• Pernille Salomonsen
  • Sofie Ververs Groth Haals
4. semester, Socialt Arbejde, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
This master thesis examines the experiences of social workers working with citizens with med- ically unexplained symptoms and how this is expressed in their evaluations of these cases in correlation with the labour market.
This thesis is based on a philosophical hermeneutic approach and to answer our main ques- tion, we have chosen a basic qualitative research design. Our main focus has been to achieve an understanding and interpretation of the social workers’ own narratives and experiences.
In order to obtain this interpretation, we have chosen an abductive research process to bring forward the patterns of the empirical data and in interaction with the chosen theory to qualify the empirical data.

Our collection of empirical data is based on a qualitative methodology, focusing on a qualita- tive interview based on a vignette case about Bente, who has been absent from work due to medically unexplained symptoms. In the light of this vignette case, we have interviewed eight social workers in a medium-sized municipality of Zealand.
For our analysis of the empirical data, we have chosen Michael Lipsky’s “understanding of the frontline of street-level bureaucracies” as our main theoretical frame. Particularly his theoretic ideas about the street-level bureaucrats and their use of coping-mechanisms has been our focus.

The analysis is divided into three parts. In the first part we conclude that the overall labour market settings in many ways complicate the case work when it comes to working with citi- zens with medically unexplained symptoms. A significant finding is how the absence of a di- agnosis becomes important for the social workers’ options to act in the case work.
Part two treats the social workers’ understanding of and belief in citizens with medically unex- plained symptoms and in what way this belief is important for the citizen’s return to the labour market. Also, how this understanding and belief in the citizen is essential to see the person as he or she sees themselves in order to secure a good level of cooperation.
Part three focusses on how the motivation of the social workers impacts the case work.
It shows a duality: the social workers seem to be both motivated and demotivated in their case work with this group.

In conclusion our thesis shows that the settings have a significant influence on the case work when it comes to working with citizens with medically unexplained symptoms. The lack of a
diagnosis makes it difficult for the social workers to act. This leads to a lack of faith, a lack of prioritisation and a lack of motivation for working with this group of citizens.
In closing, this thesis will illustrate reflections about how the findings of the study can be put into practice.
Udgivelsesdato1 jun. 2018
Antal sider92
ID: 280140848