UW Today

School of Social Work


May 15, 2017

Where you live may impact how much you drink

Neighborhoods with greater poverty and disorganization may play a greater role in problem drinking than the availability of bars and stores that sell hard liquor, a University of Washington-led study has found.

    Neighborhoods with greater poverty and disorganization may play a greater role in problem drinking than the availability of bars and stores that sell hard liquor, a University of Washington-led study has found. While there is evidence for the link between neighborhood poverty and alcohol use, the new twist — that socioeconomics are more…


May 11, 2017

Suicide prevention messages are top priority for UW’s Forefront

Sylvan Grove columns

University of Washington advocates for suicide prevention were busy pushing for legislation in Olympia, working on programs with more than a dozen local high schools and organizing the fourth annual Husky Help & Hope walk when an online TV show about suicide suddenly captivated a teenage audience. To the staff of UW-based Forefront: Innovations in…


May 3, 2017

UW School of Social Work to host May 9 event ‘How Shifting Federal Priorities Impact the Poor’

Photo by Katherine Turner.

For social service agencies, pinning down funding is par for the course. But there is heightened interest in the new administration’s priorities, and whether services to the poor will be among them. That lack of certainty — and a need to share information — prompted the University of Washington School of Social Work and the…


April 24, 2017

Military service boosts resilience, well-being among transgender veterans

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  Transgender people make up a small percentage of active-duty U.S. military personnel, but their experience in the service may yield long-term, positive effects on their mental health and quality of life. A study from the University of Washington finds that among transgender older adults, those who had served in the military reported fewer symptoms…


April 13, 2017

Married LGBT older adults are healthier, happier than singles, study finds

rainbow flag

  Same-sex marriage has been the law of the land for nearly two years — and in some states for even longer — but researchers can already detect positive health outcomes among couples who have tied the knot, a University of Washington study finds. For years, studies have linked marriage with happiness among heterosexual couples….


March 22, 2017

Race, health, justice topics for March 31 UW symposium on medical ethics

Photo by Katherine Turner.

The interdisciplinary 2017 Benjamin Rabinowitz Symposium in Medical Ethics on March 31, titled “Race, Health & Justice,” will explore inequities in health and health care and place them in political, economic and historical context.


January 31, 2017

UW’s Forefront to recreate memorial, advocate for solutions at Suicide Prevention Education Day in Olympia

Photograph of 2016 memorial

The UW-based Forefront will host a memorial for Washington state residents who died by suicide and join firearms dealers, veterans’ organizations, pharmacists, health care providers and suicide attempt and loss survivors to advocate for two legislative bills as part of Suicide Prevention Education Day.


December 19, 2016

$5 million will expand UW-developed technology to help West Coast children and families

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Technology developed at the University of Washington to improve service delivery in child welfare, foster care and homeless youth systems will soon be expanded to other states through $5 million in new funding. The grant will allow Oliver — a social service management solution developed by Partners for Our Children, an organization in the UW…


November 7, 2016

Telephone-based intervention shows promise in combating alcohol abuse among soldiers

Researchers used ads and informational booths at military events to recruit participants for the study.

Alcohol abuse is pervasive in the military, where a culture of heavy drinking and the stress of deployment lead many soldiers down a troubled path. Almost half of active-duty military members in the United States — 47 percent — were binge-drinkers in 2008, up from 35 percent a decade earlier. Rates of heavy drinking also…


September 23, 2016

UW prof the first recipient of national social work award

Paula Nurius

University of Washington social work professor Paula Nurius is the inaugural recipient of a new national award for helping advance doctoral education in her field. Nurius will receive the 2016 Educational Leadership in Doctoral Education award from the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work (GADE) at a meeting in November. The…


July 25, 2016

Minimum Wage Study: Effects of Seattle wage hike modest, may be overshadowed by strong economy

Photo by Katherine Turner.

The lot of Seattle’s lowest-paid workers improved following the city’s minimum wage increase to $11 in 2015, but that was more due to the robust regional economy than the wage hike itself, according to a research team headed by the UW Evans School.


May 26, 2016

‘In Utero’ documentary featuring UW maternal-health expert screens May 31

Amelia Gavin with twins Gavin, left and James Muhlfelder, son Ben Muhlfelder and husband Josh Muhlfelder.

When Amelia Gavin got an email two years ago asking if she’d be willing to be interviewed for a new documentary, she was skeptical — but immediately recognized the name the producer mentioned. “It was Gyllenhaal. I thought, well, could it be?” recalled Gavin, a UW associate professor of social work. Indeed it was. “In…


May 23, 2016

Study shows disparities in treatment for children with traumatic brain injuries

Young boy in brain scanning machine

Children who suffer traumatic brain injuries can face a difficult road to recovery, requiring services such as physical therapy and mental health treatment for months or years to get their young lives back on track. When those children come from low-income households with limited English proficiency, there can be significant barriers in getting them the…


April 18, 2016

Early analysis of Seattle’s $15 wage law: Effect on prices minimal one year after implementation

Photo by Katherine Turner.

Most Seattle employers in a UW-led study said in 2015 they expected to raise prices on goods and services to compensate for the city’s new $15 per hour minimum wage law — but a year after implementation such increases are not in evidence.


January 28, 2016

Study shows U.S. has greater link between low birth weight and inequality

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Health disparities are common in developed countries, including the U.S., but at what age those inequities take root and how they vary between countries is less clear. New research from the University of Washington compares the link between income, education and low birth weight in the United States with those in three comparable countries: the…


January 22, 2016

UW’s Forefront backs effort to engage gun dealers and pharmacies on suicide prevention

Forefront co-founder Jennifer Stuber

Patty Yamashita was a vivacious, sweet, high-energy woman who balanced a career as an IT manager with a steadfast dedication to her family. She worked long hours but was always home to put dinner on the table and read a bedtime story for her children. “My mother was my hero,” said her son, David. “Usually…


December 15, 2015

Forefront launches suicide prevention effort in three rural Washington counties

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Suicide is a tough issue to broach. How could an adult know if a child in the community might be suicidal and when to intervene? Is it appropriate to ask a friends or colleagues if they’re considering suicide? If someone is in crisis, what’s the best way to respond? Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention hopes…


October 6, 2015

UW study finds LGBTQ older adults in Seattle/King County face higher health risks

The number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) older adults in Seattle and King County is expected to double by 2030, and they face higher risks of disability, poor health, mental distress and isolation — along with a social service sector unequipped to deal with their needs. That’s the conclusion of a study…


September 30, 2015

Ballmers’ support for UW School of Social Work reaches $32 million

The Ballmers' gift will help provide scholarships for students in the UW Master of Social Work program.

The University of Washington will help more social work graduate students pay for their studies and start their careers without staggering debt loads, thanks to significant support from Connie and Steve Ballmer. The Ballmers’ contributions include a new gift of $20 million, bringing the couple’s support for the UW School of Social Work to $32…


August 11, 2015

Behaviors linked to adult crime differ in abused girls and boys, study finds

Black and white photo of boy sitting alone outside a brick building.

The signs that an abused child might later commit crimes might not be obvious — that boisterous playground behavior from a third-grade boy, for example, or the 10-year-old girl who seems a little anxious or withdrawn. But new research from the University of Washington suggests that troubling behaviors exhibited by abused children can be predictors…


August 6, 2015

Abusive men put female partners at greater sexual risk, study finds

Black and white photo of woman sitting alone on stairs

Abusive and controlling men are more likely to put their female partners at sexual risk, and the level of that risk escalates along with the abusive behavior, a UW study found. Published in the Journal of Sex Research in July, the study looked at patterns of risky sexual behavior among heterosexual men aged 18 to…


June 11, 2015

Greater suicide prevention efforts coming to rural Washington state

washington women's foundation logo

Washington state’s rural communities with the highest suicide rates soon will get more resources to help with prevention training and support. Washington Women’s Foundation is giving Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention $100,000 for suicide prevention in six underserved rural communities.


March 30, 2015

UW faculty team for five-year study of Seattle’s minimum wage increase

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What will be the effects of the city of Seattle’s minimum wage ordinance? Faculty from the UW’s schools of public affairs, public health and social work are teaming up for The Seattle Minimum Wage Study, a five-year research project to learn that and more.


March 9, 2015

Study shows teens and adults hazy on Washington marijuana law

MarijuanaCC

More than two years after Washington legalized marijuana, parents and teens may be hazy on the specifics of the law, if the findings of a new study are any indication. University of Washington research, published recently in Substance Use & Misuse, found that only 57 percent of Washington parents surveyed knew the legal age for…


January 28, 2015

Child maltreatment not a clear path to adult crime

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Research has found a significant link between childhood abuse and neglect and crime in adulthood. But a recent University of Washington study finds that link all but disappears when accounting for other life factors. “We find that children who were involved in child welfare services are at high risk of adult crimes, but once we…


January 6, 2015

New open-source program aims to help parents of children in foster care

Alise Hegle with her daughter, Rebekah

The first time Alise Hegle saw her daughter again after her birth was 11 months later at a court-ordered, supervised visit. Newly out of jail and treatment for drug addiction, Hegle was riddled with anxiety. She had no idea how to parent her only child and worried about the visitation supervisor who sat silently observing,…


September 18, 2014

Poverty, income inequality increase in Washington state

graph showing the trend in Washington state.

The number of Washingtonians living in poverty jumped by more than 50,000 from 2012 to 2013, and the state poverty rate rose as well, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data released Thursday.


May 13, 2014

Video stories, other bonding exercises could help foster families connect

A family walks on the beach together.

Researchers affiliated with the UW’s School of Social Work tailored a parenting program known to improve communication in non-foster families for use in foster families, who often say they don’t feel connected and have trouble communicating, but few resources exist that nurture their bonding.


May 8, 2014

Army drug users twice as likely to use synthetic marijuana as regular marijuana

Package of "Spice," which is synthetic marijuana.

Social work researchers from the University of Washington have found that among a group of active-duty Army personnel who use illicit drugs, the most abused substance is synthetic marijuana, nicknamed “Spice,” which is harder to detect than other drugs through standard drug tests.


May 6, 2014

Social workers can help patients recover from mild traumatic brain injuries

Two women talking.

More than a million people are treated for mild traumatic brain injuries in U.S. hospitals and emergency rooms each year. A University of Washington researcher has found that a 20-minute conversation with a social worker has the potential to significantly reduce the functional decline of those diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury.


April 25, 2014

Worker struggles, immigrant rights topic of social work series in May

Part of the mural "Struggle Against Racial Descrimination"

The UW School of Social Work will host the series “Working Together for Labor Justice” during Labor History Month in May.


April 24, 2014

Roger Roffman chronicles society’s long struggle with pot in ‘Marijuana Nation’

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Roger Roffman, UW professor emeritus of social work who has studied marijuana dependence interventions for 30 years, talks about his new book, “Marijuana Nation: One Man’s Chronicle of America Getting High: From Vietnam to Legalization.”


March 13, 2014

Negative effects of joining a gang last long after gang membership ends

Bloods gang sign.

Joining a gang in adolescence has significant consequences in adulthood beyond criminal behavior, even after a person leaves the gang. Former gang members are more likely to be in poor health, receiving government assistance and struggling with drug abuse than someone who never joined a gang.


February 24, 2014

Healthy Generations Hartford Center of Excellence opens with lecture on changing culture of aging

A large 'W' is at the north entrance to the UW campus.

The University of Washington’s School of Social Work will launch a new center – called the Healthy Generations Hartford Center of Excellence in Geriatric Social Work – with a public lecture and reception Thursday, Feb. 27.


February 11, 2014

Data on today’s youth reveal childhood clues for later risk of STDs

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Findings from UW longitudinal surveys of nearly 2,000 participants suggest that efforts to curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases should begin years before most people start having sex.


February 4, 2014

Personal experience, work seniority improve mental health professionals’ outlook

photo of a man looking down at his feet

One might think that after years on the job, mental health workers would harbor negative attitudes about mental illness, but a new UW study suggests the opposite.


December 16, 2013

5 effective parenting programs to reduce problem behaviors in children

father holding daughter's hand

UW researchers evaluated about 20 parenting programs and found five that are especially effective at helping parents and children at all risk levels avoid adolescent behavior problems that affect not only individuals, but entire communities.


December 9, 2013

Communities across U.S. reduce teen smoking, drinking, violence and crime

Fewer high school students across the U.S. started drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, committing crimes and engaging in violence before graduation when their towns used a prevention system developed by UW’s Social Development Research Group.


August 5, 2013

Abused children found to smoke more as teens and adults

Photo credit: Shkumbin, Wikimedia Commons.

Researchers have long suspected some kind of link between childhood abuse and smoking. But in an interesting twist, UW researchers found a connection not between whether or not an abused child will ever begin smoking, but to how much they smoke once they do start.


July 9, 2013

School policies reduce student drinking – if they’re perceived to be enforced

Wine and hard liquor bottles photographed through a multiprism filter.

Every middle and high school has a policy against drinking alcohol on campus, but not all students follow the rules. New research suggests students are less likely to drink if they believe their school will strictly enforce its policy.



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