Jill Chonody, associate professor and Master of Social Work coordinator for the School of Social Work, recently published the research article, “Are Social Work Students Concerned About the Environment?: The Role of Personal Beliefs” in the peer-reviewed Journal of Social Work Education.
Chonody’s research study addresses the gap between the profession of social work’s commitment to social justice issues such as the environment, and social work students’ actual concern about the environment.
“The profession of social work is committed to social justice issues and part of this mission includes the environment,” said Chonody. “However, an absence of concern about the environment exists in the current academic literature with regard to social work students.”
Chonody’s study worked to understand the factors that impact this gap. To do so, Chonody surveyed 724 social work students from programs across the nation to learn about their environmental beliefs and current behaviors. As a result, Chonody found that students who held more liberal political beliefs, who identified as nonreligious, were older and had a better understanding of climate change demonstrated a greater personal dedication to environmental issues and environmentally conscious behaviors.
Chonody concluded her study by stating that environmental justice and avenues for advocacy that create social change should be a part of the social work curriculum.
–By Taylor Music