Client's Perception of Seeking Counseling as a Function of Counselor Ethnicity, Counselor Acculturation, Counselor Gender, and Client Gender

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Due to demographic shifts and efforts to recruit culturally diverse professionals, it is plausible that more Caucasians will encounter ethnic minority counselors in the future. Yet, the majority of multicultural literature has only emphasized Caucasian counselors' multicultural counseling competence. Research has rarely discussed how ethic minority counselors influence the perceptions of Caucasian clients. The research purpose was to explore how acculturation and gender of Asian and Caucasian counselors influence Caucasians' perceptions of the counselors and counseling services. With an analog research design, 562 Caucasian college students read 1 of 8 randomly assigned counselor descriptions, which were varied by counselor characteristics, ... continued below

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Liu, Huan-Chung Scott August 2003.

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  • Liu, Huan-Chung Scott

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Due to demographic shifts and efforts to recruit culturally diverse professionals, it is plausible that more Caucasians will encounter ethnic minority counselors in the future. Yet, the majority of multicultural literature has only emphasized Caucasian counselors' multicultural counseling competence. Research has rarely discussed how ethic minority counselors influence the perceptions of Caucasian clients. The research purpose was to explore how acculturation and gender of Asian and Caucasian counselors influence Caucasians' perceptions of the counselors and counseling services.

With an analog research design, 562 Caucasian college students read 1 of 8 randomly assigned counselor descriptions, which were varied by counselor characteristics, and reported their perceptions on dependent measures: Counselor Rating Form - Short Version (CRF-S), Working Alliance Inventory - Short (WAI-S) and 4 Willingness items. With the Attitudes Toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help - Shortened Form as a covariate, 15 hypotheses were expected that Caucasians would prefer high-acculturated, same sex, and same ethnic counselors tested by simple contrast, while an exploratory question, investigating main and interaction effects among independent variables (counselor ethnicity, acculturation and gender, and participant gender) on dependent measures, was examined by MANCOVA and ANCOVA.

Although only 2 of 15 hypotheses showed significance, the exploratory investigation revealed: Caucasian participants had a preference of high-acculturated counselors on CRF-S attractiveness, WAI-S and willingness to seek help. However, present data did not replicate the impression of similar ethnic matching in counseling dyads. On CRF-S expertness, Caucasian participants reported that Asian male counselors were perceived as more expert than Caucasian male counselors. For gender differences, the current finding showed that female participants were more willing to seek help for academic/career concerns, whereas male participants were more willing to discuss their somatic concerns.

For the research implications, with appropriate trainings in multicultural counseling competence, both Caucasian and non-Caucasian counselors could become effective therapists. Counseling agencies may need to keep counselors' background information minimum so it would not impede counseling relationships. With the limitation of analog study, the generalization of the current findings to actual clinical settings needs to be cautious. The qualitative research approach could expand our understandings concerning the current research direction in depth.

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  • August 2003

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 14, 2008, 8:24 p.m.

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  • May 28, 2008, 1:25 p.m.

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Liu, Huan-Chung Scott. Client's Perception of Seeking Counseling as a Function of Counselor Ethnicity, Counselor Acculturation, Counselor Gender, and Client Gender, dissertation, August 2003; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5531/: accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .