Social Workers’ Exposure to Psychosocial Risks—A Case Study

  • Maria Manuel SáEmail author
  • Rui Azevedo
Part of the Studies in Systems, Decision and Control book series (SSDC, volume 277)


Social work is considered a very strenuous work due to the constant exposure to conflicts, dilemmas and calls for help from troubled individuals. Although, an extensive number of papers have been published on psychosocial factors correlating with health outcomes, few have focus on the work performed by social workers. This study aims to identify the prevalence of aspects of the psychosocial environment of social workers that may impose risks to the Health and well-being. Thirty-five social workers of Private Social Solidarity Institutions (IPSS) from the Oporto metropolitan area were subjected to psychosocial risk assessment using the long version of COPSOQ II (validated to Portuguese population). The sample included social workers in the areas of gerontology, childhood, disable persons and Insertion Social Income (RSI) beneficiary. Results showed that social workers registered high values of depressive symptoms, stress and burnout especially for the childhood intervention area. Changes in work organisation increase of workers’ autonomy and improvement of interpersonal relationship is required.


Psychosocial risk Social worker Emotional and cognitive demands Burnout 



This work has been supported by FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia within the Project Scope: UID/CEC/00319/2019.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Unit in Management Sciences and Sustainability (UNICES)University Institute of Maia (ISMAI)PortoPortugal
  2. 2.Centre ALGORITMISchool of Engineering of the University of MinhoGuimarãesPortugal
  3. 3.Health and Environment Research Center (CISA)School of Health of Polytechnic Institute of PortoPortoPortugal
  4. 4.Geo-Space Sciences Research Centre (CICGE)Porto UniversityPortoPortugal

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