Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Peggy Cantrell

Committee Members

Peggy Cantrell, Stacy Williams, Jill Stinson, Jodi Polaha


Health psychologists with training in integrated care are ideal candidates to work in Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). However, despite the large documented need for more behavioral health providers in FQHCs, psychologists are underrepresented in this setting compared to other behavioral health professions. The purpose of this study was to: 1) examine the specific beliefs that are most relevant to executives’ intentions to hire psychologists, 2) determine how executives’ perceived control over hiring psychologists varies by several demographic variables, and 3) examine how well the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) predicts executives’ intentions to hire psychologists. Method: Executives (N = 222) from every US Census defined division of the country completed an online TBP survey assessing demographics and beliefs about hiring psychologists. Path analysis was used to examine the relationships between TPB variables. Results: Executives ranked psychologists as highly proficient in integrated care and general clinical skills but less proficient in research and leadership skills. Compared to other skills, executives ranked research skills as lower in importance for clinical staff to possess. Longer executive job tenures (but not FQHC budget or rural status) predicted more perceived control over hiring practices. The standard TPB was a poor fit with the data, but a modified version explained 78% of the variance in executives’ intent to hire psychologists. In this model, executives’ normative beliefs were most predictive of their intent to hire. Implications: Results point to the importance of internal champions within FQHCs who advocate for psychologists as well as the need for early interprofessional education. Opportunities exist for health service psychologists to promote the value of research to executives and to differentiate themselves by emphasizing their skills in research and implementation science.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.