MSW Students’ Understanding of Social Location: The Development of a Positionality Measure
Peña, Stephanie Lechuga
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The current study presents findings from a pilot study of a positionality measure, developed to assess MSW students’ understanding of positionality encountered in field practice settings. Positionality refers to one’s social location and worldview, which influences how one responds to power differentials in various contexts. This construct is important for social work, as one’s own positionality impacts one’s approach when working with clients, during community engagement, and policy-making. As such, this study examined the utility of developing a positionality measure to assess how MSW students understand and respond to issues related to power, privilege, and oppression in field practice settings. The current study highlights the process of developing and piloting the positionality measure, and preliminary findings from the dissemination of the measure to a sample of MSW students (N = 103) engaged in field placements. Future opportunities for item refinement, including the further establishment of reliability and validity for the measure are discussed.