Date of Award

Summer 8-13-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

PhD Counseling Psychology

Department

Professional Psychology and Family Therapy

Advisor

Laura K. Palmer, PhD

Committee Member

Pamela F. Foley, PhD

Committee Member

Margaret Brady-Amoon, PhD

Committee Member

John E. Smith, EdD

Keywords

psychologist, career-span, self-care, perceived stress, coping self-efficacy

Abstract

Psychologists are expected to engage in self-care strategies aimed at promoting and maintaining well-functioning in themselves (Saakvitne & Pearlman, 1996) in order to effectively manage the demands of their profession and better ensure the provision of quality care. However, self-care is also a clinical competency of professional psychology that has historically been insufficiently addressed in training (Donovan & Ponce, 2009). According to the APA Board of Professional Affairs Advisory Committee on Colleague Assistance, a better understanding of functioning in psychologists is necessary to properly promote self-care across the career-span (2005). There is a need for research in this area to establish evidence-based self-care practices. This study lends empirical support for an increased focus on psychologist self-care with specific attention to the relationships between Perceived Stress, Psychological Distress, and Coping Self-Efficacy across the career-span. Results largely support hypotheses that there are significant relationships between the variables. With regard to differences in sample means across the career-span, Late career psychologists’ scores were significantly higher than Early career psychologists’ for Self-Care frequency and Coping Self-Efficacy. Late career psychologists’ Perceived Stress levels were significantly lower. Further, there are differences in frequency and type of Self-Care practices between Early and Late career psychologists. Implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research are provided.

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