Social Work Practice Behaviors and Beliefs: Rural-Urban Differences?

  • Tom A. Croxton
  • Srinika Jayaratne
  • Debra Mattison
Keywords: Socialworkers, ethics, urban-rural, standards of practice, practice behaviors-beliefs


There is continuing debate within the social work profession on whether there are significant differences in the practice behaviors and beliefs between rural and urban clinical social workers and whether different standards should be applied in defining ethical practices. This study measures those differences with regard to five practice behaviors: bartering,maintaining confidentiality, competent practice, dual relationships, and social relationships. Differences were found in beliefs regarding the appropriateness of professional behavior though such differences did not translate into practice behaviors.More significantly, the research suggests considerable confusion about the meanings of ethical standards and the utilization of intervention techniques without formal training across both urban and rural social workers.