How well are MSW programs in N.Y. State training students for practice with problem drinkers?
Richardson, Marchette A.
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This study investigated how well MSW programs in the State of New York are preparing students for practice with problem drinkers. Explored was the relationship between students completion of MSW level alcohol and their subsequent ability to work with clients who have alcohol problems. Teaching methods, the attendance of post-Masters workshops, length of time in practice, and gender were also examined in relation to subjects' levels of alcohol related knowledge, their ability to diagnose drinking problems, and their willingness to work with problem drinkers.;The method of study conducted was explanatory and cross-sectional. The sample frame consisted of MSW level social work practitioners, who were members of New York State Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW); and who had been in practice for a minimum of one month and a maximum of seven years. Five hundred and fifty questionnaires were mailed to NASW members fitting the sample frame description. A non-probability sample, consisting of 41 male respondents and 48 female respondents (n=89), was obtained.;Study findings revealed that only 2 out of 89 subjects sampled reported the completion of an alcohol related course as a mandatory degree requirement. Thus, it is possible for social work students to complete their MSW programs and not know any more about alcohol or alcohol related problems than they did when they entered the programs. This implies that clients with alcohol problems are at risk of going untreated due to social workers inability to diagnose them. In addition, a positive relationship was found between subjects' levels of alcohol related knowledge and their willingness to work with problem drinkers. The study points to the value of further research with a larger sample.