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Bell, Melissa M. (2007) BARRIERS IN THE PROVISION OF FAMILY PLANNING INFORMATION FROM SOCIAL WORKERS TO THEIR CLIENTS. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The United States has the highest unintended pregnancy rate relative to other Western countries (Division of Reproductive Health, 2002). Mothers and children of unintended births face increased risk of substantial physical and social problems (Brown & Eisenberg, 1995; Gold, 2001). The high unintended pregnancy rate in the U.S. is primarily due to the lack of consistent contraceptive use by many individuals who are at risk for unintended pregnancy (Piccinino & Mosher, 1998). Due in part to the NASW position on family planning, social workers are in a key position for providing family planning information to clients. This study investigates the barriers that social workers face in providing family planning information to their clients through the use of a survey questionnaire. The questionnaire includes a modified version of the Bardis Religion Scale (1961), and items related to Bandura's social cognitive theory (1986) with a focus on family planning knowledge, comfort, self-efficacy, perceived social worker roles, and moral attitudes toward providing information on family planning to clients. A section for respondent characteristics was also included. A sample of 800 respondents, with a final sample of 203 respondents, was randomly selected and surveyed from the 2007 roster of Pennsylvania licensed social workers. Findings revealed that greater religiosity, conservative political beliefs, a tendency to vote for Republicans, and a "pro-life" abortion stance were associated with reported increased barriers in providing family planning information. Participation in family planning coursework or training, and practicing in an urban area were found to be related to lower reported barriers, regardless of religiosity. Years of experience and work function had no significant effect on providing family planning information. Moral objection ranked low as compared to other barriers. Lack of workplace incentive and issues related to lack of family planning training and knowledge were of greater importance in understanding barriers. Furthermore, many social workers lack accurate family planning information, especially related to emergency contraception. These results suggest need for family planning training within social work professional education and continuing education, as well as an urgent need to address policies that undermine social work clients' access to family planning information and services.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Bell, Melissa
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairNewhill,
Committee MemberSales,
Committee MemberKoeske,
Committee MemberAlbrecht,
Date: 20 December 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 19 October 2007
Approval Date: 20 December 2007
Submission Date: 19 December 2007
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Social Work > Social Work
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: abortion; abstinence-only; birth control; contraception; family planning; Pennsylvania; political beliefs; religion; religious beliefs; social cognitive theory; social welfare; social work continuing education; social work education; social work training; Title X
Other ID:, etd-12192007-183942
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:11
Last Modified: 30 May 2012 13:48


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