The social worker self-efficacy in client-centeredness questionnaire (SWSECCQ): a psychometric validation study among students

Martin Hammershøj Olesen, Sabine Jørgensen

Research output: Contribution to conference without a publisher/journalPaperResearchpeer-review


Within the field of social work with children, adolescents and families, it has been widely accepted, that the social worker-client relationship determines both quality and outcome of care. In this study, two theoretical traditions within psychology inform the notion above; experienced social worker self-efficacy (i.e., social cognitive theory; Bandura, 1977), and competencies within client-centered communication (i.e., humanistic psychology; Rogers, 1959). However, adopting psychological theory and research into social work with children and families is only a first step. Thus, the purpose of this study is to develop a general quantitative measure, which in large-scale studies, could document that in fact, social worker self-efficacy and client-centeredness play such a significant role. In terms of method, Danish 5th semester students at VIA University College, School of social work in Aarhus (N=234, mean age=29.6 years, 86.8% women), who had recently returned from their internship-semester, filled out the current questionnaire (i.e., adapted from the SEPCQ; Zachariae et al., 2015). They also filled out a range of other questionnaires. Measures of social worker autonomy support, as well as intrinsic- and extrinsic reasons for choosing to become a social worker (adapted from the questionnaires HCCQ and TSRQ, which originate in Self-determination theory). Further, a measure of well-being (who-5), and personality traits (brief version of IPIP-NEO). SWSECCQ measures social worker self-efficacy and client-centeredness by self-reporting 27 sentence statements, starting with “I am confident that I am able to…”. Each statement is scored on a Likert scale ranging from “0 – To a very low degree” to “4 – To a very high degree”. Three subscales or dimensions characterize SWSECCQ, in which items are grouped and summarized: 1 – Exploring the client perspective (10 items, mean=33.8, SD=4.35, alfa reliability=.85), sample item “Make the client feel, that he/she can talk with me about confidential, personal issues”; 2 – Sharing information and power (10 items, mean=30.0, SD=5.3, alfa reliability=.86), sample item “Reach agreement with the client about which plan for social care should be implemented”; 3 – Dealing with communicative challenges (7 items, mean=19.1, SD=4.0, alfa reliability=.75), sample item “To maintain the relationship with the client when he/she is angry”. Results of analyzing inter-correlations between subscales show expected, large and positive relationships (r’s range=.51 – .66). Correlation analyses of construct validity show expected positive, small to moderate relationships with social worker autonomy support (r’s range=.23 – .43) and intrinsic motivation for studying social work (r’s range=.13 – .30), likewise with trait conscientiousness (r’s range=.0 – .20), agreeableness (r’s range=.0 – .23) and openness to experience (r’s range=.1 – .23). Further, analysis showed expected small, negative relationships with extrinsic motivation (r’s range=-.0 – -.14) and trait neuroticism (r’s range=-.14 – -.22), whereas relationships with well-being were insignificant. In conclusion, these results show that SWSECCQ is a psychometrically reliable and valid questionnaire, at least when examining students, and thus the current study should replicate in a sample of practitioners. In addition, these initial steps of measurement development could generate future studies documenting the importance of social worker-client relationships and their influence upon client outcomes. Specific characteristics of client-centered skills, when working with children, adolescents and families, still need further clarification.
Translated title of the contributionSpørgeskema om socialarbejderes tiltro til egne evner for borger-centreret kommunikation (SWSECCQ): Et psychometrisk valideringsstudie
Original languageEnglish
Publication date5 Oct 2018
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2018
EventEUSARF 2018: All children, all families - University of Portugal, Porto, Portugal
Duration: 2 Oct 20185 Oct 2018


ConferenceEUSARF 2018
LocationUniversity of Portugal
Internet address


  • social work and social conditions


Dive into the research topics of 'The social worker self-efficacy in client-centeredness questionnaire (SWSECCQ): a psychometric validation study among students'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this