EKU Faculty and Staff Scholarship


Social Work Students' Images of God

Author ORCID Identifier

Ann CallahanORCID iD iconhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-4744-4912


Social Work

Document Type


Publication Date



Images of God are part of social workers’ belief systems and can affect their professional practice. This study examined images of God in a sample of fifty‐nine social work graduate students, most of whom were white, female, and Protestant. The findings revealed that certain traditional images, such as Spirit and Creator, were likely to be both highly salient (i.e., likely to “come to mind") and personally important to the respondents. In contrast, hierarchical images (e.g., Master, King) and feminine images (e.g., Mother, Goddess) were unlikely to be either salient or important. Because images of God reflect assumptions about power and gender, social work educators and researchers should investigate how these images affect social workers’ interactions within the helping relationship.

Journal Title

Social Thought

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