Towards a Research Agenda for Social Work Practice in Virtual Worlds


  • Scott P. Anstadt Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Ashley Burnette Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Shannon Bradley Florida Gulf Coast University



Social work, virtual world, Second Life


Due to the unique applications of virtual reality in many modern contexts, Second Life (SL) offers inimitable opportunities for research and exploration. A review of current research regarding SL has examined the influence of real world social influences in online interactions and what the effects on users may be. This suggests the importance of developing an understanding of the relationship between users’ real life and their Second Life, and how the two are related. Some research has begun to reveal the effectiveness of telecommunication and computer simulation with certain clients in the fields of mental health and social work, yet there is a lack of sufficient research done within the context of virtual worlds. The implications for social work intervention in virtual reality could solve persistent concerns with transportation, distance, access to services and education, however questions about the relevance of social work practice in SL and the potential for implementation must be answered.

Author Biographies

Scott P. Anstadt, Florida Gulf Coast University

Assistant Professor

Ashley Burnette, Florida Gulf Coast University

MSW Concentration Year student

Shannon Bradley, Florida Gulf Coast University

MSW Concentration Year student