Date of Paper

5-2013

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Ande Nesmith

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the reactions and coping strategies of clinical social workers after experiencing client suicidal behavior. This is an important subject because social work is a profession of high stress and high burn out rates. Working with clients who are suicidal is challenging and anxiety provoking. It is important to know how clinicians are handling their stress; this allows other clinicians to learn which coping mechanisms are most effective. It is also important for clinicians to understand common reactions to working under such stress as this may normalize their experiences.

This was a quantitative research study in which online surveys were distributed to a randomized list of clinical social workers. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics to determine the most common reactions and coping strategies among the respondents. Fear and sadness were the most common initial reactions following client suicidal behavior. The coping strategies utilized most often following client suicidal behavior were consultation with a colleague and supervision.

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