Title page for ETD etd-04112007-190908

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Hawkins, Vonnie L
Author's Email Address vhawki1@lsu.edu
URN etd-04112007-190908
Title Student Social Workers' Attitudes about Domestic Violence and Implications for Social Work Education
Degree Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)
Department Social Work
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Juan Barthelemy Committee Chair
Brij Mohan Committee Member
Carol Plummer Committee Member
Daphne Cain Committee Member
  • myth
  • attribution
  • blame
  • attitude
  • social work education
  • victim blame
  • victim
  • myth acceptance
  • domestic violence
Date of Defense 2007-03-28
Availability unrestricted
This descriptive, correlational and exploratory study used the Domestic Violence Blame Scale and Domestic Violence Myth Acceptance Scale, with questions suggested by the literature, to examine attitudes about domestic violence, knowledge and self-reported preparedness of a purposive sample of student social workers (N=236) in a southern state. An anonymous online web-based survey was used for data collection, and universities distributed the survey hyperlink directly to their students. Response rate was approximately 22% out of an estimated 1060 students who were reported to have received the hyperlink by their universities.

Lower victim blame and myth acceptance scores were observed in students who received information about domestic violence from external sources, had worked with victims, or were interning. Various other significant findings on the tools based on demographic characteristics are discussed. Taking a family violence class had no significant effect on victim blame or myth acceptance, and students who indicated they grew up in rural areas scored significantly higher on all DVMAS factors, but additional research and/or analysis is necessary to infer the causes of those findings. Additional qualitative research is suggested to clarify and add depth to these findings.

Recommendations include exploring ways to incorporate domestic violence education into the field setting or course work of social work education, with goals to improve screening, referral and intervention. Goals additionally include implementing efforts within social work education to examine the feasibility of preparing student social workers to practice universal screening for domestic violence and changes necessary to promote safe, culturally competent responses to clients experiencing domestic violence upon graduation. Introducing safety planning training into the course work is suggested as a minimum interim measure.

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