Counselor Supervision, Counseling Interns, Ego Development, Occupational Stress


The primary purposes of this study were (a) to investigate the relationship between counseling interns' site supervisors' experience and training in supervision and their own levels of ego development and (b) to investigate the relationship between supervisors' levels of ego development and the ego functioning and occupational stress of their intern-supervisees. The theoretical framework for this investigation included cognitive developmental models of supervision (e.g., Blocher, 1983; Stoltenberg, 1981), ego development (Loevinger, 1976, 1997) and the Person-Environment Fit theory of occupational stress (French, Rogers, & Cobb, 1974). The findings of this study contribute to an understanding of (a) the levels of ego development and post-degree clinical supervision experiences of internship site supervisors in different areas of counseling specialty; (b) the relationship between social-cognitive developmental levels and levels of perceived occupational stress in counseling interns; and (c) cognitive development theory and counseling supervision. Ninety-six counseling internship students in three master's level counseling programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation for Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) in Central Florida as well as 58 (73% response rate) of their internship site supervisors participated in the study. The site supervisors completed the Supervisors Experience Questionnaire (Walter, 2008) and the Washington University Sentence Completion Test--Form 81 (WUSCT; Hy & Loevinger, 1996). The participating counseling internship students completed a demographics questionnaire, the WUSCT--Form 81, and the Occupational Stress Inventory--Revised (OSI-R; Osipow, 1998). The statistical procedures used to analyze the data included chi-square, ANOVA, simultaneous multiple regression, and MANOVA procedures. The primary research hypotheses for the study were (1) that formal training in supervision and participation in post-graduate clinical supervision would predict supervisor ego development and (2) that supervisor ego development would predict supervisee ego development and occupational stress levels; these were not supported for these data. However, the results identified statistically significant relationships between supervisor participation in post-graduate clinical supervision and area of counseling specialty, with school counselor supervisors less likely to have participated in supervision than other supervisors. Additionally, the findings identified a negative correlation between interns' levels of perceived occupational stress and their ego development levels (14.6% of the variance explained), as well as a negative correlation between interns' levels of satisfaction with their internship site supervision and their levels of occupational stress (40% of the variance explained). The data from this investigation suggested that school counseling interns experienced higher levels of occupational stress due to occupational roles and lower levels of personal resources than interns in other counseling tracks, with the track accounting for 25.6% of the variance in the occupational stress levels. Implications for counseling supervisors and counselor educators are presented, along with areas for future investigation.


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Graduation Date



Lambie, Glenn


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Education


Child, Family, and Community Sciences

Degree Program









Release Date

May 2009

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Included in

Education Commons