Religious discrimination in social work: Preliminary evidence

Lawrence E. Ressler, David Hodge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Using quantitative and qualitative methods, this study explored perceptions of compliance with the ethical standards related to religion (N = 222). As posited, perceptions of ethical compliance were lower among social workers who affirmed a conservative or orthodox theological orientation compared to those who affirmed a liberal or progressive theology. Standards of particular concern were those related to (a) social work education about religious diversity and the oppression religious people encounter and (b) efforts to prevent and eliminate religious discrimination. In concert with these findings, qualitative analysis indicated two areas of major concern: institutional settings, such as academia, and colleagues. Respondents reported being demeaned, denigrated, ridiculed, and scorned by social work colleagues due to their religious beliefs, particularly in educational settings. Interestingly, 44% of both orthodox and progressive respondents knew of clients who had experienced discrimination due to their religious beliefs at the hands of social work colleagues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-74
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 20 2006


  • Ethics
  • Religious views
  • Social work education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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