Stimulating interdisciplinary collaboration among youth social workers: A scoping review

Sanne Rumping, Leonieke Boendermaker, Doret J. de Ruyter

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


In recent decades, a considerable amount of literature on interdisciplinary collaboration has been published. Interdisciplinary collaboration plays an important role in matching services to the individual needs of children and young people, but working interdisciplinary appears to be hard for youth social work professionals. The aim of this scoping review was to identify, analyse, and summarise literature on stimulating interdisciplinary collaboration among social work professionals working with youth. Seven databases were systematically searched (until March 2017), and grey literature was hand-searched for relevant publications. Included in this review were empirical studies on at least one (future) social work professional working with youth that (a) focused on interventions for or important elements in interdisciplinary collaboration, team development, or teambuilding/work, (b) were conducted in a Western country; (c) met a clearly written method, and (d) were published in English or Dutch. Eighteen publications met the criteria, in which two categories of studies could be identified: focusing on important elements in interdisciplinary collaboration (ten studies) and focusing on interventions (eight studies). From the ten studies on elements, six overarching elements were distinguished that appear to stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration. (a) Awareness and understanding of the other discipline; (b) communication and interaction: feedback, reflection, and evaluation; (c) team structure; (d) willingness to work together; (e) shared responsibility/norms, and (f) mutual trust. The interventions found in the eight other studies were divided into three forms: training, organisational interventions, and tools. More support for professionals in interventions is needed to stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration. The six overarching elements found in this review can be used in developing these interventions. Further research is needed to develop, test, and systemically measure interventions in order to help youth social work professionals collaborate successfully in an interdisciplinary manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-305
Number of pages13
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Issue number2
Early online date23 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Interdisciplinary collaboration
  • Scoping review
  • Social work


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