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COVERAGE OF GAY AND LESBIAN SUBJECT MATTER IN SOCIAL WORK JOURNALS.
Abstract:
This article examines the amount of writing on gay and lesbian subject matter in 12 social work journals and two gay and lesbian journals 1988-1997. Two-thirds of the 121 social work journal articles published on homosexuality focus on HIV/AIDS. Gay and lesbian subject matter not related to HIV/AIDS constitutes only 1% of this literature. Meeting the Council on Social Work Education requirement for curriculum content on sexual orientation will be difficult if educators rely only on social work journals for knowledge. The publication record for articles on homosexuality in the 12 journals under study must be strengthened.

Subject:
Social work education (Standards)
Gay and lesbian studies (Evaluation)
Social workers (Education)
Authors:
VAN VOORHIS, REBECCA
WAGNER, MARION
Pub Date:
01/01/2001
Publication:
Name: Journal of Social Work Education Publisher: Council On Social Work Education Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Education; Sociology and social work Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2001 Council On Social Work Education ISSN: 1043-7797
Issue:
Date: Wntr, 2001 Source Volume: 37 Source Issue: 1
Organization:
Organization: Council on Social Work Education
Geographic:
Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number:
70695882
Full Text:
IN 1992 THE Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) revised the Curriculum Policy Statement, adding a requirement that programs must include curriculum content on sexual orientation. (CSWE, 1992). For social work programs to meet this mandate, knowledge about lesbians and gay men must be accessible. Many social workers might assume that publication on homosexuality has increased significantly in social work journals in recent years due to the growing public attention to gay and lesbian issues. With the emergence of the gay rights movement following the Stonewall uprising in 1969, public debate about aspects of civil rights for gay and lesbian people increased. As gay rights activists have worked to assure freedom for gay men and lesbians from discrimination in areas such as housing, employment, marriage, child custody, and military service, their opponents have made statements about the homosexual threat to family values. Does social work literature reflect this increased level of public attention to homosexuality and are issues of importance to lesbian and gay people receiving adequate coverage?

This article presents findings on both the amount and the content of writing on lesbians and gay men in selected social work journals during the period 1988-1997. This analysis determined the number of articles and book reviews published during the decade, the percentage that focused on content specific to gay men and lesbians, and the specific matters addressed in the articles on homosexuality. In addition, the authors analyzed the research approach used in the articles pertaining to homosexuality.

Spender (1981) has emphasized the importance of publications in defining the issues that will be addressed by the social work discipline. Berger (1990) discusses the influence of journal publications on the practice of social work, arguing that practitioners and educators rely on social work journals to provide current information on theory, research, and practice approaches. If this is so, content about homosexuality in social work journals is vital to the profession's ability to respond effectively to gay and lesbian clients.

Not only may such content be vital as a resource for practitioners, it also highlights the value placed on understanding the experiences of gay men and lesbians by the social work profession. The presence of journal articles on various issues of importance to lesbians and gay men suggests the profession's commitment to counter heterosexism and homophobia in the larger society. The social work profession generally thinks of itself, and is perceived by others, as committed to social diversity and social justice. Does social work journal publication on the topic of homosexuality reflect these commitments?

Journal Sample

The goal of the research presented here was to determine the attention given to content on lesbians and gay men in social work journals from 1988 to 1997. Twelve social work journals were reviewed. Five were longstanding social work journals: Social Work, Social Service Review, Journal of Social Work Education, Families in Society, and Child Welfare. Seven were journals that began publication within the last two decades: Social Work Research and Abstracts, Research on Social Work Practice, Journal of Social Service Research, Health and Social Work, Computers in Human Services, Affilia, and Administration in Social Work. These 12 journals were selected because they are national in scope, both in readers and authors; they address a general spectrum of social work topics; they have been used in previous reviews of the social work literature (e.g. Kirk & Rosenblatt, 1984; Nichols-Casebolt, Krysik, & Hamilton, 1994; Quam & Austin, 1984); and they are not limited to one particular specialization in social work.

In addition to these 12 social work journals, two journals that focus on practice with gay men and lesbians, the Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services and the Journal of Gay & Lesbian Psychotherapy, were included for purposes of comparison. These two journals, which Haworth began publishing in the last decade, were included because they contribute to the literature on gay and lesbian subject matter that is available to social work practitioners. During the literature review process, analysis of the kinds of articles found both within the speciality journals and the other 12 revealed a range of topics pertaining to homosexuality that are discussed and classified below.

Methodology

Data were collected on each article and book review published in the 14 journals selected for the study. The authors identified articles and book reviews concerning lesbians and gay men that were published during the 1988-1997 period. Materials that would normally have been subject to peer review were counted as articles. Editorials, letters, literary texts, such as poems, short stories, and other brief occasional pieces were excluded from the study. Similarly, special issues of the Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services that Haworth also published as books were not included because a traditional peer review process was not used. Haworth solicited guest editors for each of the special issues; these editors, in turn, invited authors to write articles on the specialized topic. All book reviews appearing in the 14 journals during the 10-year span were included. The authors sought to identify articles in which homosexuality received substantive attention that was not simply anecdotal, and where homosexuality was not simply one of many variables included in a study.

Content that was defined as pertaining to gay men and lesbians addressed issues specific to homosexuality, such as identity formation and identity disclosure, unique issues of gay men and lesbians as clients, heterosexism, homophobia, and HIV/AIDS among gay men. Articles about HIV/AIDS that focused on IV drug users, pediatric AIDS, or other aspects of HIV/AIDS among heterosexual people were not included.

The process of classifying articles did not take into consideration the conceptual framework used in an article. Nor did the authors evaluate whether an article reflected any heterosexist bias. Articles classified by the authors as having addressed some aspect of homosexuality are not necessarily gay-affirming or free of heterosexism. Although the absence of heterosexist bias and the article's theoretical base are very important, examining each of the articles for underlying bias exceeded the scope of this research. In addition to collecting data on the coverage of gay and lesbian subject matter in a journal's articles and book reviews, the authors further categorized articles on homosexuality on the basis of topic and type of approach used in the articles (i.e. empirical or nonempirical). An article was classified as empirical if it reported quantitative or qualitative findings from research conducted by its contributing author(s).

Findings

Publication Data by Year

Table 1 presents yearly data on the number and percentage of journal articles and book reviews focused on homosexuality in the sample of 12 social work journals. Over the 10-year period considered for this study, the amount of journal space devoted to gay and lesbian matters was virtually unchanged, despite the addition of Research in Social Work Practice, which began publication in 1991. As shown in Table 1, 365 articles were published in 11 of the sampled journals in 1988. Only 13 of these articles (3.6%) focused on gay and lesbian subject matter. By the end of the decade, the total number and percentage of articles on homosexuality was nearly the same as in 1988. Fluctuations during the 10-year span in the percentage of articles on homosexuality in the sample journals range from a low of 1.9% in 1995 to a high of 5.4% in 1991, when Social Work published a special issue on HIV/AIDS. Publication rates for articles on homosexuality in 8 of the 10 years fell below the 1988 publication rate of 3.6%, making it hard to predict that publication rates on gay and lesbian content will improve in the years ahead.

Table 1. Articles and Book Reviews on Gay/Lesbian Subject Matter in 12 Social Work Journals by Year

Note: This table does not include data on articles published in the Journal of Gay & Lesbian Psychotherapy and the Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services.

Publication Data by Journal

Table 2 describes the number and percentage of articles and book reviews with content on homosexuality published in the sampled journals from 1988 to 1997. Health and Social Work had the highest percentage of articles on homosexuality with 8.5%. However, all of their articles addressed aspects of HIV/AIDS among gay men, and no coverage was given to other health issues faced by gay and lesbian people. Three special issues on HIV/ AIDS published by Families in Society and Social Work accounted for about 20% of the total number of articles pertaining to homosexuality published by all 12 journals.

[TABULAR DATA 2 NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]

In contrast to the 121 articles on homosexuality published by the 12 social work journals, the two gay and lesbian specialty journals published 86 articles. In addition to these peer reviewed articles, the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services published 18 special issues on gay and lesbian subject matter that were simultaneously published as books. These special issues addressed such topics as gay health care, gay couples, addictions, violence, HIV, sexual orientation in the workplace, rural lesbians, gay seniors, and gay men and lesbians of color.

Table 3 lists, for each journal in the sample, the number and percentage of articles focused on HIV/AIDS, and the number and percentage focused on other gay and lesbian issues. Nearly two-thirds of the articles on gay and lesbian topics in the 12 social work journals focused on HIV/AIDS. Given the increase of HIV/ AIDS among gay men during the decade of this study, journal attention to persons with AIDS (PWAs) and their loved ones is important. However, the lack of attention to the array of material unrelated to HIV/AIDS and pertinent to practice with lesbian and gay clients was unexpected. As shown in Table 3, when articles that focused on HIV/AIDS were excluded, only 1.1% of the articles published by the 12 journals dealt with gay and lesbian subject matter. In contrast to the heavy emphasis on HIV/AIDS in the 12 social work journals, only 23% of the articles in the two gay and lesbian specialty journals focused on HIV/AIDS. Furthermore, the two specialty journals published 66 articles on topics other than HIV/AIDS, which considerably exceeds the total of 41 articles that were published by all 12 of the social work journals.

Table 3. Articles on HIV/AIDS or Other Gay and Lesbian Subject Matter

(a) Prior to 1990, Families in Society was published as Social Casework.

(b) Research on Social Work Practice began publication in 1991.

(c) Prior to 1994, Social Work Research was published as Social Work Research & Abstracts.

(d) Journal of Gay & Lesbian Psychotherapy began publication in 1989.

(e) Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services began publication in 1994. Total does not include 135 invited articles in 18 special issues also published as books by Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services.

As shown in Table 3, Affilia had the highest percentage of articles on homosexuality that did not pertain to HIV/ AIDS. However, since all of Affilia's articles pertain to women, one might expect this journal to publish a higher percentage of articles on practice with lesbian women than it has. In contrast to Affilia's publication rate of 3.6%, the other 11 social work journals all fell below 2% in their rate of publication on gay and lesbian topics that did not pertain to HIV/AIDS. None of the social work journals included in this study published a special issue that addressed gay and lesbian issues unrelated to HIV/AIDS. On the other hand, between 1994 and 1997, the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services published 18 special issues that focused on an array of topics relevant to practice with gay men and lesbians, such as gay health care issues unrelated to HIV/AIDS, gay and lesbian youth, gay widowers, and lesbians and gay men of color.

Social Work and Families in Society published nearly the same number of articles on homosexuality. Each of these journals also published more articles on lesbian and gay subject matter than any of the other 10 nonspecialty journals included in this study. One interesting finding was the difference between the number of articles on gay and lesbian subject matter published by the journals Social Work and Families in Society and the journals Affilia and Health and Social Work. Even though the percentage of articles on homosexuality unrelated to HIV/AIDS in Social Work and Families in Society fell below Affilia's and the percentage of articles on HIV/AIDS in each fell below that of Health and Social Work, both Social Work and Families in Society published a greater number of articles than either Affilia or Health and Social Work. Together the two journals Social Work and Families in Society accounted for nearly two-thirds of the articles on HIV/AIDS and about half of the articles on all the other gay and lesbian topics.

As shown in Table 2, of the 12 social work journals included in this study, only three published more than 10 articles on gay and lesbian subject matter. The others published on average less than one article per year, and most published much less than one article per year. In fact half of these journals (Administration in Social Work, Computers in Human Services, Journal of Social Service Research, Research on Social Work Practice, Social Service Review, Social Work Research) had an average rate of publication on gay and lesbian subject matter of less than one article in 10 years! These findings complement Hartman's (1993) editorial comment on the "occasional paper on [homosexuality] ... published in professional journals" (p. 360).

Furthermore, the three journals, which profess to present the profession's research (Journal of Social Service Research, Research on Social Work Practice, and Social Work Research), published only three articles in the 10-year span encompassed in this study. An equally glaring deficiency is Administration and Social Work's publication of a single article in 10 years on issues of homosexuality in the management of social service organizations. These findings raise questions. Is no research being conducted on issues of importance to lesbian and gay people? Do the social work research journals under study reject manuscripts on research pertaining to homosexuality?

Publication Data on Book Reviews

A journal's attention to aspects of homosexuality can also be analyzed by examining the content of books reviewed by it. Journals that include book reviews typically select books that pertain to the journal's focus or are important to the journal's readers. In this study sample, because a few books were reviewed by more than one journal, the total number of book reviews exceeds the number of books that received reviews. As shown in Table 2, there were a total of 1,848 book reviews in the 12 social work journals included in this study. There were 58 reviews of books that pertained to homosexuality. Thus, 3.1% of the book reviews during the decade encompassed by this study were done on books about homosexuality. This percentage is similar to the publication rate of articles on homosexuality during the 10-year span of this study (3.2%).

As shown in Table 1, fluctuations in the percentage of books on homosexuality that were reviewed ranged from a low of 1.9% in 1991 to a high of 4.7% in 1997. During the 10-year span of this study, about 55% of the reviews of books on homosexuality pertained to HIV/AIDS. Social Work published the highest number of reviews of books on topics relevant to working with gays and lesbians. Four of the journals (Affilia, Families in Society, Health and Social Work, and Social Work) accounted for nearly 90% of the books on homosexuality that were reviewed during the decade encompassed by this study. In addition to the 58 book reviews in the 12 social work journals, the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services reviewed 16 books on various topics related to homosexuality.

Publication Data by Topic

Although this study did not analyze the content of articles and book reviews other than to determine if they addressed subjects of importance to practice with gay men and lesbians, the authors did classify the articles in the 12 social work journals according to subject matter (see Table 4). The process of the literature review itself brought out the categories and subcategories used to classify the articles for this analysis.

Table 4. Articles on Gay/Lesbian Subject Matter in 12 Social Work Journals by Practitioner or Client Service Focus,(a) 1988-97 (N=145)(b)

(a) This table does not include articles published in the Journal of Gay & Lesbian Psychotherapy and the Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services.

(b) Because some articles were included in more than one category, N exceeds the total number of articles.

The first classification divided articles based on whether or not the focus was HIV/AIDS. Articles were further divided into two major categories based on whether the focus was on practitioners or client services. The "Focus on Practitioner" category was then divided into eight subcategories: studies of knowledge and attitudes, conceptual knowledge, descriptive knowledge, support for worker, ethical issues, education/curriculum, service delivery, and policy. The "Focus on Client Services" category was divided into 12 subcategories: studies of behavior and feelings, treatment or support groups, partners and families, lesbian and gay parenting, sexual identity and disclosure, youth, aging, people of color, sexual behavior, alcoholism, domestic violence, grief and loss. It should be noted that several articles were placed in two categories because they focused on both topics and placing them in only one category would have been an arbitrary limitation. Therefore, the total number of articles shown in Table 4 (n=145) exceeds the total number of articles that were published during the decade encompassed by this study (n=121).

The authors found that two-thirds of the articles on homosexuality were about gay men and HIV/AIDS (see Table 4). Several of the articles that focused on practitioners reported findings from studies of social workers' knowledge about HIV/AIDS or attitudes toward PWAs. Other articles in this category described information about HIV/AIDS, dementia, psychosocial issues for PWAs, or conceptual models for practice with PWAs.

In the "Focus on Practitioner" category, service delivery for gay men with HIV/ AIDS was the largest area of publication on HIV/AIDS. Furthermore, only four articles that addressed HIV/AIDS included discussion of changes needed in policies or policy development (Brennan, 1994; Ozawa, Auslander, & Slonim-Nevo, 1993; Ryan & Rowe, 1988; and Stuntzer-Gibson, 1991). Among the articles on gay and lesbian subject matter that were not related to HIV/AIDS, there was only one article that addressed policy issues (Seek, Finch, Mor-Barak, & Poverny, 1993). The small number of policy-focused articles in journals serving a profession concerned with social change on behalf of populations-at-risk was surprising.

In the "Focus on Client Services" category, the greatest number of articles focusing on services for gay clients with HIV/AIDS dealt with groups for PWAs or their loved ones and treatment for partners and families of PWAs. The greatest number of articles focusing on client services other than HIV/AIDS dealt with sexual identity and disclosure. Even though several articles focused on youth, more publications are needed to adequately address the array of issues facing gay and lesbian youth.

Although social workers help their client populations respond to issues facing lesbian and gay parents, only six articles in the 12 social work journals addressed parenting topics during the 10-year period encompassed by this study (Faria, 1994; Hare, 1994; Levy, 1989; Levy, 1992; Stein, 1996; Van Voorhis & McClain, 1997). Two-thirds of these articles on lesbian and gay parenting were published in Families in Society. Furthermore, all but one of these articles dealt exclusively with lesbian families. During the 10-year period only one article addressed custody and visitation statutes for both lesbian and gay parents: T. J. Stein's (1996) "Child custody and visitation: The rights of lesbian and gay parents." No articles that dealt with issues of lesbians or gay men as adoptive or foster parents were found in the 12 social work journals.

In addition to the information presented in Table 4, the data show some striking omissions from the literature that pertains to homosexuality. Only four of the articles on HIV/AIDS addressed gay men of color, and no articles concerning other aspects of homosexuality for people of color were published by the 12 social work journals. In addition to the lack of articles on adoptions by lesbian and gay people, there were no articles on parenting issues for gay men who have children, or health issues other than HIV/ AIDS. Nor did the 12 social work journals give much attention to aging, alcoholism or domestic violence within the gay and lesbian community. As previously mentioned, the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services did publish special issues on lesbians and gay men of color, health care issues other than HIV/AIDS, addictions, domestic violence, and social services for gay and lesbian seniors. However, this journal has not published a special issue that focuses on hate crimes, or gay men and lesbians as parents, or the relationships between lesbians and gay men and their families of origin:

Publication Data by Research Approach

Articles on homosexuality were also analyzed and classified as either empirical or nonempirical. Articles that were classified as empirical contained findings from the authors' analyses of data and included both quantitative and qualitative studies. All other articles were classified as nonempirical. These included articles that described treatment approaches or service delivery, as well as theoretical and conceptual articles. This study found that in the 12 social work journals, 46% of the articles on homosexuality used an empirical approach. The two gay and lesbian specialty journals had a lower percentage of empirical articles. About 22% of the articles in these two journals used an empirical approach, a finding that may reflect the practice focus of both specialty journals.

As has been reported in other studies about the research approach used in social work publications (Fraser, Taylor, Jackson, & O'Jack, 1991; Tripodi, 1984), findings in this study show that the majority of the articles on homosexuality were nonempirical. However, this study found that the majority of the 12 social work journal articles that addressed aspects of homosexuality unrelated to HIV/ AIDS reported on the authors' empirical studies. This contrasts with the literature on HIV/AIDS that is primarily comprised of nonempirical articles in which some aspect of treatment for or therapy with PWAs, their families, partners, and caregivers was described. For example, in Families in Society, only 3 of the 23 articles on HIV/AIDS that were published during the decade of this study were based on an empirical study (Gillman, 1991; McGinn, 1996; Wardlaw, 1994).

Conclusions

Given the increasing national attention to issues of multiculturalism and civil rights activism, particularly for gays and lesbians, the findings of this analysis show a much smaller amount of coverage of gay and lesbian subject matter in social work literature than would reasonably be expected. It is recognized that the 12 social work journals included in this study do not include the full coverage of gay and lesbian content. Some social work authors may have published articles on homosexuality in other journals, including journals in such disciplines as psychology, child and family studies, or marriage and family therapy.

However, the 12 social work journals included in this study are widely recognized and thus are likely to have considerable impact on social work education and practice. Articles published in journals specializing in gay and lesbian issues, such as the two that have been included in this study, may not be widely read by social workers and social work educators because such journals tend to have smaller audiences than nonspecialty journals. For example, the three articles on social work education in Volume 5, Number 4 of the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services are likely to have gone unnoticed by social work educators because they were not published by the Journal of Social Work Education, which is circulated widely among social work educators (Mackelprang, Ray, & Hernandez-Peck, 1996; Moore, Dietz, & Jenkins, 1996; Morrow, 1996). For this reason, the establishment of specialty journals on homosexuality does not reduce the need to publish articles on homosexuality in other social work journals.

The data presented in this article provide evidence of the limited attention given to homosexuality in social work journals. This study's findings can be compared to those in the study done by McMahon and Allen-Meares (1992). Their research examined the percentage of articles on people of color in Social Work, Child Welfare, Social Casework, and Social Service Review from 1980 to 1989. They found that 6% of the articles focused on social work with minorities. The findings from McMahon and Allen-Meares' study and this one point to the need for social work journals to publish more articles on marginalized population groups in order to provide a sufficient knowledge base on these groups for the profession. Continuing the pattern of having the vast majority of articles remain silent on color, sexual orientation, and other aspects of diversity implies that such factors are not significant. Such an assumption constitutes a Type I clinical error and may encourage practitioners to provide a "one size fits all" type of treatment. As pointed out by Norman and Wheeler (1996), Type I clinical errors occur when practitioners ignore a client's membership in specific population groups, such as the gay and lesbian population.

Several factors could be considered as possible contributors to the publication patterns found in this study. Perhaps scholarship on homosexuality is not as highly valued among social work scholars as other kinds of research and scholarship. Authors who are gay and lesbian may also be reluctant to focus on homosexuality for fear of becoming further marginalized and being pigeonholed as scholars with an interest that may be devalued by their nongay peers. Another factor in the low percentage of articles on homosexuality published in mainstream social work journals may be the lack of interest in scholarship on homosexuality by nongay authors. Authors of articles on issues surrounding homosexuality also risk being assumed to be gay. According to Van Soest (1996), "Research related to homosexuality may be inhibited by researchers' fear of being labeled homosexual" (p. 60). Thus some may refrain from such scholarship because they do not want to risk the stigma.

It is also possible that the publication patterns reflect the belief among journal editors that articles on homosexuality should be published in a specialized journal. As already discussed, journals that focus on homosexuality make an important contribution to our professional knowledge base. However, the existence of specialty journals may reduce the initiative taken by mainstream journals to publish articles on homosexuality. Moreover, a danger in relying solely on journals that specialize in subject matter pertaining to homosexuality to provide coverage of this area is that they will only gain the attention of a select group of interested practitioners. To insure that a wide cross-section of the social work profession is reached, content on homosexuality must be consistently included in social work journals with broad audiences.

To encourage more publications on homosexuality, faculty members in schools of social work are advised to review their criteria for assessing the value of scholarship on various subject matters. Such reviews should insure that scholarship about homosexuality is as highly valued as other areas of scholarship. Furthermore, doctoral programs must insure that topics of concern to practice with lesbian and gay people are addressed. Such preparation is vital because doctoral students will become the next generation of educators and researchers. Editorial boards are also encouraged to review their selection process to insure that bias is not an issue.

Practitioners, researchers, and educators who are lesbian or gay need explicit encouragement to publish on topics related to practice with homosexuals. It is important to have lesbian and gay social workers design practice approaches and conduct research with gay men and lesbians. Scholarship by gay and lesbian practitioners and researchers can counter the tendency to omit homosexuality from consideration in both research and practice. Members of a minority group can provide a perspective that more directly communicates significant aspects of their experience not shared by nonminorities. Understanding such differences critically informs researchers and practitioners in their work with members of a group with which a minority person may identify.

Attention needs to be given to all factors that may account for the low publication rates on homosexuality found in this study. The only social work journal whose publication rate of articles on gay and lesbian subject matter appears to be increasing is the Journal of Social Work Education. Two-thirds of the total number of their articles on gay and lesbian topics occurred in the last three years of the study. This suggests that CSWE's journal is publishing material that addresses the 1992 accreditation standard concerned with curriculum content on homosexuality. However, increased publication on homosexuality by the Journal of Social Work Education is not sufficient to address the array of issues relevant to practice with lesbian and gay clients.

Increased rates of publication by the other social work journals included in this study are needed to permit social work educators to carry out the CSWE mandate concerning curriculum content on homosexuality. Based on the findings from this study, the journals Administration in Social Work, Child Welfare, Computers in Human Services, Journal of Social Service Research, Research on Social Work Practice, and Social Service Review should make a particular effort to increase the number of their articles on homosexuality because they have lagged far behind others in their coverage of subject matter pertaining to gay men and lesbians.

The findings from this study suggest that the presentation of knowledge for practice with lesbian and gay clients by social work journals is not significant. Increasing the publication of articles on homosexuality is vital. Moreover, the articles that are published need to be examined to determine whether they reflect a heterosexist bias. Publication of articles pertaining to gay and lesbian subject matter should not be equated with presenting perspectives that are free of homophobia and heterosexism.

Particular attention needs to be given to increasing the publication of articles on subject matter besides HIV / AIDS that is important to social work with lesbians and gay men. The authors share the concern expressed by Longres (1996) in his preface to the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services' special issue on "Men of Color." He wrote:

Given the heavy emphasis on HIV/ AIDS by the 12 social work journals included during the period encompassed by this study, future publications need to attend to Longres' concern and strive for more balanced attention to the full array of subject matter on gay men and lesbians. Such articles are needed to prepare students for practice and correct the reported lack of information about homosexuality that is provided to social work students (Epstein & Zak, 1992; Knight, 1991; Markowitz, 1991; Weiner, 1989). Furthermore, practitioners need social work journal publications on homosexuality to strengthen their responsiveness to the needs of lesbian and gay clients.

The authors agree with Van Soest (1996) that social work is the helping profession most committed to serving oppressed population groups. To carry out this commitment, there must be continuous knowledge building to insure that policies, programs, and services address the needs of lesbian and gay clients. Therefore, the publication record for articles on gay and lesbian subject matter by the 12 journals included in this study must be strengthened. Increasing these journals' publications on homosexuality will insure that knowledge about lesbian and gay people is available for social work educators to achieve the CSWE requirement for curriculum content on sexual orientation.

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Wardlaw, L. A. (1994). Sustaining informal caregivers for persons with AIDS. Families in Society, 75, 373-384.

Weiner, A. (1989). Racist, sexist, and homophobic attitudes among undergraduate social work students and the effects on assessments of client vignettes. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.

Accepted: 4/00.

Address correspondence to: Rebecca Van Voorhis, Indiana University School of Social Work, 902 West New York Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202-5156; e-mail: rvanvoor@iupui.edu.

REBECCA VAN VOORHIS is associate professor and MARION WAGNER is assistant professor, School of Social Work, Indiana University.
Articles            Book Reviews

                Gay/Lesbian           Gay/Lesbian
                  Subject               Subject
Year    Total   Matter (%)    Total   Matter (%)

1988      365     13 (3.6)      197     7 (3.6)
1989      358      7 (2.0)      177     4 (2.3)
1990      352     10 (2.8)      172     5 (2.9)
1991      373     20 (5.4)      214     4 (1.9)
1992      386     11 (2.9)      173     6 (3.5)
1993      405     10 (2.5)      188     6 (3.2)
1994      417     14 (3.4)      189     7 (3.7)
1995      421      8 (1.9)      214     7 (3.3)
1996      370     16 (4.3)      174     5 (2.9)
1997      340     12 (3.5)      150     7 (4.7)
Total   3,787    121 (3.2)    1,848    58 (3.1)


Other Gay /
                                                       Lesbian
                                                       Subject
                                Total    HIV/AIDS      Matter

Journal                           n       n     %      n     %

Administration in Social Work     232     0    0.0     1    0.4
Affilia                           222     0    0.0     8    3.6
Child Welfare                     462     0    0.0     4    0.9
Computers in Human Services       219     0    0.0     0    0.0
Families in Society(a)            608    23    3.8    11    1.8
Health and Social Work            272    23    8.5     0    0.0
Journal of Social Service
  Research                        179     0    0.0     1    0.6
Journal of Social Work
  Education                       310     3    1.0     6    1.9
Research on Social Work
  Practice(b)                     208     3    1.4     0    0.0
Social Service Review             293     2    0.7     1    0.3
Social Work                       603    26    4.3     9    1.5
Social Work Research(c)           179     0    0.0     0    0.0

Subtotal                        3,787    80    2.1    41    1.1

Journal of Gay & Lesbian
  Psychotherapy(d)                 46    11   23.9    35   76.1
Journal of Gay & Lesbian
  Social Services(e)               40     9   22.5    31   77.5

Total                           3,873   100    2.6   107    2.8


Other Gay &
                               Articles     Lesbian
                                  on        Subject
                               HIV/AIDS     Matter

Focus on Practitioner

Studies of Worker
  Knowledge and Attitudes          8           2
Conceptual                         9           2
Descriptive                        5           1
Support for Worker                 4           1
Ethical Issues                     4           0
Education/Curriculum               4           8
Service Delivery                  15           2
Policy                             4           1

Focus on Client Services

Studies of Client
  Behavior And Feelings            7           1
Groups                             9           2
Partners and Families             11           4
Lesbian & Gay Parenting            0           6
Sexual Identity & Disclosure       0           9
Youth                              2           7
Aging                              2           0
People of Color                    4           0
Sexual Behavior                    4           0
Alcoholism                         0           2
Domestic Violence                  0           2
Grief and Loss                     3           0


I also wanted articles about men of color that did not focus exclusively on
   AIDS.... In spite of the personal and political horrors of the AIDS
   epidemic, we need to keep in mind that our chief purpose is to foster gay
   affirming social services. (p. xix)
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