Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 1248–1257 | Cite as

Development and Validation of the Genetic Counseling Self-Efficacy Scale (GCSES)

  • Sarah Caldwell
  • Katie Wusik
  • Hua He
  • Geoffrey Yager
  • Carrie AtzingerEmail author
Original Research


This study describes the development of a self-efficacy scale that is specific to genetic counseling and based both on Bandura’s self-efficacy theory (2006) and the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling practice-based competencies (2013). The phase 1 validation compared genetic counseling students (n = 20) and genetic counselors (n = 18). Nine items were removed from the scale at this point for lack of discrimination or redundancy. The phase 2 validation included a larger cohort of genetic counseling students (n = 168). Factor analysis identified six factors accounting for 58% of the total variance. Cronbach’s alpha as well as the inter-item correlations and item-total correlations of both the full scale items and underlying factors indicated that the items and factors of the scale are sufficiently related, but not redundant. The newly developed Genetic Counseling Self-Efficacy Scale (GCSES) has the potential to be used as an outcome measure in research related to training or professional development of genetic counselors as well as for a training tool.


Self-efficacy Genetic counseling Clinical supervision Professional development 



This work has been supported by the Jane Engelberg Memorial Fellowship Student Research Award, provided by the Engelberg Foundation to the National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. Partial funding for this project was provided by the National Society of Genetic Counselors Education Special Interest Group. This work was conducted to fulfill part of a degree requirement of the first author.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

This study was approved by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Institutional Review Board (Study no. 2016–3218).

Conflict of Interest

Sarah Caldwell, Katie Wusik, Hua He, Geoffrey Yager, and Carrie Atzinger declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human Studies and Informed Consent

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the study included a cover letter outlining all the elements of informed consent and informing participants that by completing the survey, they were agreeing to participate in the study.

Animal Studies

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Caldwell
    • 1
    • 2
  • Katie Wusik
    • 1
  • Hua He
    • 1
  • Geoffrey Yager
    • 2
  • Carrie Atzinger
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Human GeneticsCincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.University of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

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