Social workers in pediatric primary care: communication, gender, and scope of practice

Soc Work Health Care. 2014;53(2):115-34. doi: 10.1080/00981389.2013.851141.


While many child mental health issues manifest themselves in primary care, few pediatricians have received mental health training, and their communication with social workers may be limited due to unfamiliarity with mental health professions. The purpose of this study was to use ethnographic interviews to investigate factors affecting communication satisfaction between social workers and pediatricians. The study found that scope of practice issues were a communication barrier. This barrier is significant because health reform may lead social workers and pediatricians to collaborate more frequently in the future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anthropology, Cultural
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Pediatrics / organization & administration*
  • Pediatrics / standards
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Work / methods
  • Social Work / organization & administration*
  • Workforce