Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

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


Social Work

First Advisor

Kendra Garrett


Social Work


Drawing on previous research establishing the effects poverty on children’s mental health and behavioral problems, exposure to violence and aggression, and lower school achievement, this research sought to examine whether any differences exist in the challenges faced by students living in poverty in urban settings versus students in rural settings from the perspective of school social workers. A survey with a mixture of both quantitative and qualitative questions was sent via e-mail to school social workers in Minnesota through the Minnesota School Social Workers Association (MSSWA). A total of 20 responses from both urban and rural settings were collected. Findings supported previous research in that mental health, violence and aggression, and low school achievement were problems faced by students in both rural and urban community settings. The findings did not indicate a statistically significant difference between challenges faced by students living in poverty in rural settings and those living in poverty in urban settings. Community collaboration and working with students on resiliency factors were noted as essential to intervention by school social workers in both community settings. Qualitative responses indicated an understanding of challenges unique to each community setting, including a lack of available resources in rural settings and limited resources due to high demand in urban settings. Suggestions for future research include a greater look at how to effectively integrate community collaboration in impoverished communities. Implications for social work practice include a greater demand for policy practice among school social workers and advocacy for programs designed to empower students living in poverty to greater levels of academic, psychological, and social functioning.

Included in

Social Work Commons