Political social work, elections, civic engagement, efficacy, political efficacy


Since 2016, members of communities traditionally prevented or discouraged from electoral politics have challenged barriers to political power. Social work’s current research base about political action reflects the pre- 2016 political landscape. Survey data collected between 2015 and 2019 examines ways social workers’ political engagement and efficacy reacted to this political environment. We examined political efficacy of social workers and students before and after 2016 to compare their internal efficacy (sense of one’s own power in the political system) and external efficacy (sense of the system’s responsiveness). Political engagement and individual measures of political efficacy increased among certain demographic groups; however, overall political efficacy was unchanged. Implications for social work education and research are discussed.

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