Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology



First Advisor

Allan Berman


The survey study was conducted among psychologists licensed in the state of R.I. (N=79). This study takes a sympathetic look at the provider. The goal is not to learn how to better control or manage psychologists, but to assess their well-being in the face of system-wide changes. Regression analyses are used to increase understanding of the relationship between psychologists job autonomy and burnout. Findings suggest that the degree of job autonomy is predictive of two subscales of burnout as assessed by the Maslach Human Services Survey, namely Emotional Exhaustion and Depersonalization. Additional items, including qualitative responses, suggest that autonomy is highly valued by psychologists.

Provider attitudes toward recent or proposed system-wide political and organizational changes are also assessed along with their preferences regarding certain practice dimensions (e.g., pay options, setting preference). Most providers prefer a private practice setting and a fee for service payment method. Interestingly, provider attitudes toward "cost containment" issues did not correlate with any survey variables such as job autonomy, job satisfaction and the burnout subscales. This suggests that their attitudes toward controls were not generally predictive of behavior or experiences. Responses to questions regarding autonomy and government involvement in the psychologists practice seemed to vary according to the focus of the question. When questions focused on job autonomy directly, providers tended to dislike government involvement. When questions were addressed from a politic al level, e.g., asking about National Health Insurance, providers responses were more varied, however; the majority still disagreed with this policy. Qualitative responses to survey items lend additional support to the importance psychologists in this study place on job autonomy in their clinical practice.

This study has implications for psychologists, for administrators and for policymakers.



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