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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Social action in response to an external threat Dean, Ava May


The problem for study was whether certain selected factors influenced social workers' responses to nuclear disarmament. Using a random sampling of B.C.A.S.W. members throughout the province of British Columbia, a semi-structured mail questionnaire solicited responses to a number of questions aimed at discovering the respondents' perceptions of the seriousness of the nuclear threat, the sense of personal or professional responsibility for action against that threat, belief in their own ability, and the B.C.A.S.W.'s ability to act to counter the threat, and their sense of personal efficacy. Most respondents saw nuclear disarmament as a social work issue that was important in comparison with other issues, and for which social workers had something unique to offer. The majority also saw global social issues to be as important as local ones and money spent on the arms race as taking money away from social programs. However, respondents saw very little adverse effects on their clients, their families, and themselves. There were some relationships individually between respondents' nuclear disarmament activity and the selected factors. There were no strong relationships, however, between single items of measure and respondents' actual nuclear disarmament activity, and there were moderate relationships between measures of B.C.A.S.W. ability to act and respondents' activity. As well, there were low relationships between several items of personal and professional responsibility and respondents' nuclear disarmament activity. However, action may result from a combinations of factors, rather than one factor in isolation, and multiple regression techniques could show stronger relationships. Respondents were inconsistent in their answers. This means that, in looking at social workers' attitudes toward the threat of nuclear war, research may have to deal with the issue on several levels: the political, the personal, the professional, and the social.

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