Social work student hardship

A review of the literature


  • Kendra Cox Te Ure o Uenukukōpako, Te Whakatōhea, Tūhoe, Ngāti Porou University of Auckland
  • Liz Beddoe University of Auckland
  • Yayoi Ide University of Auckland



student hardship, student wellbeing, social work students, social work education


INTRODUCTION: Student hardship in social work has become the subject of research in recent years. Social work students face particular challenges because of the financial, social and emotional demands of long, unpaid, clinical placements.

APPROACH: This article reports on a literature review conducted prior to a mixed-methods study commenced in 2019. This review informed the development of a survey of social work students and recent graduates and a set of qualitative interviews that will be reported elsewhere. A further review was conducted in July 2021 to inform the analysis.

FINDINGS: A recurring theme throughout much of the reviewed social work literature examined for this project has been the intensity of struggle that students face in their study. Across the reviewed literature, students, educators, and researchers suggest interventions to reduce hardship. Gaps remain in our understanding of the intersectional factors of ethnicity, gender and disability and, in particular, the impact on Aotearoa New Zealand students.

Author Biography

Liz Beddoe, University of Auckland



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How to Cite

Cox, K., Beddoe, L., & Ide, Y. (2022). Social work student hardship: A review of the literature. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 34(1), 22–35.



Original Articles