Term of Award

Winter 1987

Degree Name

Role Stress as Experienced by the Hospital Social Worker

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Roger Branch

Committee Member 1

L. S. Platt

Committee Member 2

Denny S. Hill


Sociologists have identified numerous types of stress associated with the practice of professions. In this paper the author has developed predictions about the occurrence of role stress as experienced by hospital social workers. The framework for this study was developed by F. L. Bates and C. C. Harvey and presented in The Structure of Social Systems (1975). Findings conclude that hospital social workers are likely to experience many different types of role stress with numerous sources of origin; the most frequent type of role stress encountered is role conflict. Hospital social workers are also likely to experience role inadequacy, role frustration, role noncomplementarity, and role superfluity. Additional research on this topic and additional testing of the hypotheses are clearly indicated. Programs to educate physicians and other hospital personnel may increase their understanding of the hospital social work role and thus decrease the stress of practitioners.


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