Graduating MSW Students’ Recommended Interventions for Teen Dating Violence: A Descriptive Analysis


  • Heidi Adams Rueda The University of Texas at San Antonio, Department of Social Work
  • Alicia Hawley The University of Texas at Arlington, School of Social Work
  • Beverly M. Black The University of Texas at Arlington, School of Social Work
  • Bernadette Ombayo



Social work education, adolescent dating abuse, dating violence intervention, direct practice, school social work, qualitative methods


Teen dating violence (TDV) is a widespread issue that social workers are likely to encounter in their practice with youth, yet little research exists concerning their preparedness to do so. This study assessed the proposed interventions of graduating MSW students (n=73) from two accredited universities in response to two scenarios of TDV. Each scenario reflected various forms of relational violence. Nearly one-third of students’ proposed interventions focused on the need to deliver some form of education, healthy relationships being the most prevalent theme. Other interventions included teaching about appropriate boundaries, issues of control and anger, self-esteem-building, and communication skills. The second most common set of responses pertained to individual assessment, and the third to individual and couple’s counseling. Few comments identified specific TDV interventions, such as safety planning or evidence-based prevention programs. Students’ recommendations for education and counseling rather than safety planning or multi-level interventions indicate that social work programs need to provide specific content in MSW curricula related to TDV and evidence-based interventions. 

Author Biography

Heidi Adams Rueda, The University of Texas at San Antonio, Department of Social Work

Assistant Professor


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