Social Work education is focused on helping students identify triggers and biases prior to entering the workforce, with an aim towards cultural competence. Class discussions and homework assignments are particularly intentional: through various assignments, students are urged to work on those issues before entering clinical practice. Young Adult (YA) literature has been successfully used in the field of Education to teach empathy and reflectivity regarding diversity to preservice teachers. The use of YA literature may hold promise for Social Work education as a teaching tool, but the extent of current use in Social Work education is unknown. An anonymous survey of Social Work faculty at Florida universities was conducted using Qualtrics. The survey was sent to approximately 250 instructors of undergraduate and graduate courses. Eighteen surveys were completed, and 17 were used in data analysis. It was found that the majority of respondents used non-textbook and print material at least some of the time in their courses. Of those who used YA Literature in their courses, more than half the time it was used to facilitate cultural and diversity learning. Based on the data, YA literature holds promises for social work education in the area of development of cultural empathy. This study lays the groundwork for further research on how YA literature can be incorporated into cultural competency coursework.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Wharton, Tracy


Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.)


College of Health and Public Affairs


Social Work

Degree Program

Social Work


Orlando (Main) Campus



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date

May 2016

Included in

Social Work Commons