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The Relationship between Professional Identity and Collective Self-esteem in School Counselors

Dissertation
Author: Susan J. Foster
Abstract:
All bona fide professions have affiliated professional organizations, ethical standards or a code of ethics, and an accrediting and sanctioning body that deals with preparation, credentialing, and licensure, and pride in one's profession (Gale & Austin, 2003; Remley & Herlihy, 2010). As school counseling continues to evolve, school counselors have struggled to define and maintain their role. This may be due, in part, to the social desirability an individual has to belong to dominant group in the school setting (Tajfel, 1986). School counselors may draw esteem from their professional membership. This concept, called collective self-esteem, denotes those aspects of identity that are related to membership in social groups and the respective value that one places on one's membership (Luhtanen & Crocker, 1992). The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between collective self-esteem and professional identity. The findings of this study indicated that collective self-esteem was relatively stable and remained moderately high across several demographic variables related to professional identity. Collective self-esteem remained relatively consistent across level of practice, professional background, years of total experience and years of experience at the current school, and area of practice. Further, collective self-esteem remained moderately high for those who were affiliated with a counseling organization and those who were not. Results also suggested that collective self-esteem is constant regardless of variations in credentialing, chosen code of ethics, role definition (educator first or counselor first), and professional pride. Results indicated that collective self-esteem remained moderately high across several demographic areas and variables related to professional identity. Further, a significant positive correlation was found between pride in the profession and collective self-esteem was shown. Additionally, a small, significant negative correlation was garnered between those participants who viewed themselves as a counselor first and held an LPC or equivalent. Further, a significant relationship was found between those participants who defined their role as a counselor first and chose the NBCC Code of Ethics as their primary code of ethics and those participants who held the counselor first position and chose the ASCA Ethical Code as their primary code of ethics.

TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................................. ix ABSTRACT ..................................................................................................................... viii CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................1 Professional Identity ................................................................................................1 Background ..............................................................................................................4 Rational ....................................................................................................................7 Conceptual Framework ............................................................................................8 Purpose of the Study ..............................................................................................12 Research Questions ................................................................................................13 Assumptions of the Study ......................................................................................14 Definition of Terms................................................................................................14 CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OR THE LITERATURE .....................................................17 History of School Counseling ................................................................................17 Professional Identity of the School Counselor.......................................................19 School Counseling Credentialing ..............................................................21 The American School Counselor Association National Model .................22 School Counseling and Requirements by State .........................................23 School Counseling at the Elementary, Middle, and High School Level ...............25 Administrative and Teacher Perceptions of School Counseling................25 Diverse Background of School Counselors ...............................................26 School Counseling in Urban, Suburban, and Rural Areas .........................27 School Counseling and Association/Affiliation Membership ...................28 Identity ...................................................................................................................29 Professional Identity ..................................................................................29 Social Identity Theory ............................................................................................33 Components of Social Identity Theory ......................................................34 Group Membership and Belongingness .....................................................35 Social Identity and Social Influence ..........................................................36 Collective Self-esteem/Identity ..................................................................38 Collective Self-esteem and the Counseling Profession .........................................39 Conclusions ............................................................................................................43 CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY ..........................................................................45 Purpose of this Study .............................................................................................45 Figure1-Organizational Flow of Identity ...............................................................46 Participants .............................................................................................................46 Independent and Dependent Variables ..................................................................47 Independent Variables ...............................................................................47 Background Variables ....................................................................47 Professional Identity Variables ......................................................47

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Dependent Variable ...................................................................................47 Characteristics of the Sample.................................................................................48 Instrumentation ......................................................................................................56 Research Questions ................................................................................................62 Data Collection Plan ..............................................................................................63 Methods of Data Analysis ......................................................................................64 CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS ............................................................................69 Analysis of Research Questions.............................................................................69 Research Question 1 ..................................................................................69 Research Question 2 ..................................................................................71 Research Question 3 ..................................................................................74 Research Question 4 ..................................................................................75 Research Question 5 ..................................................................................85 Research Question 6 .................................................................................87 Research Question 7 ..................................................................................97 Research Question 8 ................................................................................114 Research Question 9 ................................................................................116 Research Question 10 ..............................................................................119 Research Question 11 ..............................................................................123 CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION ....................................................................................126 Summary of Findings ...........................................................................................126 Research Question 1 ................................................................................126 Research Question 2 ................................................................................126 Research Question 3 ................................................................................128 Research Question 4 ................................................................................129 Research Questions 5 and 6 .....................................................................130 Research Question 7 ................................................................................130 Research Question 8 ................................................................................132 Research Question 9 ................................................................................132 Research Question 10 ..............................................................................133 Research Question 11 ..............................................................................134 Implications for School Counselors .....................................................................135 Implications of the Study .....................................................................................136 Implications to Future Research ..........................................................................136 Limitations and Delimitations..............................................................................137 Conclusions ..........................................................................................................138

REFERENCES ................................................................................................................140 APPENDICES .................................................................................................................152 APPENDIX A: Survey ........................................................................................152 APPENDIX B: Electronic Messages to Participants ...........................................161 APPENDIX C: University of New Orleans IRB Approval ................................165

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APPENDIX D: Permission to Use the Collective Self-esteem Scale .................167

VITA ................................................................................................................................169

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LIST OF TABLES Table 1 Frequency Distribution of Participants by Sex .....................................................49 Table 2 Frequency Distribution of Participants by Race/Ethnicity ...................................50 Table 3 Frequency Distribution of Participants by State ...................................................50 Table 4 Frequency Distribution of Participants by Year of Experience as a School Counselor ...........................................................................................................................51 Table 5 Frequency Distribution of Participants by Years of Experience as a School Counselor in their Current School .....................................................................................52 Table 6 Frequency Distribution of Participants by Current School Level .........................54 Table 7 Frequency Distribution of Participants by Professional Experience ....................54 Table 8 Frequency Distribution of Participants by Area of Practice .................................55 Table 9 Frequency Distribution of Participants by Affiliation ..........................................55 Table 10 Frequency Distribution of Participants by Ethical Standards .............................56 Table 11 Frequency Distribution of Total Collective Self-esteem Score ..........................59 Table 12 Descriptive Statistics for Collective Self-esteem and Current School Level .....70 Table 13 ANVOA of Collective Self-esteem and Current Level ......................................71 Table 14 Frequency Distribution for Pride in the Profession ............................................72 Table 15 Descriptive Statistics for Pride in the Profession and Collective Self-esteem ...73 Table 16 Correlation Results of Collective Self-esteem and pride in the Profession ........73 Table 17 Descriptive Statistics for Professional Background and Collective Self-esteem .........................................................................................................................74 Table 18 ANOVA of Professional Background and Collective Self-esteem ....................75 Table 19 Frequency Distribution of Participants who are Nationally Affiliated ...............76

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Table 20 Descriptive Statistics for Affiliation at the National Level and Collective Self-esteem .........................................................................................................................78 Table 21 Results of ANOVA between Affiliation at the National Level and Collective Self-esteem .......................................................................................................79 Table 22 Frequency Distribution of Participants who are Affiliated at the State Level ....80 Table 23 Descriptive Statistics for Affiliation at the State Level and Collective Self-esteem .........................................................................................................................81 Table 24 Results of ANOVA between Affiliation at the State Level and Collective Self-esteem .......................................................................................................82 Table 25 Descriptive Statistics for Affiliation to Other Associations and Collective Self-esteem .........................................................................................................................82 Table 26 Descriptive Statistics for No Affiliation and Collective Self-esteem .................83 Table 27 Frequency Distribution of Affiliation .................................................................83 Table 28 Descriptive Statistics for Affiliation and Collective Self-esteem .......................84 Table 29 Results of the ANOVA for Affiliation and Collective Self-esteem ...................84 Table 30 Descriptive Statistics for Years of Experience and Collective Self-esteem .........................................................................................................................85 Table 31 Descriptive Statistics for Collective Self-esteem by Years of Experience .........85 Table 32 Descriptive Statistics for Years of Experience, Years of Experience at Current School, and Collective Self-esteem ......................................................................87 Table 33 Results of the Regression Analysis for Years of Experience, Years of Experience at Current School, and Collective Self-esteem ...............................................96 Table 34 Regression Analysis Summary for Years of Experience, Years of

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Experience at Current School, and Collective Self-esteem ...............................................96 Table 35 Result of the Pearson Product Moment Correlation for Years of Experience, Years of Experience at Current School, and Collective Self-esteem .............97 Table 36 Descriptive Statistics for Role Definition ...........................................................98 Table 37 Descriptive Statistics for Collective Self-esteem, Current School Counseling Level, the Counselor First Position, and the Educator First Position ...........102 Table 38 Results of the Regression Analysis for Collective Self-esteem between Elementary, Middle, and High School Counselors who View Themselves as Counselors First and Those who View Themselves as Educators First .........................112 Table 39 Regression Analysis Summary for Collective Self-esteem between Elementary, Middle, and High School Counselors who View Themselves as Counselors First and Those who View Themselves as Educators First ..........................113 Table 40 Result of the Pearson Product Moment Correlation between Collective Self-esteem, Current Level of Practice, and Role Definition ..........................................114 Table 41 Descriptive Statistics for Collective Self-esteem and Area of Practice ............116 Table 42 Results of the ANOVA between Collective Self-esteem and Area of Practice .............................................................................................................................116 Table 43 Descriptive Statistics for Credentialing and Role Definition ...........................117 Table 44 Result of the Pearson Product Moment Correlation for Credentialing and Role Definition ..........................................................................................................119 Table 45 Descriptive Statistics for Primary Chosen Ethical Code and Role Definition .........................................................................................................................120 Table 46 Results of the ANOVA for Primary Chosen Code of Ethics and Role

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Definition .........................................................................................................................121 Table 47 Results of the Post Hoc Testing for Primary Chosen Code of Ethics and Role Definition.................................................................................................................122 Table 48 Descriptive Statistics for Collective Self-esteem and Primary Chosen Code of Ethics ..................................................................................................................124 Table 49 Results of the ANOVA for Collective Self-esteem and Chosen Code of Ethics................................................................................................................................124

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ABSTRACT All bona fide professions have affiliated professional organizations, ethical standards or a code of ethics, and an accrediting and sanctioning body that deals with preparation, credentialing, and licensure, and pride in one's profession (Gale & Austin, 2003; Remley & Herlihy, 2010). As school counseling continues to evolve, school counselors have struggled to define and maintain their role. This may be due, in part, to the social desirability an individual has to belong to dominant group in the school setting (Tajfel, 1986). School counselors may draw esteem from their professional membership. This concept, called collective self-esteem, denotes those aspects of identity that are related to membership in social groups and the respective value that one places on one’s membership (Luhtanen & Crocker, 1992). The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between collective self-esteem and professional identity. The findings of this study indicated that collective self-esteem was relatively stable and remained moderately high across several demographic variables related to professional identity. Collective self-esteem remained relatively consistent across level of practice, professional background, years of total experience and years of experience at the current school, and area of practice. Further, collective self-esteem remained moderately high for those who were affiliated with a counseling organization and those who were not. Results also suggested that collective self-esteem is constant regardless of variations in credentialing, chosen code of ethics, role definition (educator first or counselor first), and professional pride. Results indicated that collective self-esteem remained moderately high across several demographic areas and variables related to professional identity. Further, a significant positive correlation was found between pride in the profession and collective self-esteem was shown.

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Additionally, a small, significant negative correlation was garnered between those participants who viewed themselves as a counselor first and held an LPC or equivalent. Further, a significant relationship was found between those participants who defined their role as a counselor first and chose the NBCC Code of Ethics as their primary code of ethics and those participants who held the counselor first position and chose the ASCA Ethical Code as their primary code of ethics.

KEYWORDS: school counseling, professional identity, social identity, collective self- esteem, role definition, affiliation, pride, credentialing and ethical code.

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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION The purpose of this study was to determine whether a relationship existed between professional identity of the school counselor and collective self-esteem. The first chapter provides an overview of the study and defines the purpose of examining the relationship between social identity and professional identity of school counselors. Chapter Two provides a detailed review of relevant literature related to the study. The third chapter includes the methodology employed in this study. The fourth chapter contains the data analysis for the study. Chapter Five contains the interpretation of the results garnered in the study. Professional Identity Identity is a multidimensional, indefinite, and reflexive concept (Stets & Burke, 2000; Wong, 2002). Because identity is such an amorphous construct, many competing theories and terms have emerged in an attempt to explain and categorize it, often making research difficult. One type of identity that is particularly salient to school counselors is their professional identity. Like identity in general, professional identity is a nebulous concept, but Remley and Herlihy (2010) have asserted that it is nevertheless vital to the success of a profession. All professions, including counseling, are identified and reinforced by certain criteria. Affiliated professional organizations, ethical standards or a code of ethics, an accrediting and sanctioning body that deals with preparation, credentialing, licensure, and pride in one’s profession are necessary to be considered a bona fide profession (Gale & Austin, 2003; Remley & Herlihy, 2010). The strength of professional identity largely depends on commitment to and advocacy of these constructs. It would appear that school counseling meets these criteria and

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that school counselors should have a strong professional identity. However, the criteria have not been applied to the profession of school counseling in a cohesive or uniform way, and as a result the profession of school counseling has a fractured professional identity (Agresta, 2004; Amatea, & Clark, 2005). Professional organizations, specifically the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), define the role of the school counselor in very different terms. ACA takes the position that the primary role of the school counselor is to function as a mental health practitioner (Paisley, Ziomek-Daigle, Getch, & Bailey, 2007). By contrast, ASCA views the role of the school counselor as primarily that of an educator (ASCA, 2001). Further, school counselors may face some confusion with regard to the ethical standards with which they are charged to adhere. In particular, codes have been promulgated by ACA and ASCA (ACA, 2005; ASCA, 2001). School counselors can find specific guidance on ethical issues pertinent to their practice in the ethical standards set forth by ASCA. However, these standards are advisory only (ASCA, 2001). School counselors who are members of ACA are required to abide by the ACA Code of Ethics (ACA, 2005), although its ACA code is not specific to school counselors. Accreditation and sanctioning of school counseling also have considerable variability on both the state and national levels. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP, 2009) sets forth pragmatic guidelines for skill and knowledge attainment in counselor training programs, yet the delivery may vary across university settings (Gale & Austin, 2003) and not all school counselor training programs are accredited by CACREP. At the national level, school counselors may be credentialed by two boards with opposing viewpoints. The National Board of Certified School Counselors views the school

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counselor as a mental health practitioner first, whereas the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards views the role of the school counselor as primarily that of educator (NBCC, 2009; NBPTS, 2009; Webber & Mascari, 2006). According to ASCA (2001), all 50 states have differing requirements for certification, licensure, and practice. The final criterion to be a bona fide profession is pride in being a member of that profession. Remley and Herlihy (2010) noted that counselors who have a strong professional identity “feel a significant pride in being a member of their profession and can communicate this special sense of belonging to those with whom they interact” (p. 25). School counselors, perhaps more than counselors, who work in other settings, may find it difficult to derive a sense of belonging in their work environment. Counselors, particularly those who are the only counselor in their building, have no clearly defined peer group: they are not teachers, administrators, nor staff. As such, school counselors may tend to derive identity by referencing other professional categories or groups, as is asserted in social identity theory (Tajfel, 1978). Social identity theory states that individuals may view themselves as belonging to several groups to varying degrees with respect to the social environment, and that they draw identification from group membership (Dietz-Uhler & Murrell, 1998; Tajfel & Turner, 1986). According to Tajfel (1978), an individual’s social or collective identity might include professional membership as well as religious affiliation, gender, or ethnic group membership. The purpose of this research study is to clarify and further our understanding of the relationship between school counselors’ professional identity, as measured by pride, affiliation, credentialing, and primary ethics code, and collective/social identity, as measured by scores on the Collective Self-esteem Scale.

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Background Historically, there has been no consensus on a universal definition of school counseling; therefore, there has been a lack of consistency in the practice of school counseling. Since the genesis of school counseling, the profession has been plagued with ambiguity (Agresta, 2004; Amatea, & Clark, 2005). Several factors driven from the top down, such as lack of a centralized focus, opposing viewpoints from professional associations, lack of professional support, and inconsistency in individual and collective job performance are believed to perpetuate the lack of professional cohesiveness (ASCA, 2003; Brown & Kraus, 2003). School counselors who do not feel supported by the educational or counseling community may not feel connected to the profession and, therefore, may not have a strong sense of professional identity. Moreover, the identity of the school counselor has been influenced and shaped not only by the internal perceptions of the school counselor, but also by the constructed social reality and environment created and maintained by others (Lewis & Hatch, 2008). School counseling has existed for over 100 years and has undergone many historical changes that have affected the professional identity of the school counselor. School counseling, as a profession, first emerged in 1889 when Jesse B. Davis, a high school principal, introduced a vocational guidance program to his English classes (Coy, 1999). The primary focus of school counseling in its early years was on vocational preparation, guidance, and placement to ensure that students were ready to enter the work world (Agresta, 2004; Beesley, 2004; Gyspers, 2001). The first school counselors were teachers who had not received any formal training in counseling (Baker, 2001). In 1953, the profession of school counseling marked a major milestone: the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) was founded as a division of the American Personnel

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and Guidance Association (currently the American Counseling Association). The influence of ASCA, while sometimes controversial, has been strong for over 50 years (Paisley & Borders, 1995). One of the primary missions of the association has been to delineate a clear focus of school counseling. Most recently, the purpose has been centered on improved academic achievement and professional accountability (ASCA, 2004). Around the same time as ASCA was founded, the United States entered into the space race. With the Russian launch of Sputnik, the federal government began to feel increased pressure to keep up with other advanced nations and made school counseling a higher priority providing funding for the formalized training of counselors (Baker, 2001). School counselors during this time were found primarily at the junior and senior high school levels. Again, the purpose of school counseling was primarily guidance, dealing with academic and career issues of students to bolster educational achievement in the United States (Gyspers, 2001). Contemporary career counseling is rooted in this era. Declining school enrollment in the 1970s began to affect how counselors operated in school settings. Fear of job attrition and program cuts motivated many school counselors to perform a host of non-counseling and administrative tasks. Many did clerical work to ensure sustained employment as well as their professional livelihood (Lambie & Williamson, 2004). The late 1970s and 1980s brought more change to the profession resulting in a movement for more comprehensive, developmental guidance and counseling services (Gyspers, 2001). Baker (2001) suggested that this movement was prompted by the need for more accountability and program evaluation. In theory, school counselors were breaking away from administrative, academic, and career types of tasks and moving toward a clearer, more defined clinical role (Galassi & Akos, 2004). However, researchers such as Brott and Myers (1999) reported that

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some school counselors still were performing non-counseling, administrative, and clerical duties similar to those of their professional predecessors. The contemporary school counseling profession experiences continued ambiguity. Current controversies surrounding the defining cornerstone of school counseling fuel the ambiguity and splinter the profession from the top down. Two divergent identities have developed and perpetuate the historical inconsistency that has existed in the profession. School counselors tend to see themselves either as counselors working in a school setting or as educators using counseling skills (Paisley, Ziomek-Daigle, Getch, & Bailey, 2007). For example, Weber (2004) conducted a study with New Jersey school counselors and found that nearly three fourths of those surveyed viewed themselves as counselors working in a school setting, whereas almost 20% of the counselors viewed themselves primarily as educators. Perkins (2006) pointed out that the mental health counselor first position is gaining support in the education community. In her study Perkins (2006) found stakeholders, such as teachers and principals, placed high value on personal/social counseling, lending credence to the argument that school counselors are more than just educators. Both positions have found support from professional counseling organizations. ASCA indicates that the role of the school counselor is that of an educator (ASCA, 2004). Conversely, ACA asserts that the profession of school counseling is a counseling specialty dealing with a specific population in a unique setting (Brown & Krause, 2003). Most counselor education programs have taken a position similar to that of ACA. Curriculum, instruction, and clinical experiences tend to be more in line with the mental health counseling model favored by ACA as opposed to a more educational role as prescribed by ASCA (ASCA, 2004; Brown & Krause, 2003).

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Further, a considerable discrepancy seems to exist between what school counselors report doing and the best practices set forth in the ASCA National Model (ASCA, 2003; Brott & Myers, 1999; Henderson, Cook, Libby, & Zambrano, 2007; Johnson, 2000). Theoretically, the model serves as a blueprint for comprehensive school counseling and guidance services (ASCA, 2003). It delineates an almost prescriptive approach to school counseling with a built-in system of checks and balances for increased accountability. According to DeMato and Curcio (2004), ASCA recommends that school counselors spend at least 70 % of their time delivering direct services to students, with a maximum ratio of 1 counselor per 250 students. Adherence to the model largely depends on its appeal and attractiveness at the state, district, or school level (House & Hayes, 2002). According to House and Martin (1998), local school communities are often individualistic and, thus, are largely responsible for what becomes acceptable practice by their school counselors. Moreover, Beesley (2004) pointed out that comprehensive guidance programs require a collaborative effort from school, district, and community stakeholders to be successful, and that many school counselors bear the responsibility alone. Rationale for the Study In a contemporary educational world motivated by accountability and an emphasis on increased academic achievement, a renewed need to understand the role of the school counselor has emerged. The school counselor’s professional identity is a multifaceted, multilayered construct. Externally derived influences such as social identity and ecological relationships affect the practice of school counseling (Miller & Garran, 2008). For instance, how others (educators and counselors) perceive the profession of school counseling can affect how members of the profession feel about the profession (Yu, Lee & Lee, 2007). Theoretically, a school counselor may belong to several social groups within the social context of a school setting, as both

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educator and counselor. It can be reasonably assumed that social identity theory can be applied in order to understand the professional identity of school counselors. Conceptual Framework People have the ability to interact in a variety of social environments. Because every individual belongs to multiple social categories, it is conceivable that external social influences and institutions may affect that individual’s sense of self-identity (Hogg, Terry, & White, 1995). Bornewasser and Bober (1987) stated that an individual’s identity is dependent on and characterized by the person’s social groupings. Social psychologists have researched this phenomenon for decades and have developed several theories to explain the role of socialization on self-identification. Social identity theory provides a social and organizational framework to the theoretical construct of self-definition and identification (Ashford & Mael, 1989; Cameron, 2004; Kalkoff & Barnum, 2000; Tafjel, 1978). According to Tajfel, people tend to classify themselves and others within the context of social categories. This might include professional or organizational membership, religious affiliation, gender, or ethnic group membership (Abrams & Hogg, 1988; Ashford & Mael, 1989; Brown & Capozza, 2000; Kalkoff & Barnum, 2000; Tafjel & Turner, 1986). From this perspective, individuals may view themselves as belonging to several groups to varying degrees with respect to the social environment and draw positive distinctiveness from such membership (Dietz-Uhler & Murrell, 1998; Tajfel & Turner, 1986). Thus, self- identification is derived from that sense of self-inclusive belonging to specific social groups. Social identity theory operates on the following three assumptions: (1) people attempt to promote their personal esteem, (2) people’s identity largely depends on their group memberships, and (3)

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groups of people attempt to maintain their identity by differentiating themselves from other relevant groups (Van Dick, Wagner, Stellmacher, Christ, & Tissington, 2005). According to social identity theory, self-identity can be divided into three distinct components. Tajfel (1978) postulated that identity occurs as a result of cognitive centrality, in- group affect, and in-group ties. The notion of cognitive centrality deals with the psychological meaning an individual attaches to membership in a particular group (Cameron, 2004). This concept seeks to explain the extent to which group membership is positively or negatively salient. The positive or negative attributes an individual assigns depend on how desirable the group is to the individual. In-group affect refers to the evaluative dimension of belongingness (Stets & Burke, 2000). For example, a school counselor may assign specific emotions to membership such as feeling “glad” or “unhappy” to be a part of the school counseling profession. In-group ties are best described as the extent to which an individual feels aligned with or accepted by the group (Cameron, 2004). Stets and Burke (2000) posited that an individual’s behavior is predicated and normed based on these basic interactional assumptions; that is, an individual’s overt actions become prototypical of the representative group. Individuals perform self-perceived normative and non-normative actions in an attempt to conform to the existing social system (Boen & Vanbeselaere, 2001). To some degree, behavior becomes socially structured and ordered in an attempt to enhance the self (McDermott & Roth, 1978). Central to the evaluation of one’s social identity is the notion of collective self- esteem (Cameron, 2004; Crocker & Luhtanen, 2003). Crocker and Luhtanen (1992) used the term collective-self esteem much as Tajfel and Turner (1986) used the term social identity. Collective self-esteem encompasses membership esteem, private collective self-esteem, public collective self-esteem, and identity (Luhtanen & Crocker, 1992). Membership esteem refers to the

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individual’s perception that his or her group membership is worthy. Private collective self- esteem deals with the individual’s subjective assessment of the group as a whole. Public self- esteem refers to an individual’s perceptions about how others view the group. Identity refers to the level of importance to self concept that an individual places on a group. School counselors must confront issues related to their identity and development within the social context in which they work. Schools are agents of socialization that often mirror what is occurring on a larger, macrocosmic level (Clark & Amatea, 2004; Harkins & Roth, 2007). Lambie and Williamson (2004) posited that the institution of school counseling is ordered, constructed, and maintained by social interactions and history. As such, it is conceivable that the identity of school counselors has been influenced by the social setting of the school and that social comparison and categorizations have influenced their behavior (Lewis & Hatch; Michener, De Lamater, & Schwartz, 1986; Van Dick et al., 2005). Individuals may seek to derive organization-based esteem and meaning, or may develop role conflict based on membership (Ashford & Mael, 1989; Chattopadhyay & George, 2001). For instance, an African American high school counselor may ascribe to multiple organizational groupings. She may view her identity in terms of her ethnic membership, gender, profession, and work setting. Further, an identity status appears to have prototypical behaviors associated with the collective identity of the group (Brown, Vivian, & Hewstone, 1999, Stets & Burke, 2000). An individual may attach personal value to group membership (Dimmock, Grove, & Eklund, 2005). For school counselors, this might account for the trends and variability that exist in task selection. The American School Counselor Association has compiled a list of appropriate and inappropriate school counseling related tasks; yet, adherence to these tasks largely depends on administrative and faculty support, as well as the strength of the individual school counselor’s

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identity (ASCA, 2003; House & Hayes, 2002). School counselors reported that they felt more connected to the profession when they were able to perform appropriate tasks, yet many find themselves performing tasks that are not within the scope of best practices (Burnham & Jackson, 2000; Henderson et al., 2007). Little research exists on how social identity affects the task selection of school counselors. Social support and collegiality may influence the practice of school counseling (Scarborough & Culbreath, 2008). Traditional educational foundations and approaches of administrators and teachers are more prominent in the school setting than are counseling approaches. As stated by Clark and Amatea (2004), teacher and administrator support of school counseling programs is paramount to programs’ success. Quite often, however, school counselors’ expectations do not align with those of other school personnel. The self-concept of school counselors may become framed within the socially constructed reality present in the school environment and their professional belief systems may be violated (Amatea & Clark, 2005; Henderson et al., 2007; Lambie & Williamson, 2004). A lack of cohesiveness and belonging has been shown to negatively affect job satisfaction and professional identity (Henderson et al., 2007; Sutton & Fall, 1995). Johnson (2000) indicated that some teachers and administrators do not view the role of the school counselor as a critical one. Inability to work collaboratively within the school setting may negatively impact professional identity.

Full document contains 183 pages
Abstract: All bona fide professions have affiliated professional organizations, ethical standards or a code of ethics, and an accrediting and sanctioning body that deals with preparation, credentialing, and licensure, and pride in one's profession (Gale & Austin, 2003; Remley & Herlihy, 2010). As school counseling continues to evolve, school counselors have struggled to define and maintain their role. This may be due, in part, to the social desirability an individual has to belong to dominant group in the school setting (Tajfel, 1986). School counselors may draw esteem from their professional membership. This concept, called collective self-esteem, denotes those aspects of identity that are related to membership in social groups and the respective value that one places on one's membership (Luhtanen & Crocker, 1992). The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between collective self-esteem and professional identity. The findings of this study indicated that collective self-esteem was relatively stable and remained moderately high across several demographic variables related to professional identity. Collective self-esteem remained relatively consistent across level of practice, professional background, years of total experience and years of experience at the current school, and area of practice. Further, collective self-esteem remained moderately high for those who were affiliated with a counseling organization and those who were not. Results also suggested that collective self-esteem is constant regardless of variations in credentialing, chosen code of ethics, role definition (educator first or counselor first), and professional pride. Results indicated that collective self-esteem remained moderately high across several demographic areas and variables related to professional identity. Further, a significant positive correlation was found between pride in the profession and collective self-esteem was shown. Additionally, a small, significant negative correlation was garnered between those participants who viewed themselves as a counselor first and held an LPC or equivalent. Further, a significant relationship was found between those participants who defined their role as a counselor first and chose the NBCC Code of Ethics as their primary code of ethics and those participants who held the counselor first position and chose the ASCA Ethical Code as their primary code of ethics.