Stressful Encounters with Social Work Clients: A Descriptive Account Based on Critical Incidents (Report) - Social Work

Stressful Encounters with Social Work Clients: A Descriptive Account Based on Critical Incidents (Report)

By Social Work

  • Release Date - Published: 2011-01-01
  • Book Genre: Social Science
  • Author: Social Work
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Stressful Encounters with Social Work Clients: A Descriptive Account Based on Critical Incidents (Report) Social Work read online review & book description:

A large body of literature has repeatedly observed the intense stress experienced by social workers. Studies have shown high levels of emotional distress and anxiety (Acker, 1999; Collings&Murray, 1996; Huxley et al., 2005; Lambert et al., 2006; Mclean&Andrew, 2000; Thompson, Stradling, Murphy,&O'Neill, 1996), emotional and physical exhaustion, ill health, and mental disorder among social workers (Huxley et al., 2005; Jayarante, Chess,&Kunkel, 1986; C. Jones, 2001). Some have found mild psychiatric morbidity (Caughey, 1996; Gibson, McGrath,&Reid, 1989), secondary traumatic stress, and posttraumatic stress disorder (Bride, 2007; Jacobson, Ting, Sanders,&Harrington, 2004; Ting, Jacobson,&Sanders, 2008).These manifestations of work stress, along with resulting burnout, have been found to be more prevalent among social workers than among workers in other helping professions (Bennett, Evans,&Tattersall, 1993; Bradley&Sutherland, 1995; C. Jones, 2001). The high level of stress has been attributed to a variety of factors stemming from the values of the profession and from the societal context and organizational environment in which social work is carried out. Among the causes frequently suggested are competing values between social workers and administrators (Balloch, Pahl,&McLean, 1998; Banks, 2002; C. Jones&Novak, 1993; Mclean&Andrew, 2000), competing demands between clients and the agency (Gardner, 2007,M. Jones, 2000; Reid et al., 1999), a culture of blame (Coulshed&Mullender, 2001), work overload (Huxley et al., 2005), and heavy responsibility without the concomitant power to affect practice and outcomes (Banks, 1998; Gibson et al., 1989; C. Jones&Novak, 1993; Rachman, 1995). Some recent studies have highlighted the pressures produced by increasing demands on social workers for efficiency and effectiveness (Huxley et al., 2005; C.Jones, 2001) and by the worldwide reduction of social provision (C.Jones, 2001), which have increased caseloads and reduced the resources to handle them.

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