvement as meaningful, important, and challenging. A large majority of volunteers (80 percent) reported changes in faith, attitudes and values, and behavior as results of their volunteer work. Findings provide insights into how religious individuals begin and continue to volunteer in service settings and how congregations promote high levels of community service among their members. These findings have implications for effective social work practice with congregation volunteers.
267
Low-Wage Maternal Employment and Parenting Style Aurora P. Jackson; Peter M. Bentler; Todd M. Franke
Social Work, Vol. 53, No. 3, July 2008 pp.267-278
Abstract
This three-year longitudinal study investigated whether low-wage employment was associated with improved psychological and parenting outcomes in a sample of 178 single mothers who were employed and unemployed current and former welfare recipients both before and subsequent to the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. Participation in employment predicted fewer depressive symptoms and less negative parenting style over time. Employment at time 1 was associated with a reduced likelihood of receiving welfare in the interim between times 1 and 2, less financial strain at time 2, and (through these) a decrease in mothers’ depressive symptoms at time 2. Fewer depressive symptoms at time 2, in turn, predicted less negative parenting style, net of the mothers’ earlier demographic, mental health, and parenting characteristics. Mothers with higher education attainment were more likely to be employed (and to earn more) at both time points. Implications of these findings for welfare policies are discussed.
Practice Update
279
Training Students for a Shared Traumatic Reality Orit Nuttman-Shwartz; Rachel Dekel
Social Work, Vol. 53, No. 3, July 2008 pp.279-281
Commentaries
283
The Immigration Debate: Lessons for Social Workers Rich Furman; Nalini Negi; Ana Liza M. Cisneros-Howard
Social Work, Vol. 53, No. 3, July 2008 pp.283-285
286
Whither the Social Workers? Why the Silence? Alice Skirtz
Social Work, Vol. 53, No. 3, July 2008 pp.286-288

2 comments

  1. Volunteers tended to be married, older, more highly educated, longer term congregational members, and to score higher on all measures of faith maturity and faith practice than did nonvolunteers

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