Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work




Family social work, Social workers



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 227 leaves)


The purpose of this project was to explore for the possible existence of value orientations as factors operative in the social work judgment process. The study first tested for differences in value orientation between social workers. The extent to which these value orientations dominate the pre-disposing attitudes of the social worker was to be determined for the case of diagnosis of families in crisis. Utilized as a test for value orientation were five constructs developed by Charles Morris. These constructs as characterized by their titles were: A. Social Restraint and Self-Control; B. Enjoyment in Action; C. Withdrawal and Self-Sufficiency; D. Receptivity and Sympathetic Concern; E. Self -Indulgence (or Sensuous Enjoyment). The study was designed to scale the ratings in responses from a sample of social workers. Its purpose was to obtain information showing relative preference for each of the five value orientations so that a relationship could be tested for with a similar scaling of the importance each respondent attached to diagnostic criteria of family crisis. The items used to test for preferred diagnostic criteria were evolved by adapting a problem area list developed by Brim, Fairchild and Borgatta. The original items were modified and appropriately revised by testing them with a special group of respondents whose evaluation of the original list was the basis for developing the final list of items. A questionnaire consisting of three parts was sent to 300 social workers selected randomly from the Directory of members of the National Association of Social Workers. One hundred fifty-eight usable responses were received. Personal information such as age, sex, marital status, religion, place of employment and work background was obtained along with ratings and rankings of the aforementioned value orientations and diagnostic criteria items. A listing of the ranking of value orientation in its relationship with the employment setting of the social worker showed some differences between sub-groups of the sample. Administrators and Community Organizers tended to emphasize Construct A: Social Restraint and Self-Control, while social workers seeing individuals and families as part of their work tended to emphasize Construct C: Withdrawal and Self-Sufficiency. .Variations along lines of age, sex, marital status and religion also were identified but in more complex combinations. Scores were developed for the ratings of value orientation items and diagnostic criteria items. These were on a seven point scale. A factor analysis of the resultant matrix of correlations between these thirty-one items produced nine dimensions. An orthogonal rotation was used in the factor analysis. The nine factor dimensions are characterized by their titles as follows: (1) External as Opposed to Internal Influences on Family Functioning; (2) Communication between Members in the Family; (3) Focus on Over Descriptive Characteristics; (4) Focus on Family Unity and Loyalty; (5) Focus on Self-awareness and Introspection; (6) Focus on Group Activity; (7) Focus upon Static as Opposed to Dynamic Attributes; (8) Focus upon Responsiveness to Environment; (9) Focus on Current Circumstances of the Crisis Situation. The value orientation items were represented particularly in Factor (5) with a focus on self-awareness and introspection. Factor 4 (8) was a low preference dimension and emphasized the value orientation favoring receptivity and sympathetic concern. Practitioners of social work with families tended to prefer items favoring the individual above the social order. They tended to prefer value orientations that emphasized self-awareness and permitted gratification. The study disclosed four value dominated factors in diagnosis: (1), (5), (7), and (8) as listed above. Factors (2), (3), and (9) were found to be "value free" factors in diagnosis. Factors (4) and (6) seemed to be value tinged in that only a mild loading on a single philosophy construct emerged in the factor analysis on both of these factors.


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Portland State University. School of Social Work

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