Session: Exploring Digital Interventions in Social Work Practice: From Micro to Macro (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

All live presentations are in Eastern time zone.

170 Exploring Digital Interventions in Social Work Practice: From Micro to Macro

Thursday, January 21, 2021: 5:00 PM-6:00 PM
Cluster: Social Work Practice
Symposium Organizer:
Lauri Goldkind, PhD, Fordham University
Nancy Smyth, PhD, State University of New York at Buffalo
This symposium presents research focusing on different dimensions of digital social work practice across the intervention design cycle. All of the research presented highlights how digital information communication technologies can be applied for social change purposes. Social work science contributes to creating more just and equitable practice benefiting individuals, organizations and communities by promoting promising practices and innovations in research and evaluation.

Paper one offers a practitioner focused perspective from a qualitative study of clinical social workers. The authors conducted interviews with clinical social workers practicing on private for-profit third party platforms (N=22). An interpretive phenomenological analysis was employed to analyze the interview transcripts. These social workers consider themselves pioneers, a significant theme in the findings; they also articulate the affordances both positive and negative of delivering service with this “channel�.

Paper two documents an open-trial design, to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of internet-based training simulations for use with social work students (n=22). Trainees practiced their clinical skills with virtual clients while receiving three tiers of automated feedback. Findings suggest that student efficacy in building clinical skills, tasks and working across real-world client populations showed significant improvement and 95% of students reported the virtual client characters were engaging and realistic and 90% would recommend the simulations to others.

Paper three examines the use of digital tools in a cohort of teen dating organizations. This qualitative study analyzed data from service providers (n=25) from across the country. Findings challenge the common perception that agencies and staff are resistant to implementing new tech tools, rather, they are concerned with exacerbating existing inequalities.

Paper four considers the use of virtual reality emotional therapy for the treatment of PTSD. Student veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder are often plagued by comorbid social anxiety, creating difficulty for student veterans with regards to their educational functioning. This single subject design based on Emotional Processing Theory assessed the usability and feasibility of VRET using a mobile-based virtual reality grocery store. Results indicate, student veteran social anxiety decreased from 18 to 8 on the SAD.

Paper five investigates the use of artificial intelligence in the child welfare arena. Machine learning and text mining strategies have the potential to efficiently unlock the aggregate insights buried in administrative data files and child welfare workers’ case notes. In this study, humans and computers coded a collection of child welfare case note summaries (N = 1,402) for the presence of domestic violence themes. The machine learning models achieved greater than 90% accuracy in the classification of documents when compared to the classification decisions of expert human coders.

Our discussant is Dean and Professor at the School of Social Work at the University of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY. Over the last decade, she has been exploring the implications of digital technologies for social work practice and education. She is currently conducting a study on the impact of cyber technology in traditional face-to-face counseling.

* noted as presenting author
Digital Private Practice: The Clinicians Perspective
Lauri Goldkind, PhD, Fordham University; Lea Wolf, MSW, Independent
Training Social Work Students Using Computerized Clinical Training Simulations with Clients Abusing Alcohol
Matthew Smith, PhD, MSW, LCSW, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Lindsay A. Bornheimer, PhD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Shannon Blajeski, PhD, MSW, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Juliann Li Verdugo, MSW, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Katherine Tucker, MSW, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Barbara Hiltz, MSW, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Daniel Fischer, MSW, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Mary Ruffolo, PhD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
The Evolving Digital Landscape of Teen Dating Violence Organizations
Heather Storer, Ph.D., University of Louisville; Eva Nyerges, MSW, University of Louisville; Emily Edwards, MSW, University of Louisville
A Mobile-Based Virtual Reality Grocery Store for Reducing Social Anxiety in Student Veterans: A Case Study
Mark Trahan, PhD, Texas State University; Laura Huerta, BS, Southwest Texas State University; Vangelis Metsis, PhD, Texas State University; Erica Nason, PhD, Southwest Texas State University
Automated Identification of Domestic Violence in Written Child Welfare Records: A Mixed Methods Approach Using Text Mining and Machine Learning
Bryan Victor, PhD, Indiana University; Brian Perron, PhD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Rebeccah Sokol, PhD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Lisa Fedina, PhD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Joseph Ryan, PhD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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