Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

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


Social Work

First Advisor

Carol F. Kuechler


Social Work


The purpose of this study was to determine if and to what extent LICSWs are screening for brain injury during intake. Licensed social workers were invited to participate in an online Qualtrics survey. Questions in the survey gauged participants’ use of assessments for physical, cognitive and emotional categories of symptomatology identified in the literature. Thirteen LICSWs completed the survey for a response rate of 5.1 percent. All participants in this study work with at least one population at-risk for brain injuries, yet over half of the LICSW respondents indicated not having training in brain injury. Respondents who had training in brain injury were significantly more likely to screen for the physical symptoms of ringing in ears, blurred vision, and numbness and the cognitive symptom of getting lost. There were no differences in the training and no training conditions on screening for emotional symptoms of brain injury. Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified brain injury as a major public health problem, it is incumbent on social workers to be aware of this social issue and to learn about its symptoms and methods for assessment in order to address the 85 percent of individuals with brain injury who are undiagnosed. Further research is needed to determine if the findings apply in larger populations of clinical social workers. If so, it would be necessary to begin to understand the barriers social workers face in becoming aware of emerging public health concerns. Interviewing LICSWs regarding their perspectives on brain injury and their current knowledge, exposure to training, and/or use of brain injury screening tools would also be recommended to enrich our understanding of the in-vivo experience of social work clinicians.

Included in

Social Work Commons