Occupational stressors of newly qualified social workers in non-governmental organisations : experiences and coping strategies

Janse van Rensburg, Joseph (2009-12)

Thesis (M Social Work (Social Work))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: An exploratory and descriptive research design, in combination with quantitative and qualitative research approaches were utilised to elucidate the experiences of newly qualified social workers in NGOs, with regards to occupational stress and the coping strategies employed by these workers in response. The motivation for this study came from a distinct lack of research related to the experience of occupational stress by newly qualified social workers working within NGOs. The goal of this study is thus to gain a better understanding of the experiences of occupational stress by newly qualified social workers practicing in NGOs, as well as elucidating the coping strategies they employ, so as to make recommendations focussing on key areas, where alleviation of occupational stress is vital. The literature study first focussed on the South African NGO, and the newly qualified social worker within the NGO, to provide a contextual basis for the experience of occupational stress by newly qualified social workers. The literature study then explored the range of occupational stressors that might be experienced by newly qualified social workers, to gain a better understanding of the diversity of stressors present within NGOs, and their aetiology. Lastly, the literature study focussed on the variety of coping strategies available to newly qualified social workers, for coping with, and alleviation of occupational stress. The researcher utilises a purposive sample of 20 newly qualified social workers, These workers had practiced for up to 24 months, in the Boland area of the Western Cape. An interview schedule was used as measuring instrument. The result of the investigation confirmed that particular occupational stressors affecting newly qualified social workers Whilst there were a wide spectrum of stressors experienced by newly qualified social workers on an occasional basis, occupational stressors such as very heavy workloads, unsatisfactory remuneration and the multivariate problems of the client population stood out as stressors experienced on a very frequent basis. The second conclusion to be drawn from this study was that personality traits may play less of a role than expected in determining how much newly qualified social workers experience occupational stress. The third conclusion to be drawn from this study was that a wide range of coping strategies were not only available to newly qualified social workers but that a great deal were effective in helping newly qualified social workers to alleviate their occupational stress. Recommendations made by this study pointed to the importance of NGOs as well as government targeting stressors such as heavy workloads and remuneration, with the aim of retaining skilled social workers just entering into the industry. Another recommendation focussed on the fact that newly qualified social workers have to take ownership over their occupational stress, and actively work to alleviate it in a positive manner.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: ‘n Verkennende en beskrywende navorsingsontwerp, sowel as 'n gekombineerde kwantitatiewe en kwalitatiewe navorsingsbenadering is benut om die ervarings van pas gekwalifiseerde maatskaplike werkers in nie-regeringsorganisasies se werkstres en streshanteringstrategieë te ondersoek. Die studie is gemotiveer deur 'n gebrek aan navorsing oor die ervarings van werksverwante stres by pas gekwalifiseerde maatskaplike werkers wat by NROs werksaam is. Die doel van die studie was dus om 'n beter begrip vir die ervarings van werksverwante stres by pas gekwalifiseerde maatskaplike werkers in NROs te ontwikkel, sowel as om die betrokke maatskaplike werkers se streshanteringstrategieë te belig, ten einde aanbevelings te kan maak oor sleutelareas waarop gefokus behoort te word in die verligting van werksverwante stres. Die literatuurstudie fokus op die NRO-sektor in Suid-Afrika en die pas gekwalifiseerde maatskaplike werker, ten einde 'n kontekstuele grondslag vir die ervarings van die betrokke maatskaplike werkers se stressors te bied. Die literatuurstudie eksploreer voorts die reeks van stressors wat deur die betrokke maatskaplike werkers ervaar kan word, ten einde 'n beter begrip van die diversiteit van stressors en die etiologie van die stressors te ontwikkel. Die studie fokus ook op die verskeidenheid strategieë wat beskikbaar is aan pas gekwalifiseerde maatskaplike werkers, om hulle werksverwante stres te verminder. Die navorser het 'n doelbeswuste steekproef van 20 pas gekwalifiseerde maatskaplike werkers benut. Hierdie werkers is almal die afgelope 24 maande werksaam in die Boland area van die Wes-Kaap. 'n Onderhoudskedule is as navorsingsinstrument benut. Die bevindinge van die navorsing bevestig dat die pas gekwalifiseerde maatskaplike werker wel spesifieke werksverwante stressors beleef. Alhoewel 'n groot verskeidenheid stressors soms aanwesig is, kom werksverwante stressors soos groot werksladings, onbevredigende numerering en die verskeidenheid van die verbruikersisteem se probleme meer algemeen voor. Die tweede bevinding vanuit hierdie studie dui daarop dat persoonlikheidstrekke speel waarskynlik 'n mindere rol as wat verwag word, in die aanwesigheid van stres by die pas gekwalifiseerde maatskaplike werker. Die derde bevinding dui daarop dat 'n groot verskeidenheid stresverligtingstrategieë beskikbaar is om werksverwante stres te verlig en dat hierdie strategieë wel effektief aangewend kan word. Die aanbevelings vanuit hierdie studie wys op die belangrikheid daarvan dat NRO's en die regering stressors soos groot werksladings en numerering verlig, ten einde pas gekwalifiseerde maatskaplike werkers vir die praktyk te werf. Ander aanbevelings fokus op die feit dat pas gekwalifiseerde maatskaplike werkers eienaarskap van hulle werksverwante stressors moet aanvaar deur aktief hulle werkstres op 'n positiewe wyse te hanteer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/2091
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