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Does Bachelor's-Level Social Work Education Impact Students' Knowledge and Attitudes Regarding Substance-Abusing Clients?

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Senreich, E., & Straussner, S. A. (2013). Does Bachelor's-Level Social Work Education Impact Students' Knowledge and Attitudes Regarding Substance-Abusing Clients?. Journal Of Teaching In Social Work, 33(1), 87-103.DOI:10.1080/08841233.2012.751083

This study is the first to compare the knowledge and attitudes of students entering bachelor’s-level social work programs with students graduating from these programs with respect to Knowledge and attitudes regarding working with substance-abusing clients.

The influence of cultural issues applies not only to substance-abusing clients and their families but also to clinicians who work with this population. This reality points out the need for studies focusing on the impact of social work students’ and workers’ ethnicity on their attitudes toward working with drug- and alcohol-using clients.

An important finding of this study was that participating in a substance abuse course in college or trainings outside of school was quite effective in improving attitudes toward working with this population (Senreich, & Straussner, 2013). They both significantly predicted higher levels of total attitude and role adequacy the latter referring to students believing that they have the knowledge and skills necessary to work with substance-abusing clients. Students having taken a substance abuse course in college also predicted greater desire to work with this population, and students having participated in substance abuse training outside of college predicted both role legitimacy and role support (Senreich, & Straussner, 2013). Having interned in a substance abuse treatment program did not predict any differences in attitudes, but having participated in an internship in a setting that was not a substance abuse program but where the students had significant contact with substance abusing clients did positively predict role adequacy.

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