Prof. Shirli Werner

שירלי ורנר
Head of M.S.W. Program
Associate Professor
Room 516

Prof. Shirli Werner


Lecturer: 2009

Senior Lecturer: 2015

Associate Professor: 2019


Research Interests:

Developmental disabilities; intellectual disabilities; dual diagnosis of intellectual disability and mental illness

Stigma in the field of intellectual disabilities (Including: public stigma, family stigma, professional stigma)

Quality of life and family quality of life among families in which a member has a disability

Knowledge and attitudes towards working with people with developmental disabilities 

Professional aspects in working with individuals with intellectual disabilities

Guardianship and supported decision-making

Social inclusion of individuals with disabilities


Current Research Projects:

· Service gap and lag in the treatment of individuals with intellectual disability and psychopathology.

·  Perception of disability among social workers.

· Volunteering among adolescents with disabilities.

- Guardianship and Supported Decision Making for Persons with Disabilities: A Mixed Method Analysis of Social Workers' Decision-Making Process

- Examination of school inclusion: Implications of the Dorner Reform


Abstracts of Current Research

Service gap and lag in the treatment of individuals with intellectual disability and psychopathology: Family stigma and perception of service availability and accessibility as barriers to help-seeking (CO PI with Wulf Rossler, Niedersachsen Funded Grant)

Studies suggest that people with intellectual disability and psychopathology do not receive adequate preventive, curative and rehabilitative care.   Family caregivers play an important role in supporting people with intellectual disability, in general, and, particularly, during episodes of  psychopathology across the lifespan.  Despite the important role played by the caregiver, few studies have examined the characteristics of the help-seeking process.  This study examines the help-seeking process among these families and the adequacy of psychiatric services in Israel and Germany.   The study aims: (1) To gain an in-depth understanding of the availability, accessibility and adequacy of services for people with intellectual disabilities and psychopathology as perceived by their main caregivers. (2) To gain an in-depth understanding of the main barriers to help-seeking among caregivers of people with intellectual disabilities and psychopathology. (3) To examine the association between (a) family stigma and (b) perception of availability and adequacy of services and help seeking amongst family caregivers of people with intellectual disabilities and psychopathology.

Perception of disability among social work students (CO-PI with Dr. Roni Holler, Varburg Grant)

During the last few centuries we are witnessing a paradigmatic shift in the way in which disability is conceptualized within the Western world. In this change, we can see a shift from the medical perspective that views disability as a personal issue to a social perspective that sees disability as a result of societal, environmental, cultural and political factors. This research takes first steps in examination of the perceptions of disability held by social work students, i.e. to what degree social work students are inclined towards a medical versus a social perspective of disability. This research question will be examined among BSW and MSW students in order to also see the impact of socialization into the profession as one of the factors which may impact on these perceptions.

Volunteering among adolescents with disabilities. (CO-PI with Dr. Itay Greenspan and Yossi Frier, JDC Funded Grant)

Current social policy argues for greater support of social inclusion of individuals with disabilities, and specifically adolescents with disabilities. Amongst other things, there is a wish for greater inclusion of adolescents with disabilities within educational settings, social and leisure activities. It is expected that such inclusion may lead to more positive attitudes in society. This study follows a unique pilot project that seeks to include adolescents with disabilities as volunteers. The aim of this study is to examine the efficacy of this project and its impact on volunteers with disabilities and the volunteer settings.

Guardianship and Supported Decision Making for Persons with Disabilities: A Mixed Method Analysis of Social Workers' Decision-Making Process (CO-PI with Dr. Roni Holler, ISF Grant number 268/18).

In recent years, several welfare states, including Israel, have amended their guardianship laws. The proper implementations of these laws, including the decision whether to appoint a guardian or the less restrictive alternative of supported decision maker, is greatly influenced by social workers. In our research project we seek to contribute to a better understanding of social workers’ decisions about guardianship and supported decision making. Attention will be paid to understanding the contribution of individual level, social workers’ level, and societal-legal level factors to this process.


Examination of school inclusion: Implications of the Dorner Reform (CO-PI with Prof. Tom Gumpel, Prof. Naomi Weintraub, and Dr. Judah Koller, Ministry of Education Grant)

In this study we examined the impact of inclusion of students with disabilities within the general education system. We focus on impact on students with and without disabilities, parents, and the school system. We also examine perceptions and attitudes towards inclusion and perceptions of efficacy from the perspective of school teachers, school principals and para-professional staff.


Recent Publications: (Last 5 years)

Werner, S., & Hochman, Y. (2019). On self-identity: The process of inclusion of individuals with intellectual disabilities in the military. Disability and Rehabilitation, 41, 1639-1646. DOI: 10.1080/09638288.2018.1443158.

Werner, S., & Hochman, Y. (2019). "It opened a new world to me:" Experiences of military commanders in employing individuals with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 32, 648-656. https://

Werner, S., Stern, I., Roth, D., & Tenenbaum, A. (2019) Help-seeking by parental caregivers of individuals with intellectual disabilities and dual diagnosis. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research,  46, 321-333. Doi: 10.1007/s10488-018-00915-w

Werner, S. & Shpigleman, C.N. (2019). Information and Communication Technologies:  Where Are Persons with Intellectual Disabilities? Israel Journal of Health Policy Research, 8:6

Werner, S. (2019). Service Use and Perceptions of Service Effectiveness by Parents of Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities: Comparing Jewish and Arab Israeli Parental Caregivers. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research. doi: 10.1111/jir.12611

Werner, S., Stern, I., Stawski, M., Roth, D., & Tenenbaum, A. (2019). Service Use and Perceived Service Effectiveness for People with Intellectual Disability and Dual Diagnosis in Israel, Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 12, 1-2, 45-57, DOI: 10.1080/19315864.2019.1595230

Werner, S., & Holler, R. (2019). Attitudes toward Guardianship and their Association with the Importance of Social Work Goals and Perspectives of Disability within the Social Work Profession. Disability and Rehabilitation,

Werner, S. (2018). Attitudes of soldiers without intellectual disabilities towards the inclusion of soldiers with intellectual disabilities in the IDF. Bitachon Sociali, 104, 123-161. (Hebrew)

Holler R. , & Werner S. (2018). Perceptions towards disability among social work students in Israel: Development and validation of a new scale. Health and Social Care in the Community, 26, 423-432.

Werner, S., Katz, D., Ayalon, Y. , Merrick, J. & Tenenbaum, A.  (2018): ‘Equal in Uniform’: People with Intellectual Disabilities in Military Service in Israel. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 65, 569-579. DOI: 10.1080/1034912X.2018.1426099

Werner, S. (2017). Can interpersonal contact help improve attitudes toward soldiers with intellectual disability? An Israeli study. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 61, 1162-1173.

Werner, S. & Abergel, M. (2017). What’s in a label? The stigmatizing effect of intellectual disability by any other name. Stigma and Health. 10.1037/sah0000108.

Davies, R.N., Werner, S., & Sinai, A.  (2017). Guardianship and supported decision making in Israel. Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 11(2), 54-64. doi: 10.1108/AMHID-11-2016-0040

Werner, S., & Hochman, Y. (2017). Social inclusion of individuals with intellectual disabilities in the military. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 65, 103-113.

Werner, S. , & Araten-Bergman, T. (2017). Social workers' stigmatic perceptions of individuals with disabilities: A focus on three disabilities. Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 10, 93-107. Doi: 10.1080/19315864.2017.1284288

Werner, S., Yalon-Chamovitz, S. , Tenne Rinde, M., & Heymann A.D.  (2017). Principles of effective communication with patients who have intellectual disability among primary care physicians. Patient Education and Counseling, 100, 1314-1321. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2017.01.022

Arten, T., Werner, S. (2017). Social workers' attributions toward individuals with dual diagnosis of intellectual disability and mental illness. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 61, 155-167.

Werner, S. & Scior, K. (2016). Interventions aimed at tackling intellectual disability stigma: What works and what still needs to be done. In K. Scior & S. Werner (Eds.),  Intellectual disability & stigma: Stepping out from the margins. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Werner, S. (2016). Measurement methods to assess intellectual disability stigma. In K. Scior & S. Werner (Eds.),  Intellectual disability & stigma: Stepping out from the margins. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Scior, K. & Werner, S. (2016).  Intellectual disability & stigma: Stepping out from the margins. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Taub, T., Werner, S. (2016). What support resources contribute to family quality of life among religious and secular Jewish families of children with developmental disabilities? Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 41, 348-359.

Scior, K., Hammid, A., Hastings, R., Werner, S., Belton, C., Laniyan, A., Patel, M., & Kett, M. (2016). Consigned to the margins: a call for global action to challenge intellectual disability stigma. The Lancet Global Health, 4, e294-e295 DOI: 10.1016/S2214-109X(16)00060-7

Werner, S., & Chabani, R. (2015). Guardianship versus supported decision-making: Perceptions of persons with intellectual or psychiatric disabilities and parents. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry

Werner, S. (2015). Stigma in the area of intellectual disabilities: Examining a conceptual model of public stigma. American Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 120, 460-475.

Werner, S., Peretz, H., & Roth, D. (2015). Children's attitudes toward children with and without disabilities. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 33, 98-107.

Landau, R., & Werner, S. (2015). Ethical aspects of use of GPS tracking for people with dementia. Gerontology and Geriatrics, 42, (1), 9-25.   (in Hebrew; based on a translation of Landau & Werner, 2012).

Werner, S. (2015). Public stigma in intellectual disability: Do direct versus indirect questions make a difference? Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 59, 958-69.

Werner, S., & Hozmi, B. (2015). Social workers' evaluation concerning the care of persons with 'dual diagnosis: Intellectual disabilities and psychiatric disorders. Society and Welfare, 35, 93-116. (in Hebrew).

Werner, S. (2015). Athletes', parents' and siblings' experiences from the Special Olympics World Games. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 40, 167-178.

Werner, S., & Shulman, C. (2015). Does type of disability make a difference in affiliate stigma among family caregivers of individuals with autism, intellectual disability or physical disability. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 59, 272-283.

Werner, S. (2015). Public stigma and the perception of rights: Differences between intellectual and physical disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 38, 262-271.