Social worker working conditions and psychological health: a longitudinal study

Ravalier, J.M, Allen, R and McGowan, J (2023) 'Social worker working conditions and psychological health: a longitudinal study.' The British Journal of Social Work, 53 (8). pp. 3818-3837. ISSN 0045-3102

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Good social work benefits the recipients of the social worker role, social workers themselves, their employing organisations and society more broadly. However, it is difficult to conduct consistently good social work when social workers have been shown to have chronically poor working conditions. This article, therefore, outlines UK social worker working conditions and well-being from 2022, as well as comparing these results to surveys conducted in 2017 and 2018. We, therefore, report a series of cross-sectional surveys, in addition to open-ended questions, to collect data from 533 respondents in 2022, and compare these to findings from similar surveys in previous years. Results demonstrate that working conditions improved slightly between 2018 and 2022, although these conditions are still very poor compared with other occupations. Qualitative analyses suggest that work-load, resources, lack of respect and lack of consistent and good quality reflective supervision are significant issues for respondents. As such, we argue that policy makers and employers need to provide greater support for social worker working conditions and well-being, and that this support would likely negate current high levels of turnover and sickness absence. Additionally, however, for the first time in these surveys, poor pay also emerged as an issue needing attention.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: longitudinal methods, pay, social work, well-being, working condition
Divisions: School of Sciences
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Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2023 17:53
Last Modified: 01 Jan 2024 20:52
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