Journal Article

Developing Emotional Competence of Social Workers of End-of-Life and Bereavement Care

Amy Y. M. Chow

in The British Journal of Social Work

Volume 43, issue 2, pages 373-393
Published in print March 2013 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online February 2013 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Developing Emotional Competence of Social Workers of End-of-Life and Bereavement Care

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Facing an excessive number of deaths and the intense emotions of bereaved family members, social workers who work with dying and bereaved persons are confronted with exceptional emotional challenges. Based on two models of death anxiety, an education programme was developed with different experiential exercises with the aim of enhancing the emotional competence of social workers in Hong Kong. Through working with regrets and meaningfulness, the programme aims at reducing personal death anxiety, hopefully reducing the distress and non-empathetic responses of the social workers. An effectiveness study with 385 participants was carried out. Data were collected at three time points (pre, post and follow-up) to capture the changes over time. The programme is considered successful as, according to the statistics gathered, the major outcomes of work comfort and competence level improved. Statistically significant changes across time were found in death anxiety and meaningfulness. Moreover, correlations were found between death anxiety and competence and comfort level. It is anticipated that the programme can be used and tested by social work educators and other helping professionals in other parts of the world.

Keywords: Bereavement care; death anxiety; emotional competence; end-of-life care; regrets; social work and health

Journal Article.  7271 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Work

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