Biosocial research in social work journals: A systematic review

Brandy R. Maynard, Brian B. Boutwell, Michael G. Vaughn, Sandra Naeger, Nathaniel Dell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Despite an emphasis on a biopsychosocial understanding of human behavior and the relevance of biosocial research to social work practice, it is unclear whether social work is contributing to biosocial research and knowledge. Methods: Systematic review procedures were employed to locate studies that included biological variables (e.g., genetic or physiological factors) related to behavior and were published in a social work journal between 2000 and 2015. Seventy-five social work journals were searched. Studies were screened and coded by two independent reviewers. Results: Eleven studies were eligible for this review; one was a behavior genetics study, two were molecular genetics studies, two were neurological studies, and six studies examined physiological factors such as skin conductance and salivary cortisol. Discussion: Findings suggest that social work as a discipline is not contributing new knowledge to advance the “bio” component of the biopsychosocial framework. Implications and recommendations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-115
Number of pages9
JournalResearch on Social Work Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2015.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)


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