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The role of social workers in addressing trauma of poverty : a Kenyan perspective / Elijah Macharia Ndung'u
AuthorNdung'u, Elijah Macharia
CensorOttomeyer, Klaus ; Becker, David
PublishedKlagenfurt, March, 2015
Descriptionxxviii, 185 Blätter : Diagramme
Institutional NoteAlpen Adria Universität Klagenfurt, Dissertation, 2015
LanguageEnglish
Bibl. ReferenceOeBB
Document typeDissertation (PhD)
Keywords (DE)Social worker / trauma / poverty / trauma of poverty / resilience / psychological / social development
Keywords (EN)Social worker / trauma / poverty / trauma of poverty / resilience / psychological / social development
Keywords (GND)Kenia / Armut / Stressor / Tod / Naturkatastrophe / Trauma / Sozialarbeiter
URNurn:nbn:at:at-ubk:1-25664 Persistent Identifier (URN)
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Abstract (English)

The Role of Social Workers in Addressing Trauma of Poverty: A Kenyan Perspective Extreme poverty is a tormenting, dehumanizing and distressing daily phenomenon for the poor and vulnerable in society, which may invariably cause extreme distress to the non-resilient poor hence a predisposing factor to trauma. Extreme poverty viewed as inaccessibility to or lack of basic human needs, like shelter, food, clothing, safe drinking water, basic social and health services, and unemployment, poses a big risk for people being traumatized in addition to impeding social development, personal growth and capabilities of the poor. The study argues that much as poverty and the associated trauma can be explained in economic terms, interventions ought to be stretched beyond economic limits and encompass the psychological dimension whose effect and impact cannot be underestimated. The study assesses how trauma arising from poverty is indeed traumatizing to the poor and non-resilient in society. The research study goes beyond the clinically conventional Western conceptualization of trauma and its causes to define and explain trauma of poverty. The main objective was to establish the role of social workers in addressing trauma of poverty among social work clients in Kenya and thus enhancing their capability to effectively contribute towards poverty reduction and social development. The main theories used were the Sequential Traumatization Theory (Hans Keilson) and The Three Stage Model (Judith Lewis Herman), others were: Diathesis Stress Theory (Blueler and Rosenthal), The Psychological Stress and Coping Theory -Transactional Theory ( Richard Lazarus and Susan Folkman ) and Attachment Theory(John Bolwby ). The study was cross-sectional and used both qualitative and quantitative methods. It was based in Nairobi and Nakuru Counties. The study comprised of 141 respondents (91 social work practitioners, 10 key informants and 40 social work clients). Data collection methods used were interviews and FGDs (4) while SPSS was used for data analysis. The key findings of the study were; social workers noted that trauma of poverty was a major issue affecting social work clients with a prevalence rate of 64.8%. As such almost all social workers (98.9%) agreed that social work profession has a role to play in addressing trauma of poverty among their clientele. Likewise, 94.5% of the social workers acknowledged that addressing trauma of poverty should be prioritized while addressing poverty related issues. This was due to a high positive perception by social workers (72.5%) towards addressing trauma of poverty and the attainment of sustainable trauma management interventions. Consequently, the developmental social work approach was most preferred by social workers (37.4%) followed by generalist social work (30.8%) and the least preferred was therapeutic (28.6%) approach. Even though the developmental approach was the most preferred by social workers, it may not be as effective as the therapeutic approach in addressing trauma of poverty. Nonetheless, it is the most ideal choice for social workers due to its nature of offering immediate results unlike other approaches like therapeutic which take much longer for results to be realized. The choice of developmental approach is also a clear indication of a paradigm shift of social workers from the conventional curative or remedial social work practice and towards developmental social work practice or social development approach. In line with such a shift, the social workers were also utilizing indigenous methods or strategies in addressing the problems their clients are faced with. Such as; support groups - women self help groups, use of extended family structures to help the clients which is based on traditional family ties present, use of savings and internal lending community initiative, income generating activities and involving village elders in resolving community issues. Women were more affected than men by trauma emanating from poverty because of cultural barriers (acknowledged by 91.2% of social workers). Poverty research has widened its breadth in the past few decades embracing more comprehensive conceptualizations (Wagle, 2008); however, there is still paucity in research towards addressing the psychological aspect of poverty. Perhaps it is time social workers take a review of the dynamism of poverty in the 21st Century and re-evaluate the interventions applied to address poverty from its multidimensional aspect to embrace a holistic approach. Keywords: Social worker, trauma, poverty, trauma of poverty, resilience, psychological and social development

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