Dunne, Gordon (1991) Stress in child welfare: a study of perceived causes and levels of stress among child welfare workers in Newfoundland and Labrador. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.
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The phenomenon of stress has received considerable attention in recent years. However, no studies have been done in Newfoundland to examine the subject of stress amongst social workers and particularly child welfare workers. This study was designed to : (1) identify elements in the Newfoundland Child Welfare Work environment which social workers perceive as being stressful; (2) to determine to what extent stress is being experienced by these social workers; (3) to examine variation in stress levels perceived by workers in different work settings and with varied biographical backgrounds and; (4) to identify the ways in which the child welfare workers cope with stress. -- A review of the literature revealed a theoretical framework for stress and the effects job stress can have on human service workers particularly social workers employed in the area of child welfare. -- The instrument used in this study was an adapted version of the Wilson Stress Profile for Teachers published in 1979 by Dr. Christopher Wilson. The adapted stress profile uses respondent self-reporting of perceived stress in relation to a range of subject categories. The instrument was modified to reflect the nature of the child welfare work situation, different than the teaching environment for which the original instrument was designed. -- The sample consisted of child welfare workers employed by the Department of Social Services in the province of Newfoundland, a total of 62 people. -- The study shows that the primary stressors reported by Child Welfare Workers in Newfoundland are Organizational Factors, Time Management and Relationship with Child's Family. Specifically, workers cited lack of on-the-job training, policy constraints, insufficient resources, role conflict and work overload as being very stressful. The stress level most often reported was moderate to high stress. -- Workers reported least stress in the areas of relationships with colleagues and supervisors. They also reported relative success in utilizing various strategies to cope with stress. The most frequently cited coping mechanism was physical exercise. -- Of the five geographic regions of the Province, the Labrador region reported the greatest stress, possibly as a result of isolation and fewer opportunities for peer group interaction and support. -- In the area of management style, workers reported a laissez-faire management style to be most stressful. In regard to office size, workers in larger offices reported less stress than their peers in smaller offices. Peer support may have accounted for this finding. -- Male child welfare workers reported significantly more stress than females. In addition, it was found that workers who were single experienced more stress than those who were married. -- Based on the findings, recommendations are made suggesting areas for further study as well as specific actions to reduce current stressors in the work environment.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Masters)|
|Additional Information:||Bibliography: leaves 104-111.|
|Department(s):||Social Work, School of|
|Date:||28 February 1991|
|Geographic Location:||Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador|
|Library of Congress Subject Heading:||Child welfare workers--Newfoundland and Labrador--Job stress; Social workers--Newfoundland and Labrador--Job stress; Job stress--Newfoundland and Labrador|
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