Choosing Social Work Over Other Careers Term Paper

Pages: 12 (3357 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 25  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Children

¶ … Social Work over other careers

Interesting Reason Why Students Choose a Career in Social Work

Do modern-day social work students have different career objectives and goals than the early 20th century social workers?

There are those who measure social work idealism and other factors that influence BSW and MSW students. The study's instrument covered a broad range of ideals to determine levels of idealism as well as influential factors like altruism, professional concerns, and influence of others. Csikai et al. (1997) Other studies produced unclear findings but their focus was different as well. Varley (1963, 1968) measured student's attitudes on specific social work issues. The Wagner (1989) study measured social workers commitment to social idealism and social change. The Abell and Mcdonell (1990) study showed that MSW students typically chose social work education to enhance professional skills and commitment to working with the disadvantaged.

These results differed from Rubin and Johnson (1984) who indicated a MSW trend toward private practice. Rompf and Royse (1994) determined that social work majors tended to come from families who suffered psychosocial trauma and therefore determined that this influenced their career choice of social work.

II. Methodology:

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study conducted with the purpose of assisting the determination if the he purpose of the university curriculum program for BSW and MSW fit appropriately with the career ideals of the students. (Csikai & Rozensky, 1997) The hypothesis is that social work idealism correlates to types of reasons for selecting a social work career. The study involved 73 BSW students and 72 MSW students who were enrolled in their first semester at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Social Work. The questionnaires were distributed and completed in class, with researchers attending to explain the purpose of the study and answer any questions. The researchers left the class as the survey was completed.

Results of the Study

Term Paper on Choosing Social Work Over Other Careers Assignment

The findings of the study revealed that BSW and MSW students possess high levels of idealism and that students with the highest levels of idealism tended to select a social work career for altruistic reasons. The findings gave further support to other studies that revealed student's traditional social work values typically won out over the desire to go into private practice. No additional tests were run. According to the article, the use of a convenience sample and self-reporting survey limited the generalizability of the study. Also since the questionnaire was administered six weeks into the semester, it was possible that the student was influenced by class content.

III. Critique:

Idealism or the Idealist individual can be defined by someone who has a need and a desire to search for themselves and to have a purpose in life or to find self-actualization through their own unique identity while being apart of a perfect whole yet to have meaning in their own personal significance while have no mask and no pretense without playing roles to be genuine and communicate freely in authenticity as well as in harmony with self and to make a difference in the world experiencing life dramatically yet always sensitive to the subtle undercurrents of others and to assist others in gaining kindness and warmness while reforming the world and doing so from a perspective of romanticism. It is held by many in the profession of sociology and psychology to be fact that the individual's the family is a great influencer in a child's development and the belief that this is true is evidenced in the practice of social and psychological work with children as well as being utilized in educational practice. Therefore, although there is little evidence documenting family influence on the individual's career choice, certainly this is true judged by the techniques and practices utilized by professionals in attempting to make a difference in the life of a child that is developmentally disadvantaged as to social interaction and skills. Therefore in attempting to discover what exactly the element of influence is when someone chooses social work as a career one must research with the question of what experience or situational stress historically influenced the individual to attempt the assist the change or transformation of these type things in life. Further study will be limited to a review of literature due to the time limitations of the researcher.

IV. Literature Review:

Roe was an early theorist who suggested that the early experiences of a child serve indirectly toward shaping the later career choice of the child. (Brown, et al. 1997) The suggestion was one that expressed the belief that relationships between parents and children shape and influence the personality as well as the development of the child's psychological profile as well as the vocational choices of the child. Roe believed that the child often used the chosen career as a way to satisfy that psychological need. Also inclusive in the 'family' influence response is the individual's response to factors such as alcoholism, divorce or death event or poverty as well as other factors. (Altman, 1997) All too often individuals will as a response to a negative influence in their environment make a hasty decision or choice in an area of their life such as in marriage or the career path. The relation between choice in career and the parent-child relationship is supported in the writing of (Ketterson et al. 1997) Chen (1998) writes that: "Life career phenomena do not exist without human involvement."

In 1959 John Holland formed a theory which is grounded in what he referred to as "modal personal orientation" which is a process of development that the establishment of is in the individual's heredity and life history and the reaction to demands in the individual's environment thereby attracting the individual to the specific occupational field for which the subject is best suited.

The four assumptions upon which Holland's theory rests are as follows:

1. Individuals in society may be categorized as one of the following four:







2. Six "modal environments" exist as follows:







3. Environments are sought of by people that are conducive to their abilities and skills, that will allows personal expression and personal values and in which they deal with agreeable roles as well as meeting their needs and in which they find satisfaction.

4. Behavior is determined by interaction between personality and environment.

The Model of the Study:

The relationship between personality and career choice was developed illustrated as a hexagonal model. There is much support based in research for the typology of Holland. However, there does appear to be an effect of gender bias where Holland is concerned as the only three personality types that the score of women is assigned are:

1. Conventional

2. Social

3. Artistic

In a study published in the Journal of Employment Counseling entitled "Unconscious determinants of career choice and burnout: theoretical model and Counseling Strategy" the author, Oreniya Yafe-Yanai (2001) writes that in the study which was done during career counseling and independently analyzed by two experienced clinical psychologists that "General agreement between the two judges was very high. In each case, the presenting problem was analyzed in the context of the person' search for meaning as well as the person's family dynamic and the role of family of origin, mother's and father's occupation and fulfillment, the parent's relationships to each other and to their child, parent's expectations of the child" Further in the study an individual named Ralph was counseled and results of the sessions with Ralph revealed that: "The structure and the content of activities and interests of Ralph's significant identification figures (his parents) and his career choice: Because his parents had a good marriage, Ralph was able to combine managing people and providing leadership (his mother's primary legacy) with quality control (his father's primary legacy)" and that ""The relationship between Ralph and his identification figures (his parents) and his career choice and career experience: Ralph chose (unconsciously) a career in management and quality control, which enabled him to reenact positive childhood experiences with his mother and negative experiences with his father. The pattern of an absent father and a supportive mother is often found among managers." Yafe-Yanai (2001) Another individual named Orly was counseled in the study found the following concerning the influences in her personal career choice: "The structure and the content of activities and interests of the identification figures in Orly's family of origin (her parents) and her career choice, and in her dissatisfaction with and burnout regarding her work as a manager, Orly replicated her parents' dissatisfaction with their work; and her ease both in managing and connecting with people was related to both her parents' ability with people; and opening a public relations office combined her father's entrepreneurial aspirations with her mother's business abilities and finally that: "the relationship between Orly's identification figures, her career choice, and her burnout: the trigger for Orly's burnout was her serious conflict with her superiors. Both the respect she initially received from those supervisors and the conflict she had with them… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Choosing Social Work Over Other Careers.  (2005, January 15).  Retrieved May 27, 2020, from

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"Choosing Social Work Over Other Careers."  15 January 2005.  Web.  27 May 2020. <>.

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"Choosing Social Work Over Other Careers."  January 15, 2005.  Accessed May 27, 2020.