Date of Conferral

2019

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Social Work

Advisor

Mary E. Bold

Abstract

Social workers are uniquely positioned to facilitate early intervention services that minimize the impact and burden of Type 2 diabetes. There is little evidence on the specific role that social workers play in addressing the psychosocial factors that exacerbate the condition or impact treatment outcomes. The purpose of the study was to examine the role of social workers in facilitating early interventions for clients with Type 2 diabetes. The theories of role and organizational systems provided the conceptual framework. Data was collected from interviews with eight participants with Master’s degrees in Social Work in a large Southwestern state in the United States. An open coding method analysis was used to identify the themes. The study findings showed that early interventions are scarcely provided in social work services for persons diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. However, social workers typically assume the role(s) of: educator; resource broker; change agents for clients; counselor; advocate and community change agent, in early intervention services. Recommendations for improving social work early intervention in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes include giving recognition to social workers’ position, creating opportunities that foster their ability to deliver that are beneficial to the patients, and providing more experiential-based learning and advanced training in medical conditions. The findings could positively impact social change by providing useful knowledge for social workers, nurses, and other health workers who are searching for direction in decreasing the rising risks for complications, and exacerbation of diabetes.

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