Correctional psychologist burnout, job satisfaction, and life satisfaction
MetadataShow full item record
Research suggests the correctional work environment is stressful. Since much of the literature has focused on correctional officers, there are only three existing studies that have examined correctional psychologist job satisfaction. These studies suggest correctional psychologists are dissatisfied with various aspects of their jobs, such as administrative responsibilities, limited opportunities for advancement, and lack of influence with decision-making. Much of the literature on correctional psychologists surveyed their work-place activities and assessed job satisfaction with non-standardized measures. Although these seminal studies were instrumental in highlighting areas of concern for correctional psychologists, they did not comprehensively examine these issues with a high degree of empiricism. This study utilized standardized instruments to assess the constructs of burnout, job satisfaction, and life satisfaction of correctional psychologists relative to other public service and counseling center psychologists. Data were collected from 203 doctoral level psychologists working full-time in the following settings: 44 were employed in Criminal Justice (CJ) settings, 56 were employed in Veteran’s Affairs (VA) settings, 49 were employed in Counseling Center (CC) settings, and 54 were employed in Public Psychiatric Hospital (PPH) settings. Preliminary analyses using analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Chi Square procedures were conducted to compare differences in continuous and categorical demographic variables, respectively. The only notable difference in psychologist groups was job tenure, which was entered as a covariate in subsequent analyses. Several multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) procedures were utilized for the main analyses. Lastly, a series of simple linear regression (SLR) procedures were utilized to assess for the influence of predictor variables. Overall, each group of psychologists generally reported low to moderate levels of burnout, moderate levels of job satisfaction, and high levels of life satisfaction. However, psychologists working in correctional settings reported significantly more burnout relative to VA and counseling center psychologists. Psychologists working in correctional and public psychiatric hospital settings also reported significantly lower job satisfaction than counseling center psychologists. Additionally, psychologists working in public psychiatric hospital settings reported significantly lower life satisfaction than VA and counseling center psychologists. Lastly, professional identity related to the occupational setting emerged as a significant predictor of the level of psychologist burnout.