Date of Conferral





Social Work


Ken Larimore


The social work profession has long touted a dual focus on service within micro and macro realms of practice, preparing social workers to serve marginalized populations at the boundary between the powerful and the powerless. Research, however, has shown that macro social work, or policy practice, has diminished. Current research has been inconsistent in identifying predictive factors of increased policy practice. With recent efforts by the profession to bolster waning policy practice among social workers, it is vital to identify factors that predict higher engagement. Theoretical frameworks suggest that professional socialization in policy practice as a group norm, having resources to participate in policy practice, being psychologically engaged in politics, and engaging in recruitment networks tends to increase policy practice. Based on these frameworks, professional socialization, policy practice preparedness, type of employment, and social media use were considered as potential predictive factors of engagement. The purpose of this study was to analyze these factors that may predict policy practice among social workers. Survey research was used to gather data from practicing social workers in Illinois (N = 93). A hierarchical multiple regression analysis empirically validated that higher levels of perceived professional socialization and policy practice preparedness both predicted higher levels of policy practice. Additionally, social workers who reported primary roles as administrative were more likely to engage in policy practice than direct practitioners. The results point to a need for the social work profession to bolster knowledge and skills in policy practice, reinforce professional identification in policy practice, and mobilize leaders to recruit and mentor direct practitioners.