Date of Conferral







Stephen Rice


The purpose of this study was to determine which factor(s), including job satisfaction, employee-employer relationship, organizational climate, and ethnicity predict retention of mental health professionals employed by African American and Caucasian privately owned mental health agencies. Due to high turnover in the private sector in mental health in central Virginia, many agencies are closing after 5 years of business. The importance of this study was to determine which factor(s) can assist in reducing turnover in the mental health field and to determine which factor(s) assist in maintaining mental health professionals in order for the agency to remain operable. The variables were evaluated through 4 valid and reliable self-report surveys to determine their prediction of employee retention. The study used Vroom's expectancy theory as the theoretical framework, which focuses on the importance of rewards and incentives in the workplace. The study's research questions determined the predictive validity of the variables on employee retention among 46 African-Americans and 15 Caucasian mental health employees. The results from multiple linear regression indicated that job satisfaction was the only significant predictor of employee retention. The implications from this finding suggest that mental health professionals need a sense of job satisfaction from their agency in order to remain at their current agency. From the findings, social change can occur when African American and Caucasian privately owned mental health agencies increase retention and are able to continue to provide continued mental health services.