Researchers at the University of Plymouth have studied stress in 427 social workers in the UK. Not surprisingly they found high levels of stress and many people were found not to be coping well. Importantly they found that stress was related to characteristics of the social work system, not individual social workers, and that bureaucracy and heavy caseloads were important factors. They found that good leadership and good supervision can reduce stress.
To hear more about the research click here.
This research will not come as a surprise to most people who work as social workers. It is, however, a welcome confirmation of what we know from personal experience. Stress at work is a very significant problem for social workers.
Anybody concerned about service quality and about recruiting and retaining a high quality social work workforce needs to take notice of this research. Stress is not just a fact of life for children’s social workers, it is something that needs to be tackled if children and young people are to receive the services they deserve and need.