Public attitudes and knowledge about social workers in Israel

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Abstract

Summary: This article presents the results of a survey on public attitudes and knowledge about social workers in Israel. Data were collected by means of structured questionnaires from a convenience sample of 1,417 participants aged 21 and older not treated by social services. Findings: The findings indicate that side by side with fairly high recognition of general areas related to the social work profession, there was a certain lack of comprehension in regard to the roles performed by social workers. Attitudes toward social workers were ambivalent. Although on most parameters examined they received the lowest rankings of all professional fields with which they were compared, a fairly high percentage of respondents rejected critical and biased statements about social workers and defined them as people whose work is based on values, social ideology, and professional ethics, and also believed that it is necessary to increase the number of social workers in Israel and to improve their employment terms and conditions. Applications: Understanding public attitudes and knowledge about social workers is important in terms of the public’s trust in them and the prediction of whether they will be approached for advice, treatment, or help when necessary. Furthermore, social workers’ ability to defend their interests and promote social policies requires wide public support, without which they will find it hard to attain sufficient social and political power and influence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322-343
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Social Work
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2015

Keywords

  • Social work
  • ethics and values
  • social work research
  • social work values
  • social workers

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