Value Preferences of Social Workers

Eugene Tartakovsky, Sophie D. Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study examines value preferences of social workers in Israel. Using a theoretical framework of person-environment fit paradigm and theory of values, the study compared social workers (N = 641, mean age = 37.7 years, 91 percent female) with a representative sample of Israeli Jews (N = 1,600, mean age = 44.2, 52 percent female). Questionnaires included personal value preferences and sociodemographic variables (gender, age, education, religiosity, and immigrant status). Multivariate analysis of covariance showed that value preferences of social workers differed significantly from those of the general population. Analyses of covariance showed that social workers reported a higher preference for self-transcendence and a lower preference for conservation and self-enhancement values. Results have significance for the selection, training, and supervision of social workers. They suggest that it is important to assess to what extent selection processes for social workers are primarily recruiting social workers with shared values, thus creating an overly homogenous population of social workers. An understanding of personal value motivations can help social workers in their own process of self-development and growth, and to understand how the profession can fulfill their basic motivations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-124
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Work
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Israel
  • person-environment fit
  • personal value preferences
  • social work profession


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