MSW students' preferences in practice with population groups: a closer look at MSW students' interests in working with persons with disabilities and the impact of graduate education
This study explores and describes California State University, Stanislaus graduate social work students’ interest in and perceptions of working with people with disabilities. The purpose of the study was to better understand why they might be less likely to want to work with people with disabilities and to uncover their preferred practice areas of choice. This study also aimed to explore whether graduate level education had on impact on social work students’ desired practice areas and describe differences found between foundation and advanced students’ perceptions of working with people with disabilities. A total of 62 participants were surveyed in this quantitative study. The findings indicated that graduate social work students were most interested in working in Mental Health, General Medical/Hospital Social Work and School Social Work. Furthermore, the findings also indicated that graduate social work students were least interested in working with people with disabilities. The findings indicated that there were no differences between foundation year and advanced year students’ preferences in practice of choice and perceptions of disabilities. Most of the participants have personally interacted with people with disabilities and feel comfortable being around and working with people with disabilities. Participants believe that people with disabilities do not have the adequate support system to succeed and do not have enough social services and programs. Participants also believe that people with disabilities face more social inequalities and discrimination than the average person.