Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Degree Level



School of Social Work


John Gallagher

Committee Member

Kimberly Stauss

Second Committee Member

Larry Foley


Confidence, Education, Empathy, Social Work Students, Standardized Client, Video Simulation


A video simulation featuring a Master of Social Work (MSW) student assessing a fictional client, portrayed by a professionally trained student actor, dealing with suicidal ideations was developed to model empathetic and reflective techniques. The video simulation was filmed in collaboration with University of Arkansas Global Campus and is part of an interdisciplinary educational pilot program. This pilot program builds upon traditional role-play scenarios by incorporating experiential learning within the creation of cost-effective simulated interactions that employ student actors as standardized clients. Combining social learning theory and constructivism allows Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) students to observe and analyze the video simulation intervention before debriefing with instructors and classmates. An experimental design was used with a sample (n=30). Participants in a social work practice class were randomly assigned to intervention and comparison groups. An evaluation is presented assessing differences in perceived levels of confidence, knowledge and self-efficacy between BSW students who viewed a video simulation intervention and those who did not. Comparisons explored participants’ perceived abilities to effectively replicate the use of empathy and reflection while engaging with and assessing a client for suicidal ideations. Independent two-tailed t-tests were utilized to determine variances between the intervention and control groups and to identify statistically significant results. Additionally, effect sizes were calculated and post-hoc power analyses were conducted to inform future research. Baseline, post-test and retention surveys were administered. Descriptive statistical tests concluded even distribution between the pre-test scales with skewness and kurtosis within accepted ranges. Results indicate intervention group participants experienced larger increases in perceived confidence, knowledge and self-efficacy over the comparison group. In particular, there was a statistically significant difference between the intervention and comparison groups regarding perceived levels of confidence, with the video intervention group experiencing a mean increase over 20% (M = 1.07). The sample size was appropriate for confidence results. This confirmed the video simulation was responsible for the increase in confidence. This study supports expanding video simulations into existing social work curricula. Implications for practice and future research are discussed within.

Keywords: Simulation, education, video, standardized client, actor, empathy, reflection, social work, students, interdisciplinary, experimental, confidence.

Streaming Media