Date of Award


Degree Type

Restricted to Claremont Colleges Dissertation

Degree Name

Psychology, PhD


School of Social Science, Politics, and Evaluation

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Stewart I. Donaldson

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Brad Cousins

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Saida Heshmati

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2024 Jennifer P Villalobos


culturally responsive evaluation, positive interventions, positive organizational psychology, positive psychological capital (PsyCap), social justice evaluation, social justice practitioners

Subject Categories



Research on Psychological Capital (PsyCap), defined as an individual’s positive psychological state of development, has gained momentum in the past two decades, with support for its connection to positive individual and organizational outcomes (Luthans et al., 2013; Loghman et al., 2023). Grounded in theory and research, numerous interventions have been designed and tested for workplace and individual development, establishing the construct as one that can be measured, developed, and managed for positive and prosocial outcomes. Growing research supports a positive relationship between individuals’ PsyCap and their work environment, which operates as a personal buffer and helps minimize the effects of job demands. High job demands characterize the social justice evaluator work environment, as they engage in high-quality practice that aligns with professional standards and competencies. This dissertation explored the predictive power of evaluator PsyCap on outcomes, such as engagement with social justice evaluation (SJE) and high-quality work performance. Using a mixed-method design, Study 1 employed a phenomenological qualitative design that included a systematic literature review, document analysis ( N =204), and qualitative interviews of SJE evaluators ( N =10) to create a practical measure of SJE standards (SJE-M) to be used in Study 2. Study 2 employed a multiple-measure quantitative survey of evaluators ( N =114) identifying with an SJE approach to expand research on PsyCap using simple and multiple linear regression statistical models. The first study hypotheses examining the predictive relationship of evaluator PsyCap with their engagement in two of three SJE practice domains (SJE-M) of Relational (H1A) and Action (H1B) were supported, while no significant relationship was found between PsyCap and SJE-M practice domain of Reflection (H1C). A second hypothesis (H2A-C) explored whether SJE practitioners' years of experience influence the PsyCap-engagement relationship, but the data did not support this hypothesis across any of the three SJE-M practice domains. Lastly, this study sought to replicate previous findings in other professions on the positive relationship between individual PsyCap and a multi-dimensional measure of work performance. The work role performance (WRP, Griffen et al., 2007) scale measures performance across three domains of work: Proficiency, Adaptability , and Proactivity . Findings demonstrated support for the third study hypothesis, which posited that SJE evaluator PsyCap predicts work Proficiency (H3A), Adaptability (H3B), and Proactivity (H3C) performance when controlling for evaluator years of experience and education. Findings from these studies advance our understanding of the practical characteristics of SJE through a systematic multi-method inclusive data collection approach. A confirmatory factor analysis using a 3-factor model of the SJE-M developed for Study 2 was not fully supported. Given adequate internal consistency for all SJE subscales and high bivariate correlations across items, additional analyses with a larger sample and/or an exploratory factor analysis approach are recommended to validate the measure in future studies. Study 2 was among the first to explore the positive psychology of evaluators and highlighted the importance of developing psychological resources of resilience, hope, efficacy, and optimism to buffer evaluator job demands. Findings emphasize the utility and accessibility of positive interventions, such as those based on PsyCap, for enhancing the practice of both emerging and seasoned evaluators.