Social workers in the UK experience higher levels of burnout compared with other healthcare professionals, making it important to understand how they can develop resilience to protect themselves from psychological distress. The current study aimed to deepen our understanding of the psychological predictors of resilience, which include emotional intelligence, reflective ability, social competence, and empathy, using self-determination theory. This theory suggests that fulfilment of the psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness will support resilience and protect against distress. We expected these needs to explain additional variance in resilience and distress beyond other emotional and social competencies. Analysis of questionnaire data from 211 social work students in the UK provided partial support for these hypotheses. Autonomy, competence, and relatedness were significantly positively correlated with resilience, and hierarchical regression analysis revealed that they explained somewhat more variance in resilience than previous factors alone (p=.06). Autonomy, competence, and relatedness explained significantly more variance than previous factors alone in psychological distress, although only autonomy and competence correlated with less psychological distress. Unexpectedly, relatedness correlated with more psychological distress. Furthermore, resilience played a mediating role between key variables and psychological distress. Implications for supporting the development of resilience in social work students are discussed.
Bunce, LouiseLonsdale, Adam JonathanKing, NaomiChilds, JillBennie, Robert
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences\Department of Psychology, Health and Professional DevelopmentFaculty of Health and Life Sciences\Department of Sport, Health Sciences and Social Work
Year of publication: 2019Date of RADAR deposit: 2019-02-12
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