Date of Award

Summer 1987

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)




Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology

Committee Director

Deborah Foss-Goodman

Committee Member

Valerian J. Derlega

Committee Member

Molly Brunk tribble

Committee Member

Janis Sanchez-Hucles

Committee Member

Barbara A. Winstead


Psychologists' volunteering behavior and attitudes toward psychotherapy research were studied using a mail survey. A random sample of 248 male and 248 female doctoral-level members of Division 29 (Psychotherapy) of the American Psychological Association served as subjects. The cover letter requesting their participation in this study contained the systematic manipulation of variables believed to affect volunteering behavior: recruiter gender, normative nature of volunteering for the study, and perceived social importance of the study. The therapist variables of gender, age, and years of experience were also studied in order to determine if volunteerism might result in biased sampling across these variables. Three mailings were sent resulting in an overall response rate of 73.14%, supporting the utility of the mail survey methodology detailed by Dillman (1978). Results did not support a relationship between recruitment variables and volunteerism. Very weak inverse relationships were observed between volunteerism and therapists' experience and self-reported busyness. The magnitude of the difference in experience between volunteering and nonvolunteering psychologists was felt to be clinically insignificant. No relationship was observed between self-reported therapeutic orientation and expressed opinions about psychotherapy research. Volunteerism among psychologists may be largely determined by a few important factors such as how busy the individual sees him or herself with other activities, time commitment required for participation, intrusiveness of the study into the process of therapy, and perceived importance of potential results. Although the representativeness of a sample can be affected by many other factors, volunteerism per se results in a sample of psychologists in psychotherapy research that appears to accurately represent the population on many important variables.


A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculties of The College of William and Mary, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology through the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).