Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

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


Social Work

First Advisor

David J. Roseborough


Social Work


The primary medical setting is a large and important part of a vast system within the medical profession. This study looked to explore; what are the psychosocial needs of patients presenting in rural and mid-sized primary care settings, and how are providers responding to the expectations that patients have, and could there be improvements to their present systems, if so, how? A brief review of the literature looked at primary care in its historical and present forms and how economics have impacted the ways primary care is provided in the United States. Previous review of the literature also included the prevalence of psychosocial problems in the primary care setting and how collaborative interdisciplinary efforts affect responses to these issues. The biopsychosocial model was used as a framework with which to compare and analyze data in this study. A qualitative research study was conducted which looked specifically at the prevalence of psychosocial issues in two primary care clinics (one rural-one mid-sized). A sample of nine medical professionals consented to a 1:1 interview. The questionnaire consisted of eleven semi-structured open ended question asking how they as providers identify and address psychosocial issues in their clinic. Themes identified from participants were consistent amongst the two clinics that psychosocial issues were a large part of their practice. Issues identified were often around insurance issues, social issues, transportation, treatment of anxiety, and depression. Responses to the management of psychosocial issues were defined very different. The rural clinic was self sufficient stating it lacked resources, time and skills to manage these needs. The mid-sized clinic defined itself as resource rich and used an interdisciplinary team approach to the management of patient’s psychosocial issues. The results were consistent with previous research in this area. Implications for social work within primary care were indicated with the hope of assistance in the management patient’s psychosocial issues that present each day. That medical professionals expressed that social work would be an advantageous profession that could assist them and the patients they see, not only at the micro-level of day to day care but at the higher macro-level reducing potential economic implications to the system as a whole while achieving their goal of holistic patient care.

Included in

Social Work Commons