Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how clinical social workers approach assessment of siblings for physical, sexual, or emotional abuse with particular focus on assessment techniques. Thirteen clinical social workers participated in individual interviews that asked them to talk about their approach to the assessment process and to the content of that assessment. Participants were selected through a non-random sample of convenience from a child and family social service agency in New England. The findings of this study show that for this sample there is not a uniform method of assessing sibling abuse, although the content of assessment is strikingly similar. Participants tend to gather similar information but do so in a variety of different ways, suggesting that the process of assessment may be less important as a variable of detection than content. These findings suggest that a more thorough assessment structure is needed for effective clinical social work practice with children and families.


iii, 55 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2007. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 47-48).