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ERIC Number: ED549695
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 272
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2672-9646-7
The Experiences of Social Work Educators Working with Students with Psychiatric Disabilities
Mazza, Elena T.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, New York University
Social work educators have an ethical responsibility to graduate students who are academically, behaviorally and professionally prepared for entry into the social work profession. Although a student's suitability to the profession is not necessarily hindered because of the effects of a psychiatric disability, sometimes it is. When this occurs, educators must make difficult decisions that can interrupt or end the academic and professional goals of a student. Meanwhile, little is known about how social work educators experience, perceive and understand their work with students who are affected by or recovering from a psychiatric disability. Qualitative face-to-face interviews were conducted with twenty-six (N = 26) full-time social work educators from 22 accredited social work programs in the states of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Using constant comparative methods, analysis of the narratives revealed challenges experienced be participants at three systemic levels: micro, mezzo, and macro. These challenges reflected an interrelated combination of personal (internal feelings of participants) cultural (values and norms practiced in the education program) and contextual (influences from the broader social and professional environment) dilemmas. In addition to these challenges, this study also revealed a number of positive strategies practiced by participants during their work with students who are vulnerable. Analysis of the narratives found that faculty participants believed they worked more effectively with and on behalf of students when they: 1) built relationships with students, 2) recognized early warning signs exhibited by students affected by emotional troubles, and 3) intervened proactively. Implications of these findings for practice and policy in social work education are discussed. Though the findings from this study are not generalizable to the larger population of social work educators, the results provide a basis for future studies to explore the personal, cultural and contextual challenges educators of social work and other helping professions experience during their work with students who are vulnerable. Additionally, the findings provide a foundation for future studies to explore and develop socially just and ethically appropriate practice strategies that improve opportunities for students who are affected by or recovering from a psychiatric disability. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Jersey; New York; Pennsylvania