Advancing the Science of Social Work: The Case for Biosocial Research


Social workers have long advocated for using a biopsychosocial model for social work practice. Although the biopsychosocial framework to understanding and treating problems is ubiquitous to social work practice, the biological domain has historically been neglected. In recent years, however, social work practitioners and scholars have begun to embrace findings from biosocial research to inform theory and practice. Despite the emerging use of findings from biosocial research studies in social work, the discipline of social work seems slow to employ biosocial research designs to contribute new knowledge. This critical commentary discusses the importance of biosocial research to social work, explores the reluctance and barriers to more fully incorporating biosocial research designs, and argues for the social work research community to set an active biosocial research agenda so that we may contribute in a scientific way to testing and refining all aspects of the biopsychosocial framework.


Maynard, B. R., Boutwell, B. B., & Vaughn, M. G. (2016). Advancing the science of social work: The case for biosocial research. British Journal of Social Work. Advance online publication. doi:10.1093/bjsw/bcw108