Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Comprehensive School Counseling Programs, Job Satisfaction, and the ASCA National Model

Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Comprehensive School Counseling Programs, Job Satisfaction, and the ASCA National Model

Article excerpt

This study examined the level of school counselor job satisfaction and implementation of comprehensive school counseling programs in secondary schools in one state. Participants included 103 secondary school counselors selected using a cluster sampling of Michigan public school districts. The Job in General (JIG) scale was used to measure their job satisfaction. The Comprehensive School Counseling Implementation Measure (CSCIM), based on the ASCA National Model, was used to measure the level of implementation of a comprehensive school counseling program in their schools. The individual items "administrative support" and "facilitating communication between staff" on the CSCIM showed high correlations with job satisfaction, while moderate to high correlations were found in the items "serving all students," "clearly written and defined program philosophy," and "creating time for planning and evaluating the program." This article discusses limitations of this study and suggested directions for further research.

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The conversation concerning the role and function of school counselors in today's K-12 schools has compelled researchers to study the mental well-being of counselors in the field. Particular areas of interest have been job stress and mattering to others (Culbreth, Scarborough, Banks-Johnson, & Solomon, 2005; Rayle, 2006; Sowa, May, & Niles, 1994; Wilkerson, 2009), role conflict and ambiguity (Bemak, 2000; Coll & Freeman, 1997; DeMato & Curcio, 2004), and job satisfaction (Bryant & Constantine, 2006; Clemens, Milsom, & Cashwell, 2009; Gade & Houdek, 1993). An individual's level of job satisfaction can be linked to job effectiveness, morale, cooperation with coworkers, physical and mental health, and recidivism (Cranny, Smith, & Stone, 1992). In this sense, a school counseling program that increases school counselor job satisfaction could have significant relational and occupational benefits by increasing the effectiveness and dedication of the school counselor. The current research studies the relationship between school counselor job satisfaction and the level of implementation of a comprehensive school counseling program.

BACKGROUND

Stress, Role Ambiguity, and Job Satisfaction

Studies have found that school counselors have exceptional levels of job stress, reporting higher-than-average burnout scores compared to other mental health professionals (Coll & Freeman, 1997; Wilkerson, 2009; Wilkerson & Bellini, 2006). Similarly, Rayle (2006) concluded that stress levels and the perception of mattering to others affected the quality of delivery of the school counseling program. DeMato and Curcio (2004) found that elementary school counselors were less satisfied with their jobs than in previous years because of increased role conflict and lower job security. However, if elementary school counselors were experiencing increased role conflict, it paled in comparison to the role conflict experienced by their secondary school counterparts, according to a study by Culbreth et al. (2005); this study also found that training, peer supervision, and initial role perceptions all affected role stress.

Gade and Houdek (1993) reported that school counselors who were overworked, had too many jobs to do, and performed non-school counseling activities had lower job satisfaction. In this study, correlations between job activity and job satisfaction among split-assignment school counselors were significant. In a similar study, McCarthy, Van Horn Kerne, Calla, Lambert, and Guzman (2010) examined the demands on school counselors, finding that participants rated paperwork and caseload requirements as the most demanding part of their work. Clemens et al. (2009) found that a school counselor's relationship with his or her administrator accounted for 49% of the variance in the school counselor's level of job satisfaction. Bryant and Constantine (2006) established that high job satisfaction and role balance predicted high levels of overall life satisfaction. …

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