Psychology Ph.D. Dissertations


A National Study of Child and Family Therapists: The Relationships between Parent Engagement, Supervision and Training, and Burnout

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Carolyn Tompsett (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Eric Dubow, Ph,D. (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Dara Musher-Eizenman (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Starr Keyes (Other)


Extensive previous research has included investigations of the importance of parent engagement in the effective implementation of empirically-supported treatments (ESTs) for children and families, and the role that service-providers play in the engagement process. Additionally, past studies have explored the associations between staff outcomes such as burnout and professional efficacy, and organizational factors such as constraints and supervision, to examine their impact on treatment delivery (Ingoldsby, 2010; McCurdy & Daro, 2001; McGuigan, Katzev, & Pratt, 2003). The overarching goal of this study was to examine the relationships between service providers’ experiences with parent engagement, organization-level factors, and therapist outcomes of burnout and professional efficacy using a national online survey. Participants were 148 (19 males and 129 females) child and family therapists who work at mental health facilities across the United States. Therapist parent engagement efficacy mediated the relationship between barriers to parent engagement and the Personal Accomplishment sub-scale of burnout. Supervision and training were not associated with any variables of interest. However, therapist perceptions of organizational constraints were found to be significantly correlated with all variables of interest. Serial multiple mediation analyses suggest that the effects of organizational constraints on parent engagement efficacy are mediated by barriers to parent engagement, and the effects of organizational constraints on emotional engagement and personal accomplishment are mediated by both barriers to parent engagement, and parent engagement efficacy. Future directions and implications are discussed with respect to furthering research efforts and the clinical applications for workforce development and improved delivery and implementation of evidence-based practices.