ASWB Practice Question: Parent Attitudes and Child Substance Use

teen smokingA mother tells a social worker she knows her teenager will experiment with drugs at some point because "all kids try marijuana." How is this mother's attitude likely to affect her child's substance use?

Okay, stop here. Do you have a general idea what the answer should look like? It's often helpful to take a second and think it through. In this case: will the mother's permissiveness increase, decrease, or have no impact on her child's substance use? What's your knowledge of the topic say? What's your gut say?

Let's look at the offered answers.

A. This mother's attitude can help her child use substances more responsibly because there is no need to rebel or lie about experimentation.

B. The likelihood that the child will experiment won't be affected, since a parent's attitude about drugs and alcohol has minimal bearing on whether or not a child uses substances.

C. This mother's attitude is apt to be a self-fulfilling prophecy that will increase the likelihood her child will use substances.

D. Since this mother has an open mind about substance use, her attitude may actually decrease the likelihood that her child will experiment with drugs.

If you're a SWTP free practice question completist, this may ring a bell. This is similar to a question we posted once-upon-a-time on the blog.

Which answer most closely matches what you were picturing? Boiled down, the choices are that the mother's attitude will:

A. Decrease the teen's substance use.

B. No impact on the teen's substance use.

C. Increase the teen's substance use.

D. Paradoxically decrease the teen's substance use.

What do you think?

An answer: Not every family is the same, but generally speaking, permissive parenting with fewer limits gets you a kid more at ease with experimentation. Authoritarian parenting engenders resentment and rebellion. The parenting style that's balanced between the two poles, the to-be-aimed-for sweet spot, is called authoritative parenting. Each will impact child substance use-which more-or-less gives you the answer. (It's C, increase).

Note, the question doesn't ask about substance abuse, just use. Mom says it's okay to try a drug, the kid is probably going to try the drug. Just to see. Right?

Or does that conflict with your ideas on the topic? Here are a couple of articles that detail research findings. Good to know.

Hopefully, you'll get to put this to use on the ASWB exam as you work your way to a PASS.

For lots more questions drawn from all parts of the ASWB exam content outline, try our complete exams. Sign up now to get started.

Happy studying and good luck on the exam!

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Social Work Exam Practice: ASD Treatment

preschoolHere's a free practice question to help get you ready for the social work licensing exam:

A social worker provides consultation to a local preschool program. There's a four-year-old in the program who's been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The parents ask the social worker for help addressing their child's developmental issues. What treatment intervention is MOST likely to be helpful?

A. Cognitive Therapy

B. Family Therapy

C. Applied Behavioral Analysis

D. Play Therapy

What's your answer?

Let's walk it through. First off, the question step is unnecessarily wordy. The question could simply read, What is the treatment most likely to be helpful to a four-year-old diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder? The rest of the details (consultation, preschool program, parents asking) don't really affect your answer. But you're task as an exam taker is to pass the exam, not offer literary criticism. Stay focused on your goal: a PASS sheet and a new social work license. Ignore distractions like less-than-elegant question form.

What about the answers? Taking them one at a time:

A. Cognitive therapy. CBT is evidence based and helpful for lots of conditions. You could do pretty well with a "When in doubt, choose CBT" approach to the exam. This time, it's not the answer. The child is four. Identifying thoughts, cognitive distortions, etc. takes a facility with insight and language not likely to be present here. Moving on…

B. Family therapy. Could work. We don't have details about how sever the ASD symptoms the child is displaying are. If they're at all severe, family therapy is not going to be effective. Or, at least, not the MOST effective.

C. Applied behavioral analysis. If you've worked with ASD kids, you've probably heard of this. If not, this may be a mystery treatment. If you're in the latter group, it's worth flagging this as a possibility. The ASWB doesn't do trick questions or trick answers. So, anything offered isn't going to be a made-up therapy. Behavioral treatment? Sounds good. Applied analysis? Could work. One more to go.

D. Play therapy. Okay, makes more sense than CBT or family therapy. It's child-centered, not overly verbal. Seems like a decent answer.

So, we're left with two possibilities to choose from. It's applied behavioral analysis vs. play therapy. Both seem like plausible best answers.

How do you choose?

Think of what you know about ASD symptoms. What you've encountered or heard how people diagnosed with ASD present. For milder cases, sure, play therapy seems like a good idea. But what about severe symptoms? Limited communication... Play therapy doesn't seem like the best fit.

That leaves, for those who've never heard of it, something called applied behavioral analysis. (Those who have heard of it know that it's a first-choice  treatment with ASD.) Close your eyes, wince, and hit the button. It's your best guess.

And it's right. Read up about the treatment here and here.

And now, if you encounter applied behavioral analysis on the exam, you'll be ready. That's the magic of test prep. 

There's lots more test prepping to do here on SWTP. Sign up to create and account and get started.

Happy studying and good luck with the exam!

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ASWB Exam Practice: Elder Abuse Screening

sw interviewHere's a question from our free study guide. ("What free study guide?" The one you get when you create an account on SWTP. Sign up and it's yours.)

A hospital social worker meets with an elderly woman after nurses express concerns about possible elder abuse. The woman resides with her grandson and was admitted for pneumonia, but nurses have discovered several bruises on her arms and legs. When the social worker goes to talk to the woman, her grandson and several other family members are present. The social worker wants to interview the woman today as she may be discharged soon. What should the social worker do?

A. Provide the woman with a business card and ask her to call if she needs anything.

B. Ask the woman if she would like to talk to her alone.

C. Interview the woman with her family present.

D. Ask the family leave and interview the woman by herself.

If you encountered this question on the ASWB exam, how would you answer?

Let's take the responses one at a time. Remember to read all responses. Don't just stop at one that feels probably-the-best-of-the-bunch.

A. Business card. Could work, but the woman may not feel comfortable calling; if she is being abused, her family may not allow her to call.

B. Talk alone? Yes. It is important to interview the woman alone so she can provide any information about possible abuse in a safe, private environment. However, the woman may not feel safe saying that she wants to meet alone, so asking this question may not help. Let's see if that answer can be beat by any of the others.

C. Interview with family present. If the woman is being abused, she is not likely to share this with the potential abuser present. So, no.

D. Ask family to leave. Ah, here we go. To appropriately assess for abuse, the woman should be interviewed alone. The social worker should ask the family to leave so that the woman can be free to provide information without fear of consequences from her family.

We have a winner! (TL;DR it's D.)

Learn more about elder abuse here. It's a topic that is likely to come up in social work practice and on the social work licensing exam. Get ready.

Get even more ready for the exam with our complete, 170-question practice tests. Each question of each exam has thorough rationales like the one above. Get practice, get licensed. Good luck!

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Social Work Exam Practice: Narrowing it Down

tackleHere's another exam question that includes content you may not have encountered during your social work education, practice, or in your preparations for the ASWB exam. That doesn't mean you can't answer it. Common sense and good test-taking skills will get you to the correct answer on questions like these.

A 55-year-old man meets with a social worker after being diagnosed by his primary care physician with post-concussion syndrome. He has been experiencing short-term memory problems and can't return to his job as an electrician until his symptoms resolve. He has been experiencing depression since being out of work. What treatment interventions are likely to be MOST helpful?

A. Cognitive therapy to help him identify and replace cognitive distortions related to his memory loss.

B. Solution-focused therapy to help him identify what he can do to return to work.

C. The client is not a good candidate for services, since his depression is caused by a medical issue.

D. Short-term behavior therapy to help him find strategies to cope with his memory loss.

What's your answer? Are you sure? Commit to it. Maybe write it down on a piece of scratch paper. To get through the social work licensing exam means committing to 170 answers whether you're certain about them or not.

Let's take the answers one at a time.

A. CBT. Hmm, might work. But isn't CBT a little iffy when someone is encountering memory issues? Will the candidate be able to keep a thought log? Would he be able to identify and replace cognitive distortions? Let's mark that as a leans-no maybe.

B. Solution-focused therapy. Again, hmmm (not sure). Since the client is an electrician, there are safety concerns about his return to work. Is returning to work the first priority here? It may be that coping with the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome ought to take precedence. Let's plant another leans-no maybe. Leaning a little bit harder no this time.

C. No services. Is this ever the case? The client may not a good candidate for any and all services, but surely can benefit from some help. Looks like we can safely strike this one.

D. Short-term behavioral therapy. This doesn't feel like the perfect answer, but could it be the best of the bunch? It addresses the memory issue head-on while also addressing coping (aka decreasing the reported anxiety and depression). If you're guessing that post-concussion syndrome can lead to depression and anxiety, you'd be right. Learning strategies to cope with his memory loss may be helpful. Looks pretty good.

So we're left with two-and-a-half contenders. CBT, solution-focused therapy, and short-term behavioral therapy. Choosing the best of these isn't just about the interventions, it's about how they'd be used. CBT, sure. CBT is a wide-ranging collection of interventions. But CBT to address cognitive distortions? That's not really what's needed here. And we were already leaning no on solution-focused therapy.

Could D be the right answer?

Well, it may not be the best possible answer, but it's the best of the offered answers. If that's what you wrote down, then...congratulations. You got this one right.

Keep on practicing. Our full-length exams have lots and lots of questions, all with thorough rationales to get you good and ready come exam time.

Happy, safe studying and good luck on the exam!

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Social Work Exam Practice: When You Don’t Know the Content

harville-and-helen-home-hero-mobileHere's one from the discard pile, an exam question that requires some knowledge of Imago Therapy. Imago Therapy will not be on the exam. Even so, try the practice question and see if you can use your deduction techniques to get the right answer. Sometimes it's the how-to process, not content knowledge, that plays the essential part in reaching a correct answer. Here's the question:

In a an intake with a social worker, a couple reports experiencing high conflict and difficulty communicating. The social worker plans to use Imago therapy with the couple. What are techniques the social worker would MOST likely use?

A. Recommend each person attend individual therapy to help them discover what they are gaining from participating in the conflict.

B. Teach the couple techniques to improve their communication and identify productive conflict-resolution strategies.

C. Use a variety of techniques to help the couple uncover the unconscious reasons they became attracted to one another.

D. Help the couple learn how their thoughts contribute to their maladaptive behaviors and negative feelings toward one another.

What do you think?

So here's the how-to: You don't have to know Imago Therapy. You just have to know what isn't Imago Therapy. That is, can you identify what theory or technique each answer identifies. Let's take 'em one at a time:

A. Individual therapy instead. This doesn't sound like any theory in particular (though it may not be a bad idea). Imago therapy doesn't explicitly recommend separate individual therapy in place of couples counseling.

B. Teach conflict resolution. A very practical answer. And therefore probably not the right one. The word "Imago" evokes internal images, object relations, etc.  Something more psychodynamic. Pass on this for the time being.

C. Uncover unconscious motivations. Ah-ah, now we're getting somewhere. Mark this as a possibility and power through.

D. Address thoughts. You know what that is, right? CBT. So scratch that answer.

Really just one good answer is left standing. The correct answer: C. And, sure enough (if you want to look it up), Imago Therapy views conflict as a symptom of deeper relationship issues originating in childhood wounds, and uses a variety of behavioral and spiritual techniques to help people address those unmet needs.

Hope that helps. The moral of the story is that you can learn more from each practice ASWB exam question than just the content covered in the question stem.  That's why we've got thorough rationales for each answer of each question of the full-length SWTP practice tests. If you haven't already, check 'em out.

Happy studying, stay safe, and good luck with the exam!

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