Abstract: The Effect of Training on Social Work Screening Utilization (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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671P The Effect of Training on Social Work Screening Utilization

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Gregory Purser, PhD, Assistant Professor, Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge, LA
Cassie Slaton, MSW, PhD Student, Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge
Sarah Choate, MSW, PhD Student, Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge, LA
Background and Purpose: The effectiveness of screening and brief interventions in identifying
alcohol use disorders (AUDs) and reducing problem drinking has been shown by numerous
clinical trials. However, the prevalence of alcohol screening among social workers is largely
unknown. The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which alcohol screenings and
validated measurement tools are being utilized by social workers across the U.S. Additionally,
this study examined whether participation in a screening training session has an effect on
likelihood to screen clients as well as likelihood to use validated measurement tools.

Methods: The sample consisted of n=152 practicing social workers in the U.S. who responded
to an online survey sent out using the NASW mailing listserv. Respondents were asked if they
had ever received training using an alcohol screening curriculum, as well as questions regarding
the frequency of screening, their practice area, what standardized tools were used in screening,
and other demographic information including age, sex, education, and average case load.
Logistic regression models were constructed to examine what effect having been trained in
alcohol screening had on likelihood to screen for alcohol problems and to utilize standardized
screening tools. Sex, age, education, practice area, and average case load were also included in
the models.

Results: Of social workers surveyed, 70.9% said their agencies routinely screen their clients for
AUDs. However, only 59.5% of social workers reported screening either all or most of their
clients for AUDs and 48.3% reported using a standardized measurement tool as part of their
screening process. Additionally, 60% of social workers reported having participated in a
screening training. Likelihood to screen clients was significantly greater (odds ratio [OR]= 2.94,
p= 0.013) among individuals who had undergone a screening training. Additionally, likelihood to
utilize a standardized screening tool was also significantly greater among social workers who
had participated in a training session (OR= 5.59, p < .001)

Conclusion and Implications: Training social workers in screening for AUDs appears to
significantly increase the likelihood of screening implementation and fidelity. As AUDs remain a
serious issue of concern affecting all demographics of clients and communities, it is important
that social workers across all fields be trained and confident in their abilities to perform this
important process.