Social Worker Well-being: A Large Mixed-Methods Study

Jermaine Ravalier, Paula Mc Fadden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social workers play a vital role in maintaining and improving the lives of the service users
that they work with. Despite this, the role is replete with high levels of stress-related
sickness absence, turnover intentions, and low levels of jobs satisfaction in addition to poor
working conditions. This study sought to further investigate working conditions in UK social
workers, as well as the reasons for these working conditions via a mixed-methods survey
and interview study. 3,421 responses were gained from the cross-sectional survey which
looked at working conditions, perceived stress, job satisfaction, and turnover intentions
(both migration and attrition), with the semi structured interview schedule (n = 15) based
on survey findings and analysed via thematic analysis continuing through to saturation.
Similar to 2018, results demonstrated poor working conditions, irrespective of job role, and
regression analysis suggested each of demands, control, managerial support, role and
change influenced stress. Qualitative results found that workload, lack of managerial
support, and service user/family abuse were distinct demands associated with the role,
whereas buffering positive resources were: the social work role, peer support, and positive
managerial support. Implications for managerial practice, and harnessing the positive
experience of peer support, are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe British Journal of Social Work
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2020


  • working conditions
  • mixed methods
  • stress
  • well-being

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