Free ASWB Practice Question: Danger to Others

By Heidi Tobe on February 4, 2019

Happy February to everyone getting ready to PASS their ASWB social work licensing exams. Today we are covering a topic (including a FREE aswb practice exam question) that we can say with near certainty will show up on your LCSW and LMSW exams: Danger to Others.

Danger to Others

As social workers, we not only have a responsibility to honor our client’s self-determination, but also to protect society (hence why we are mandated reporters for children, the elderly, and dependent adults and why we have a duty to warn). Here are a few helpful pieces of information you want to keep in mind about danger to others before we jump into this week’s practice question:

When to Report/Not Report Threats of Violence

  • If a client makes a threat of serious physical violence towards an identifiable person, we have a duty to warn that person and notify proper authorities.
  • If a client makes a vague statement (for example, “I’m just so mad at my boss, I could kill him” or “I’ll show him a thing or two!"), we FIRST want to clarify what they mean by these statements. Sometimes our clients are blowing off steam with no real intent to harm anyone, so we always want to explore whether there is an actual threat of violence before jumping to action.
  • We do not have a duty to warn if a client threatens violence against an object or property (for example, if someone threatens to smash the windows out of someone's car, we do not report this).
  • There must be an identifiable victim in order for us to have a duty to warn. If we don’t know who to warn, then there is no way to warn them (we of course want to do our best to obtain this information from our client).

Danger to Others Practice Question

Woman listening to another woman

A social worker has been meeting with a 30-year-old female client for a year. The client enters her most recent session visibly upset. Clenching her fists, the client angrily reports that she found out her boyfriend has been cheating on her with her best friend for the past several months. She states, “Honestly, I could just kill them both right now.” What should the social worker do FIRST?

A. Inform the client that she must warn the boyfriend and best friend and notify the proper authorities

B. Immediately stop the session and call the police.

C. Discuss voluntary hospitalization

D. Explore whether the client plans to kill them

(scroll below to view the answer and rationale)






















The Correct Answer is D

In the question stem, the client made a concerning statement that warrants further exploration. Immediately contacting the boyfriend, best friend, and proper authorities (A) or stopping the session to contact the police (B) is jumping a step too far ahead. We do not yet know if the client actually plans to harm them in any way, or is simply upset about the infidelity. We do not want to jump to action without gathering information first. Nothing indicates a need to hospitalize the client (C). What we want to do FIRST is figure out whether the client actually intends to cause any serious physical harm to her boyfriend or best friend (D). If she does, then we can go ahead and do A.

Clinical Exam Preparation

How did you do on this practice question? Did the answer and rationale line up with your understanding of this nuanced topic? Therapist Development Center has helped THOUSANDS of social workers across the country pass their exams with CONFIDENCE. Have you been considering signing up for one of our ASWB exam preparation programs? There’s no time like the present! Our structured, straightforward approach to exam prep gives you everything you need to PASS your exams and nothing you don’t. Make 2019 your year to conquer this exam!


Commenter Name
February 6, 2019

Thank you for this preparation questions. I

Commenter Name
February 12, 2019

Please notify me whenever new information is posted

Commenter Name
March 4, 2019

I answered the question correctly and my rationale lined up with your rationale. Unfortunately there are not very many questions like this on the LCSW exam. A lot of the questions seem to be more subjective versus objective.

Commenter Name
March 4, 2019

Hi Nena,This is just one sample question. Our LCSW program has over 700 practice questions and rationales. We've helped thousands pass their social work exams with over a 95% success rate. You can check out some customer testimonials at

Commenter Name
March 5, 2019

Love the clarity.

Commenter Name
April 18, 2019

I got it right!! I think the line to remember is as you point out, To explore what the client means, and if he or she has a plan, and a specific person.

Commenter Name
September 3, 2019

Thank you for these additional practice questions!!! :)

Commenter Name
March 5, 2021

A social worker at a community clinic sees a family in the lobby and sees a parent spanking a child. What should the social worker do ? Intervene? Report the parent to CPS? Discuss with the parent discipline alternatives? Say nothing?

Commenter Name
March 5, 2021

If it's asking what to do in that moment (in the lobby), you would do nothing unless it stated they were spanking with an object or doing it in such a way that it would leave marks (in which case we would need to make a CPS report).

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