Social workers' attitudes toward civil and divorce mediation

Rebecca S Helman, Fordham University


An attitude survey was administered to 136 clinical social workers who were field supervisors for the Fordham University School of Social Work. The survey instrument contained scales measuring the workers' attitudes toward civil mediation, their attitudes toward divorce mediation, and background and demographic variables. The background variables included factors which were thought to be related to attitudes toward mediation, including training in mediation, experience conducting mediation, personal experience using mediation, and acquaintance with a professional mediator. Results indicated that social workers held generally favorable attitudes toward both civil and divorce mediation. However, very few of the respondents had actually conducted mediation, and very few felt that they were "very knowledgeable" regarding mediation. Most respondents felt that they had some knowledge of mediation. There was a significant positive correlation between experience conducting mediations and attitudes toward divorce mediation. Attitudes toward both civil and divorce mediation were correlated positively with self-reported knowledge of the mediation process. Results were interpreted as indicating a need for more preservice and inservice training in mediation for social workers. Since parties to disputes who use mediation typically report that they are satisfied with the results, efforts should be made to expand the utilization of mediation in various settings, including social work agencies.

Subject Area

Social work

Recommended Citation

Helman, Rebecca S, "Social workers' attitudes toward civil and divorce mediation" (1998). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9835547.