Do We Appear to Be a Profession Chasing Its Tail? Non-Social Work Major Perceptions

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The profession of social work has recently completed its centennial celebration, yet it still remains a profession with an identity struggle. Could the internal struggles experienced within the profession have a negative effect on young people who are selecting career pursuits? An investigation was undertaken at a medium-sized university assessing the perceptions held by non-social-work majors about the social work profession and the social work major.

Results demonstrated that the social work major was perceived to be as difficult as other majors and social work students were perceived to be as intelligent as other students. Social work careers were perceived to be more challenging than other occupations. The results highlighted some confusion regarding intensity of the curricular requirements for social work and the difference between social work and sociology or psychology. The struggle for professional identity did not seem to negatively affect perceptions regarding social work for this sample of students.


This article was originally published as Zosky, D. (2001). Are we a profession chasing our tail: Perceptions of non-social work majors of the social work profession. Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, 7, 1, 37-49.