Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Social workers, African American social workers, Hispanic American social workers, Cross-cultural counseling, Racism, Social workers of color, Ethnocultural identity, Racial identity, Cultural competence, Cross-cultural social work


This exploratory quantitative study examined the impact of racial and ethnocultural identity on the professional lives of social workers of color, focusing on experiences of social workers of color with racism, the influence of racial and ethnocultural identity in cross-cultural clinical work, and the perceived impact of racial and ethnocultural identity on career trajectory and professional experiences. Social workers of color have been and continue to be underrepresented in the population of licensed social workers. In this study, a sample of 86 social workers of color with a Masters in Social Work and two or more years of experience in the field completed an Internet survey. Major findings revealed that racial and ethnocultural identity had significantly influenced the professional work, experiences, and career trajectories of most participants, and the majority had experienced racism in both clinical work and professional interactions. Additionally, a significant number of participants felt that their graduate school curriculum, field supervision, and post-graduate supervision were not responsive to their needs as social workers of color. Study findings suggested that further research regarding the professional experiences of social workers of color is crucial in better understanding how the field of social work can change educational and professional practices to better support the needs of social workers of color.




iv, 89 p. : ill. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 73-80)