Transgender-Competence in Social Work Education: The Relationship of School Contexts to Student Affirmation of Gender Expansive People.

Research paper by David D McCarty-Caplan

Indexed on: 22 Oct '20Published on: 21 Oct '20Published 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 social work student's self-perceived competence to support transgender people (transgender-competence). Thirty-four accredited MSW programs in the United States provided a sample of program directors, faculty members, and students (N = 1385). Hierarchical linear models revealed an MSW program's LGBT-competence was associated with the transgender-competence of its students, and that significant differences exist between organizational LGBT-competence and individual transgender-competence within schools of social work. Specifically, programs with greater LGBT-competence also had students who felt more competent to work with gender minorities. These findings suggest schools of social work provide different levels of support for gender minorities, and that such programs can take substantive action at an organizational level to improve the professional competence of future social workers to serve transgender populations. Implications for social work education are discussed.