Ethical Decision Making Among Social Work Students
Kurtz, Micah John
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ABSTRACT: While much literature exists on processes of social workers' ethical decision making, the literature lacks consideration of whether social workers or social work students are consistent with their ethical decisions regardless of the context in which the dilemmas present themselves. The following study examined the question of whether social work students would respond to the same ethical dilemmas in different contexts. The three-condition experimental design presented each participant with six ethical dilemmas, and the conditions differed based on proximity to a traditional social work setting. Results yielded significant differences in responses between conditions for all six ethical dilemmas, meaning social work students differ in likelihood to respond to ethical dilemmas in different contexts. Implications for ethical instruction in social work education include consideration of competing values or loyalties that students bring to their field if students respond to ethical dilemmas differently based on the context.