This appears to be the first piece of research in the UK to focus exclusively on stress, support and well-being of social work students. The findings of a postal questionnaire indicated no statistically significant differences related to gender, age, year of study or family commitments. Social work students enjoyed a high sense of personal accomplishment. They enjoyed their work with users. Students undertaking part-time work were subject to significantly more demands than other students. Important support was obtained from fellow students, course tutors and practice teachers, but significant numbers of students experienced problems with low self-esteem and emotional exhaustion. They would probably benefit from additional opportunities for mutual group support, individual tutorial support and stress management courses. Wider structural issues include the need for more adequate funding for students to reduce the need to undertake part-time employment. Findings from this study encourage a focus on intervention at different levels to reduce stress with individual students, groups of students, practice teachers, course staff and the institutional environment.
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