Journal Article

Predictors of Stress Amongst Social Workers: An Empirical Study


in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 26, issue 3, pages 375-387
Published in print June 1996 | ISSN: 0045-3102
e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Predictors of Stress Amongst Social Workers: An Empirical Study

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Much of what is known about stress amongst social workers is anecdotal and there is a dearth of systematic research findings on the subject. This questionnaire study examined the perceptions of work-related stress, and factors contributing to high and low levels of stress, in a sample of 243 social workers drawn from four local authorities in northern England. The sample was broadly based in terms of a range of personal background factors, and included social workers in urban, rural and semi-rural locations. A measure of overall stress was constructed encompassing psychological and physical aspects, and which permitted an analysis of the relative importance of predictor variables. A variety of rating scales was used to assess aspects of the work environment and perceived stressors. The most powerful predictor of overall stress that emerged related to the pressure involved in planning and reaching work targets. The study also identified certain caseload and supervision-related predictors of stress, but, apart from age and marital status, personal background factors seemed of weak predictive power. Social workers' perceptions of their image in society seemed an additional source of pressure. The study findings suggest a need for combining organizational with individual oriented initiatives to combat stress.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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