Journal Article

Social Workers' Experiences of Fear

Martin Smith, Linnet McMahon and Jean Nursten

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 33, issue 5, pages 659-671
Published in print July 2003 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online July 2003 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Social Workers' Experiences of Fear

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This paper argues that the impact of fear on social workers and social work practice is a relatively neglected topic that deserves attention. With this in mind a sample of 60 employees of social services departments comprising home carers, rehabilitation officers, receptionists, residential workers in children's homes, special hospital social workers and social workers working in Northern Ireland were asked to talk of a time in their work when they had experienced fear. Eighty‐two fears were reported. These comprised fear of being assaulted, fear of being killed, fear of losing control/being overwhelmed, and fear of disapproval and rejection by seniors and managers. The social workers interviewed appreciated talking openly about their fears in a manner and context that was acceptable to them. It is recommended that further work be undertaken to build upon this research so that fear in the professional context becomes acknowledged as a reality and the need to share the experience becomes an accepted part of practice.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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