Choosing Social Work as a Profession: Behavioural Indicators of a Developmental Process

Yael Enoch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The choice of an occupation is a lengthy process that takes place during adolescence. The young person passes through a number of stages until he or she reaches a realistic choice based on an awareness of his/her own potential and of the existing occupational opportunities. Empirical studies have generally attempted to reconstruct the attitudinal stages respondents went through prior to reaching their final choice. Hardly any attempts have been made to demonstrate the existence of these stages by means of behavioural indicators. The present paper tries to demonstrate that the process of occupational choice, which leads to the social work profession, is accompanied on the behavioural level by participation in a number of frameworks for people oriented work. The empirical data reported are drawn from a study that compared between social work students and social science (sociology, political science, economics) students in Israel The respondents were 279 students in a university based school of social work and 263 social science students from the same university. It was found that a larger proportion of the former than of the latter group had indeed participated in people-oriented work, during the years prior to university entrance. Their activities in these frameworks were interpreted as reflecting, on the behavioural level, stages in the gradual crystallisation of their occupational choice. The possible implications for recruitment to social work training are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-66
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Work Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1993


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