Stress in Social Work

Citing specific social work scenarios in the United Kingdom, author Richard Davies examines the dynamics of our profession which lead to stress among social work administrators and front line staff.

Davies begins by telling us: 

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"Modern social work is in a state of crisis. It has always been a profession towards which society has displayed ambivalence and it is now grossly underfunded and understaffed. Tragedies and subsequent vilification of social workers and their managers are reported with increasing frequency. The profession attempts to function in an environment of obstructive administrative 'systems', ... severe financial restrictions and conflicting demands ..." --Davies, p. 9,  Stress in Social Work (1998, Jessica Kingsley Publishers).

 

Davies' book is a compilation of works from various authors and deals primarily with social work in the United Kingdom, although many of the obstacles faced by social workers in the UK parallel those faced by American social workers. He writes:

"Because they deal in actual and emotional injustice, and actual and psychic injury, the reality for social workers much of the time is that while they may bring about some relief or improvement, the most that they may hope for is some damage limitation, particularly in areas such as child abuse and criminality." --Davies, p. 19,  Stress in Social Work (1998, Jessica Kingsley Publishers).

The book delves into real-life cases handled by front-line social workers and managers in the UK, citing specific legal decisions and legislation. The underlying theme of the book is that society pressures government to provide services but paradoxically provides scant resources for social workers to carry out their mandate.

One survey cited in this book found that of 524 social workers, 96% found their jobs to be "stressful." Seventy-seven percent reported awareness of stress-related physical symptoms, and 58% felt they manifested physiological symptoms of stress (p. 159).

This is an excellent book which we highly recommend! For more book details, please click the link for the book title below.

Stress in Social Work

 

 

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Revised: 04 Sep 2005