Date of Award

May 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Member

Brent L Hawkins

Committee Member

Marieke Van Puymbroeck

Committee Member

Stephen L Lewis

Committee Member

Marissa S Porter


Clinical supervision (CS) is important to student interns and novice professionals, as it provides guidance for competency development. However, in recreational therapy (RT), there are few requirements for a CTRS to be qualified to supervise interns. There is also minimal research regarding the effectiveness of current clinical supervisory and leadership practices in RT, or their effect on competency development in interns. Therefore, the purpose of this mixed methods study was to identify the factors of CS that predict competency development among RT interns during their 560-hour internship. Additionally, this study sought to understand the prominent leadership behaviors and competencies among clinical supervisors in RT and how those behaviors and competencies impact competency development in RT interns. Purposive sampling was used to recruit supervisor-intern dyads (N=24). Self-assessment surveys were used to measure relationship quality between each supervisor and intern pair, as well as supervisor competency and intern competency change. Intern competencies at the beginning of the internship were measured retrospectively, followed by a post-internship measure. Interns who completed the quantitative portion of the study were recruited for an individual follow up interview. Semi structured interviews were completed with 10 RT interns via Zoom video conferencing software. Regression analysis was used to determine what factors predict competency development. Results indicate that competency prior to internship and intern’s perception of relationship quality are the two strongest predictors of competency development among RT interns. Five themes emerged from the qualitative data. Qualitative reports indicate that supervisor communication style, demonstrated RT competencies, mentorship, personality, and scaffolded learning approach all contributed to intern competency development. Both quantitative and qualitative results were presented side by side in a joint display table, highlighting these themes as contributors to high-quality relationships or intern competency development. Implications for the RT profession are discussed.



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