This paper asks a relevant question that previous work has not yet answered empirically: what is the theoretical quality of the Strengths Perspective (SP)? This paper answers this question, using the Theory Evaluation Scale (TES) and peer-reviewed materials from the existing literature. The findings indicate that, as a theoretical framework, the SP is a high-quality practice model that aligns itself with the values of the social work profession. As a practice model, however, this perspective has room for improvement in the areas of falsifiability, empiricism, boundaries, and client context. This paper concludes with a discussion of these findings and their implications for social work theory, research, and practice. This paper also provides directions for future research.
Keywords: Strengths Perspective, Theory Evaluation Scale, social work, evidence-based practice, psychometrics
Key Take Away Points
- The Strengths Perspective is both a theoretical framework and a practice model
- The Strengths Perspective aligns with social work values
- The Strengths Perspective has passed empirical scrutiny for theoretical quality, but has room for improvement in terms of its practice ambitions
- Hence, this paper exposes the merits and limitations of the Strengths Perspective, using an empirically-validated measure.
- This paper calls on scholars and researchers to address the practice gaps associated with the Strengths Perspective.
Rigaud Joseph, BSW, MSW, PhD, is an assistant professor of social work at California State University San Bernardino College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Imelda Duran Herrera is a second-year graduate student in the School of Social Work at California State University San Bernardino. Kaelyn Doyle is a second-year graduate student in the School of Social Work at California State University San Bernardino.
The authors have no acknowledgement to make.
Joseph, Rigaud; Herrera, Imelda Duran; and Doyle, Kaelyn
"Determining the Theoretical Quality of the Strengths Perspective: A Critical Analysis,"
Journal of Family Strengths: Vol. 20:
1, Article 12.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/jfs/vol20/iss1/12