Date of Conferral



Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work


Elizabeth Walker


In 2018, approximately 20% of children aged 5 to 22 years in the United States suffered from childhood obesity, which results in long-term mental health needs. The purpose of this project was to better understand the effective strategies used by clinical social workers in addressing the mental health needs of obese children. Systems theory formed the conceptual framework for this study. The study also included a basic qualitative design. Six clinical social workers from six different practices based in Cumberland County, North Carolina, participated in this study. The results from computer-aided qualitative data analysis of the interview data that followed Yin’s five-step analysis led to the emergence of four major themes: education, coordination of care, cognitive behavior therapy, and health insurance. Recommendation for this study is that further research may be done to create an understanding of why social workers are not specializing in this population; instead, social workers may prefer to make referrals to clinical psychologists. The findings of this study would provide social workers with more information that can positively impact their clients. The findings of this study promote positive social change, as they might lead to an increase in social work practitioners’ ability to address the mental health needs of obese children and may lead to an increased awareness of the problem of obesity within the community. The study findings may also increase social work practitioners’ knowledge about effective strategies in addressing childhood obesity.

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Social Work Commons