Psychological distress among social workers [2020]

The purpose of the current study was to examine the moderating role of social support in the association between self-efficacy and psychological distress among social workers. The data were collected through a structured questionnaire administered to a sample of 726 social workers in Israel. Selected variables, found in previous studies to correlate with psychological distress, served in the current study as covariates: gender, years of professional experience, self-rated health, self-defined burnout, and self-reported loneliness.

The hierarchical multiple regression revealed that social workers who had more years of professional experience, better self-rated health, lower levels of burnout and of self-reported loneliness, reported lower levels of psychological distress. Higher levels of self-efficacy were found to be associated with lower levels of psychological distress only among social workers with lower levels of perceived social support.

In the absence of adequate social support, self-efficacy can be an important resource for social workers, since it is related to lower levels of psychological distress. Hence, it is recommended that action be taken to promote awareness and enhance social workers’ self-efficacy at the academic level, from the initial stages of their socialization into the profession and at their work places. Also, action should be taken on the policy level to provide assistance with developing and maintaining social workers’ support mechanisms.

Maya Kagan, Lee GreenblattKimron
Journal of Social Work, August 18, 2020