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Counselor Education and Supervision


Gary M. Szirony


Student leadership identity development is becoming one of the most critical challenges in preparing mental health counseling students for the professional world. Leadership aids in the development of counselor self-efficacy and counselor professional identity development. But the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) does not mandate master's level mental health counseling programs to incorporate leadership curriculum, although current research indicates that counselors demonstrate leadership skills with clients and within organizational roles. The purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate master's level mental health counselor leadership identity and determine whether Socially Responsible Leadership Scale (SRLS) scores for Change, Consciousness of Self, and Congruence (as measured by the SRLS-R2), gender, and/or race predict intent to pursue a doctoral degree among master's level mental health counseling students enrolled in CACREP-accredited counseling programs. The SRLS-R2, designed from the social change model of leadership development, was used to collect data from 61 master's level counseling student participants regarding leadership identity using Bandura's social cognitive theory as a framework for student learning. Results indicated that the variable gender predicted socially responsible leadership, yet did not predict intent to pursue a doctoral degree. Based on these results, master's level counseling students could benefit from leadership curriculum as preparation for leadership positions within the field and influence pursuance of higher learning.

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