In recent years, the practice of self-compassion has garnered increasing attention in the literature, yet little is known about self-compassion in the field of social work. The purpose of this cross-sectional exploratory study was to examine self-compassion among social workers (N = 1011) located in a state in the southeastern United States. Specifically, this study was guided by two distinct, yet interconnected research queries: (1) How self-compassionate are social workers and (2) what personal and professional factors contribute to self-compassion among social workers?
Findings suggest social workers are fairly self-compassionate. Significant group differences in self-compassion exist by perceived health status (self-report), relationship status, social work licensing, and professional organization affiliation. Significant predictors of self-compassion included health status, educational level, and relationship status (in descending order of predictive power).
Adept and ethical social work practice requires that practitioners engage in self-compassionate practices. This study offers pragmatic implications for social work practice, including training and apposite areas for research.