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Aligning perspectives of subjective well-being: comparing spouse and colleague perceptions of social worker happiness

Faculty Advisor




subjective well-being, social worker, workplace, personal life, professional Identity, inter-personal

Abstract (summary)

Social workers experience higher rates of burnout and attrition when compared to other health related occupational groups. Previous research on the well being of social workers has tended to focus on the social workers themselves. But the development of well-being is dynamic and is fostered through relationships and interactions with others. In the case of social workers, these relationships include workplace, professional, and personal life interactions. This research sought to better understand the level of congruence between a social worker’s perspective of well-being and perspectives held by significant people in their workplace and at home. Utilizing qualitative methods we interviewed colleagues and spouses (n=10) of social workers that were found to have high levels of work-related subjective well-being. The findings support previous conclusions on the positive subjective well-being (SWB) of practicing social workers, but also indicate a lack of a deeper understanding of the nuances that contribute to social worker SWB. These findings are particularly useful for social workers trying to enhance their SWB, and have direct applicability in education and professional development settings that seek to enhance social worker self-care.

Publication Information

Graham, J. R., Shier, M. L., Newberry, A. M., & Esina, E. (2014). Aligning perspectives of subjective well-being: Comparing spouse and colleague perceptions of social worker happiness. The Qualitative Report, 19(23), 1-18. Retrieved from



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Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA)