Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

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


Social Work

First Advisor

Karen Carlson


Social Work


This study explores how the role of the supervisor impacts social workers’ perceptions of stress in social work practice and how social workers measure the experience of supervision. The study sample consisted of 54 licensed social workers with different levels of licensure selected from the Minnesota Board of Social Work. A mixed method design, using both qualitative and quantitative methods, was used to collect data for this cross-sectional research study. An email with the link to the survey inQualtrics was sent to 160 licensed social workers. The data was assessed using descriptive statistics, chi-square analyses, and grounded theory methodology and coded based on constant comparison analysis.

Findings from this study support previous research that identified that supervisors can both alleviate and create stress for supervisees. Findings also show that respondents consider the supportive role of the supervisor to be most beneficial to their practice, social workers perceive any social work job as stressful, and respondents are satisfied with the level of supportive supervision they receive from their supervisor. Furthermore, respondents perceive supportive supervision to be helpful and it generally has a positive impact on social workers’ work with clients. Supervisors will be able to understand and apply the findings to their practice to positively contribute to the supervisor-supervisee relationship. This will also positively impact the supervisee’s work with clients. In addition, social workers who are supervisors will be able to employ strategies based on the findings to decrease stress in social work practice as well as be more prepared to provide quality supervision and help staff members develop the skills needed for carrying out their work.

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Social Work Commons