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
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?
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
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
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
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
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
(a) Prior to 1990, Families in Society was published as Social
(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
(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
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
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
(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).
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
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
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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Address correspondence to: Rebecca Van Voorhis, Indiana University
School of Social Work, 902 West New York Street, Indianapolis, IN
46202-5156; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
REBECCA VAN VOORHIS is associate professor and MARION WAGNER is
assistant professor, School of Social Work, Indiana University.
Articles Book Reviews
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 /
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 &
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)