Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services


Counselor Education and Supervision

Committee Director

Edward Neukrug

Committee Member

Shana Pribesh

Committee Member

Garrett McAuliffe


One of the most common criticisms of undergraduate and master's level graduate programs is that students lack the ability to define their view of human nature. One effective means of assisting students in their desire to identify their preference in orientation is the use of a validated psychometric instrument developed for mental health trainees. Thus, the purpose of this study is to develop and initially validate a new assessment tool, the Preference for Adherence to Theoretical Orientation Scale (PATOS). PATOS provides a theoretically grounded method for assessing a counselor's preference for a particular orientation(s) as well as adherence to a theoretical orientation(s). PATOS should be used with undergraduate and graduate level mental health trainees who are majoring in the field of human services, psychology, social work or counseling. This study used a formula for summated scale construction, which included a triangulation process to create thematic patterns in scale items, a generation of scale items, an expert review of those items, and a test of the reliability and initial validation of the instrument through a pilot sample and data analysis. Findings of the component structure of PATOS were supported through the use of principal components analysis, as well as evidence of reliability and validity. Cronbach's alpha was reported at .99, supporting internal reliability. Scores on the PATOS subscales and the Theoretical Orientation Profile Scale-Revised (TOPS-R) subscales supported statistically significant positive relationships for convergent validity. In addition, findings supported a statistically significant difference between education level, work experience, and race/ethnicity on PATOS subscales. Based on the findings of this study, PATOS is a valid and reliable psychometric instrument that can be used for new mental health trainees.