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Analyzing the Impact of Social Work Education on Students’ Attitudes toward Poverty and Impoverished Analyzing the Impact of Social Work Education on Students’ Attitudes toward Poverty and Impoverished Persons Robert D. Weaver, Ph. D. Sung Hyun Yun, Ph. D. , MSW May 23, 2008

Literature Review § Several key studies have been conducted on social work students’ attitudes Literature Review § Several key studies have been conducted on social work students’ attitudes towards poverty, including Rosenthal’s (1993) New York MSW study, Perry’s (2003) California study, Limb & Organista’s (2003) multiethnic study, and Krumer-Nevo and Lev. Wiesel’s (2005) BSW study in Israel.

Literature Review § Noteworthy attitudinal studies outside social work include those done with nursing Literature Review § Noteworthy attitudinal studies outside social work include those done with nursing students (Meager-Stewart, Reutter, & Sword, 2004), psychology students (Cozzarelli, Tagler & Wilkinson, 2002), and Sun’s (2001) comparison of social work and non-social work students.

Literature Review § Cross-national comparisons of social work students (Macarov, 1981; Weiss, 2005; Weiss, Literature Review § Cross-national comparisons of social work students (Macarov, 1981; Weiss, 2005; Weiss, 2006; Weiss, Gal & Cnaan, 2005; Weiss, Gal, Cnaan & Majlagic, 2002) yield similar findings, though perceptions of poverty vary between and within nations.

Literature Review § Social work curriculum may influence students’ attitude towards poverty and poverty Literature Review § Social work curriculum may influence students’ attitude towards poverty and poverty policy (Schwartz & Robinson, 1991; Sun, 2001; Weaver & Nackerud, 2005; Weiss et al. , 2005), but more rigourous studies are needed, included those within a Canadian context.

Research Questions Q 1: Does level of social work education influence students’ attitude towards Research Questions Q 1: Does level of social work education influence students’ attitude towards poverty? H 1: Students who complete an upper level social work course will demonstrate a more structural attitude towards poverty than those who complete a lower level social work course.

Research Questions Q 2: Does perception of financial situation influence students’ attitude towards poverty? Research Questions Q 2: Does perception of financial situation influence students’ attitude towards poverty? H 2: Students who perceive their financial situation as insecure will demonstrate a more structural attitude towards poverty than those who do not.

Research Questions Q 3: Does political affiliation influence students’ attitudes towards poverty? H 3: Research Questions Q 3: Does political affiliation influence students’ attitudes towards poverty? H 3: Students who affiliate with the political left will demonstrate a more structural attitude towards poverty than those who do not.

Research Design l Quasi Experimental Design l Comparison Group Pretest Posttest Design l Convenience Research Design l Quasi Experimental Design l Comparison Group Pretest Posttest Design l Convenience Sample l Survey Methods

Sample Characteristics (N = 166) Gender Female (84. 3%) Male (15. 7%) Age Mean Sample Characteristics (N = 166) Gender Female (84. 3%) Male (15. 7%) Age Mean S. D. (6. 31) Ethnicity Aboriginal African-Canadian/American Asian Caucasian Other Major Social Work Major (52. 5%) Psychology/Sociology/Political Science (31. 9%) Other (15. 6%) (21. 79) (. 6%) (9. 1%) (4. 2%) (73. 3%) (12. 7%)

Sample Characteristics (continued) Social Work Education Lower level Course Upper Level Course (74. 7%) Sample Characteristics (continued) Social Work Education Lower level Course Upper Level Course (74. 7%) (25. 3%) Financial Security Secure Insecure (78. 7%) (21. 3%) Ideological Affiliation Centre/Right Left None/Other (53. 0%) (13. 4%) (33. 5%)

Instrument Attitude about Poverty and Poor People Scale (Atherton et al. , 1993) l Instrument Attitude about Poverty and Poor People Scale (Atherton et al. , 1993) l 37 -item Likert Scale l Reliability (Atherton et al. , 1993) l Internal Consistency Coefficient (Cronbach’s alpha): . 93 l The split-half reliability: . 87 l Validity l Construct validity “If poor people worked harder, they could escape poverty”. “Welfare mothers have babies to get more $$”.

Instrument (continued) l Revised Version (Internal Consistency Coefficient) l Pretest: α =. 83 l Instrument (continued) l Revised Version (Internal Consistency Coefficient) l Pretest: α =. 83 l Posttest: α =. 92 l Revised Items Food Stamps Welfare benefits

Issues and Perspectives in Social Welfare l Text was “The New Structural Social Work” Issues and Perspectives in Social Welfare l Text was “The New Structural Social Work” (Mullaly, 2007) l Examines various ideologies that shape social welfare l Value conflicts and their impact on policy Content includes: l Nature of capitalism (Laissez-faire, Keynesianism, neo-liberal)

Issues and Perspectives Cont’d Liberalism l Social Democracy l Conservatism l Feminism l Socialism Issues and Perspectives Cont’d Liberalism l Social Democracy l Conservatism l Feminism l Socialism & Marxism l Third way l Structural Social Work (Policy-practice) l

Lower Level Courses l l l l l Generalist & Specialist Social Work Practice Lower Level Courses l l l l l Generalist & Specialist Social Work Practice Social Work History Ideological Foundations & Values of Social Work Roles & Fields of Practice Client-Social Worker Relationship Problem Solving in Social Work Practice Assessment of need The Strengths Approach Cultural Competent Practice

Lower Level Courses (continued) Social Welfare l Income Security l Homelessness l Professionalization of Lower Level Courses (continued) Social Welfare l Income Security l Homelessness l Professionalization of Social Work l Social Work with Children & Youth l Social Work and Health/Women/Aboriginal Peoples l

Estimated Marginal Means: Posttest VARIABLE MEAN SE SOCIAL WORK EDUCATION Lower level 129. 7 Estimated Marginal Means: Posttest VARIABLE MEAN SE SOCIAL WORK EDUCATION Lower level 129. 7 1. 56 Upper level 136. 0 2. 35 ____________________________ FINANCIAL SECURITY Secure 130. 0 1. 45 Insecure 136. 0 2. 38 ____________________________ IDEOLOGICAL AFFII IATION Centre/Right 130. 0 1. 80 Left 136. 2 2. 72 None/other 132. 3 2. 60 ____________________________

Social Work Education Social Work Education

PERCEIVED FINANCIAL SECURITY PERCEIVED FINANCIAL SECURITY

IDEOLOGICAL AFFILIATION IDEOLOGICAL AFFILIATION

Results: Three-way ANCOVA Source SS SUMPRETEST 10855. 772 SWKEDUC 697. 418 FINSECURITY 632. 376 Results: Three-way ANCOVA Source SS SUMPRETEST 10855. 772 SWKEDUC 697. 418 FINSECURITY 632. 376 IDEOAFFIL 497. 633 SWK*FS. 062 SWK*IDEOAFFIL 458. 246 FS*IDEOAFFIL 508. 193 SWK*FS*IDEOAFFIL 17. 053 **p <. 001 * p <. 05 Adj. R 2 =. 421 df MS_ ______F____ 1 10855. 772 78. 091** 1 697. 418 5. 017* 1 632. 376 4. 549* 2 248. 817 1. 790 1. 062. 000 2 229. 123 1. 648 2 254. 457 1. 830 2 8. 526. 061

IMPLICATIONS • • • Importance of focusing on structural and global influences and pressures IMPLICATIONS • • • Importance of focusing on structural and global influences and pressures on social policy/programming Promote more experiential learning regarding poverty and impoverished persons Create a culture in which research informs teaching and teaching informs research

THANK YOU FOR COMING!! References available upon request. Contact Dr. Robert D. Weaver at: THANK YOU FOR COMING!! References available upon request. Contact Dr. Robert D. Weaver at: [email protected] ca or Dr. Sung Hyun Yun at: [email protected] ca