SOCIAL WORK AND THE CHURCH
This study originated in an effort to determine how social workers utilize clergy and churches as referral resources on behalf of Black clients. This was felt to be an important issue given the high percentage of Blacks who are church-affiliated, and the cultural and historical significance of the church to Black community life and development.;It was hypothesized that (1) Social workers reporting a high degree of religiosity will refer more Black clients to clergy and church resources than social workers who report a low degree of religiosity; (2) Social workers who report a high degree of engagement with their own religious institution will refer more Black clients to clergy and church resources than social workers who report a low degree of engagement with their own religious institution.;In pursuit of the objectives of this study, information was obtained through questionnaires mailed to a random sample of social workers listed in the 1978 NASW Professional Social Workers' Directory. The study population was composed of 125 randomly selected MSW level social workers with membership in the New York City Chapter.;Thirty-three percent of all respondents returned completed questionnaires within two weeks of the original mailing. By means of a post-card follow-up with the remaining study participants, a total of 81 completed questionnaires were obtained for an overall questionnaire return rate of 65%.;Results of the investigation showed Hypothesis 1 not confirmed at the .05 level. Results of the investigation supported Hypothesis 2. (p < .05). When race, sex and age were introduced as control variables the data still supported the study hypothesis.;We suspect that social workers with a high degree of engagement with their own religious institution have greater familiarity in working with clergy and church groups, and therefore may be in a better position to make decisions regarding the types of clients, problems, etc. that might appropriately be referred to church programs.;The findings further revealed that two-fifths of the social workers in the study sample made referrals to clergy and churches during the past year for additional specialized services. There were a total of 392 referrals. Problems of loneliness and bereavement accounted for over a third of social work referrals to religious institutions. Emotional problems accounted for one-fifth of the referrals.;The majority of social workers in the study sample (84%) reported that they felt that there was little or no cooperation between the ministry and social work. Three-fourths of the study respondents suggested encouraging increased group interaction between clergy and social workers, such as seminars, case-conferences, and workshops as the most effective way to help churches and social agencies more fully utilize each other as community referral resources. This approach would provide opportunity for clergy and social workers to compare, discuss, and explore date from their respective fields.;Limitations of the study were discussed, and recommendations for further study were indicated, including an evaluation of how content bearing on religion and religious institutions is dealt with by professional schools of social work.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 41-08, Section: A, page: 3724.