Emotional dissonance in medical social work practice

Keith R. Nelson, Joseph R. Merighi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This qualitative study examined several ecological aspects of medical social work practice that affect social workers' emotional well-being. Forty-seven medical social workers from seven hospitals participated in small group interviews in which practice experiences were explored. A grounded theory approach was used to analyze the data, with emotional dissonance emerging as a central theme. Community, family, and individual factors contributing to emotional dissonance are presented, and the effect of social support is examined. Implications for social work practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-79
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Work in Health Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 30 2003


  • Ecology
  • Emotional dissonance
  • Medical social work
  • Social work practice

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