Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Social Work


Social Work

Major Professor

Kim Cassie

Committee Members

Cindy Davis, Samuel A. MacMaster, Kim Cassie


The purpose of this study was to explore the attitudes of social workers in Tennessee towards people with physical disabilities. A non-probability, convenience sample of social workers who were members of the National Association of Social Workers Tennessee Chapter (NASW TN), and accept email communication, were sent the on-line survey. Two hundred sixty five social workers responded to the survey and one hundred sixty eight respondents (N=168) completed the survey in its entirety and were included in analysis. The respondents’ attitudes were assessed as either empowering or oppressive based on concepts and constructs of empowerment and oppression identified by disability scholars and social work researchers in the field of disability. The findings of the individual questions were analyzed. The survey questions worded toward an empowering attitude found that 80% of the subjects answered towards a possible empowering attitude regarding the self-determination of people with physical disabilities. The highest rate of no opinion responses was noticed with the questions related to sexual satisfaction, intimacy and depression. Due to the lack of validity and reliability of the survey tool it would be inappropriate to generalize the results to a broader social work population. The information gathered, however, may serve as a glimpse of the attitudes of social workers in Tennessee towards people with physical disabilities

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Social Work Commons