Using a Strength-Based Approach to Social Work With Minority Groups: The Case of At-Risk Young-Adult Arabs in Israel

Yafit Sulimani-Aidan, Maayan Ravid, Haneen Elias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social workers have a significant role in empowering clients to discover their own strengths as well as strengths in their environment and to achieve social justice on behalf of oppressed populations. The goal of this exploratory qualitative study was to broaden our knowledge on strength-based approaches in working with minority and collectivist societies via the perspectives of 20 social workers and 19 managers of social service organizations and departments who work with at-risk young-adult Arabs throughout Israel. Thematic analysis revealed that social workers consciously try to identify young adults’ assets and resources at both the personal and environmental level, despite the major structural barriers in these young adults’ lives (i.e., due to intersectionality). Also, they use their collaborative relationship with the young adults as a mechanism to induce hope, a sense of responsibility, a sense of agency, and empowerment. The discussion addresses the study’s findings concerning the literature on strength-based approaches, highlighting the advantages and challenges in using such approaches when working with these populations. Recommendations for practical implementation propose the integration of thorough training in strength-based approaches into the professional socialization of emerging social workers. Moreover, it is suggested to establish a guiding principle by implementing a systematic assessment that aligns conceptually with strength-based approaches.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • minority
  • resilience
  • social work
  • strength-based approaches
  • young-adult Arabs

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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