LMSW Exam Prep: Understanding Prevention

By Emily Pellegrino on October 19, 2012

A comic of a man at a pharmacy counter saying

What do you need to know about prevention when preparing for the LMSW exam?

This week's LMSW exam prep term, prevention, is an important one and great to know while you're studying. Prevention plays a large role in social work by working to prevent problems that affect the lives of many of our clients. Let's take a better look at this term so you are better prepared if it shows up on the LMSW exam.

Sample Question:

Which of the following BEST defines prevention?

A. Actions taken to minimize and eliminate social, psychological and other problematic conditions

B. The act of directly representing or defending others

C. The process of teaching client's and communities about the nature of an illness or problem

D. Actions taken by social workers in neighborhood-based agencies to bring information about the availability of services in their home.

There are many different types of prevention that are good to know for the LMSW exam. Let's just take a quick look through all of these so that you are able to differentiate between each one. Primary prevention is actions taken to avoid conditions that result in disease or social problems. Secondary prevention includes taking actions that limit problems which have already occurred through early identification and treatment. Lastly, tertiary prevention is when a client is experiencing a problem and rehabilitative efforts are taken to restore function by building upon strengths. Phew, that's a lot of definitions. However, if you look at each of these as building blocks, where one builds upon the next it makes it a little bit easier to remember each one when you're taking the LMSW exam.

The Social Work Dictionary defines prevention as, "Actions taken to minimize and eliminate social, psychological, or other conditions known to cause or contribute to physical and emotional illness and sometimes socioeconomic problems. Prevention includes establishing those conditions in society that enhance the opportunities for individuals, families, and communities to achieve positive fulfillment" (Barker, 2003).


The best answer here would be A. B would better fit the term advocacy. C and D put the social worker in more of a psychoeducation role. While psychoeducation can be a part of prevention, it does not best define the term.

Coming up next week: Qualitative research

Think our straightforward, sensible approach could help you PASS your LMSW exam? If you're preparing for the social work exam, check out our LMSW Study Materials. Learn more about our exam prep at the The Therapist Development Center home page.

Looking for more practice questions and some study tips? Check out our new Social Work Exam Study Guide:

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