Counseling students’ responsibility attributions: Race/ethnicity and trauma narratives

Kevin Richard, Julie Koch, Joseph Currin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

How counseling students conceptualize clients’ presenting concerns, and determine the solutions to those concerns, can negatively impact the effectiveness of the counseling process. Attribution bias damages therapeutic relationships especially when treating racial/ethnic diverse clients or clients with a history of trauma. This study assessed counseling students’ attributions of problem cause and solution for diverse clients and clients with trauma narratives through hypothetical client vignettes. A total of 217 counseling students from counseling programs around the United States participated in the study. Two separate two-way factorial ANOVA’s (CRF-32) were conducted to determine effects of client race/ethnicity and the addition of a trauma narrative on counseling students’ responsibility attributions of problem cause and solution. The interaction between race/ethnicity and trauma narrative was not significant for problem cause or problem solution. The main effect of race/ethnicity was not significant for problem cause or solution. The main effect of trauma narrative was significant for problem cause but was not significant for problem solution. These findings suggest that information from a trauma narrative influences counseling students’ views on their clients’ presenting concerns by increasing their consideration for external factors while mitigating personal blame on the client.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Counseling students
  • Diversity
  • Responsibility attribution
  • Trauma narratives

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