Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


School psychologists;


The problem that was considered in the study was whether the role of the school psychologist was perceived differently by elementary principals and school psychologists.

A questionnaire was developed which had two slightly differing forms, one for principals and one for psychologists. The items on the questionnaire sought to assess the opinions of both groups concerning: who is and who should be responsible for selected tasks, the effectiveness of psychological services and several aspects of authority. The questionnaires were sent to a randomly selected group of elementary principals (200) and all of the school psychologists in Iowa (170). Useable returns totaled 272 out of 370 or 73.51%. The results of the questionnaire were analyzed by comparing the two groups using the appropriate statistic--either a "t" test for unrelated means or a chi-square analysis.

There were many significant differences between the opinions of the principals and the psychologists. Differences which were significant at the .05 level were found on seven of the nine measures of effectiveness, on four out of five of the factors measuring both who is and who should be responsible for tasks and on seven of the nine testable factors dealing with authority and conflict.

The conclusion reached was that the role of the school psychologist was perceived differently by the principals and the psychologists, probably due primarily to role constraints. It was suggested that selective factors and professional training itself may also contribute to these differences of opinion.

Although many greatly contrasting perceptions of the role were revealed, both groups indicated that psychologists were no more likely to be involved in conflict than were other special service personnel. That the lack of agreement on the appropriate role for the psychologist doesn't result in more conflict between the groups was attributed to the general ambiguity surrounding the goals of education. It was surmised that those who work within the educational organization have come to tolerate role and value ambiguity, to accept this situation as the norm, and to accommodate to it with only occasional conflict.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Specialist in Education


Department of Educational Psychology, Foundations, and Leadership Studies


Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations

First Advisor

Rex A. Romack


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Date Original


Object Description

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