An Evaluation Of Religion And Spirituality In Social Work Education
Branum, Sharina Nicole
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This study evaluated how BSW students at two Texas universities, one publicly funded and one privately funded, perceive their level of preparedness, comfort and the importance of addressing / using religion and spirituality in social work. In this study 41 students nearing the completion of their baccalaureate degree and enrolled in a field placement, were invited to complete a multi-faceted questionnaire consisting of 92 very specific questions. Of the 41 students invited to participate in the study, all subjects chose to complete the questionnaire. The questionnaire used gathered some information regarding the students' personal religious and spiritual affiliation however, the majority of questions focused on student perception of the following: the importance of religion and spirituality in social work practice; their comfort addressing these issues in practice; their level of preparedness in addressing these issues in practice; and their perceptions regarding classroom and field education received in this area. Data collected were scaled to develop a score specifically in the areas of importance, preparedness, comfort, field education and classroom education. Data were evaluated using descriptives, t-tests and chi-square analyses. Tests of the research hypotheses revealed there was a statistically significant difference in student perceptions of the importance of religion and spirituality in social work, with more students from the private university indicating this is important. Analysis found no major difference between overall education received between schools however, descriptives indicate difference between classroom and field education. No differences were found between student perception with respect to comfort and preparedness, although a significant difference was found between students' perception of the education received and the perception of their preparedness. Specifically, less than half reported receiving education in the field or classroom regarding religion and spirituality, but a large majority reported comfort and preparedness in using these in practice.