Swedish Social Work Students’ Attitudes Toward Addressing Sexual Health Issues in Their Future Profession

Research paper by Kristina Areskoug-Josefsson, Bo Rolander, Pia Bülow

Indexed on: 14 Jun '19Published on: 04 Apr '19Published in: Sexuality and Disability


Sexual health is an important area for social work. Social workers’ failure to address sexual health issues in social work practice, due to experienced discomfort, may create barriers toward clients, and lead to their decreased health. Investigating social work students’ attitudes toward sexual health, and their perceived competence in this area is crucial for developing social work education on sexual health issues. The aim of the present study was to explore Swedish social work students’ attitudes and perceived competence and educational needs regarding communicating about sexual health in their future profession. A quantitative study using the Students’ Attitudes toward Sexual Health (SA-SH) in a Swedish sample of 242 social work students. The students considered knowledge about sexual health as important for their future profession. The response patterns indicated that students considered themselves uncomfortable and insufficiently prepared to handle issues related to sexual health in their future profession, which may affect how they succeed in addressing the needs of their future clients. The conclusion of this study is that social work students are insufficiently prepared to address issues concerning sexual health in their future profession. Social work programs need to increase sexual health education as well as training in communicating about sexual health issues in order to meet the needs of the clients.