A Survey of the Occupational Stress, Psychological Strain, and Coping Resources of Licensed Professional Counselors in Virginia: A Replication Study
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The Occupational Stress Inventory Revised Edition (OSI-R) and an Individual Data Form (IDF) were used to examine the current levels of occupational stress, psychological strain, and coping resources for a random sample of 360 licensed professional counselors (LPCs) in Virginia. Using the OSI-R (Osipow, 1998), a comparison of the results of this study to the Occupational Stress Inventory (OSI), (Osipow & Spokane, 1987) Ryan (1996) used was made. Replicating Ryan's study was needed to determine if significant differences at the level of occupational stress, psychological strain, and coping resources exist over time which would emphasize the importance of occupational stress research for this population.
The OSI-R is a concise measure of three dimensions of occupational adjustment: occupational stress, psychological strain, and coping resources. Demographic variables, such as age, gender, ethnicity, marital and parental status, primary work-setting, years of experience, stress related treatment, and years licensed were examined within the three dimensions of stress, strain, and coping.
Data were collected via first mailing of 360 surveys with a final response rate of 63.52%. Th e number of responses used for analysis was 183. The majority of the participants were white (93.4%), female (65%), parents (69.9%) of two children (33.9%), and adults averaging 49 years old. There were 120 females (65.6%) and 63 males (34.4%). Private practice either individual (21.9%) or group affiliation (18.6%) was identified as the primary work setting. The majority (86.3%) of the LPCs worked with clients and averaged 19.79 hours per four day week, counseling clients. The average number of daily client sessions was 4.76 and the maximum number of daily client sessions was 6.52. Most (49.2%) of the clients' source of referral were legally mandated.
Overall, the T-scores on the OSI-R fell in the average range for stress, strain, and coping. Variables that had no significant differences in level of stress, strain, or coping were marital and parental status, number of children, years experience, average daily client sessions, and stress related treatment. Demographic variables that contributed to differences in levels of stress only included ethnicity and weekly work hours. Demographic variables that contributed to differences in scores of strain only included age and years licensed. Demographic variables that contributed to differences in scores of coping were weekly work hours, number of days per week clients seen.
Variables that had significant differences on the levels of stress, strain, and coping were gender, primary work setting, number of work settings, maximum daily client sessions, and referral source of clients. Thus, future research in the counseling profession for occupational stress, psychological strain, and coping resources are warranted. Implications for the profession and recommendations for future research were made.
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