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The use of theory and research knowledge in child protection social work practice: A study of disorganised attachment and child protection assessment

Wilkins, David (2015) The use of theory and research knowledge in child protection social work practice: A study of disorganised attachment and child protection assessment. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,.

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Abstract

This thesis seeks to examine how child protection social workers use theory and research knowledge related to disorganised attachment in the course of their practice with potentially abused or neglected children. In order to facilitate this understanding, three supplementary research questions are posed – (1) ‘how do child protection social workers use the theory and research knowledge related to disorganised attachment in work with children who may be at risk of significant harm due to abuse or neglect?’ (2) ‘how do child protection social workers use theory and research knowledge related to disorganised attachment when assessing children who may be at risk of significant harm due to abuse or neglect?’ and (3) ‘how do child protection social workers incorporate the theory and research knowledge related to disorganised attachment into their existing social work practice?’ The research described in this thesis consists of the use of two methods – guided conversation interviews and Q-method. In answer to the primary research aim, it was found that child protection social workers, suitably trained, are able to usefully apply the theory and research knowledge related to disorganised attachment in practice and that they may do so in a small variety of ways related to developing a better understanding of the children and carers they work with; as a way of aiding them to help and support the carers of the child being assessed, and as a way of completing better assessments. Thematically, it was notable that all of the participants described their use of the theory and research knowledge related to disorganised attachment by reference to the methods and techniques they were able to put into practice, such as Adult and Child Attachment Interviews, and how their use of this theory and research knowledge was thus mediated or applied via the use of these and other similar techniques. As a result of these findings, further research would be useful as to how the development of new techniques (or co-option of existing techniques) may be helpful as a way of facilitating the transfer of theory and research knowledge into social work practice. Further research regarding the impact of the use of theory and research knowledge related to disorganised attachment in child protection social work practice would also be useful, particularly whether the outcomes for children and families are improved as a result.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Shemmings, David
Thesis advisor: Shaw, Simon
Uncontrolled keywords: social work, child protection, abuse, neglect, assessment, attachment
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2015 15:00 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 14:41 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/48930 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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