Development of Professional Identity among Social Work Students: Contributing Factors

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Based on the person-in-environment theory, this article presents empirical findings on the contribution of organizational resources (satisfaction with supervision), personal resources (empathic concern, self-differentiation, and sense of coherence), and environmental resources (values) to the professional identity of social work students. The sample consists of 160 social work students who were about to complete their Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degrees. The participants filled out a set of questionnaires which examined these resources. Two variables contributed directly to the development of professional identity: satisfaction with supervision and personal values. Social values, self-differentiation, and empathic concern contributed to the development of a professional identity only when they interacted with satisfaction with supervision. Practical recommendations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-255
Number of pages16
JournalThe Clinical Supervisor
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • person in the environment
  • professional identity
  • social work students


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