LGBT-Competence in Social Work Education: The Relationship of School Contexts to Student Sexual Minority Competence.

Research paper by David D McCarty-Caplan

Indexed on: 30 Mar '17Published on: 30 Mar '17Published in: Journal of homosexuality


This study examined the relationship between master of social work program's (MSW) support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people (LGBT-competence), and the sexual minority competence (LGB-competence) of social work students. Data was gathered from a sample of MSW program directors, faculty members, and students (N = 1385) within 34 MSW programs in the United States. A series of hierarchical linear models tested if a MSW program's LGBT-competence was associated with the LGB-competence of its students. Results showed a significant relationship between organizational LGBT-competence and individual LGB-competence within schools of social work, and that programs with greater LGBT-competence also had students who felt more competent to work with sexual minorities. These findings suggest schools of social work can take substantive action at an organizational level to improve the professional LGB-competence of future social workers. Implications for social work education are discussed.