Development of the psychologist and counsellor professional self-efficacy scale

Year: 2016

Author: Stewart, Sandra E., Snell, Tristan, Jacobs, Nicky, Furlonger, Brett, Ehrich, John, Watt, Helen M. G.

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Counsellors and psychologists work with oftentimes vulnerable populations in a responsibly helping profession. Yet, perhaps surprisingly, there exists no comprehensive ecologically grounded instrument to assess their perceived core competencies described in Australian psychology and counselling competency documents. This paper describes the development and validation of the psychologist and counsellor professional self-efficacy scale. Postgraduate psychology and counselling trainees were recruited from four Australian universities using snowball sampling (N = 199), to complete a self-report survey (available via paper and online) which took up to 10 minutes to complete. In an iterative process, involving maximum likelihood exploratory factor analysis alongside multidimensional scaling, strongest items tapping refined factors were clarified. The final solution was estimated using confirmatory factor analysis which exhibited good fit across frequently emphasised indices and no high modification indices. Rasch scaling further confirmed well-functioning scales. Five factors were supported, tapping future professionals’ self-efficacy for Research; Ethics; Legal matters; Assessment & measurement; and Intervention. MANOVA compared psychology and counselling subsamples on the set of factor scores. The PCES appears a promising measure with potential applications relating to evaluation of professional training, aiding professional development, clinical supervision, and research concerning psychologists’ and counsellors’ perceived competencies.