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  • 2015HelenWallsDClinPsy

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Well-being in psychologists

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Helen Walls
Publication date2015
Number of pages202
Awarding Institution
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Practising psychologists across a range of disciplines are known to frequently work with individuals who have complex emotional difficulties. Excessive job demands and lack of resources are known to impact on the well-being of these professionals (Hannigan, Edwards, & Burnard, 2004) with consequences for the individual, clients, and organisations at a wider level. This thesis examines some of the factors which can affect wellbeing in psychologists. Section 1 presents the findings from a systematic literature review including 22 papers that looked at the experience of burnout in practising psychologists (e.g., clinical, counselling, and school psychologists). Psychologist burnout was within the moderate to high range in at least half of the studies examined. Variables including gender, practice setting and level of experience were related to burnout, as were several psychosocial variables. Methodological quality of studies varied hugely and compared to other professions, the literature on burnout for psychologists was generally lacking. Relevance to clinical practice and implications for future research are discussed. Section 2 comprises the quantitative research study, which explored whether job demands predicted psychological well-being in clinical psychologists, and whether the quality of the supervisory relationship was capable of moderating that relationship. A total of 194 clinical psychologists participated in the online study consisting of a questionnaire gathering demographic information and information on job characteristics, and five standardised self-report measures including a measure of job demands, a measure of the supervisory relationship, and three measures of psychological well-being. Job demands significantly predicted psychological well-being, but that relationship was not moderated by the strength of the supervisory relationship. A discussion of the findings, including possible reasons for the lack of moderation, are presented, along with suggestions for further research. Section three presents a critical appraisal of the research. It discusses the findings of the literature review and research study, as well as a critique of the methodology. Reflections on the research process are given and implications for clinical practice are discussed.