Investigation of the Attitudes of Doctor of Psychology Students in an American Psychological Association Accredited Doctoral Program
Date of Submission
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Robert A. DiTomasso, Ph.D., ABPP
Robert A. DiTomasso, Ph.D., ABPP, Chairperson
Robert G. Cuzzolino, Ed.D.
Matthew Schure, Ph.D.
Student and faculty/administration perceptions of a quality doctoral psychology program may vary. There is minimal research on the perceived quality of doctoral programs and how this is measured, based on student perceptions. Doctoral programs require great investments of time and money. This study focuses specifically on a program self assessment for the 2008-2009 academic year of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine Doctor of Psychology program, self-study survey with the doctoral students. The study was conducted using archival data from 108 Doctor of Psychology students identified as being currently enrolled in the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Psychology program. A multiple regression was performed using the independent variables of student perceptions of faculty as role models, availability of faculty, promptness of faculty in returning phone calls and returning papers and assignments, approachability of the faculty, program administration investment in resolving student concerns, approachability of the program administration, and the extent to which the program administration is open to feedback; this also involved students' perceptions of opportunities for involvement with faculty in scholarly activities, male student versus female student perceptions of faculty as mentors, and opportunities for meaningful interactions with peers as predictors against the dependent variables of overall quality rankings of "poor, fair, good, very good, and excellent." Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to determine the degree of differences between the overall quality of the program in preparing the student ultimately to practice as a doctoral level clinical psychologist and degree of differences between the overall quality of the program in preparing the student in the cognitive-behavioral empirically supported approach to clinical psychology; this involved the factors of program faculty as role models, faculty availability, faculty promptness in returning phone calls, papers, and e-mails, as well as respect and courteousness toward students, the investment of the program administration in resolving student concerns, approachability of program administration, extent to which the program administration is open to feedback, perceived opportunity for involvement with faculty in scholarly activities, gender differences in overall quality of faculty as mentors, and opportunities for meaningful interactions with peers. A probability level of .01 was used for statistical significance of the findings with the Pearson Correlation and Coefficient of Determination. A multiple analysis of the variance (MANOVA) was completed, using the variance of students who are years in the program beyond 5 years versus those students who are maintaining academic pace to graduate in 5 years as the independent variables and the overall rating of preparation to practice as a doctoral level clinical psychologist and for preparation in a cognitive-behavioral empirically-supported approach to clinical psychology as dependent variables. Results find significant correlations between factors related to student perceptions of program faculty, student perceptions of program administration, student perceptions of the quality of mentoring they receive from program faculty, and overall quality rating of the quality of their interactions with their peers; it also includes preparing students to practice as doctoral level clinical psychologists as well as overall quality ratings in preparing students to utilize cognitive-behavioral empirically-supported approaches. No significance was found regarding gender differences and overall rating of quality based on the quality of mentoring perceived by the students or based on the year of enrollment in the program. The results of the current study are of great importance to the ongoing support and advocacy of students who enroll in costly and time consuming educational programs and for programs that are dedicated to ensuring both the educational integrity and positive experience of their students.
Walker, McKenzie L., "Investigation of the Attitudes of Doctor of Psychology Students in an American Psychological Association Accredited Doctoral Program" (2009). PCOM Psychology Dissertations. 144.