Personality style, psychological adaptation and expectations of psychologists in clinical training.
Objectives: The current study aimed to profile the personality styles, expectations and
psychological adaptation of Clinical Psychology Trainees. It also aimed to look at the
relationship between these variables.
Design: A cross-sectional postal questionnaire study, employing between group and
Methods: A sample of 364 psychologists in clinical training (57% response rate) from 15
UK clinical psychology training courses participated in the study. They completed
questionnaires of personality, psychological adaptation, social support and an
expectations measure specifically designed for the study.
Results: The majority of psychologists in clinical training who participated in the study
were well adjusted in terms of personality, did not experience extensive problems with
psychological adaptation, and had the majority of their expectations met. A significant sub
group reported personality adjustment problems and problems with self esteem, anxiety,
depression and work adjustment. Low self esteem was present in just under a quarter of
the sample. Personality adjustment was found to be related to expectations and
psychological adaptation. Trainee psychologists with poorer personality adjustment were
less likely to have their expectations met, especially with regard to the impact of training
on their life, and were more likely to suffer from poor psychological adaptation, particularly
in terms of low self esteem, anxiety, depression and work adjustment problems. Self
esteem was related to discrepancies in actual and ideal social support. Some differences
were found between year groups. Gender and age were not related to personality
adjustment, psychological adaptation or expectations.
Conclusions and Implications: The findings were discussed in terms of the
interpretation of personality style. Implications for clinical psychology training and the
profession of clinical psychology were considered.