The relationships of occupational stress and certain other variables to job satisfaction of licensed professional counselors in Virginia

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The purpose of this investigation was to determine the relationship of occupational stress and certain demographic variables to job satisfaction among licensed professional counselors in Virginia. The relationships of the factors comprising occupational stress to the components of job satisfaction were of interest as well as how overall occupational stress related to overall job satisfaction.

The sample consisted of 400 licensed professional counselors selected randomly from a mailing list of the 1,038 licensees supplied by the Virginia Board of Professional Counselors. The response rate was 81.75%. While some LPC's remain in positions they have held for years, some are new at their jobs and some work part-time. Those surveyed include persons working in administration, coun~elor education, and other various occupations, as well as full-time practitioners.

Survey instruments included the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire as a measure of general job satisfaction and 20 subscales, The Occupational Environment Scales measuring occupational stress and six subscales, and a data form. The data form was developed to collect demographic information.

By combining the demographic data generated in this study, a description can be developed of LPC's in Virginia. Of 281 counselors identifying their work setting, 40.2% specified they were employed in education. Practitioner was the selection chosen by 49.1% of the respondents to disclose their present role. Ninety-three percent of the counselors were white and 55.8% were female. Experience was indicated as over 10 years for 74.4% of those responding and 54.7% of the sample have been licensed from 5 to 10 years. Of 294 responding counselors all but one had a masters or postmasters degree.

Of the counselors participating, 48.5% indicated they experienced some job stress, but 78.5% indicated they were satisfied with their present job. Although a negative relationship was found between overall occupational stress and job satisfaction, stress resulting from work responsibility impacted positively with job satisfaction. As the score on the stress subscale responsibility increases, the score on general job satisfaction increases. Older, more experienced counselors indicated higher levels of job satisfaction.