Self-identification and role strain in the social worker/clergyperson
Aaron, Joel Bernard
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This study examines the professional self-identification of persons who have qualified both as clergy and social workers.;Social worker/clergyperson refers to a professional with specific preparation in professional social work education at the M.S.W. level, as well as education in the rabbinate, ministry, priesthood, sisterhood, or other similar theological designations.;Since this dialectical interplay of professional careers and professional education is relatively new, research was warranted on its character and outcomes.;This study explored the changes, if any, that have taken place in the clergyperson's professional self-identification after completing social work education, the role and function of the clergyperson after an M.S.W. education; and the role strain, if any, experienced by the clergyperson after an M.S.W. education.;The data for the research was gathered by the use of a questionnaire which was designed by the author. The subjects were 68 clergy graduates of the Wurzweiler School of Social Work. Of the 68 subjects 35 questionnaires were returned, 28 of which were usable. This was a 41% return rate.;This investigation found that the social worker/clergyperson did experience role strain of different intensities depending upon the religious orientation of the subject and the work setting.;The study also found that the dual professionals, social worker/clergypersons, were able to function professionally in the dual capacity, despite experiencing role strain.;Further testing of the data revealed that there were significant differences in two areas among the respondents' level of stress and how they identified themselves during those conflicts.;One area was in dealing with the abortion issue. The data showed a significant difference in stress levels among the respondents who identified themselves as social workers and those who identified themselves as social worker/clergypeople.;The second area was in working with intermarried couples. The Jewish social workers had more role strain when working with intermarried couples than did either the Catholic or Protestant social workers.