Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Eric Sauer

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Z. Anderson

Third Advisor

Dr. Robbie Steward


Self-efficacy, a central component of Bandura's social cognitive theory (SCT), is an important construct in the realm of therapist development and has been associated with client outcome. Researchers have found that some of the strongest predictors of counselor self-efficacy are level of experience, level of training, state anxiety, and trait anxiety. Missing from this body of literature, however, is an understanding of how the educational format of training (i.e., cohort versus non-cohort) impacts counselor self-efficacy. Because cohort membership has been associated with professional confidence and self-esteem, it was hypothesized that educational format would contribute significant variance to counselor self-efficacy scores. Furthermore, it was hypothesized that those enrolled in cohort programs would demonstrate significantly more counselor self-efficacy and significantly less state anxiety as compared to students enrolled in non-cohort programs. Finally, it was hypothesized there would be a significant relationship between practicum or "internship" status and counselor self-efficacy given that self-efficacy tends to increase with performance accomplishments.

One-hundred and sixty master's level CACREP-approved counseling programs were randomly selected for inclusion in this study in addition to two programs at Western Michigan University. Participants completed the Counselor Self-Estimate Inventory (COSE), the Counselor Activity Self-Efficacy Scales (CASES), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), and a background questionnaire. Of the 150 electronic surveys initiated, 104 met the inclusionary criteria. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses revealed that educational format did not contribute significant variance to counselor trainees' self-efficacy scores above and beyond the variance explained by level of experience, level of training, state anxiety, and trait anxiety. ANOVA analyses revealed no difference in self-efficacy or state anxiety between students enrolled in cohort versus non-cohort educational formats. However, there was a significant relationship between practicum or "internship" status and self-efficacy as predicted. Level of experience, level of training, state anxiety, and trait anxiety accounted for 44.3% of the variance in COSE scores and 36.7% of the variance in CASES scores. The findings further support that counselor educators and supervisors must work to ensure students are able to reduce and/or control their anxiety, receive proper training, and acquire sufficient practicum experiences.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access