David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Ethics and Behavior 13 (1):61 – 78 (2003)
This study describes social workers' attitudes and behaviors in relation to different types of nonsexual multiple role relationships, views about the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics section on nonsexual multiple role relationships, and formal education on multiple role relationships. A relatively high proportion of the sample (n = 305) of members of the NASW chapter in New York City rated each of 18 types of nonsexual multiple role relationships as ethical, particularly when qualified as "under some conditions." Many respondents had engaged in nonsexual multiple role relationships with subordinates, although less often with current clients and students than with former clients, supervisees, and employees. Education on nonsexual multiple role relationships appears to be inadequate. Although most endorsed the NASW Code of Ethics section on multiple role relationships, a substantial proportion reported confusion about the interpretation of the wording. The adoption of operationally defined guidelines on multiple role relationships by agencies and the provision of safe and supportive environments that encourage open discussion and attention to this issue in supervision may help to minimize inappropriate behaviors.
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