Portland State College. School of Social Work
Date of Publication
Master of Social Work (MSW)
Social service -- Vocational guidance
1 online resource (142 leaves)
This was a study of traits associated with the choice of social work as a career. Two samples of people from the metropolitan area of Portland, Oregon, who had shown an interest in social work, were studied, together with the factors that influenced this interest. The traits and factors considered were substantially those examined by Arnulf M. Pins in Who Chooses Social Work, When and Why? Traits measured by the Pins study of individuals who had gone on to graduate education in social work were held indicative of individuals most likely to become professional social workers. The Pins’ questionnaire was slightly modified for appropriate application to the sample population of 150 taken from the files of Social Work Careers in Oregon, Incorporated, (SWC) and the sample of twenty two Oregon Public Welfare employees attending the Oregon City Orientation Center (OC) in June 1967. Examination of these traits and factors was undertaken to provide information for a more thorough understanding and an evaluation of characteristics associated with consideration of social service as a career, the future evaluation of policy direction and practice for recruitment efforts, the evaluation of potential students by schools of social work, the selection of agency personnel, and the contribution of knowledge in the field of social work about career patterns of nonprofessional and professional social workers. Two general hypotheses guided the comparison of the Oregon samples with the Pins’ findings: the traits of the Oregon samples (SWC and OC) are not significantly different from the Pins' sample, there is no significant difference between the OC and SWC samples with respect to independent variables influencing the time that a career in social work is chosen. Descriptive and statistical inferential tests were used to analyze the data. No significant differences in the OC group and the Pins’ sample of first year graduate students were revealed in the specific traits analyzed, i.e., undergraduate major of social science; previous work experience; time of awareness, consideration, and decision of choice of social work as a career; and the conception of the most important functions of social work. The statistically significant differences between the SWC and the OC/Pins' groups were: 1) a larger number in the SWC group decided earlier on social work as a career, 2) fewer in the SWC group took psychology courses, 3) a greater proportion of the SWC sample chose as their major reasons for considering social work "liking to work with people" and “the important contribution social work makes to individuals and society", 4) the SWC sample was not as predominantly committed to the casework method. Both hypotheses were rejected as a whole, but with important distinctions drawn. It was found that the SWC sample and Pins' sample were significantly different, but that the OC sample and Pins' sample were not significantly different. The conclusions were that the people who contacted SWC appeared to be good prospects for entry into the field of social service at the bachelor's level and the OC sample at the master’s leve1. Generalizations about the social work community or those considering employment in the social work community should be cautiously drawn both because of the complexity of the association of traits and the limited size of the populations studied. The major factors influencing individuals to enter the field of social work were direct work or volunteer experience in social work, college courses or instructors, and acquaintance with social workers. The study would have been enhanced by inclusion of more questions in the questionnaire that measured values and personality traits and by an examination of traits of a sample drawn from the general population.
Ellsworth, Helen; Epley, James B.; Hanson, Carolyn; Morasch, Robert L.; Roth, Roberta; Rowe, Norma; Stowell, Richard H.; Swan, Fredrick H.; Wadsworth, Joanna M.; and Zeigler, Aurita, "Traits associated with choosing social work as a career" (1968). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 334.