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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Project: Campus only access

Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Lanesskog, Deirdre


The Hispanic/Latino population in Southern California is quickly becoming the majority in many communities. As a result, social work professionals need training and education in cultural and linguistic skills to work effectively with this diverse population. The purpose of this study was to examine the linguistic competency and comfort of social work students when working with Spanish-speaking clients who speak little to no English. The study used a quantitative, self-administered, online survey to assess 106 social work students’ Spanish language abilities, comfort working with Spanish-speaking clients, and desires to improve their Spanish language skills. Results indicated that students who identified as native Spanish-speakers with and without formal language education, scored better on the objective assessment of Spanish-language skills and reported feeling more comfortable working with Spanish-speaking clients. Students with little to no Spanish-speaking ability scored very low on the language quiz, and yet reported feeling very comfortable working with Spanish-speaking clients. The majority of participants expressed interest in Spanish-language social work curriculum within the CSUSB School of Social Work. The findings of this study suggest that social work students would benefit to receive Spanish social work courses as part of the social work curricula.