Working conditions of social workers in the health system and psychosocial repercussions

Citations of this article
Mendeley users who have this article in their library.


This article discusses aspects of the work conditions and the psychosocial repercussions of social workers enrolled in the Brazilian National Health System (SUS). This research was performed through a qualitative-quantitative investigation involving both the nationwide application of questionnaires and individual interviews and focus groups with social workers employed in SUS’ three levels of complexity. A total of 295 social workers answered the questionnaire in the country, 53,3% of which in the state of São Paulo. Main findings suggest that the social workers, despite most of them being public servers and working 30-hours a week, show inadequate working conditions, since 39% do not have rooms for individual care and 30% reported having no privacy at work. From a psychosocial perspective, the questionnaire scales that assess working conditions and well-being during work showed that the professionals feel conflicted with their working conditions since it did not report significant data on feelings of insecurity, impotence, frustration or discomfort. There is recognition of the usefulness of their work and they perceive the precarization of services and subsequent decrease in the quality of the services provided – which was expressed in the interviews as a constant tension towards their engagement in guaranteeing the right to health. Thus, the high levels of well-being observed in the scales can be seen as difficulties in recognizing the precarious conditions to which they are submitted or even as defensive strategies for the non-confrontation of these conditions, together with the inability to perceive their own situation as precarious.




Lourenço, E., Goulart, P., Anunciação, L., & Lacaz, F. A. de C. (2019). Working conditions of social workers in the health system and psychosocial repercussions. Saude e Sociedade, 28(1), 154–168.

Register to see more suggestions

Mendeley helps you to discover research relevant for your work.

Already have an account?

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free