Social Work Roles in Drug Treatment with Youthedit
Social workers working with youth, who are prescribed psychotropic medication, are routinely faced with tasks pertaining to psychopharmacologic treatment. Little is known, however, about how these workers contribute to the medication treatment process or the impact of their contributions. The purpose of this national survey of social workers practicing with youth was to explore three areas: (1) the frequency of medication-related functions with adolescent clients; (2) the worker, client, and contextual factors associated with greater involvement; and (3) social workers’ perceptions of the effects of greater involvement on treatment processes and outcomes. Our findings suggested that in relation to medication treatment, social workers more frequently interfaced with clients than physicians, and that various treatment context and individual factors are associated with greater involvement. Social workers also perceived their involvement as associated with some desirable treatment processes/outcomes, especially the inclusion of adolescents in decision-making.