Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type

Mixed methods


School for Social Work


Social workers-Ethics, Social service-Moral and ethical aspects, Online dating-Moral and ethical aspects, Online dating, Social work


This descriptive, mixed methods study was undertaken to explore social workers' experiences related to online dating. This study aimed to describe social workers' attitudes and approaches to online dating, determine the type and frequency of ethical and clinical issues that social workers may encounter in the course of online dating, learn how social workers are addressing these issues, and determine the extent to which there is a need for guidance and policies related to online dating as a social worker.

Using availability and snowball sampling, data was collected from 577 social workers and social work students using an online survey composed of multiple choice, yes/no and short answer questions. The survey asked about the participants' demographics and their experiences with online dating, including reservations/misgivings, how their social work profession impacted their use of online dating, and if they had encountered a client in the course of online dating.

The findings of this study showed that many social workers are concerned about encountering, or have encountered, a client or a client's relative in the course of online dating. These social workers are not always sure of how to proceed professionally and ethically. Furthermore, participants' social work profession often impacted their decisions and experiences related to online dating.




iii, 90 pages. M.S.W., Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma., 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 76-78)

Included in

Social Work Commons