THE PROFESSION'S RESPONSE TO DISTRESSED PSYCHOLOGISTS (ETHICS, IMPAIRED, BURNOUT).
AuthorBOYER, CATHERINE LEE.
AdvisorKahn, Marvin H.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractDistressed and impaired professionals represent a problem to the professions and the consumers of their services. Little data is available on the distressed psychologist. This study, endorsed by the Board of Professional Affairs of the American Psychological Association, was concerned with developing a data base in the following areas: (1) the prevalence and types of mental disorder among psychologists, (2) characteristics of distressed psychologists, (3) ethical and legal violations committed by distressed psychologists, (4) procedures for identifying and handling these psychologists, and (5) treatment resources. A questionnaire was sent to the fifty state licensing boards in psychology, the fifty state psychological associations, and one percent of the total number of licensed psychologists listed in the National Register of Health Service Providers. This one percent was selected by a stratified random sampling by state. Results indicated that distressed psychologists represent a significant problem to the profession due to the ethical/legal violations they commit and the adverse impact of their distress on professional performance. Distressed psychologists were also found to rate the impact of their distress on performance significantly less adversely than did their colleagues. Most frequently occurring problems among distressed psychologists were depression, alcohol abuse/dependence, and personality disorder. Differences were found on the following dimensions between distressed psychologists who committed no known violations and those who committed violations: rated adverse impact of distress on performance, type of problem, the frequency with which colleagues intervened, the frequency with which the distressed psychologists themselves took some action in regard to their problems, types of intervention made, and outcome. State licensing boards and psychological associations were found to have little contact with distressed psychologists who commit no violations and few means of identifying the distressed among those who do commit violations. A few state psychological associations are exploring the issue of distressed psychologists in their states and developing referral and outreach programs. State boards who responded have not made special efforts for distressed psychologists. No special treatment programs were discovered. The profession is considered to be insufficiently prepared for assisting distressed psychologists and client care is endangered. Implications of findings for programming are discussed.