Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Joseph, Rigaud


The purpose of this study was to explore emotional exhaustion among child welfare social workers in Southern California. Most of the research studies on this area have been conducted outside the southern region of the Golden State. Through semi-structured interviews with 12 current and former child welfare social workers, this study found three major themes: (1) child welfare social workers suffer from a multifaceted form of emotional exhaustion; (2) child welfare social workers believe that the benefits of child welfare ultimately outweigh its costs, and (3) child welfare social workers use a variety of ways to cope with work-related emotional exhaustion. Implications of these findings for child welfare are discussed.

Keywords: emotional exhaustion, child welfare, social work, qualitative research methodology

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