Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Elementary school counselors; School psychologists;


The present study was designed to examine professional understanding of roles between school psychologists and elementary school counselors. The study was also designed to examine current perceptions of the school psychologists' role and the elementary school counselors' role. Finally, those functions that are areas of potential conflict or collaboration between the professions were examined. Eighty-five elementary school counselors and 85 school psychologists were identified as working together within public school systems across seven Iowa Area Education Agencies. Subjects were matched by the elementary school in which they both work. The subjects were asked to respond to a questionnaire regarding which professional performs 18 different functions, and ranking the top five functions for each professional from those same 18 functions. Of the 170 questionnaires originally mailed, 38 pairs were identified from among the responses. In indicating who performs each function, one third of the functions were selected by both the psychologists and the counselors as a function of both professions. Another five functions were selected as a function of both professions by either the psychologists or counselors. This finding indicates a number of functions for potential service overlap. In ranking the top five functions they perform, function overlaps were not as frequent. Indicating that while psychologists and counselors share a number of functions, the professionals prioritize different functions. Examination of pairwise agreement between the psychologist-counselor pairs found stronger agreement than those reported previously. Agreement on top ranked functions indicated that practioner pairs understood functions each other perform. This study is an extension of a preliminary study conducted by Fisko, 1989 and utilized the method of matched psychologist-counselor pairs in studying the understanding between the professions. Further study is needed to examine the function areas that create conflict between the professions and how these school professionals work out misunderstandings and overlaps of services. Also future research will be able to establish and monitor the changes within and between the professions as state laws and service delivery systems change and influence the services provided by these school-based mental health porfessionals [sic].

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Specialist in Education


Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations

First Advisor

Donald W. Schmits

Second Advisor

Charles V. L. Dedrick

Third Advisor

Audrey L. Smith


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