Methods: Medical providers and social workers (n=96) on integrated primary care teams were recruited from University of Texas Physicians in and around Houston. A sequential mixed methods (qualitative + quantitative) design was used. The qualitative portion of this study refined a scale created to quantitatively measure knowledge of social work roles, which was piloted in the quantitative portion strand. Three hypotheses were tested: 1) a direct positive relationship between knowledge of social work roles and each dimensions of interdisciplinary collaboration; 2) a direct positive relationship between knowledge of social work roles and satisfaction with collaboration; 3) satisfaction will partially mediate the relationship between role knowledge and interdisciplinary collaboration. Multiple linear regression was used (SPSS) to test each of the hypotheses.
Results: The majority of respondents were medical doctors (35%) and the smallest group were psychologists (6%) and 83% were female. Sixty-nine percent reported previous experience with interdisciplinary practice with social workers. Data analysis revealed a positive linear relationship between knowledge of social work roles and interdisciplinary collaboration. Knowledge of social work roles was also shown to be positively correlated with satisfaction with collaboration. Mediation analysis revealed that the relationship between social work role knowledge and interdisciplinary collaboration was not mediated by satisfaction.
Conclusions and Implications: Knowledge of social work roles has not been previously examined as a significant factor of interdisciplinary collaboration on integrated primary care teams. This study demonstrated that as knowledge of social work roles increased, interdisciplinary collaboration and satisfaction with collaboration also increased. Although satisfaction with collaboration was not found to be a mediator on the relationship between role knowledge and interdisciplinary collaboration, this result points to the overall importance of role knowledge for increased interdisciplinary collaboration. This finding suggests that role knowledge should be the focal point of interdisciplinary education programs and training.