#socialwork: An International Study Examining Social Workers' Use of Information and Communication Technology

Faye Mishna*, Jane E. Sanders, Joanne Daciuk, Elizabeth Milne, Sophia Fantus, Marion Bogo, Lin Fang, Andrea Greenblatt, Penny Rosen, Mona Khoury-Kassabri, Michelle Lefevre

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) permeated social work practice before coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In addition to ICT-based formal services (e.g. e-counselling), social workers used ICTs informally as an adjunct to face-to-face practice. Building on our previous research, our cross-sectional online survey examined social workers' informal use of ICTs in four countries: Canada, the USA, Israel and the UK. The survey was administered through Qualtrics software among social workers across Canada (n = 2,609), the USA (n = 1,225), Israel (n = 386) and the UK (n = 134), and analysed using IBM SPSS Statistics version 26. The findings substantiate the ubiquitous use of informal ICTs in social work practice, as an adjunct to face-to-face treatment, across the four countries. Given the current, unprecedented context of COVID-19, we discuss the meaning of our findings related to access, ethical considerations (e.g. professional boundaries) and supervision in the context of restricted face-to-face practice. We discuss the implications for social work practice, education and research, and conclude that in the COVID-19 context, there is an even greater need for research, clinical discussion, supervision and policy on informal ICT use in social work practice.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)850-871
Number of pages22
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Volume52
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s).

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • clinical practice
  • ethics
  • informal ICT use
  • information and communication technology
  • social work

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