Supervision practices in allied mental health

Relationships of supervision characteristics to perceived impact and job satisfaction

David J. Kavanagh, Susan H. Spence, Jenny Strong, Jill Wilson, Heidi Sturk, Natasha Crow

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    45 Citations (Scopus)


    This study examined whether supervision characteristics impacted on mental health practice and morale, and developed a new Supervision Attitude Scale (SAS). Telephone surveys were conducted with a representative sample of 272 staff from public mental health services across Queensland. Although supervision was widely received and positively rated, it had low average intensity, and assessment and training of skills was rarely incorporated. Perceived impact on practice was associated with acquisition of skills and positive attitudes to supervisors, but extent of supervision was related to impact only if it was from within the profession. Intention to resign was unrelated to extent of supervision, but was associated with positive attitudes to supervisors, accessibility, high impact, and empathy or praise in supervision sessions. The SAS had high internal consistency, and its intercorrelations were consistent with it being a measure of relationship positivity. The study supported the role of supervision in retention and in improving practice. It also highlighted supervision characteristics that might be targeted in training, and provided preliminary data on a new measure.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)187-195
    Number of pages9
    JournalMental Health Services Research
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003


    • Allied health
    • Mental health
    • Supervision

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