Religion and social work essay

Skip to main content. Social Work Personal Statements. Please do not plagiarise them in any way, or UCAS will penalise your application. Social Work Personal Statement. Prior to my residency in the UK, I have lived in one of the developing countries of Africa-Nigeria- a country where social inequality, poverty, social injustice and lack of respect for human right prevail I have decided to take up the course in social work because firstly the subjects which I am doing sociology looks at people and society's problems, I have in this subject done work on family and at the moment doing religion, this has fascinated me to help people who are facing problems such as abuse in families The one thing I have always known I'd like to do with my life is to help people.

I'm applying for a course in social work because essentially making a difference in people's lives is the most important aspect of a future career to me, than any other Having spent the last four years working in the social care field, I have come to realise that my passion lies in helping people who are less advantaged. I am currently taking an access to higher education course to further my ambition to become a social worker Social Work is something I have always been interested in, especially working with children and families.

Helping people overcome obstacles and difficulties and making the most of themselves is a very rewarding yet challenging career I am applying for a place to study social work because I have always wanted to be able to make a difference to people's lives. With social work I believe I can do this in a caring and supportive way. In addition Religiously, the mother was far more involved than her husband, the difference in regular religious participation between the addict's parents being twice that for the control's parents Religiously, the addicts were significantly less involved in reading the Bible, and praying.

Louis A.

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Cancellaro of the Department of Psychiatry at the Veterans Administration in Johnson City, Tennessee, writes that, "Like their fathers, addicts are less religiously involved than their normal peers, and during adolescence, less frequently make decisions either to become more interested in religion or to commit themselves to a re ligious philosophy to live by. In reviewing the religious treatment of addicts, research psychiatrists at the Duke University Department of Psychiatry concluded in "[The] role of religious commitment and religiously oriented treatment programs can be significant factors which ought to be considered and included when planning a mix of appropriate treatment alternatives Perhaps the greatest advantage of religious programs is their recourse to churches as a support system Religious treatment programs are not suitable for everyone.

For those men and women who can accept the creeds, rituals, and commitments required of such programs there seem to be certain advantages.

The Relationship Between Religion and Social Change Essay | Bartleby

Suicide The practice of religion reduces the rate of suicide, both in the United States and abroad. Those who attend church frequently are four times less likely to commit suicide than those who never attend. Conversely, the national decline in church attendance is associated with a heightened suicide rate; fluctuations in church attendance rates in the s paralleled the suicide rates for different subgroups: whites, blacks, men, and women. Steven Stack, professor of sociology at Pennsylvania State University, in a landmark study on the demography of suicide has found that "Families and religion change together over time As the importance of the domestic-religious institutional complex declines, the study finds a rise in the rate of suicide, both for the general population and for the age cohort at the center of the decline, the youth cohort.

Should I Mention Religion in My College Essay? (Parts 2 & 3)

In inter-state comparisons, higher levels of church attendance are associated with lower rates of suicide. Depression religion appears to reduce the incidence of depression among those with medical problems. For instance, University of Michigan Professor of Sociology David Williams conducted a randomized survey of adults suffering from leg and hip injuries in New Haven, Connecticut, in Those who attended religious services regularly were less depressed and less distressed by life events than those who did not. This finding held across age, race, socioeconomic status, educational attainment, and religious affiliation.

Religious affiliation alone did not have these effects, but religious behavior did. Younger people also tend to experience fewer of the anxieties of growing up if they are religious. For instance, both male and female Texas high-schoolers found that religious beliefs gave meaning to their lives and reduced the incidence of depression among them.

Self-esteem The absence of self-esteem weakens the personality and puts the person at greater risk for crime, addictions, and other social maladies. Significantly, self-esteem is linked to a person's image of God. Those with high self-esteem think of God primarily as loving, while those with low self-esteem think of God primarily as punitive. It is safe to say that every one of them fell ill because he had lost that which the living religions of every age have given their followers and none of them has been really healed who did not regain his religious outlook.

Recent advances in the investigation of religious behavior have led social scientists to distinguish between two distinct categories or orientations: "intrinsic" and "extrinsic. Research shows this form of religious practice to be beneficial. Extrinsic practice is self-oriented and characterized by outward observance, not internalized as a guide to behavior or attitudes.

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The evidence suggests this form of religious practice is actually more harmful than no religion: religion directed toward some end other than God, or the transcendent, typically degenerates into a rationalization for the pursuit of other ends such as status, personal security, self justification, or sociability. The difference between these two forms of religious practice have implications for future research and for the interpretation of all research on religious practice.

There is a radical difference between what religious people know to be conversion of the spirit or heart and simply conforming external behavior for its own sake, or for benefits derived from religious behavior. William James, professor of psychology at Harvard University in the early s and a pioneer in the psychological study of religious behavior, was the first to make the social science distinction between the two forms of religious practice. Gordon Allport, his successor at Harvard in the late s, concluded: "I feel equally sure that mental health is facilitated by an intrinsic, but not an extrinsic, religious orientation.

The two orientations lead to two very different sets of psychological effects. For instance, "intrinsics" have a greater sense of responsibility and greater internal control, are more self-motivated, and do better in their studies. By contrast, "extrinsics" are more likely to be dogmatic, authoritarian, and less responsible, to have less internal control, to be less self-directed, and to do less well in their studies.

By contrast, extrinsics are more self-indulgent, indolent, and likely to lack dependability. For example, the most racially prejudiced people turn out to be those who go to church occasionally [] and those who are extrinsic in their practice of religion. The contrasting effects show up in college students.

Intrinsically religious students tend to have internal locus of control, intrinsic motives, and a higher grade point average. Intrinsically religious students were found to have a greater concern for moral standards and to be more conscientious, disciplined, responsible, and consistent, while the extrinsic were more self-indulgent, more indolent, and less dependable. In general, intrinsics are less anxious about life's ups and downs, while extrinsics are more anxious.


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Further, the religious beliefs and practices of intrinsics are more integrated; for instance, they are more likely to worship publicly as well as pray privately. By contrast, those who pray privately but do not worship publicly tend to have a higher level of general anxiety -- a characteristic of extrinsics generally. Religious teachers, without being utilitarian, would agree. There is a tension between practitioners of social science and religious belief. Henry, professors of sociology at Brigham Young University, write: "From the work of Freud and others, much of the early history of the social sciences is characterized by the expectation that involvement in and reliance upon the religious institution will be associated with people who have a low sense of personal well-being.

Christopher McCrudden

There is repeated evidence that much the same hostility to religion -- a hostility at variance with the attitude of the vast majority of Americans -- persists among members of America's professional elites. Stephen L. Carter, professor of law at Yale University, points out that "One sees a trend in our political and legal cultures toward treating religious beliefs as arbitrary and unimportant, a trend supported by rhetoric that implies that there is something wrong with religious devotion. More and more, our culture seems to take the position that believing deeply in the tenets of one's faith represents a kind of mystical irrationality, something that thoughtful, public-spirited American citizens would do better to avoid.

Professor David Larson of Duke University Medical School draws attention to similar biases in the mental health professions. Consider The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual , the standard reference manual for the classification of mental illnesses, which essentially defines the practice of psychiatrists, clinical psychology, and clinical social work and is central to the practice, research, and financing of these professions.

In the third edition, religious examples were used only as illustrations in discussions of mental illness, such as delusions, incoherence, and illogical thinking. The latest edition has corrected this bias. Consider also the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, one of the most widely used of all psychological tests.

In the MMPI, all the positive religion-connected traits -- self-discipline, altruism, humility, obedience to authority, conventional morality -- are weighted negatively. Thus, to choose the self-description "I am orthodoxly religious" is to detract from one's mental health standing. Conversely, several traits that religious people would regard as diminishing themselves, at least in some situations -- self-assertion, self-expression, and a high opinion of oneself -- are weighted positively.

Despite this general hostility among social science and mental health professionals, the empirical evidence shows religion to be a very powerful and positive part of everyday life. Patrick McNamara, professor of sociology at the University of New Mexico, explains the difference between social scientists and religiously affiliated people generally: "Sociologists tend to see concern for personal challenge -- e. Despite the attitude of many professionals, Gallup surveys continue to indicate that one-third of the American people regard religious commitment as the most important dimension in their lives.

Another third regard religion as a very important, though not the single most dominant, factor in their lives.


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  • Totally secular approaches to many issues -- public policy, psychotherapy, and education -- use an alien framework for this two-thirds of the population. The plain fact is that religion plays a powerful role in the personal and social lives of most Americans. It is a role that should be understood clearly by the professions, by policymakers, and by the media. From many other areas of social science research -- family dynamics, group dynamics, marital dynamics -- positive reciprocal relationships with others are known to be powerful across a host of areas similar to those reviewed in this paper: stress, ability to relate with others in general, productivity, and learning, to name just a few.

    The core of the religious commitment is an intention to have a positive relationship with another Being, a transcendent and therefore all-available Being. Viewed in this fashion, the documented effects of religious commitment are not mysterious, but an extension of the effects which we know arise from positive relations between human beings. Thus, the findings on religion fit with the general corpus of what is known about relationships from the existing body of social science research. The evidence indicates strongly that it is a good social policy to foster the widespread practice of religion.

    It is bad social policy to block it. The widespread practice of religious beliefs is one of America's greatest national resources.

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    It strengthens individuals, families, communities, and society as a whole. It significantly affects educational and job attainment and reduces the incidence of such major social problems as out-of-wedlock births, drug and alcohol addiction, crime, and delinquency.

    No other dimension of the nation's life, other than the health of the family which the data show also is tied powerfully to religious practice should be of more concern to those who guide the future course of the United States. The original intent of the Founding Fathers was to bar the establishment by the federal government of a state-approved religion, not to bar religion from the operations of the state.

    George Washington summed up the importance of religion to the new nation with particular eloquence in his farewell address:. The rule indeed extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?

    A policy can be friendly to the general practice of religion, and to the many different faiths in a pluralistic society, without in any way implying the establishment of a particular religion. Federal policies encourage many other institutions: the marketplace, education, medicine, science, and the arts.

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