• UNDERSTANDING FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH POSITIVE SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE WITH SEXUAL AND GENDER MINORITY CLIENTS: A COMPARISON OF CLIENT TYPE AND ASSESSMENT TOOLS

      Leitch, Judith; Lee, Bethany R.; 0000-0002-6201-5609 (2017)
      Background. Research indicates that practice behaviors with gay and lesbian clients are determined by practitioners' knowledge, skills, attitudes, self-efficacy, and beliefs. It is currently unknown how these determinants relate to practice with other sexual and gender minority (SGM) clients such as bisexual and gender minority (GM) clients. Additionally, measurement in this area is limited as the current standard measure of affirmative practice has been criticized for a lack of validity. Purpose. The current study has five goals: 1) To learn about how determinants of practice differ when working with SGM sub-groups, 2) To determine how affirmative practice behaviors differ between SGM subgroups, 3) To refine the current model of practice with SGM clients by differentiating between knowledge and skills, 4) To test the interaction between client type and practice determinant, and 5) To establish basic psychometric properties of the LGBT Competency Assessment Tool (LGBT-CAT), a new way to measure practice behavior with SGM clients. Method. A cross-sectional design was used to learn about participant's practice via an online survey. Participants included practicing social workers (N =357) completing a measures about their practices with either lesbian and gay male clients, bisexual clients, or GM clients. Results. Participants had more positive attitudes about lesbian and gay male clients than GM clients, and greater skills in working with lesbian and gay male clients than in working with either bisexual or GM clients. Engagement in affirmative practice behaviors did not vary between client types. Knowledge and skills appear to be different but related constructs in their relationship with clinical practice with SGM clients. No interaction was found between practice determinant and client type in predicting practice behavior. In a model of practice determinants with all SGM clients, both skills and self-efficacy were significant predictors of positive practice behaviors. The LGBT-CAT demonstrated good reliability and basic psychometric properties. Conclusion. Client type should be considered when educating and training practitioners to work with SGM clients. Both knowledge and skills should be included in future practice models with SGM clients, and research should be done to improve measurement in this content area.