Generations X, Y, Z: Attitudes toward social workers in the age of media technologies

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Abstract

The media portrayal of social workers (SWs) tends toward a negative bias that undermines their public image. The main purpose of the current study was to examine differences between three generational cohorts: Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z in terms of the effects of different media as a source of information about SWs on public attitudes toward them. The sample included 783 respondents. The findings reveal dissimilar associations between exposure to different media as information sources about SWs and public attitudes toward them among three generations. In Gen X, attitudes toward SWs were negatively associated with exposure to print newspaper references and positively associated with exposure to radio. In Gen Y, attitudes toward SWs were negatively associated with electronic media reportage and positively associated with entertainment media and TV news references. No association was found between media exposure as an information source about SWs and attitudes toward them in Gen Z. Also, a negative association was found between the perception that the media depict SWs negatively and attitudes toward SWs among all generations. Substantial cooperation between SWs and media representatives is required to promote a more balanced media portrayal of SWs and a more positive attitude toward them.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102353
JournalTechnology in Society
Volume75
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2023

Keywords

  • Attitudes toward social workers
  • Generation X
  • Generation Y
  • Generation Z
  • Generational cohort theory
  • Media portrayals of social workers
  • Social cognitive theory
  • Uses and gratification theory

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