Date of Award

8-2007

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Interdisciplinary Health Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Nickola W. Nelson

Abstract

This study utilized secondary data from the Work and Well-being of SLPs survey (Caesar, 2004) to examine possible sources (predictors) of work stress, job satisfaction, and psychological distress among 409 speech-language pathologists (SLPs) employed in public school settings in Michigan. This study also investigated the relationship of work-related and non-work-related stress to the mental health status of SLPs and sought to determine the mediating and/or moderating effects of varied types of social support on the mental health of respondents. Data analysis was done in three stages. First, each of the dependent and independent variables were described statistically. Secondly, correlation analyses between dependent variables were computed. Thirdly, a series of hierarchical multiple regression models were used to (a) analyze the effects of demographic, caseload, work-related factors on work stress and mental health; and (b) examine the mediating and moderating effects of social support on the relationship between work stress and mental health. Results of this study document that school-based SLPs in the state of Michigan---despite student and employment-related challenges---are generally satisfied with their jobs and report moderately low levels of work stress and psychological distress. This study also found that issues related to employment factors were more consistently related to work stress and mental health than were caseload factors. Extra time spent on paperwork was the strongest predictor of both work stress and psychological distress among respondents. Despite perceptions of high job demands, the majority of respondents (95%) indicated that they were either "somewhat" or "highly" satisfied with their jobs. Although the majority of respondents reported having access to at least one type of social support in their work environment, emotional support from family and friends was more strongly correlated with fewer symptoms of psychological distress than the majority of work-support sources investigated. Implications regarding the impact of personnel and organizational factors on the critical shortage of school-based speech-language pathologists are discussed.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access