Date of Conferral





Counselor Education and Supervision


Shelley Jackson


Professional counselors experience increasing levels of ethical complaints when they provide opinions in child custody cases; the complaints question their competency levels and potentially affect job satisfaction. The purpose of the study was to determine any relationship between competencies and job satisfaction for 277 counselors and 66 psychologists. The competence theory served as the foundation of the study. The quantitative study was a nonexperimental, correlational design using a closed-ended survey. A new, validated Professional Competence Standards Instrument (PCSI) measured both competency as the independent variable and job satisfaction as the dependent variable to assess if competency affected job satisfaction. E-mail lists were utilized to invite a convenience sample to participate. Data analysis included a t test and found that psychologists had higher levels of competency than did counselors; a correlation test found a positive relationship between competence and job satisfaction; a Mann-Whitney U test found that psychologists had higher levels of complaints than did counselors; factorial ANOVAs showed a main effect between experience and ethical complaints, and between competency and job satisfaction for all professionals. Last, a stepwise regression found 4 predictors of job satisfaction: bias awareness, ability, experience, and licensure. Recommendations for future research include studying factors influencing levels of competency among counselors when providing testimony. These findings may assist the counseling profession with a greater understanding of competency in custody matters and improving job satisfaction, resulting in counselors better serving children and families embroiled in conflicted divorce and custody disagreements, and minimizing the negative impact on the mental health of all involved.