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An Exploration of Bachelors of Social Work Students' Personal and Professional Perspectives on Spirituality and Religion

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Title: An Exploration of Bachelors of Social Work Students' Personal and Professional Perspectives on Spirituality and Religion
Creators: Neal, Stephanie R.
Advisor: Balaswamy, Shantha
Issue Date: 2011-06
Abstract: There is growing recognition in society and in the social work profession of the importance of spirituality and religion in shaping the human experience. Engaging spirituality in social work practice is a crucial component of cultural competence and holistic care of clients. Existing research focuses on the practitioner and graduate student populations, with little understanding of how the findings may apply to undergraduate education. Therefore, this research aims to fill the gap in knowledge by exploring the personal and professional perspectives of Bachelors of Social Work students. Specifically, this study focuses on students‟ views of the importance of spirituality and religion in social work education and practice. Data was collected from both public and private universities across the state of Ohio using an online survey. Eleven of the twenty four CSWE accredited schools of social work (46%) participated. The survey was limited to students who have completed a minimum of 4 social work courses and yielded 185 responses. The survey assessed students‟ perception of the role of religion and spirituality in social work, their educational experience, and personal spirituality. Findings suggest that regardless of one‟s religious beliefs and type of institution, students overwhelmingly support incorporating topics of spirituality and religion into social work education. However, ones religious affiliation influences beliefs about how spirituality should be incorporated in social work practice. Further, students at public universities report that their schools were more likely to discriminate, censor, and be close minded to the expression of religious and spiritual beliefs than students attending private universities. Only close to quarter percent of students indicated having received course content relevant to spirituality and religion (23.2%). Findings suggest improving the curriculum to include spiritual and religious content into social work education to prepare future professionals who are culturally competent to practice with clients from diverse spiritual and religious backgrounds. .
Embargo: No embargo
Series/Report no.: The Ohio State University. College of Social Work Undergraduate Research Theses; 2011
Keywords: Spirituality
Social Work Education
Religion
Bachelors of Social Work
Cultural Competence
Social Work Practice
Sponsors: NASW Ohio Chapter (National Association of Social Workers)
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1811/49083
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