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Meet AJO Researchers, Shirli Werner and Roni Holler

March 4, 2022

Meet Shirli Werner, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare and Head of the MSW Program at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Roni Holler, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer at the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare and Head of the Center for Disability Studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and authors of the AJO article “Israeli social workers’ recommendations on guardianship and supported decision-making: Examination of client and social worker factors.”

Shirli and Roni’s shared research interests include improving the quality of life and living conditions of people with disabilities.

We asked Shirli and Roni several questions about their study in AJO and other research they are currently working on.

Please list 3 key takeaways from your recent AJO publication:

Shirli & Roni: (1) In response to true-to-life vignettes describing people with disabilities, Israeli social workers recommended using the practice of supported decision-making (or maintaining the status quo) over the practice of guardianship; (2) Social workers’ recommendations were highly affected by client characteristics. Specifically, they were more likely to recommend guardianship when the person depicted in the vignette had intellectual disability, needed more decision-making support, lacked familial support, and agreed to guardianship; and (3) Social workers’ recommendations were also affected by their own characteristics. Those who had not heard of the newly supported decision-making reform, and those with positive attitudes toward guardianship, supported guardianship.

What are the policy implications of this research?

Shirli & Roni: Supported decision-making aims to enable persons with disabilities to make choices with support from others. Social workers, who have an integral role in judgments regarding legal capacity issues, should be provided with more up-to date training on legal capacity reforms and guidelines on how to follow their principles.

What are you working on now?

Shirli & Roni: We are currently examining:

(1) Role perception of family, volunteer and paid supporters in supported decision-making scheme;

(2) We are expanding our research on how social workers make decisions in the guardianship and supported decision-making realms by manipulating other possible client-level variables and repeating our vignette-based survey; and

(3) We wish to examine social workers’ real-life decisions in the guardianship and supported decision-making fields by qualitatively analyzing decisions and recommendations provided in written psychosocial reports. 


To learn more about Shirli and her work, visit her departmental profile. To learn more about Roni and his work, visit his departmental profile and the Center of Disability Studies Facebook page.

Our Meet an AJO Researcher series spotlights recent research published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry and the researchers behind this work.


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