College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Summer 8-21-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Susan McMahon, PhD

Second Advisor

Jocelyn Carter, PhD

Third Advisor

Yan Li


Clinical supervision is one of the most important components of a health service psychologist’s training. Supervisors ensure the integrity of the supervisee’s services to protect the public and act as gatekeepers to the profession. Despite the importance of this professional practice, supervision training and evaluation received minimal attention until the early 2000s. There is little high-quality research on what makes supervision effective, in part due to few measures assessing supervision competence. A culture shift to competency-based training and education in health service psychology both allows for and requires improved evaluation of supervision. The current study aimed to (a) elucidate the dimensional structure of a measure of supervision competence, and (b) use the results to assess how well supervision competence predicted trainees’ development of professional competencies. The study data were collected as part of routine program evaluation within the UChicago Medicine psychology training programs. At the end of each training year from 2015-2020, trainees completed the Psychology Trainee Evaluation of Supervision Competencies (PTESC), a trainee-report measure of supervision competence, and supervisors evaluated interns’ acquisition of the nine profession-wide competencies using the Trainee Competency Evaluation (TCE). The PTESC has seven domains matching those of the APA’s (2014) Guidelines for Clinical Supervision. Using 203 responses from 110 trainees, exploratory graph analysis (EGA) was applied using scales for the seven domains to examine the measure’s dimensional structure. The EGA revealed a single factor of Supervision Competence. Follow-up confirmatory factor analysis indicated good fit for the single factor model. From the EGA, network scores were generated for the Supervision Competence factor. Next, cross-classified multilevel modeling was used to assess how well Supervision Competence predicted trainee outcomes, as reported by both trainees and supervisors. Supervision competence predicted greater trainee-reported growth across all nine profession-wide competencies but lower ratings of interns’ ethics competence by supervisors. Supplemental simple regression models indicated Supervision Competence predicted interns’ growth in professionalism and communication competencies, as reported by supervisors. Trainees’ race/ethnicity impacted their report of growth in diversity competence. The findings demonstrate: (1) the utility of the PTESC for assessing supervision competence from the trainee perspective, (2) empirical support for the APA’s (2014) seven domains supervision competence, and (3) that competent supervision enhances trainees’ professional competencies, readying them to enter careers in health service psychology. Future directions and implications for research, theory, and practice are discussed.

SLP Collection


Included in

Psychology Commons