Self-compassion among social workers

J. Jay Miller, Jacquelyn Lee, Nada Shalash, Zuzana Poklembova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Summary: In recent years, the practice of self-compassion has garnered increasing attention in the literature, yet little is known about self-compassion in the field of social work. The purpose of this cross-sectional exploratory study was to examine self-compassion among social workers (N = 1011) located in a state in the southeastern United States. Specifically, this study was guided by two distinct, yet interconnected research queries: (1) How self-compassionate are social workers and (2) what personal and professional factors contribute to self-compassion among social workers? Findings: Findings suggest social workers are fairly self-compassionate. Significant group differences in self-compassion exist by perceived health status (self-report), relationship status, social work licensing, and professional organization affiliation. Significant predictors of self-compassion included health status, educational level, and relationship status (in descending order of predictive power). Applications: Adept and ethical social work practice requires that practitioners engage in self-compassionate practices. This study offers pragmatic implications for social work practice, including training and apposite areas for research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-462
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Social Work
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • Social work
  • human service workers
  • human services
  • management
  • practice standards
  • reflective practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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