Date of Conferral



Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work


Elizabeth T. Walker


Many adults born with congenital heart disease (CHD) face long-term psychosocial issues related the disease. The purpose of this project was to better understand social workers' experiences with interventions for clients who have CHD and experience psychosocial problems. Bronfenbrenner's ecological theory was a basis for the research questions, which focused on clarifying social workers' experiences with interventions and identifying the ecological levels to which the interventions align. A narrative design with nonprobability sampling was used. Six social workers who counsel adults with CHD from 6 of the 109 U.S. CHD clinics participated in individual interviews. Interviews were transcribed, coded, and categorized using thematic analysis, then analyzed for new information, similarities, and differences. The most significant clinical and nonclinical interventions used by participants were financial assistance, health insurance support, and modalities for treating anxiety and depression. Social workers counseling adult CHD patients may benefit by having information from experienced CHD social workers that they can incorporate into their work with clients. Recommendations include (a) bolstering the number of social workers in private practice who specialize in adults with CHD to address the ongoing mental health needs of this population and (b) encouraging social action and awareness to adjust the guidelines set by government agencies so this population can qualify for better financial, health, and disability benefits. Implementation of these recommendations may have a positive social impact for adults living with CHD.

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