Date of Award

12-1-2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Wang, Yu-Wei

Abstract

Abstract The current study aimed to investigate the relationship between (a) racial/ethnic matching between African American clients and their counselors (i.e., Black, White, and non-Black racial/ethnic minority counselors) and therapeutic outcomes (i.e., change in symptoms, treatment length, and premature termination), (b) while also controlling for the potential influences of client (i.e., initial distress level, family and social support, and socioeconomic status) and counselor (i.e., experience level) characteristics. Change in symptomology on specific domains of functioning (i.e., Depression, Generalized Anxiety, Academic Distress, and Distress Index) was assessed using the Counseling Center Assessment of Psychological Symptoms-34 (i.e., CCAPS-34; Locke et al., 2012). The change in symptomology was classified into one of three categories (i.e., improvement, no change, and deterioration). An archival data set that consisted of client data from the 2011-2012 academic year contributed by 120 university and college counseling centers in the U.S. that were participating members of the Center for Collegiate Mental Health was used. The sample sizes for the analyses were: 348 clients for change in functioning analyses, 1,418 clients for treatment length analyses, and 2,024 clients for premature termination analyses. The findings indicated that after controlling for the covariates, clients who were matched with White counselors were more likely to experience deterioration in overall distress symptoms, rather than no change in symptoms, compared to those who were matched to Black counselors. Also, those clients who were matched with White counselors were more likely to prematurely terminate their counseling sessions, compared to those who were matched to Black counselors or non-Black racial/ethnic minority counselors. The findings from this study may assist researchers and university counseling center staff in understanding the potential influence of ethnic matching on outcomes and service utilization for African American clients. Keywords: ethnic match, African American, outcome research, university counseling center, Counseling Center Assessment of Psychological Symptoms

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