SAGE Journal Articles
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Abstract: Empathy is a core principle essential to social work. Despite this emphasis, minimal empirical research of empathy has been undertaken by social work researchers. The purpose of this study was to develop and initially validate the Empathy Scale for Social Workers (ESSW). The ESSW is a 41-item, self-report inventory designed to assess empathy in social work practitioners. The sample (N = 271) consisted of social workers who had attained the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. Findings revealed promising psychometric properties for the ESSW, and exploratory factor analysis (EFA) demonstrated content, construct, and factorial validity. Results were encouraging, and they lay the ground work for the continued development of the ESSW. This scale addresses a gap in social work knowledge regarding the empirical evaluation of empathy. Results have implications for social work as the scale may be used to assess student training needs and/or as a screening tool for social work supervisors and practitioners.
Learning Objective: 5.2 Practice skills related to engagement.
Abstract: Objective: This study reports on the development and test of a multidimensional measure of client engagement in child welfare services. Method: Five dimensions of engagement were identified and were based on a literature review and data from interviews with child welfare workers and clients. A pool of items generated to reflect these five dimensions was reviewed by a panel of researchers, scholars, and practitioners. Pilot data from the resulting measure were collected from 287 respondents. Participants were primary caregivers who had an open case with child protective services at the point of data collection. Results: Internal consistency reliability and construct validity were examined, and tests of the fit of the data to the hypothesized measurement model were conducted and reported. Results supported the presence of four underlying factors and a single latent variable. Conclusion: The instrument demonstrated good potential for measuring aspects of client engagement.
Learning Objective: 5.1 Describe the role of the worker in facilitating the planned change process during engagement.