Religious values and social work education: Conflicts and outcomes
Streets, Frederick Jerome
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Religion and social work is an emerging area of social work research. Interest and discussion about religion and spirituality in social work education and practice is increasing among social work students, practitioners, teachers and policy makers.;Religion and spirituality are matters of social work education and practice. This study examined the role the religious and spiritual values of students in graduate social work education played in their decision making.;The questionnaire developed for this study was based on the responses of social work practitioners to an open ended interview on their views about religion and social work practice.;The 344 students who completed the survey matriculated in the Master of Social Work degree program at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University, in New York City (n = 204) and the Department of Social Work at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Connecticut (n = 140).;Results showed that the greater the students' religiosity, the more their social work values conflict with their religious/spiritual values. Students in the high religiosity category experienced greater conflict on the average than students in the low religiosity group.;Students who were highly religious chose religious values over those of social work when making a decision in practice situations where their social work and religious value either agreed or conflicted with one another. Conversely, students who were less religious relied significantly more on their social work values than religious values in practice situations where their social work and religious values either agreed or conflicted with one another.;The findings are compared across the two university student groups. Results indicated the extent to which some of the study's findings held for both first and second year students.;Some of the implications of the study's findings for social work education and practice are discussed.