Personality style, psychological adaptation and expectations of psychologists in clinical training

Brooks, Jennifer Margaret Beckett (1999). Personality style, psychological adaptation and expectations of psychologists in clinical training. PhD thesis The Open University.



Objectives: The current study aimed to profile the personality styles, expectations and psychological adaptation of Clinical Psychology Trainees. It also aimed to look at the relationship between these variables.

Design: A cross-sectional postal questionnaire study, employing between group and correlational analyses.

Methods: A sample of 364 psychologists in clinical training (57% response rate) from 15 UK clinical psychology training courses participated in the study. They completed questionnaires of personality, psychological adaptation, social support and an expectations measure specifically designed for the study.

Results: The majority of psychologists in clinical training who participated in the study were well adjusted in terms of personality, did not experience extensive problems with psychological adaptation, and had the majority of their expectations met. A significant sub group reported personality adjustment problems and problems with self esteem, anxiety, depression and work adjustment. Low self esteem was present in just under a quarter of the sample. Personality adjustment was found to be related to expectations and psychological adaptation. Trainee psychologists with poorer personality adjustment were less likely to have their expectations met, especially with regard to the impact of training on their life, and were more likely to suffer from poor psychological adaptation, particularly in terms of low self esteem, anxiety, depression and work adjustment problems. Self esteem was related to discrepancies in actual and ideal social support. Some differences were found between year groups. Gender and age were not related to personality adjustment, psychological adaptation or expectations.

Conclusions and Implications: The findings were discussed in terms of the interpretation of personality style. Implications for clinical psychology training and the profession of clinical psychology were considered.

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