Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Dr. Teresa Morris


Nutrition is related to the mental well-being of clients. However, the nutritional views and practices of social workers in the mental health field have not been thoroughly explored. By using the post-positivist paradigm, 15 mental health social work students were interviewed for their perspectives regarding nutrition and nutrition’s effect on stress. Their main ideas were identified, connected, and organized to develop a theoretical statement. The resulting theory focused on the development of social work students' perspectives in applying nutrition into their mental health practice. The students were influenced by a variety of background factors, including their education, barriers to applying nutrition into their mental health practice, and solutions to the barriers. Background factors affected the students' thoughts on nutrition, including their abstract thoughts, food, eating behaviors, and general well-being. The students' thoughts influenced their application of mental health treatment with nutrition and its compounding variables. Lastly, the students suggested nutrition and mental health treatment approaches, which consisted of providing nutrition assessments, discussions, education, demonstrations, linkages, and macro interventions.