Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type

Exploratory quantitative


School for Social Work


Social workers-Family relationships, Caregivers-Family relationships, Parent and child, Adjustment (Psychology), Social workers, Filial responsibility, Family of origin, Caregiving, Coping, Coping strategies


This exploratory quantitative study examined social workers’ family of origin experiences of filial responsibility, including emotional and instrumental caregiving. Additionally, this investigation explored the relationship between social workers’ past and current caregiving experiences, reported coping strategies, and the perceived fairness of their families of origin. This research was carried out through an anonymous, online survey of 46 part- and full-time MSW students and MSW graduates using self-report measures including a demographic survey, the Filial Responsibility Scale-Adult, and the Proactive Coping Inventory.

In support of the study’s main hypothesis, participants’ childhood experiences of filial responsibility were significantly correlated with adulthood experiences of filial responsibility. While participants in this study reported greater levels of emotional than instrumental caregiving, there was a stronger correlation between participants’ past and present instrumental caregiving experiences. Additionally, years of social work practice was negatively associated with emotional caregiving. Lastly, participants’ reliance on emotional support seeking to cope with feelings of distress was significantly related to the ethical dimension of their family of origin experiences, with emotional support seeking increasing or decreasing indirectly with perceived unfairness.




v, 72 pages. M.S.W., Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma. 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 42-49)

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Social Work Commons