Journal Article

Comparing Social Worker and Non–Social Worker Outcomes: A Research Review

Allen Rubin and Danielle E. Parrish

in Social Work

Published on behalf of National Association of Social Workers

Volume 57, issue 4, pages 309-320
Published in print October 2012 | ISSN: 0037-8046
Published online November 2012 | e-ISSN: 1545-6846 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/sw/sws015
Comparing Social Worker and Non–Social Worker Outcomes: A Research Review

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This article reports on a review of the literature comparing the outcomes of social workers with those of non–social workers. The review was commissioned by NASW's Texas Chapter to examine empirical evidence regarding the comparative effectiveness of social work to possibly support efforts to educate employers and the public about the value of social work. Because of the limited number of internally valid studies that have compared social workers and non–social workers on actual client outcomes, studies were also included if they examined practitioner variables that might be associated with client outcomes. The mixed findings point to a lack of compelling evidence supporting the superiority of social work in the child welfare field. However, in the mental health and aging fields, the limited evidence suggests that social workers do at least as well as non–social workers regarding practitioner retention, mental health court intervention, efforts to maintain older adult independence in the community, and attitudes toward evidence-based practice. Implications are presented to guide NASW in promoting rigorous research comparing social workers and non–social workers on actual client outcomes, especially in the field of child welfare.

Keywords: discipline; outcome; social work; social work effectiveness

Journal Article.  7513 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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