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Subjective well-being in the human services: A pathway to sustainable social development John Graham Murray Fraser Professor Faculty of Social work Fuschia.

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Presentation on theme: "Subjective well-being in the human services: A pathway to sustainable social development John Graham Murray Fraser Professor Faculty of Social work Fuschia."— Presentation transcript:

1 Subjective well-being in the human services: A pathway to sustainable social development John Graham Murray Fraser Professor Faculty of Social work Fuschia Sirois Canada Research Chair in Health and Well-being Department of Psychology

2 Subjective Well-being (SWB) Quality of life, wellness, happiness, and thriving are related terms a strength based concept people with high levels of well-being or “happiness” fare better in important life domains such as work, social and community life, and health (Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener, 2005). SWB is important not only for clients but for the social workers who deliver and administer client services Need to better understand, evaluate, and systematically apply SWB concepts to the social work profession

3 Subjective Well-being and Social Work 4 SSHRC-funded research grants since 2005, examining SWB among social workers in Alberta, NWT, NW Ontario, BC, Manitoba, NB and Nfld a random sample of 2500 practitioners (of the province's 6500 registered social workers) were contacted Survey, 600 respondents, Alberta (30% response rate) Child welfare and rural workers lower in SWB.

4 Qualitative Research Interviews with 13 of highest scoring (happiest/most satisfied) social workers Triangulation interviews with 11 colleagues and spouses Thematic analysis, Content analysis Qualitative findings with happiest and least happy social workers Spirituality, mindfulness, workplace routines, identity with profession, quality of peer and client relationships, degree of mastery/control over work, type of work, supportive networks and 2010:

5 Personal Factors Professional Factors Work- related Factors Factors that contribute to subjective well- being in social workers

6 Social Worker Personal Factors 1.connecting with spirituality 2.planning and maintain routines 3.participating in activities (recreational, social) 4.help-seeking 5.relationships with spouses and children 6.extended family 7.friends 8.group member 9.culture 10.non-work identity Graham, J. R., & Shier, M. L. (2010). Social work practitioners and subjective well-being: Personal factors that contribute to high levels of subjective well-being. International Social Work, 53(6), 758– 772. doi: /

7 Social Worker Work Factors 1.physical work environment 2.workplace culture 3.systemic issues in the workplace 4.relationships with clients 5.relationships with colleagues 6.relationships with supervisors 7.workload 8.type of work Shier, M., & Graham, J. R. (2010). Work-related factors that impact social work practitioners’ subjective well-being: Well-being in the workplace. Journal of Social Work. doi: /

8 Social Worker Professional Factors 1.opportunity to pursue different roles as part of practice 2.professional opportunities 3.professional activities outside of job 4.respecting professional limitations as a helper 5.supports from other social workers 6.ongoing professional development 7.networks 8.social work values and perspectives 9.reflective practice 10.meaningful practice 11.identity as a social worker Graham, J.R., & Shier, M. L. (2009). The social work profession and subjective well-being: The impact of a profession on overall subjective well-being. British Journal of Social Work. doi: /bjsw/bcp049

9 New SWB Scale Dimensions DimensionSample Items # of items Satisfaction with characteristics of their work environment My organization actively provides a climate of wellness in my workplace. 10 Satisfaction with the profession If I could do it all over again, I would choose to work in the social work profession 10 Satisfaction with interrelationships at work I have positive personal relationships at work. 12 Satisfaction with specific aspects of the work I feel that my current work makes a valuable contribution to the lives of others. 10 Work-life balance My workload often interferes with my personal life. 14 Personal aspects of SWBOverall, I am satisfied with my personal life. 14 TOTAL 70 -

10 Online survey including new measure and validated measures of related constructs to assess scale validity Survey link distributed to 4 provincial social work memberships: BC, MB, NB, & NFLD To date, 369 Canadian social workers have completed the survey Majority are female (84.3%) and in the age range with 21+ years experience, and from BC (57%) Methods & Sample

11 Preliminary Results – Primary field of practice

12 Preliminary analyses suggests that the new scale assesses 6 important dimensions of social workers’ well-being that include personal, work-related, and professional factors Validation of the scale with existing measures related to general well-being will confirm Next steps involve creation and validation of scale in other languages, and with international samples SWB may be a major framework for designing and evaluating social service delivery PRELIMINARY CONCLUSIONS & NEXT STEPS

13 Subjective well-being in the human services: A pathway to sustainable social development John Graham Murray Fraser Professor Faculty of Social work Fuschia Sirois Canada Research Chair in Health and Well-being Department of Psychology Thank you! Questions?


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