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Social Work Professional Standards: An Exploratory Study

Srinika Jayaratne, Tom Croxton and Debra Mattison
Social Work
Vol. 42, No. 2 (March 1997), pp. 187-199
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23717317
Page Count: 13
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Social Work Professional Standards: An Exploratory Study
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Abstract

Professional standards of care establish the accepted behavioral conduct of social workers in practice. However, virtually no empirical studies of professional standards exist, and the NASW Code of Ethics contains no historical or case references, interpretive guidelines, or formal or informal opinions. In effect, practitioners and those who judge practitioner behavior are making decisions with relatively little guidance from the profession. This exploratory study examines professional social work behavior and beliefs about appropriate conduct in six domains: (1) intimate relationships, (2) dual relationships, (3) mixed modalities, (4) advice giving, (5) boundary behaviors, and (6) financial transactions. These behaviors and beliefs are further elaborated by gender, community size, auspices, and age. Social work's need for more specific practice guidelines is discussed.

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