Professional Values and Conflict among Social Workers in Prisons: An Examination of Role Stress, Strain, and Job Satisfaction in Working with Inmates with Mental Illness and/or Substance Use Disorders
Date of Completion
social work values, role conflict, prison, mental illness, substance use disorders
Field of Study
Doctor of Philosophy
As the incarcerated population increases in the United States, especially those with mental illness and/or substance use disorders, social workers are expected to assume essential discharge planning roles in assisting prisoners’ transition back into the community. Social workers, like other prison professionals, experience value dilemmas and difficulties in ethical decision-making due to incompatibility between professional values and the practices in correctional settings. Often, social workers in prisons face role problems mainly represented by role incongruity, role ambiguity, and role conflict. Such stress creates role strain, which may profoundly affect job satisfaction. Job satisfaction of staff is important because it affects quality of service delivery in prisons. Few studies have examined role problems experienced by social workers in prisons and their relationships with role strain and job satisfaction. As such, this study examines the roles of social workers in state prisons, when working with inmates with mental illness and/or substance use disorders. More specifically, the study explores the level to which social workers experience role incongruity, ambiguity, and conflict between ethical and practice principles defined by the social work profession and the roles expected of them by the prison organization. It also assesses the level of social workers’ perceived role strain and its direct and indirect influence on job satisfaction. Moreover, the study aims to understand job satisfaction by focusing on how social workers’ perceived role incongruity, ambiguity, and conflict are associated with role strain and job satisfaction in working with inmates with mental illness and/or substance use disorders.
Toi, Hiroki, "Professional Values and Conflict among Social Workers in Prisons: An Examination of Role Stress, Strain, and Job Satisfaction in Working with Inmates with Mental Illness and/or Substance Use Disorders" (2015). Doctoral Dissertations. 992.