COUNSELOR RACE AND POWER BASE ON BLACK
AND WHITE COLLEGE STUDENTS
MARK J. PEDDLE, III
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Mark J. Peddle, III
I would like to thank all of the members of my committee for
their thoughtful consideration throughout the progress of this disser-
tation. Dr. Rod McDavis, chairperson, was constantly available with
positive support. He showed significant sensitivity to my personal
In addition, I would like to thank all of my counselors: Louise
Ousley, Janice Guinyard, Jan Stretch, and Lynn Solomon. They patiently
gave me much of their valuable time. Donna Dolittle deserves thanks
for her tireless energy and cheerful assistance. Barbara Smerage
gave me a professional product with a touch of kindness. Finally,
I reserve my deepest appreciation, love, and respect for my wife,
Elovia. Her devotion and confidence sustained me through the most
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. . . ... .... iii
LIST OF TABLES . . ... ...... .vi
ABSTRACT . . .. . viii
ONE INTRODUCTION. . . 1
Problem Statement . .... 1
Purpose . . ... 3
Significance of the Study ........... 5
Definition of Terms . 7
Organization of the Study . 8
TWO REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE . 9
Black Attitudes Toward Counseling . 9
Black Responses to Counseling ... .15
Suggested Approaches and Theory ... .22
The Interpersonal Influence Model ... .32
Expertness . . .... 38
Attractiveness. ........ .. 45
Expertness and Attractiveness ........ 52
Summary . . ... 58
THREE METHODOLOGY . . ... .. .60
Research Design . ... 60
Rationale for Design . 61
Hypotheses . . .. 62
Subjects . . .. 62
Instrumentation ........ . 64
The Counselor Rating Form ......... 64
Problem Solving Attitude Scale. .. 66
Behavioral Measure . ... 67
Treatment . . 68
Interview Roles . 68
Interviewers and Interviewer Training 70
Procedures . . 71
Data Analysis . . 73
Methodological Assumptions. ..
Limitations . .
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION. .
Results . .
Hypothesis One. .
Hypothesis Two. .
Hypothesis Three. .
Hypothesis Four .
Quality Control .
Summary . .
Discussion. . .
CONCLUSIONS, IMPLICATIONS, SUMMARY,
Conclusions . .
Implications. . .
Summary . .
A COUNSELOR RATING FORM .
B PROBLEM-SOLVING ATTITUDE SCALE. .
C GENERAL INTERVIEW INSTRUCTIONS. .
D INSTRUCTIONS FOR EXPERT ROLE. .
E INSTRUCTIONS FOR REFERENT ROLE. .
F PROBLEM-SOLVING STRATEGY. .
G PROTOCOL LIST FOR EXPERTS .
H EXPERT VERSION OF PROBLEM-SOLVING
I INFORMED CONSENT. .
J MAILED ANNOUNCEMENT .
K FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONNAIRE OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS.
BIBLIOGRAPHY . . .
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. . . .
. t .
. e .
S . 76
S . 76
. . 78
LIST OF TABLES
1 Treatment Conditions . .
2 Counselor Expertness-Attractiveness Rating--
Preexperiment . . .
3 Three Factor Analysis . .
4 Treatment x Client Race . .
5 ANOVA of Counselor Race by Role and Client Race
for Expert Variable . .
6 ANOVA of Counselor Race by Role and Client Race
for Attractiveness Variable . .
7 Means and Standard Deviations for Counseling
Variables by Client Race . .
8 Means and Standard Deviations for Counseling
Variables by Counselor Role . .
9 Rank Order of Means of Perceived Expertness by
Race and Treatment Condition . .
10 Rank Order of Means of Perceived Attractiveness
by Race and Treatment Condition . .
11 ANOVA of Treatment by Race for Problem Solving
Attitude Variable . .
12 ANOVA of Counselor Race by Role and Client Race
for Problem Solving Attitude Variable .
13 Means and Standard Deviations for Problem Solving
Attitudes by Client Race . .
14 Rank Order of Means of Problem Solving Attitude by
Race and Treatment Condition . .
15 Loglinear Analysis of Treatment by Client Race
for Return of Questionnaire . .
16 Questionnaire Response Frequencies by
Treatment and Race. . ... 87
17 Rank Order of Questionnaire Return by
Treatment and Race. . ... 87
18 T-Test Results on Role Maintenance by Counselors. .. 89
Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
COUNSELOR'S EXPERT AND REFERENT POWER BASES:
IMPACT ON BLACK AND WHITE CLIENTS
Mark J. Peddle, III
Chairman: Rod McDavis
Major Department: Counselor Education
The study was designed to assess the effects of black and white
counselors' expert and referent power bases on the perceptions, at-
titudes, and behavior of black and white clients. The study makes use
of the interpersonal influence counseling model which specifically
identifies the components of different counselor roles. The expert and
referent roles were individually defined by behavior and reputational
In a factorial design black and white college students were
randomly assigned to either a treatment or control condition. Treat-
ment consisted of seeing either a black or white counselor who was
trained to be either expert or referent. Those subjects in the con-
trol group merely read the same decision making literature discussed
in the counseling interview. Subjects who saw counselors rated their
perception of the counselor's expertness and attractiveness. All
clients' attitudes towards problem solving were assessed. There was
also a behavioral measure of rate of return of a follow-up
questionnaire. The independent variables were counselor race, coun-
selor role, and client race. The dependent variables were client
perception of the counselor, client attitude toward problem solving,
and the frequency of return of a mailed questionnaire.
It was hypothesized that there would be no differences among
black and white perceptions of counselors, no differences among black
and white attitudes towards problem solving, no differences among
black and white rates of return of a questionnaire, and no interac-
tions between any of the independent variables.
Analyses of data determined the black clients perceived all the
counselors in general to be more expert than the white clients per-
ceived them. There was a significant main effect for counselor role
such that all clients perceived the referent counselors as being sig-
nificantly more attractive than the expert counselors. Black subjects
had a significantly more positive attitude toward problem solving
than white subjects. There were no significant differences in rate of
return of a questionnaire. There were no significant interactions.
Implications for practice, training, and research are discussed.
Griffith (1977) stated that race is unquestionably an influence
in both racially similar and dissimilar therapeutic relationships. For
Griffith the critical question is not whether race influences the re-
lationship between client and therapist, but under what conditions and
in what ways. During the past 15 years there has been a significant
increase in the amount of research devoted to the investigation of
race as a variable in counselor client relationships. Unfortunately,
a large body of the research has avoided the significant aspects of the
questions posed by Griffith (1977). Instead, most of the research has
consisted of essays and discussions about the nature and needs of the
interracial therapeutic dyads.
Making theoretical assumptions about the nature of black-white
relationships in therapy is fundamentally sound and expected at the
beginning of an investigation of most fields of study. Essays by
Vontress (1969, 1970) and Williams and Kirkland (1971), which pointed
to cultural differences and educational and experimental needs, pro-
vided the subject matter for experimentation in the field. The past
15 years, however, have provided a lot of conflicting material, much
of which is merely anecdotal and uncontrolled (Griffith, 1977).
Reviews of literature on the racial issue in therapy between
blacks and whites have mirrored the conflicting results of the
information available (Griffith, 1977; Harrison, 1975; Sattler, 1977).
According to Griffith (1977) the research does support the conclusion
that "social differences have a somewhat negated effect upon psycho-
therapy" (p. 33). Sattler (1977) takes the opposite view that race
"is not a significant variable in affecting the performance and reac-
tions in these types of nonclinical initial interviews" (p. 39).
Harrison (1975) acknowledges the mixed results of the available lit-
erature but holds for a general trend counselees tend to prefer
counselors of the same race, particularly if they are black counselors"
(p. 131). All three reviewers call for research on the counseling
process and on behavioral outcomes of interracial counseling. They
suggest the need for the study of interactions. Bryson and Bardo
(1975) more explicitly conclude that counselor race is in itself insuf-
ficient to predict effectiveness of counseling but must be considered
with other variables.
The results of reviews of literature on racial dyads in counseling
lead to such different conclusions that looking at racial differences
alone comes into question as being too simplistic. There are too few
experimental studies with control or comparison groups and too few
that look at interactions between race and counseling variables
(Parloff, Waskow, & Wolfe, 1978). If the essential questions for
counselors remain--what kind of treatment is more effective with what
kinds of client in what kind of situation--then those questions should
be addressed by research.
Some attempts have been made to investigate direct versus indirect
therapist styles with different racial populations. Even in these
studies, however, the results have been mixed or the control lacking.
Tucker (1973) showed black counselees benefitted more from his action
model than from an insight oriented approach, but his study lacked
white clients for comparison. Peoples and Dell (1975) used such a
comparison group but found both black and white students preferred
active versus passive counselors. Atkinson, Maruyama, and Matsui
(1978) found a directive approach made the counselor much more
credible and approachable to Asian-American students. The only
comparable study using black clients has been a recent doctoral dis-
sertation by Boger (1981). In her analogestudy, no significant
differences in perceptions existed for black versus white subjects
who viewed tapes of directive versus an insight oriented approach.
The purpose of this study was to include critical elements that
have been lacking in earlier research on interracial counseling dyads.
The study made use of a counseling model (Strong & Matross, 1973)
which specifically delineates the components of different counselor
styles or roles. Some components are in terms of behavior, some in
terms of reputation, and some in terms of objective evidence such as
decor. The specific counselor roles were "expert" and "referent."
Other critical elements that were included were randomization, con-
trol groups, multiple independent variables, a factorial design, and
a variety of dependent variables including perceptual, attitudinal,
and a behavioral measure.
The purpose was to assess the effects of black and white coun-
selors' expert and referent power bases on the perceptions, attitudes,
and behavior of black and white clients. Black and white counselors
from each role taught a problem solving strategy to student inter-
viewees. Immediately following the interview students took a Problem
Solving Attitude Scale (Carey, 1958) and the Counselor Rating Form
(Barak & LaCrosse, 1975) to measure their perceptions of counselor
expertness and attractiveness (referent power). A behavioral measure,
of inferred therapist influence, was the rate of return of a mailed
questionnaire. Each dependent measure allowed the investigation of
possible separate and combined effects of counselor race, client race,
and counselor rule.
One difficulty which may have plagued earlier studies of thera-
pist style may have been the complexity of the therapist behavior.
The complexity of a very general style of behavior may mask the very
details that need to be identified as effective or detrimental. In-
stead of using untested proposals it may be more advantageous to make
use of a specific counseling model that has increasing empirical
support. If a style can be specifically identified, described, and
supported by research as having specific effects with one segment of
the treatment population at large, then that style can be logically
investigated for its effectiveness with minority groups in our
society. If a "style" or "styles" are part of a theoretical model
and are specifically defined, then benefits can be derived not only
for the target minority population but also for the counseling model's
development. The basis for such a model has existed in social
psychology. The model has received extensive explanation and inves-
tigation since first introduced by Strong in 1968. The revised model
of Strong and Matross's (1973) interpersonal influence model of counsel-
ing may be the means for advancing our knowledge of the process of
counseling in general and of counseling blacks in particular.
Even within the proscribed area of social influence research there
exists a need to further define the counselor and client characteris-
tics that alter its effectiveness. Merluzzi, Merluzzi, and Kaul
(1977) conducted the only study of the Strong and Matross (1973) model
that systematically varied race, and in that study only counselor race
was varied. All the clients were white. A short review of this study
states .. subjects were influenced more by racially similar re-
ferent and racially dissimilar expert counselors (Corrigan,
Dell, Lewis, & Schmidt, 1980, p. 425). A real need in this research
area has been to ascertain the possible differential responses of
black clients to different power bases used by different race thera-
Expert and referent power bases have evidential and behavioral
cues that have been specifically delineated in the literature. If
these specific variables were studied in interaction with client race
and counselor race, then specific conclusions might be drawn for
counseling blacks in similar situations. Additionally the social
influence model might be expanded to include the client characteristic
of race as a determinant of power base effectiveness.
Significance of the Study
Establishing a relationship between counselor race, counseling
style, and client race could yield benefits for a counseling model,
research, training, and practice. The Strong and Matross (1973)
social influence model of counseling has concentrated on explaining
the characteristics of the counselor role that determine the effec-
tiveness of an influence attempt. A study by Merluzzi et al. (1977)
has introduced the counselor characteristic of race as a determinant
of counselor effectiveness. This study proposed to investigate the
need to include the client characteristic of race as a variable that
interacts with counselor role and race to affect counselor influence.
The effective demonstration of a relationship between counselor
race, counseling style, and client race would enable researchers to
focus on the relative strength of each specific behavior subsumed
under the counselor roles of expertness and attractiveness. It may
be that just one element of any given role is singularly effective in
influencing different race clients. Differential role effectiveness
would also encourage an expanded exploration of counselor roles to
include other racial and ethnic groups within our society.
Empirical evidence of the differential effectiveness of specific
roles with black clients would provide impetus for changes in the
academic and experiential training of future counselors. Counselor
education programs are increasingly addressing the need to consider
the different value systems of minority clients. This study should
provide some specific guidelines for counselors to adopt, at least in
the beginning stages of working with black clients.
Practicing counselors would hopefully see the demonstration of
techniques that are effective in working with black clients. Clinical
application of counseling behaviors that are empirically demonstrated
as effective with blacks would enhance the overall effectiveness of
a given agency's service delivery. Black clients would directly
benefit by the elimination of inappropriate counselor behaviors and
by the encouragement of effective behaviors.
Definition of Terms
Attractiveness--perceived similarity between communicator and re-
cipient. Similarity is in terms of basic values and attitudes
(Strong, 1968). Attractiveness is also a dimension measured by
the CRF (Barak & LaCrosse, 1975).
Career Planning Problems--indecision regarding alternative occupations
or alternative steps leading to one occupation; also ignorance
of logical decision making steps that can be taken to aid in
occupational choice or attainment.
Expertness--extent to which communicator is perceived as source of
valid assertions. Pertinent knowledge and skills as perceived
by the client (Strong, 1968). Expertness is also a dimension
measured by the CRF (Barak&LaCrosse, 1975).
Expert Power Base--represents client's need to reduce cost of a
particular goal and counselor's ability to do so. It is
impersonal and structured.
Power Bases--distinct sources of counselor power that consist of
different pairs of client needs and counselor resources.
Problem Solving--a behavioral process, whether overt or cognitive
in nature, which (a) makes available a variety of effective
response alternatives to a situation and (b) increases the
probability of selecting the most effective response
(D'zurilla & Goldfried, 1971).
Referent Power Base--predicated on interpersonal attraction. Rep-
resents the client's self-perceived inconsistency between
behavior and values encountering a perceived similarity with
the counselor's world views. The client needs greater
consistency between values and behavior; the counselor is
presumed to have that consistency.
Organization of the Study
The remainder of this study is organized into four chapters.
The second chapter includes a review of the related literature. Topics
covered in this section include a review of research on black atti-
tudes toward counselors, black responses in counseling, suggested
approaches for counseling blacks, the interpersonal influence model
(Strong & Matross, 1973), expertness, attractiveness, and both dimen-
sions together in counseling. The third chapter represents the
research methodology. The fourth chapter contains the results of
this study. The final chapter summarizes the study, discusses its
implications, and makes suggestions for further research.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
The literature review presents a discussion of the research
which forms the background for this study. There are seven sections
to this chapter. The first of these deals with studies of black
clients' attitudes and preferences for counselors. The second sec-
tion concentrates more on the process of counseling and the black
client's responses to it. The third section presents the approaches
and considerations that theorists have suggested for counseling the
black client. The fourth section is a description of the bases for
the interpersonal model for counseling. The fifth section concen-
trates on research of counselor expertness, while the sixth section
concentrates on counselor attractiveness. The final section presents
research into the differential effectiveness of expertness versus
Black Attitudes Toward Counseling
In 1967 Banks, Berenson, and Carkhuff conducted a study focusing
on the interaction of counselor race and training in counseling black
clients. The results from this study prompted much of the research into
the demographic variable of race that was to follow. They used one
black and three white counselors in initial interviews. Taped excerpts
from these interviews were rated on relationship skills such as empathy,
genuineness, rapport, depth of exploration, and concreteness. All of
these values had been shown to be related to constructive client change
(Carkhuff, 1966). The results of the study showed that the black and
two inexperienced white counselors trained in the relationship oriented
approach were significantly more effective than the traditionally
trained white therapist. The researchers acknowledged, however, that
their most important result was probably the discovery that all black
clients would return to see the black counselor, but none would return
to see the traditional white counselor. "Further, if the data on the
Negro counselor were not considered, 16 of 24 or two-thirds of the
clients would not return to see a white counselor for a second ses-
sion" (Banks et al., 1967, p. 72).
In a study specifically geared to assessing black attitudes
toward counseling, Cimbolic (1972) randomly selected black freshmen
from the University of Missouri student body. Subjects were randomly
assigned to either experienced or inexperienced counselors who in turn
were either black or white. The selection and design procedures
were a deliberate attempt to improve on the Banks et al. (1967) study.
The results of Cimbolic's study were a surprising rebuttal to
the earlier findings of Banks et al. (1967). The subjects did not
seem to favor the counselors on the basis of race but rather on the
basis of experience and skill level in facilitative conditions. In
addition, all of the black counselees were willing to return to at
least one of the white counselors.
A similar positive result for the white therapist-black client
pairing was found by Ewing (1974). His study strongly agreed with the
implications of Cimbolic's (1972) study. The results did not favor
the hypothesis that black counselors were more effective with black
clients. All interview sessions consisted of one time precounseling
interviews. College students were randomly assigned to black and
white counselors, all of whom were highly experienced. Not only did
the black clients rate white counselors as favorably as they did black
counselors, but the black clients tended to rate counseling more fav-
orable overall. Ewing concluded that it is not the similarity of
racial background that is important but the training and experience
of the counselor.
In his discussion Cimbolic (1972) made some suggestions which may
help explain the differences in results between the Banks et al. (1967)
study and Cimbolic's (1972) and Ewing's (1974) studies. Cimbolic's
clients participated in a four interview session study. Cimbolic sug-
gested that a future study look at precounseling attitudes of the
black clients. He suggested some process could have taken place over
time to cancel out the effects of different races.
A later study by Wright (1975) tracked the change in attitudes of
black clients over five sessions. Initially, no preconceived notions
were reported. As the number of sessions increased, there was an
apparent increase in the favorable perception of counselors of the
opposite race. Using the Barrett-Leonard Inventory (1962) Wright
managed to show there was a relationship that existed between counselor
race and student perceptions of trust, and that this relationship
changed over time. This finding offers a reasonable explanation for
the different results between the Banks et al. (1967) study and that
of Cimbolic. Unfortunately the issue is not clear because Ewing used
only one interview session to obtain positive results for the inter-
The vast majority of research depicts a black client population
that not only prefers black counselors before entering counseling, but
is more satisfied with them afterwards. Heffernon and Breuhl (1971)
trained college males in Rogerian principles of counseling. The four
black and four white counselors were each assigned to three black
eighth graders. The eighth graders were matched on intelligence plus
several other variables. Significant results were obtained on a
behavioral measure, when the boys were given a choice to go to the
library or return to visit the counselor. All of the black counsel-
ors' boys returned, but less than one half of the white counselors'
Race, education, and experience were the variables investigated
by Gardner (1972) to assess their effects on black clients' perceptions
of counselor effectiveness. All three variables were found to be
significant for effectiveness with black clients. Race was the most
significant. Gardner had used 24 male and 24 female black students
with four white and four black counselors in a format similar to the
Banks et al. (1967) study. Counselors were rated not only by the
students but by two Ph.D level judges on their interpersonal
The Gardner study was positive in two of its conclusions. First,
the results indicated that individuals with backgrounds similar to the
client's could be recruited and trained as counselors. Secondly, the
author felt individuals who were not similar in background, but who
could generate facilitative conditions, would be appropriate for use
with black clients.
Linking possible interaction of the racial issue in counseling to
experience of the counselor seemed to be the beginning of a decade-
long attempt to study possible interactions with the demographic
variable of race. Jackson and Kirschner (1973) found that there was
a significant difference for counselor preference based upon the
black's self-designation as a black, Afro-American, or Negro. Those
who referred to themselves as blacks or Afro-Americans preferred a
counselor of African descent. No significant differences were found
relating to sex, age, or socioeconomic background.
Focusing entirely on the relationships of race and social class,
Wolkon, Moriwaki and Williams (1973) had findings that support a
social class factor operating in conjunction with black attitudes.
Social class was the significant variable related to orientation to
therapy, but race was crucial with self-disclosure and with treatment
satisfaction. Regardless of class, blacks disclosed less even to
other blacks and were not satisfied with the treatment they received.
Gordon and Grantham (1979) had similar results in studying the
helper preference of disadvantaged students. They discovered a slight
preference for a helper of the same sex, age, and race. There was a
definite preference for a helper of the same social class background.
Studying counselor preference among a sample of delinquent girls,
Gamboa, Tosi, and Riccio (1976) looked at three possible problem
areas: personal-social, educational, and vocational. In general,
the girls were most willing to see a counselor to discuss educational
and vocational issues. Black girls had a significant negative attitude
toward personal-social counseling. This information is similar to what
Woldon et al. (1973) noted about self-disclosure.
Most studies of black attitudes and responses to counseling have
been in a university setting. In that environment Thompson and
Cimbolic (1978) looked at black student preferences and attitudes
toward counseling center use in a predominantly white university.
When forced to choose between a black and white counselor, the students
tended to choose black counselors. The black students also indicated
that their likelihood of using the counseling center increased with
the likelihood that their preference would be satisfied. Similar
results were obtained in dissertations by Peoples (1978) and Albert
(1978). Albert's study compared predominantly white and black
universities. On both campuses race was a significant issue in the
black client's preference for a counselor.
In a study of the three racial groups, Schneider, Laury, and
Hughes (1980) found main effects for race, sex, and provider groups
for Chicano, black and white college students. Blacks and Chicanos
reported they would more likely take their personal problems to
professional mental health workers. On the surface this result seems
counter to that reported by Gamboa et al. (1976) and Wolkon et al.
(1973), but it may actually reflect blacks and Chicanos would go
to the "more prestigious" professionals for their personal problems,
if they had to go. The therapists were broken down into classifi-
cations: psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, counseling psycholo-
gist, college counselor, high school counselor, and advisor.
Preference for the professions was in the order listed, implying a
hierarchy of perceived expertise.
Harrison's (1975) review of the literature on race as an issue
in counseling comes to the same conclusion as this author. Although
the results of the research on black preference for counselors some-
times offers mixed results, the preponderance of evidence is indicative
of a definite trend to prefer same race counselors.
Black Responses to Counseling
There exists no consensus of evidence on one side or the other
regarding the issue of race in counseling process and client response.
On the contrary, the results are mixed and frequently contradictory.
An early review by Banks (1971) of the process and outcome research on
interracial therapy cites relatively few studies of any merit. Banks
notes that much research in counseling and psychotherapy that deals
with the racial issue is anecdotal. Two strong early studies cited
by Banks are Banks, Berenson, and Carkhuff (1967) and Carkhuff and
Pierce (1967). The first study has already been described as a
prompting of much research that was to follow.
Carkhuff and Pierce (1967) designed a study to look at the effects
of the counselor's race and social class upon the patient's depth of
self-exploration. They used black and white counselors of both upper
and lower class with black and white patients of both classes. A
significant interaction was found between counselor and client vari-
ables. Race and social class of both patient and counselor had sig-
nificant effects upon depth of that self-exploration. Patients most
similar to the race and social class of the therapist explored
themselves the most.
In a study of his own Banks (1972) looked at the effects of race,
social class, and level of empathy in the counseling process. He
hypothesized that racial similarity had an effect on the initial
interview relationship. Using the same design as Banks, Berenson,
and Carkhuff (1967), he found that racially similar pairings resulted
in greater self-disclosure. Surprisingly, social class was not found
to have an effect, but no lower class counselors were used as in the
Carkhuff and Pierce (1967) study. The evidence suggests that empathy
had a greater effect on rapport than race.
Looking closer at the nature of the counselor-client interaction,
Bryson and Cody (1973) studied the relationship of counselor and
client race to the level of understanding between the two of them.
They discovered that race is related to understanding in the counsel-
ing relationship. Thirty-two undergraduates, evenly divided according
to race and sex, were assigned to graduate level counselors in such a
way that each counselor saw a client of each race and sex. Indepen-
dently trained judges evaluated the levels of agreement on specific
statements recorded in the interviews. Results suggested that the
race of the counselor was significant to understanding in the counsel-
ing process, but the race of the client was not related to understand-
ing. White counselors understood white clients best, and black
counselors understood black clients best.
In another study on depth of self-disclosure and racial inter-
action, Grantham (1973) varied counselor sex, race, and language
style. Subjects were a special population of disadvantaged black
students. Grantham was interested in demonstrating that there was a
direct relationship between client-counselor similarity and progress
made in counseling. As in earlier studies cited in this section,
counselor-client racial similarity had a significant effect on client
satisfaction. Post hoc analysis, however, resulted in controversial
In Grantham's study (1973) satisfaction did not appear to be
influenced by level of facilitative conditions. The greater satisfac-
tion was related to race, not to the level of facilitative conditions
used by the counselor. The level of facilitative functioning of the
black counselor was not as important as that counselor's race. If all
counselors had the same level of functioning, black counselors were
preferred. There was even a reverse effect of lower self-exploration
when black counselors were highly facilitative. Grantham suggested
the possibility of facilitative conditions operating differently across
In two studies of black client responses in the mental health
setting (Sue, McKinney, Allen, & Hall, 1974; Sue, 1977a), it was found
that blacks were not even receiving treatment equal to the quality
given to white clients. They were placed in inferior treatment pro-
grams and assigned to paraprofessionals rather than to professional
personnel. The response of the black clients in over 50 percent of
the cases was to terminate treatment early (Sue et al., 1974). Sue
proposes that at least in some agencies the differences in outcome may
be more indicative of misapplication of current techniques than in
differences in clientele. Responsive services would include trained
specialists, independent services in the minority community, and
development of new therapeutic approaches (Sue, 1977a).
The literature so far cited in this section has been one-sided
in rating significant racial effects on the counseling process and
outcome. The next grouping of studies offers mixed and in some cases
contradictory evidence. One particular study serves as an ideal
transition reference between the arrays of evidence in that it can
be interpreted both ways.
In 1974 Williams found no differences in trust and self-disclosure
ratings of black students who were seen by white professional counsel-
ors or by black lay counselors who had several hours of training in
facilitative skills. Williams concluded that his results supported the
contention that the race of the therapist is not a significant variable
in counseling. A review by Parloff, Waskow, and Wolfe (1978) aptly
pointed out that the results can be interpreted in just the opposite
direction. They ask the reader to consider how impressive it is for
slightly trained blacks to do as well as white professionals with the
Another study with mixed results was conducted by Jones (1978).
Fourteen female clients (seven white and seven black) were seen by
therapists in all four possible matches. Clients were seen for 10
sessions. Outcome was measured by both therapist and client responses
to questionnaires. Process rates and recordings were subjected to
specially designed Q-sort. There were no differences in outcome as a
result of racial matching. There were no differences in attitudes,
impressions, or dropout rate. Race, however, did influence process.
If the client was white, it mattered little if the therapist was
white or black, there was no difference in process. If the client was
black, regardless of the race of the therapist, a discussion of race-
related concerns evolved as an important aspect of therapy. If the
client was black, there was a significant erotic transference and a
greater focus on issues of concern if the counselor was also black.
Jones concluded his discussion with a cautionary warning about the
generalizability of those studies which are based on one interview.
He discovered such dramatic changes in his 10-session study that the
first interview was drastically different in terms of counseling
relationship than later sessions.
Other studies have consistently found results in the direction
suggesting no difference in counseling effects that can be attributed
to racial pairing. Woods and Zimmer (1976) made use of interracial
dyads and an attitude measure based on the semantic differential. He
found no differences in client perceptions of attraction in the
analogue study. Vail (1978) studied early termination from therapy
in an inner-city mental health setting. Black male and female clients
were randomly assigned to male and female, black and white therapists.
Variables considered for influence included counselor and client sex,
race, racial attitudes, and perception of level of understanding in
therapy. The only significant correlate of termination was the sex
pairing of client and therapist. Although the race of the therapist
did not matter statistically, most of the interaction occurred between
male therapists and black male clients. Female therapists also were
less effective with their own sex client.
Proctor and Rosen (1981) studied possible effects of expectancies
and preferences for therapy on intermediate outcomes of treatment.
They used both white and black outpatient veterans in their study.
All counselors were white. Both white and black clients expected to
be treated by a white counselor, but preferences were different. One-
half of each racial group had no preference; the other half had
preferences significantly in favor of a counselor of their own race.
Drop-out rate and satisfaction with treatment, however, showed no
differences between the races. Not having black counselors incor-
porated in the design prevented inferring that blacks do as well with
white counselors as they do with blacks.
The studies addressed so far have focused either on the simple
issue of racial differences, attitudes, or on the interaction of essen-
tially demographic variables when counseling black clients. The as-
sumptions and claims of theorists recommending specific approaches to
be taken with the black clients began to be more actively addressed in
the mid-1970's. The hope apparently has been that by identifying
specific components of counselor style, the confusion over conflicting
results can be dissipated to the benefit of client, practitioners, and
researcher. As early as 1967 Bancroft, then later Russell (1970),
suggested that counselor style rather than race might be the reason
that counselors were reporting differential success with minority
clients. At that time Bancroft argued that blacks might not be accus-
tomed to a reflective style of counseling. Russell (1970) argued
that blacks might not be desirous of it.
The first significant study to look at different racial reactions
was Roll, Schmidt, and Kaul (1972). They made use of Strong's (1968)
interpersonal influence model of counseling as well as information
from Kaul and Schmidt's (1971) research which provided definitions of
verbal and nonverbal cues of trustworthiness. Roll et al. used
videotaped segments of combinations of content and behavior. They
discovered that there was a significant content-manner combination
which was perceived as trustworthy by both black and white convicts.
Trustworthy cues included eye contact, forward body lean, hand
gestures, head nods, and an upright but relaxed posture. Untrust-
worthy behavior included distracting movements, an overly relaxed
posture, leaning away from the client, and absence of hand movement.
There was no difference between the perceptions of whites and blacks.
In 1975 Peoples and Dell conducted an analogue study to measure
black and white student reaction to other types of black and white
counselors. Both counselors were female but one was white, the other
was black, and they played both an active and a passive role. Peoples
and Dell hoped to account for the varied findings reported in other
studies and considered counselor style as a strong possible interacting
variable. Results demonstrated a significant preference for the active
counselor by both races. The authors reasoned that the amount and type
of activity in the active role made that counselor appear much more
competent. Dreeman (1977) reports that university counseling center
clients in general prefer active counselors who worked hard toward
system relief of both cognitive and behavioral problems.
In a related study of the possible differential effects of coun-
selor race and approach on subject's perceptions, Atkinson, Maruyama,
and Matsui (1978) compared directive versus nondirective approaches
with Asian-American students. They were able to provide strong evidence
supporting the use of a direct, logical, structured approach for use
with Asian-American students. More importantly, their results imply
that specific counseling techniques are not necessarily generalizable
to all cultures.
Fry, Kropf, and Coe (1980) looked at the effects of client and
counselor racial similarity from a different perspective. They inves-
tigated the effects of racial similarity on the counselor's response
patterns in therapy. Similarity in race in the counseling dyad re-
sulted in a smoothly flowing communication interaction. Dissimilarity
led to disproportionate expressiveness towards black clients and
increased attending toward white clients. The interaction of client
and counselor race were shown to be prime mediators of counselor
Suggested Approaches and Theory
Rogers' (1957) article on the necessary and sufficient conditions
of change in therapy provided the impetus and gave the direction for
countless studies over the past two decades. The successful applica-
tion of a theoretical model or technique to one population, however,
is no guarantee of its application to a culturally different popula-
tion. As Harper (1973) points out "counselors must be careful in
applying various concepts and propositions of psychological theory to
the behavior of black counselees, especially poor blacks" (Harper,
1973, p. 113).
The theorists in the field of cross cultural or minority coun-
seling have at various times called into question the ability, or
at a minimum the difficulty, of the white counselor to achieve some
of the core conditions with black clients. Is the therapist truly
congruent in terms of feeling and behavior toward the black? Does
the therapist experience unconditional positive regard? Can the white
therapist have an empathic understanding of the client's iiernal
frame of reference? Is this communicated? These questions are posed
in terms of Rogers' theory (1957), but significant and thought-
provoking issues have come from other sources.
Vontress published several articles in the late 60's and early
70's which helped establish a new foundation of interest in working
with the black client. His 1969 article cited significant, but not
insurmountable, barriers to the establishment of a successful black-
white counseling relationship. Prejudicial racial attitudes, black
reservations about self-disclosure, different language styles, the sex
and race taboo, and mutual ignorance about each other were all put
forth by Vontress as significant parts of the counseling barrier. The
greatest blockage was attributed to the counselor's lack of understand-
ing of the client's background.
This led Vontress to make specific suggestions about counselor
training programs (Vontress, 1970). He stressed the need for inculcat-
ing greater counselor sensitivity. This was to be achieved by increas-
ing service training in the black environment, not in the middle-class
service setting. Counselor curriculums were to be revamped (Vontress,
1971) to take into account unique aspects of racial differences:
easier rapport with women than with men, urban-rural differences,
lower rates of self-disclosure. The occurrences of affective experi-
ences with black clients in their settings would humanize counselors
and help remove barriers to the establishment of rapport (Vontress,
The result of Vontress's speculation on the differences between
blacks and whites was an optimistic approach which was aimed at capi-
talizing on the similarities of the human condition. Vontress (1979)
stated that humans are fundamentally more alike than they are differ-
ent, and that these similarities should be used by counselors to com-
municate with and understand those from different cultures. Vontress
argued for an existential approach which puts aside analyses of dif-
ferences and instead concentrates on the commonalities of people.
Borrowing terms from existential philosophy, Vontress pointed out that
all humans had to deal with the same Umwelt; that is, we confront the
same basic survival problems. We have the same social needs and
longing for others (Mitwelt). There is a part of us that is difficult
to share with anyone no matter what our culture (Eigenwelt). There is
a constant interaction of this private world with the Umwelt and
Mitwelt and this is the experience counselor and client can share.
Existentialism for Vontress offers great promise for bridging cultural
and racial differences. As a philosophy it has great merit, but as a
practical approach to counseling too much is missing.
Harper and Stone (1974) presented a theory for counseling blacks
that was highly specific in its recommendations. It grew out of Harper's
(1973) idea that the social needs of blacks need to be understood be-
fore theories are applied to them. Assessment and action are the two
key processes for their approach. Based on their assumptions that black
clients do not have the patience and time for slow passive therapies,
they recommended action and responsibility oriented action approaches.
In a rotating sequence from assessment to action to assessment, the
black clients' basic needs, responsibility, behavior, and personal
growth are dealt with. The goal is to help the black client transcend
Tucker (1973) also recommended a very action-oriented approach.
Tucker stated that preparing counselors to work with black clients
took special efforts because of the widespread poverty and high visi-
bility of black Americans. His action model was based on specific
goal setting and aggressive commitment to change. Like Vontress
(1974) and later McDavis (1978) the counselors were to become actively
involved in the client's environment, but he was not just referring to
student experiences but rather an aggressive outreach program. Verbal
and nonverbal cues were emphasized to build up basic trust. From that
point on specific short-term and long-term goals were prioritized,
strategies were assessed, and behaviors implemented. His program has
elements highly similar to Harper and Stone's (1974) assessment and
action process, but each step is much more specifically defined.
Tucker assessed the merits of his model with 40 black students. Not
only were the action counselors perceived as more helpful, but action
counselors differed significantly regarding degree of satisfactory
Williams and Kirkland (1971) claimed that white counselors would
hamper black client growth patterns, unless they received special
training from a black perspective. This training had several key
components including a commitment to an advocate, a bicultural role,
and certification by black psychologists. Williams and Kirkland
emphasized the necessity for the white counselor to reject the deficit
model of the black experience and the need to accept the difference
model. The difference model posits that differences between blacks
and whites are not due to pathology.
Smith (1977), in a highly emotional article, attacked the founda-
tion of many approaches to counseling blacks which are based on
stereotyped concepts. She questioned the validity and assumptions of
testing results, the social consequences of research, the arbitrary
use of intervention techniques, and the role of stereotyping in keeping
counselor and client apart. Discerning the truth about the black
client may not be possible for a counselor believing one set view
which pictures the black client as being merely opposite everything
that is white middle class. Smith believes counselors have actually
contributed to the stereotyping of blacks and that we must increase
our awareness of their real needs.
Derald Sue has been a prolific writer in the field of counseling
minorities in general and Asian-Americans in particular. His 1977
article on counseling the culturally different recommended a sys-
tematic approach that took into account four variables that char-
acterize the culturally different client as distinct. Those vari-
ables are different cultural values, different class values, language
factors, and the unique experience of oppression. General counseling
approaches may not always be appropriate with such variables, and
even if they are, the goals selected may be inappropriate. Sue
believes it is critical to not only have an awareness of the minority
group's culture but of the value assumptions inherent in psycho-
logical approaches. Choices between abstract versus concrete goals,
action versus introspection, and privacy versus disclosure are
some of the critical valued issues involved in counselor-client
Sue and Sue, in a 1977 article on barriers to counseling the
culturally different, described in detail third world variables of
language, class, and culture and made recommendations for dealing
with them for several racial groups. For blacks, Sue recommends a
concrete, structured approach that is action-oriented. Importance is
placed on nonverbal behavior in communication. Instead of letting
the client's ethnicity serve as a barrier to the counselor-client
relationship, it can be used to therapeutic advantage.
Sue (1978a, 1978b) provided a general theory of how race and
culture interacted to provide people with specific world views.
Those world views were characterized by two concepts--locus of con-
trol and locus of responsibility. Locus of control is one's orien-
tation on whether reinforcements are contingent on one's behavior
or occur as a result of chance. Locus of responsibility is one's
blame system. Success or failure is attributed to either one's
skills or to the environment. Sue proposes that the Western World
counseling approach is based on a world view of internal control
and internal responsibility, which frequently clashes with minority
world views of passivism, oppression, and even militancy. The
minority world views vary depending on whether an individual's
orientation is internal or external on the two loci, control and
A client's particular world view has implications for treatment.
If internal on both loci, then the client would benefit from current
approaches. If the client's orientation is external on either or
both loci, then a counselor with standard therapeutic approaches
could well be imposing his world view. Sue calls this cultural
oppression. A more amenable solution is to take the client's world
view into account. For example, new coping skills could be taught
to those who give control and responsibility to the environment.
Research is lacking exploring the appropriate approaches to these
different world views.
Kinzie (1978) sought to identify those aspects of cross cul-
tural psychotherapy that were technically effective in application
of the medical model of therapy. He notes that the "sick role" is
an accepted role in most cultures and has a pretty clear relation-
ship with the "healer" role. The medical figure appears to be use-
ful in using his moral authority to promote patients' health.
Sensitivity to nonverbal communication and the subjective phenom-
enological world of the client is important. He also cites awareness
of value systems inherent in therapy as being important before they
are arbitrarily applied.
A comprehensive approach that is truly eclectic has been advo-
cated by McDavis (1978). This approach makes use of inputs from six
existing counseling approaches. The counselor does not have to
learn new techniques, but how to combine them in a new way, when
working with a black client. The techniques chosen take into ac-
count the research and theories that have been influential over
the past decade. Specific concepts are drawn from three approaches
as a philosophical foundation. The orientation is existential.
Concepts from the client-centered approach are acceptance, under-
standing, and congruence. Reality therapy concepts involve commit-
ment of counselor and client and a nonjudgemental attitude.
Application of the model is relatively straightforward. The
philosophical orientation is evidenced by counselor outreach and
involvement in the living and social life of the black community.
This is reminiscent of the suggestions made by Vontress (1970,
1971). Establishing a relationship and making a commitment could
be facilitated by counselor self-disclosure. The client is encouraged
to be the sole judge of his own behavior and to make a commitment to
the counseling process.
Techniques are borrowed from Gestalt, Behavioral and Rational-
Emotive approaches. An emphasis on a transition to self-support
comes from the Gestalt approach. The use of out of session tasks
and changing irrational belief systems comes from rational-emotive
therapy. Finally, goal setting, role playing, and modeling are
drawn from behavioral approaches. It is up to the counselor to
decide the appropriate timing of each technique. This is to be
based on the nature of the client's needs and progress. The focus
of individual client needs and active counselor involvement has
been a relatively common thread running through the literature.
In response to criticisms in the literature of traditional ap-
proaches to counseling blacks (Tucker, 1973; Vontress, 1970, 1971)
Schauble, Parker, Probert, and Altmaier (1979) attempted a novel
strategy in introducing minority students to a positive experience
with counseling. The researchers implemented a three step program
which introduced the psychologist, group experience, and individual
counseling in a nonthreatening manner. The psychologists initially
came into the classroom in an instructive role--to teach academic
skills and some basic psychological principles. In the second step
students became involved in small group interactions to explore
personal interaction issues. Finally, the students were given the
opportunity to voluntarily seek individual counseling with their
group leader. Assessment of the program was informal, but the
higher percentage of student voluntary use of the university counsel-
ing facilities plus their referral of peers suggested this out-
reach program had significant merit for use of predominantly white
Reviews of the literature on race as a counselor client variable
appear to have as much disagreement as the individual research
articles. If there is any consensus at all, it appears to be that
the results are mixed on many issues and that a large portion of the
research accomplished has been anecdotal and uncontrolled (Griffith,
1977). Higgins and Warner (1975) cited the paucity of quality research
in the area of counseling blacks, the mixed results, and the incon-
sistency of the literature. They did conclude that counselors should
emphasize empathy in working with minorities and should use an action
approach. They also held that black counselors were more effective
not as a function of race but as a function of cultural understanding
Bryson and Bardo (1975) reported three types of literature related
to counseling blacks--client characteristics, counselor characteris-
tics, and the counseling process itself. Lower class blacks were
described as submissive and suspicious, while upper class blacks were
described as possible and uncommunicative in therapy. Counselor race
was viewed as potentially obstructive in good therapy. Inappropriate
techniques were found to be used in therapy with blacks. "The general
conclusion seems to be that although counselor race as a simple vari-
able is insufficient qualification for predicting effectiveness, it is
a factor that must be considered (Bryson & Bardo, 1975, p. 75).
Sattler (1977) is one reviewer who does not conclude there is a
trend for race as a significant variable in therapy. He reached this
decision because his review included a number of studies, already
cited in this text, that demonstrated no difference, or even a dif-
ference in the reverse direction expected.
Harrison (1975) admits the results are mixed but claims there is
enough evidence to note a trend for clients to prefer same race
counselors. Black clients in particular prefer black counselors. The
crucial variable, regardless of race, appears to be the counselor's
ability to communicate empathic understanding. During the counseling
process blacks tend to respond negatively to white counselors in terms
of preference, self-exploration, and language. Harrison believes two
theoretical viewpoints are the bases for the different findings. The
first is that black counselors assumed similarity of experience with
black counselors. The other theory is one of role expectations gener-
ated by black and white social history.
As late as 1978, in their review of therapist variables in
processes and outcome, Parloff et al. concluded that there is not much
definitive evidence on the effects of race per se. They reason that
attitudes of the therapist may be more important than his or her sex
or race. It is highly likely that the very manner, or style, of the
therapist communicates a great deal to the black client about that
therapist's attitudes towards a host of issues. A great deal of re-
search on stylistic behavior and its bearing on a therapist's per-
ceived expertness, attractiveness, and trustworthiness has been con-
duced with white clients. The model for such research has been the
interpersonal model of counseling (Strong, 1968). This model has not
been systematically examined for applicability to the black client.
The Interpersonal Influence Model
The origin of the thought processes that evolved into the Strong
and Matross (1973) model of interpersonal counseling can logically be
traced back to the notion of systematic causality as espoused by Kurt
Lewin (1935). This dynamic view of change assumes that all behavior
is caused by forces acting on an individual at the time a given behavior
is emitted. "Influence is understood to be a product of the changing
relationship between two individuals rather than a function of the
static and discrete characteristics of the influence and influence.
The basis of influence is interdependence" (Johnson & Matross, 1977,
p. 397). The counseling relationship can be viewed as such an inter-
Another major assumption comes from the dissonance theory of
Festinger (1957). From this theory is derived the motivating force for
the client. It assumes there is a tendency for consistency in our
thoughts about ourselves and about our environment. The existence of
inconsistent cognitive elements produces dissonance. The discomfort
of dissonance motivates the individual to seek relief.
There are two other assumptions made for the model which stem
logically from the first two. The first is that the change process in
counseling is a direct result of the interaction of the counselor and
the client. The second is that counseling is specifically defined as
an interaction process in which the counselor's task is to influence
the client to change, and the client's task is to be influenced by the
counselor. The task of influence should not be confused with manipula-
tion for the counselor's purposes. As Johnson and Matross (1977) cau-
tion, influence is focused on the achievement of the client's chosen
and agreed goal. "The therapist influences a client to the extent
that the therapist furnishes resources needed by the client for the
accomplishment of highly valued goals and to the extent that the client
cannot obtain these resources at a lower cost from other relationships"
(Johnson & Matross, 1977, p. 405).
How does the counselor influence the client? Different pairs of
client needs and counselor resources are considered to be sources of
counselor power. Each pair is considered a power base. The original
classification of power bases came from French and Raven (1959). They
also described influence strategies in social psychology in terms of
social power; the basis of power is the nature of the relationship
between two people. French and Raven (1959) considered five sources
of power: reward, coercive, legitimate, referent, and expert. The
last three were considered to be individual sources of influence.
The typology used by Strong (1968) comes more from the revised
typology and definitions of power bases in Raven (1965). In this
typology of Raven's, expert power "stems from the attribution of
superior knowledge or ability to the influencing agent" (Raven, 1965,
p. 374). Referent power exists "when a person uses another person as
a 'frame of reference,' as a background, or as a yardstick against
which he evaluates some aspect of himself" (Raven, 1965, p. 374).
Legitimate power is based on "the influence's acceptance of a rela-
tionship in the power structure such that the agent is permitted or
obliged to prescribe behaviors for him ." (Raven, 1975, p. 375).
Strong (1968) labeled his power bases in terms of communicator
characteristics which prevent the client from derogating the counselor,
when there is perceived dissonance. Because of these positive charac-
teristics, the counselor is a highly credible communicator and dis-
sonance is likely to be reduced by change in the direction of influence.
These source characteristics, drawing from Raven (1965) and French and
Raven (1959), are expertness, attractiveness, and trustworthiness.
Attractiveness as a source characteristic corresponds to Raven's (1965)
referent power base. Sometimes the term "referent" is used in current
research. Trustworthiness is defined as perception of the counselor's
interest to communicate the most valid assertions.
A fourth version of the power bases appeared in Strong and Matross
(1973). They listed five power bases: expert, referent, legitimate,
informational, and ecological. The first three are the main sources
of power for the therapist in the interview. Counselor expert sources
are described as knowledge and skills as perceived by the client.
Counselors can be referents depending upon the similarity of values
and attitudes with their clients. Counselors have legitimate roles
as help givers in personal problems (Strong & Matross, 1973).
The power of a counselor to influence change is dependent upon the
counselor-client relationship. The client's dependence on the counselor
is the measure to which he perceives the counselor's resources cor-
respond to his needs. The key element is client perception of his
needs and of counselor attributes not actual needs nor actual counselor
Development of the interpersonal influence model was influenced
and supported by other attitude change studies. The works of Hovland,
Janis, and Kelly (1953) led directly to definitions of the source
characteristics used by Strong (1968). Zimbardo (1960) conducted a
study on opinion change in which it was discovered that the magnitude
of the opinion change was dependent on the involvement of the subjects,
and the attractiveness and credibility of the communicator. Patton
(1969) also conceived of counseling and therapy as a social influence
process. He tested client responses to interpersonal attraction of the
communicator and the congruence of expectations. He found client
responses were contingent upon both factors.
McGuire (1969) presented a review of influential source charac-
teristics which included credibility, attractiveness, and power. His
descriptions closely corresponded to the three power bases used by
Strong (1968). Simmons, Berkowitz, and Moyer (1970) reviewed the
literature on attitude change and were able to distinguish between
cognitive and affective components of change. The cognitive component
was affected by expertise and prestige, while the affective component
was influenced by liking and friendliness.
Strupp (1973) also sees the therapeutic situation as a power base
for psychological influence. He argues that there is no such thing as
nondirective psychotherapy. Influence is inherent in the helper role.
Client attraction to the counselor accounts for some of the variance
in counselor ability to create an effective relationship.
An entire series of research studies went into the development of
the Counselor Rating Form (CRF) (Barak & LaCrosse, 1975) which provide
ample evidence for the existence of the three dimensions of perceived
counselor behavior: expertness, attractiveness, and trust. In the
original investigation of the three dimensions predicted by Strong
(1968), Barak and LaCrosse (1975) showed over 200 subjects filmed
interviews of Rogers, Ellis, and Perls. Subjects were then asked to
rate the counselors based on a 36 adjective list. The list itself was
constructed from a much larger one. All the items on it had been
selected by a panel of four expert judges who were familiar with re-
search in the area. After rating forms were collected and separated
according to each counselor, they were factor analyzed. According to
test results, the three factor approach seemed to be the most appropri-
ate. Across the ratings of all three counselors, the dimensions of
expertness, attractiveness, and trust appeared to be distinct from
each other. The average percentage of total variance accounted for by
the factors was 52 percent. Any attempt to extract another factor
resulted in meaningless additional factors of only one or two items.
In 1976 LaCrosse and Barak tested the reliability of the CRF and
its ability to differentiate between counselors on the perceived
dimensions. The reliability coefficients across counselors were .874
for expertness, .850 for attractiveness, and .908 for trustworthiness.
The data also indicated that the counselors (taped interviews of
Rogers, Perls, and Ellis were used) were differentially perceived
with p < .01 (LaCrosse & Barak, 1976).
A replication and extension of the previous study was made by
Barak and Dell (1977). Their data showed the CRF to be sensitive to
the perceived differences among counselors on the three predicted
dimensions. The CRF was sensitive to those differences even among
counselors of low or moderate experience. Barak and Dell also
reported a significant positive relationship between perceptions of
expertness, attractiveness, and trustworthiness and willingness to
see a counselor.
In a comparative study of client perceptions of the three relevant
dimensions, LaCrosse (1977) used actual clients in a mental health
setting. Following one of their interviews, clients were asked to
fill out the CRF and the Barrett-Lennard Relationshios Inventory
(BLRI) (Barrett-Lennard, 1962). The interview occurrence ranged
from the first to the twenty-fourth for any particular client. There
were no differences in perception due to nonfirst session (p < .05).
Observers ratings of counselors were consistently more conservative
than client ratings. Clients rated the counselors highest, followed
by the counselors self ratings, followed by observer ratings. Inter-
correlations obtained for the CRF with the BLRI were high, ranging from
.51 to .80.
The LaCrosse (1977) study supported the results of Barak and
LaCrosse (1977) in which both counselors and supervisors provided
lower perception of a counselor's performance than the clients did.
Even the novice counselor in the Barak and LaCrosse (1977) study
rated his performance lower than the client. Both studies strongly
suggest the utility of the instrument and the use of the three dimen-
sions with different population groups: students, mental health
patients, counselor trainees, supervisors, and practitioners.
In 1980 LaCrosse conducted a study into the predictive validity
of the CRF. He hypothesized that a positive relationship would occur
between perceptions and outcomes. Total CRF ratings correlated mod-
erately highly with outcomes (r = .53, p < .001). Expertness ratings
correlated most highly, followed by attractiveness and trustworthiness.
The three CRF variables accounted for 35 percent of the variance on
outcome. Perceived expertness accounted for 31 percent of the vari-
ance by itself. The study generally supported the validity of the CRF
and the usefulness of the social influence model. Additionally, the
client's initial "perception of helper expertness was the single most
powerful predictor of counseling outcomes of those predictors studied"
(LaCrosse, 1980, p. 395).
A counselor's expertness, or the perception of a counselor as a
valid source of assertion, can be affected by reputational cues, be-
havioral cues, and objective evidence (Strong, 1968). Expertness is
one major component of a counselor's credibility, the other being
trustworthiness (Hartley, 1969). In an attempt to begin providing
empirical support for the definition of expertness, Schmidt and Strong
(1970) conducted a study in which counselor behavior was videotaped
and then rated by 37 male college students. In addition they asked
the students to list characteristics which they believed to be expert
or inexpert. The order of expertness on the ratings was nearly the
reverse of the order of the counselor's actual level of training. Two
factors seemed to characterize those behaviors rated expert:
(a) greater responsiveness to the client and (b) logic of the ques-
Strong and Schmidt (1970) then took the results of their earlier
study and varied interviewer introduction and counselor performance
with 49 college male subjects. Subjects were assessed for change in
need for achievement. Those subjects treated to both "expert" conditions
changed their ratings significantly more than those subjects with
"inexpert" introduction and behavior. Neither the introduction nor
the behavior by themselves was significant. The introduction was
either to a Ph.D or to a peer counselor. Expert behavior consisted
of facial and behavioral responsiveness, alert posture, and hand
gestures. Expert verbal behavior was structured and organized. In-
expert behavior was nonreactive, stiff and formal, confused, and lacked
Schwartz (1971) tookanother look at the inverse relationship
reported by Schmidt and Strong (1970) between counselor experience
and rated expertness. Using a least squares analysis he was able to
demonstrate that expertness is not correlated in any simple way with
experience, but rather the subjects apparently liked one counselor,
disliked another, and thought the others were equal.
A later study by Dell and Schmidt (1976) helped clear up the
issue. They showed videotapes of counselor interviews with 120 male
and female undergraduates. The male and female counselors were at
three levels of experience. All subjects rated their willingness to
refer close friends to the counselors and gave their reasons. The
researchers found that only individual counselor performance is related
to perceived counselor expertness in the initial interview situation.
Specific behavioral cues of expertness were identified including
preparedness, gesticulation, use of client's first name, relaxed
posture, and nonmonotonic voice. There were no sex differences in
Several studies have identified a reputational component of
expertness. Guttman and Haase (1972) randomly assigned first year
male college students to conditions of high and low induced expertness.
Although the information recall of those under the expert condition
was higher, the clients appeared to respond more favorably to the
nonexpert in terms of expressing their feelings about the relation-
ship's success. The authors concluded that their findings supported
the earlier Schmidt and Strong (1970) study which showed an inverse
relationship between experience and expertness. The Schwartz (1971)
study plus the other research cited here indicates that information
can reliably affect the counselor's perceived expertness as long as it
is at least congruent with the counselor's behavior. Of the two vari-
ables, reputation versus behavior, it may verywell be that behavior
is the more influential variable.
An early study by Price and Iverson (1969) provided initial en-
couragement for believing in the effects of reputational cues of expert-
ness. Tape recordings of initial interviews were heard by 120 students.
The sessions were described as being done either by a "head counselor"
or by a "trainee." Reflective or directive styles were not distinguished
in the ratings. High commitment was the most significant variable for
being rated capable. Those who were the "head counselors" and who
conformed to role expectations made the most positive impressions.
Atkinson and Carskadden (1975) made use of a prestigious introduc-
tion and psychological jargon to identify their expert. Videotaped
counselors were rated on their knowledge of psychology. Greater
knowledge was attributed to the counselors' using jargon. The sub-
jects were more willing to see those counselors with the prestigious
introduction. Suggestions of counselor expertness also led to higher
evaluations of counselors heard on audio tape.
Spiegel (1976) used four levels of similarity/expertness sug-
gestions each of which was paired with an academic and a friendship
problem. Although the manipulation of the similarity variable was too
weak, the expertness was perceived as intended for both problem areas.
Scher (1975) planned his study of counselor experience and its
effects on success in counseling in such a way that "having experience"
was defined as having a Ph.D. Counselor experience was found to be a
relevant variable in influencing outcome, while sex and verbal activity
were not. Because of the way experience was defined, however, and
because some of the non-Ph.D counselors had as much counseling ex-
perience as Ph.D counselors, Scher had to admit the possible role of
reputation. He concluded "it may be something as obvious as the
counselor's title of Doctor that is the important factor in the
influence of experience on counseling" (Scher, 1975, p. 100).
The strength of presession information on the counselor's per-
ceived competence is strongly supported by Scheid (1976). Counselors
were introduced as high status, low status, or not given status at all.
Male and female undergraduates viewed videotaped segments of one of
two staged interviews. One type was arranged to be level three of
the case conditions and the other type was level one (Carkhuff, 1969).
The most impressive results of the study were that even when counsel-
ors were viewed in the nonfacilitative behavior, they were rated as
competent, if they had a high status introduction.
External devices, accoutrements, and decor have been investigated
for their effects on client perceptions of counselors. Bloom, Weigel,
and Trautt (1977) investigated the effects of office decor and sug-
gested counselor gender information on male and female undergraduates.
A "traditional" office was decorated with a file cabinet, professional
texts and manuals, diplomas and certificates, and a desk situated
between the client's and therapist's chair. The "humanistic" office
contained a desk placed against a wall at the back of the room. Chairs
were closer together. Modern posters were on the wall with philosophi-
cal sayings. The room also had a beanbag chair with several throw
pillows. Sex pairing had no effect on the perception of credibility.
There was, however, an interaction effect for decor and therapist
gender on credibility. Female therapists in the "traditional" office
and male therapists in the "humanistic" office were viewed as more
credible, safer, and more dynamic. Environmental effects were sig-
nificantly related to degree of perceived credibility.
Heppner and Pew (1977) used a 2 x 2 factorial design to evaluate
the effects of objective evidence of competence and counselor sex on
perceived expertness. Male and female counselors, with and without
certificates and diplomas on display in their offices, interviewed
undergraduate university students in 30-minute sessions. Counselor
behavior was standardized by training. There was no interaction effect
between counselor sex and treatment condition. Initial perception of
counselor credibility was significantly enhanced by the presence of
visual, objective evidence of competence such as diplomas, awards, and
In a pair of studies (Siegel & Sell, 1978; Siegel, 1980) objec-
tive evidence and nonverbal counselor behavior were manipulated to test
their effect on the client's perception of counselor expertness. It
was hypothesized that such perceptions could be made without overt
introductory cues. The net result of both studies is that male and
female clients do not differ in their perception of expertness cues.
Results led the authors to further conclude that the failure of thera-
pists to display objective evidence of their status and professional
standing and the failure to use specific nonverbal behavior may make
the establishment of expertness more difficult. Examples of specific
nonverbal expert behavior include smiles, eye contact, angle of
shoulder orientation toward the client, and gestures. Both studies
indicate that the nonverbal behavior is consistently more effective
in determining the client's perception.
In a multifactor fixed effects design Heppner and Dixon (1978)
attempted to extend the knowledge about counselor influence in an
expert role to actual behavior beyond the interview. As they noted,
most research prior to theirs had been limited to assessing expert
influence on perceptions and attitudes. Ninety female undergraduates
took part in the experiment with the overt purpose of discussing their
level of problem solving skills. Subject self ratings following inter-
view sessions were significantly more influenced by expert than by
In analysis of past interview behavior, Heppner and Dixon dis-
covered that interviewers playing the expert role were significantly
more influential in getting students to seek problem-solving handouts
than interviewers playing an inexpert role (p < .0001). Very few
subjects in any category, however, were influenced to attend a work-
shop. Need was not a significant variable in either measure. The
results not only continue the support of the differential influence of
expert versus inexpert roles on perceptions and attitudes but provide
some clues about measured influence on behavior. Students were
influenced to perform a behavior requiring a relatively minimal
commitment but not a more significant behavior. It must be noted
that even though the behavior influenced was a modest one, it was
done following a short counseling analogue.
Two studies exist which suggest or imply an issue to be resolved
about the origin of the perception of expertness. It is possible that
just being a counselor or mental health professional may be sufficient
to have some degree of expertness. In evaluating attitudes towards
seeking professional help, Cash, Kehr, and Salzbach (1978) discovered
that help seeking attitudes were significantly tied to perceptions of
a counselor's expertise, trustworthiness, and genuineness. Although
the subjects who reported more favorable attitudes were those who
reported prior professional contact, the implication is that for some
part of the prospective client population, expertness is an expected
part of the counselor's role. This does confuse expert power and
Corrigan (1978) had over 200 undergraduate students rate the
relative importance of expertness, attractiveness, and trustworthi-
ness for a friend and a mental health professional. Results indicated
that expertness was a salient characteristic for a mental health
professional but not for a friend. The suggestion for the social
influence model (Strong & Matross, 1973) is that client expectation of
expertness may affect the perception of expertness at least in the
initial stages of counseling.
Festinger's (1957) hypothesis that people who are similar to us
with regard to attitudes or opinions will serve as referents regarding
that opinion is the basis for Strong's (1968) and the Strong and
Matross (1973) concept of referent power base. Strong (1968) claimed
that perceptions of a counselor's attractiveness would be based on
"perceived similarity to, compatibility with, and liking for "
(p. 216) the counselor. As with expertness, the attractiveness
dimension has been shown to possess behavioral and reputational cues.
In an early study in 1971 Schmidt and Strong designed an analog
interview experiment in which college males were interviewed by
psychology graduate students playing either attractive or unattractive
roles. In the attractive role, the interviewer greeted the subject
warmly, looked and smiled at the subject, and responded warmly
throughout the interview. Shared experiences and attitudes were also
disclosed by the counselor. The unattractive interviewers did not
greet the client, did not smile, and revealed dissimilar experiences.
Subjects achievement motivation were assessed before, immediately
after, and one week after the interview. In the interview the coun-
selors had attempted to influence the subjects' self-ratings by
telling them their score was two stanines higher than in reality on
the preinterview measure. In spite of very strong feelings about the
interviewers, the subjects were influenced equally in both cases. There
was an apparent confounding of roles, however, in that both counselors
were presented as experts. While not providing independent evidence
of the role of attractiveness, the study did provide evidence of its
The Schmidt and Strong (1971) results were hardly expected,
particularly since Patton in 1969 had been able to show distinct dif-
ferences in client responses to counselors to whom they were personally
attracted. Client responses also appeared dependent upon congruence
of expectations. Strong and Dixon (1971) studied the relationship
between expertness and attractiveness hoping to unravel the confusion
the earlier results generated for their model. Their study had two
hypotheses. First, they wanted to check out if the two dimensions
combined additively, and secondly they wanted to determine if expert-
ness masked attractiveness.
Their results supported the second hypothesis and helped explain
the results of the earlier Schmidt and Strong (1971) study. It ap-
peared that expertness and attractiveness may combine additively to
affect perceptions but not for influence. Expert interviewer's at-
tractiveness will not affect their influence role. Inexpert inter-
viewer's attractiveness will be affected only by attractiveness in
terms of influence. The masking effect of expertness occurs only in
the unattractive role. Over time it is possible that this mildly
positive influential effect will deteriorate.
Murphy and Strong (1972) then went on to further help define the
nature of referent power (attractiveness). They concentrated on study-
ing the effect of the nature and frequency of self-disclosures on
students' reactions in an interview. The number of disclosures ranged
in even numbers from zero to eight in the 20-minute interview. The
self-disclosing interviewers were seen as warm and friendly. Positive
self-disclosures that were similar to students' experiences enhanced
students' belief that they were being understood. Since the
self-disclosures were cued by an outside observer, some disclosures
were made at inappropriate times. When this occurred, the students
apparently noticed the nonsequiter and felt they were being tested
for a new theory. Timing, therefore, is a critical function of self-
disclosure to enhance interviewer influence.
Giannandrea and Murphy (1973) extended the Murphy and Strong
(1972) research by investigating the effect of frequency and timing of
self-disclosures on attitudes and behavior following an interview.
College students were engaged in a 20-minute interview to discuss
decision-making situations. Ten subjects were randomly assigned to
each of five treatment conditions. Students received 0, 2, 4, 8, or
12 disclosures from the interviewer. Results indicated that an inter-
mediate number of self-disclosures led to a significantly greater rate
of return for a second interview. The number of disclosures differen-
tially affects interviewee behavior. The use of a moderate number of
self-disclosures was cited as an effective technique for establishing
a good counselor/client relationship. The results were supported by
the similar later research of Davis and Skinner (1974) and Mann and
In addition to similarity in levels of disclosure, similarity in
content has been shown to be effective in influencing interpersonal
attraction. Daher and Banikotes (1976) studied the effects of levels
and content and their possible interaction. Subjects were 87 male
undergraduates. On the basis of an inventory subjects were divided
into high and low disclosers. Each group then responded to four bogus
inventories which were manipulated for content and frequency of self-
disclosure. The amount of disclosure and the similarity of the content
were shown to be significant in attracting the subjects. Interaction
effects indicate that the amount of disclosure is attractive only when
content is similar.
Content similarity as an important issue in attractiveness is also
supported by early attitude change and influence studies. Berscheid
(1966) conducted two experiments in which attractiveness was controlled
and separated from the attempt at opinion change. In the first experi-
ment freshmen were divided into two groups. One group was told the
communicator held values similar to theirs in education, while the
second group was told the communicator had similar values to theirs in
international relations. The communicators then tried to influence
each group on first, a topic that was relevant to the similarity and
then, a topic that was not relevant to the similarity. Results sup-
ported the hypothesis that similarity of attitudes,uninfluenced by
attractiveness, led a person who shared a relevant opinion to view the
communicator as a referent for that opinion. When two share a
similarity that is not relevant to the opinion being influenced, then
the communicator does not serve as a referent.
The second experiment (Berscheid, 1966) provided further elabora-
tion and support. In this experiment it was discovered that if people
perceive that they have views on an issue that are dissimilar to the
views of a communicator, some reverse effects are likely. If the
opinion communicated is relevant to the shared dissimilarity, then
the receiver's opinion is likely to move away from that of the
communicator. Thus in this instance, the communicator acts as a
negative referent. "When attractiveness is controlled, an important
criterion for determining who will or will not constitute a referent
is often simply knowledge of whether or not the person possesses
attributes relevant to the issue in question" (Berscheid, 1966,
Nonverbal behavior also plays a role in the referent power
base--a very strong role. Haase and Tepper (1972) used the counselors
as subjects to explore the empathy perceived in a filmed counselor's
behavior. Nonverbal measures including eye contact, body lean, and
interpersonal distance interacted with each other and with verbal
expressions to affect ratings of empathy. More significantly was the
discovery that nonverbal effects accounted for twice the amount of
variance accounted for by verbal expression.
LaCrosse (1975) drew heavily on the work of Mehrabian (1969,
1970a, 1970b, 1971) in studying nonverbal behavior and counselor
attractiveness. Summarizing Mehrabian's work LaCrosse stated "In
studies of affiliative and persuasive behavior, the nonverbal cate-
gories found to be important are communicator smiles, positive head
nods, gesticulations, eye contact, angle of forward body lean, and
angle of shoulder orientation" (p. 563). LaCrosse used all of the
above-mentioned variables in his 1975 study. Eye contact was 80 per-
cent, body lean, 20 percent, and shoulder orientation zero degrees
for the affiliative behavior. For unaffiliative behavior eye contact
was 40 percent, body lean was 20 percent reclining, and angle of
shoulders was 30 degrees away. The camera lens served as the eye of
the observer. The ratings by the male and female undergraduates sup-
ported the hypothesis about the attractiveness and persuasiveness of
the affiliative nonverbal behavior.
Evidential cues such as attire and decor appear to be much more
limited for attractiveness than they are for expertness. Stillman and
Resnick (1972) devised a Counselor Attractiveness Rating Scale to
determine the degree to which subjects found a counselor confederate
attractive. Fifty male undergraduates saw either a "professionally"
attired counselor who wore a sport coat and tie, or a "casually"
attired counselor who was neat, but wore a sport shirt and slacks.
In addition to the Attractiveness Rating scale, students also filled
out a Disclosure scale. Analysis yielded no significant differences.
Counselor attire had little effect on client disclosure and client
perception of counselor attractiveness. Unfortunately, one of the
terms used to define attractiveness in the study was "an expert who
could help the subject and others if they were seeking help" (p. 347).
This indicates a confounding of expert and attractive roles. The
data of Bloom et al. (1977) showed the "traditional" role, as evi-
denced by decor, as being expert, not attractive.
Amira and Abramowitz (1979) noted the confusion in the literature
on the function of attire and decor and investigated those variables
with regard to therapeutic attraction. Male and female undergraduates
viewed one of four five-minute videotapes in which attire and decor
varied. A main effect for room formality was obtained for therapist
competence. The only other significant finding was a dress formality
by room formality interaction for favorable attitude toward the thera-
pist. Further analyses revealed that subjects preferred a combination
of formality and informality in the therapeutic setting. "Pure" com-
binations were not favored. The results tend to converge with the
predominantly negative and mixed data (Bloom et al., 1977; Stillman &
Resnick, 1972). There is a consistent absence of main effects for
professionalism of the therapeutic setting and for therapist attire.
Physical attractiveness was not directly included in Strong's
(1968) description of his counseling model, but several studies have
shown that physical attractiveness does have an effect on interpersonal
influence, although a limited one. In 1975 Cash, Begley, McGown, and
Weise had subjects first view a videotaped introduction by a counselor
then listen to an audio tape of a session. The male counselor was
either in a "physically attractive" or "physically unattractive" con-
dition. Subjects' overall impressions significantly favored the
"physically attractive" counselor and placed more confidence in that
Including female counselors and clients in their study Lewis and
Walsh (1978) attempted to replicate and extend the Cash et al. (1975)
findings. The counselors were ranked on 12 traits and 15 personal
problems. The subjects perceived the counselors as intended; that is,
there was a main effect for physical attractiveness. Further analyses
revealed a shortcoming, however, in that the attractiveness manipulation
was not successful for the male groups. A univariate analysis of the
female groups was still carried out and yielded significant differ-
ences in perception. Female subjects perceived the attractive coun-
selor as more competent, professional, interesting, relaxed, and
assertive than the unattractive counselor.
In another attempt to replicate Cash et al. (1975), Carter (1978)
used photographs of male and female counselors. She did not get sig-
nificant differences between her attractive and unattractive conditions.
She did not have a genuine unattractive condition. Her results led
her to speculate that Cash et al.'s (1975) results may be due more
to the negative effects of the unattractive condition than to a posi-
tive effect for the attractive condition. Carter also reported an
interaction between sex and attractiveness such that female counselors
receive higher ratings on impression variables, particularly in the
In attempting to extend the knowledge of the effect of attrac-
tiveness beyond an introductory period, Cash and Kehr (1978) found
results which supported Carter's (1978) speculation. Cash and Kehr
used attractive, unattractive, and anonymous conditions in their study.
Attractiveness effects were found on all dependent variables without
regard to sex of counselor. There were no differences, however, be-
tween the attractive and anonymous conditions. They therefore con-
cluded that "the comparisons of attractive and unattractive counselors
with the physically anonymous control conditions revealed a debilita-
tive influence of unattractiveness as opposed to a facilitative influ-
ence of attractiveness" (Cash & Kehr, 1978, p. 341). A more recent
study by Cash and Salzbach (1978) provides some support that this bias
towards the unattractive conditions can be ameliorated somewhat by a
moderate number of self-disclosures. Behavior again appears to
outweigh external cues in influence.
Expertness and Attractiveness
Several studies have included variables in such a manner so as
to examine simultaneously the effects of expertness and attractiveness.
Such studies have allowed the delineation of each dimension's cues to
be improved while others have allowed contrasts of the relative effec-
tiveness of each dimension.
In an early study that previewed the comparison of the two dimen-
sions, Greenberg (1969) randomly assigned 112 undergraduates to one of
four treatment conditions. Each group listened to a 15-minute tape of
a simulated therapy session. Prior to hearing the tape the therapist
was described as being warm or cold, and experienced versus inexperi-
enced. As discussed in earlier sections of this review, the labeling
information can affect perceptions significantly. In this study sub-
jects who were told the therapist was warm or inexperienced were more
attracted to the therapist, more receptive to his influence, and
evaluated him more positively. Subjects told the therapist was warm
were more willing to meet with the therapist and were more influenced
by his communications. This study incorporated early components of
what later were more systematically defined as expert and referent
power bases. The significant effects were all due to reputation
attributed to the counselors.
Claiborn and Schmidt (1977) studied the effects of presession
written information on the subjects' perceptions of counselor expert-
ness, attractiveness, and powerfulness. Subjects viewed a videotape
of a counseling interview in which the counselor attempted to influence
the client to take some specific action. Significant results were ob-
tained for higher ratings of expertness for the expert versus the
referent power base and higher ratings on expertness for the low
versus high status within the expert power base. The results for low
status expert could have been the result of a uniquely described peer
with some highly expert accomplishments.
Thus, both "high" and "low" status experts could in reality have
been "high" status experts. No differences were found on perceived
attractiveness. The authors concede that they may have described
similarities which were appropriate to the taped counselor-client but
not for the real subject. This failure to achieve the attractiveness
results anticipated points out the subtlety of such manipulations.
Fortunately the importance of nonverbal behavior in differential per-
ception has helped researchers in other studies (LaCrosse, 1975).
The possibility that the type of satisfaction required by the
client, the nature of the problem, might determine the relative ef-
fectiveness of an influence style led Tessler (1975) to look at the
relationship of several types of variables. "Experienced" versus
"inexperienced" introduction labels, similar versus dissimilar
counselor-client values, and formality versus informality were all
manipulated. Dependent measures were client problem-centered and
relationship-centered satisfaction. Relationship-centered satisfac-
tion was greater with value similarity which corresponds to the
referrent power base. Problem-centered satisfaction was greater with
greater experience which corresponds to the expert power base.
Spiegel (1976) attempted a similar study in which she manipulated
biographical sketches of counselors, presented a tape, then assessed
reactions. In her study suggestions of expertness led to higher
evaluations of counselors for both affiliative and academic problems.
Although Spiegel did not note this reason in her discussion, the fact
that she used merely the demographic variables of age and class as
her criterion of similarity may serve as an explanation for no results
differentiating similar versus dissimilar sketches.
An earlier study (Strong & Dixon, 1971), discussed in the section
on attractiveness, concluded that expertness masks attractiveness,
particularly in the unattractive roles. In another study Sell (1974)
successfully induced conditions of attractiveness, but results ob-
served were not attributed to that manipulation but rather to experi-
mental demands. Sell claimed this further supported the masking
A much more successful differentiation of expert and referent
role was achieved by Kerr and Dell (1976). They varied interviewer
role, setting, and attire with 80 undergraduates in an interview
situation. Using CRF they determined that perceptions of attractiveness
seemed to have exclusively been a function of behavior. For the expert
role, attire interacted with behavior in determining perceived expert-
ness. In every within-cell comparison the relative ratings of expert-
ness and attractiveness were dependent on the interviewer's role.
Dell (1973) studied the effect of counselor characteristics and
the generation of resistance using the Strong (1968) social influence
model. He not only successfully manipulated expert and referent roles
but managed to combine them in his experimental conditions such that
incongruence or illegitimate influence attempts were made. He combined
this novel approach with a measure of behavior outside the interview.
Expert and referent power bases were perceived as intended. "Pure"
expert and "pure" referent counselors were equally effective. Coun-
selors with congruent roles induced more behavioral compliance than
those with incongruent roles.
Dell (1973) suggests that the ability of the expert to have such
influence so early in a relationship-building situation is contrary to
what one would expect from general counseling approaches (Truax &
Carkhuff, 1967). He does suggest, however, that an expert's lack of
attractiveness later in the relationship could erode the counselor's
Merluzzi, Merluzzi, and Kaul (1977) continued Dell's (1973) ex-
tension of works on the social influence model. They continued the
emphasis on behavioral outcome but added an investigation into the
counselor characteristic of race. They used expert and referent power
bases with white and black counselors. The clients, all white, were
assessed for perceptions, attitude change, behavior change, and cog-
nitive retention. A significant race by role interaction was dis-
covered. White subjects responded more favorably to black experts
versus black referents. Taking into account the results of the
Atkinson et al. (1978) study for the effect of expertness on race, one
can infer particular approaches by particular race counselors might be
more effective with a particular race client. But an inference is
all that can be drawn, because in social influence literature,
counselor race has been systematically varied only in the Merluzzi
et al. (1977) study, and client race for that study was white.
One social influence study that did vary client race was done by
McKay, Dowd, and Rollin (1982). They investigated the effect of client
race on the perceptions of counselor social influence. Black and
white subjects viewed videotapes of counselors trained in both high and
low social influence roles. Black subjects and subjects of lower
education rated the low influence counselor significantly higher on
all measures of the Counselor Rating Form. The results suggested
the importance of the client characteristic of race and the possibility
that white middle class values might be inherent in the counseling
model. Unfortunately, counselor race was not varied and the ratings
were of a videotape rather than of a counseling experience.
Recent reviews of social influence in counseling have aptly
described its limitations and its potential. Corrigan, Dell, Lewis,
and Schmidt (1980) note that most studies have used only one interview,
have concentrated on attitude change primarily, and therefore counselor
influence is difficult to generalize. Perceived expertness and trust-
worthiness appear to be legitimate aspects of counselor power. The
role of attractiveness, at least for white clients, may come more into
play beyond the first session.
Blocher (1980) sees the work of Strong (1968) and later Johnson
and Matross (1975) as being part of a process of building a more
active empirical investigation of the counseling process. He believes
it will lead to a more systematic application of models to particular
settings, problems, and populations.
Heppner and Dixon (1981) summarized what is known about the
events affecting counselor power. They cited objective evidence,
counselor behavior, and prestigious cues as sources of counselor
expert power. Several responsive nonverbal behaviors and self-
disclosures were consistently associated with counselor attractiveness.
They note that although race as a counselor characteristic has been
investigated, such research involving the interpersonal influence
process has produced mixed results. They did not address the lack of
a systematic exploration of the client characteristic of race.
Investigation of the literature dealing with the black client
reveals a collection of ideas, propositions, and theories that are
largely in essay form. Empirical research is either lacking or has
provided conflicting information in many respects. Yet there are
some general conclusions which can be drawn from the available litera-
ture. The majority of the research indicates that black clients not
only prefer to work with black counselors but apparently are more
satisfied with them. Racial differences by themselves do not explain
the mixed results in outcome research. Interactions appear to be
present. Finally, there are some indications that different counsel-
ing approaches or models may be key components in the interaction
The social influence model (Strong, 1968) has a decade of research
behind it defining specific behaviors and manipulations that can
readily be applied in an empirical setting. A counselor's expertness
can be defined by reputation, behavior, and objective evidence. This
expertness role has been repeatedly shown to be effective in influ-
encing others. A counselor's attractiveness, or referent power base,
has also been defined by reputation and behavior. In their "pure"
forms both expertness and attractiveness appear to be equally effective
with white clients.
Counselor race has been systematically varied in only one study
in this area resulting in a significant race by role interaction for
white clients. All that is lacking is the application of a similar
study to an exploration of race by role interactions with the black
client. With the identification of specific behaviors for each role,
their relative effectiveness with the black client can be assessed.
The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of black and
white counselors' expert and referent power bases on the perceptions,
attitudes, and behavior of black and white clients. A secondary
purpose was to further the development of the Strong (1968) and
Strong and Matross (1973) social influence model of the counseling
process. It may very well be that expert and referent power bases may
interact with the race of the client and be differentially effective
as a result of the client's race. This chapter contains the methodol-
ogy that was used in the study. The research design, rationale for
the design, hypotheses, subjects, instrumentation, treatment, pro-
cedures, data analyses, methodological assumptions, and limitations
are described in this chapter.
A factorial design with volunteer client subjects from each race,
random assignment to groups by race, and random assignment to treatment
was used. All measures were posttest. The four treatment groups were
compared with a control group. The nature of the study lent itself
to a factorial design which allowed multiple comparisons and analyses
of possible interactions.
The three independent variables were counselor race, counselor
role, and client race. Treatment cells consisted of counselor race
and counselor role combinations. There were three dependent variables.
The subjects' perceptions of the counselors were the first dependent
variable and were measured by the Counselor Rating Form (Barak &
LaCrosse, 1975). The second dependent variable was subject's attitude
toward problem solving. This was measured by an attitude scale
developed by Carey (1958). The third dependent variable was a be-
havioral measure of the strength of the therapist's influence on the
client. This measure is similar to the procedure used in the
Merluzzi et al. (1977) study. The third dependent variable was a
frequency count of those subjects who return a mailed questionnaire
within a prescribed time limit.
Rationale for Design
Although analogue research has been severely criticized as being
not generalizable at all (Goldman, 1977), it has been supported as an
analytic method of investigating questions that might be impractical
to evaluate in clinical situations (Kazdin, 1978). The nature of
analogue research itself is becoming a subject of research, and Helms
(1978) reported results that were surprisingly similar between an
analogue study and naturalistic research.
The very nature of analogue research contains both its strengths
and its weaknesses. It gives the experimenter control over the in-
dependent variables and subject assignment, thus enhancing internal
validity. On the other hand, analogue research threatens external
validity because of the artificiality that control produces.
According to Kazdin (1978), all treatment research is an analogue
of a clinical situation. Johnson and Matross (1977) defend experimental
counseling research strongly by writing, "internal validity is the more
important, for if the experimental effect does not occur, there is no
need to worry about its generality" (Johnson & Matross, 1977, p. 425).
They further state, "External validity of research studies is always
an empirical question which may be answered only by systematic repli-
cations of an experiment in a variety of settings with procedures
which adequately operationalize the conceptual variables in each
setting" (Johnson & Matross, 1977, p. 425). This study attempted a
systematic replication and extension of Merluzzi et al. (1977) based
on roles delineated in Dell (1973).
The following hypotheses were tested in this study:
1. There were no differences among black and white
clients' perceptions of counselors.
2. There were no differences among black and white
clients' attitudes towards problem solving.
3. There were no differences among black and white
clients in being influenced to return a question-
4. There was no interaction among the independent
Subjects for this study were undergraduate students registered for
the Spring 1982 semester at the University of Florida in Gainesville,
Florida. Gainesville is located in North Central Florida with a city
population of 83,000 and an urban area population of 118,000. The
University of Florida is the largest state supported institution of
higher learning in Florida and has a total student body of approxi-
In order to obtain the desired number of subjects for the study,
an offer of career counseling was made in several ways. In the
first offering the registrar's office provided separate alphabetized
lists of black and white undergraduate students and their addresses.
All students were assigned a number from one to the nth individual.
Using a table of random numbers, 250 students were randomly selected
from each list. These individuals were mailed an announcement (see
Appendix J) offering a limited number of students an opportunity for
an interview with a counselor, if they were interested in discussing
problems of problem solving and career planning (Merluzzi et al., 1977;
Dell, 1973). The announcement noted that while all participants
would not receive an interview, all would receive an information and
referral packet. The interview and packet were described as part of
a study in problem solving and career planning. If interested, stu-
dents would then phone the experimenter. Students were asked if they
had ever been to the Career Resource Center. If the students said
"yes," they were thanked for responding but were not included in
the study. This method resulted in only 10 subjects, 5 black and
The same information as contained in the mailed announcement was
presented in several different university settings. It was posted on
the psychology department experimental sign-up board. Psychology
students are required to participate in a minimum number of studies.
This added 26 more subjects, 25 white and 1 black. Oral presentations
of the announcement notice were made at the following settings result-
ing in the participation of the indicated number of subjects: a voca-
tional exploration class--lO white students; the Black Student Union--
11 black students; a black fraternity--8 black students; a black
sorority--lO black students; the athletic study hall--5 black students.
Once a minimum n for each group (40 blacks and 40 whites) was
obtained, the separate racial groups were randomly assigned to groups
of 8 and then randomly assigned to one of five treatment conditions.
The groups were as follows:
Black Black White White
Counselor Counselor Counselor Counselor
Expert Role Referent Role Expert Role Referent Role Control
Subjects 8 8 8 8 8
Subjects 8 8 8 8 8
Students did not know whether they had an interview scheduled or an
information and referral packet until they arrived.
The Counselor Rating Form
The Counselor Rating Form (CRF) (Barak & LaCrosse, 1975) was
developed to measure the dimensions of expertness, attractiveness, and
trustworthiness. These were the key dimensions in Strong's (1968)
social influence counseling model. This was systematically defined
by Strong and Schmidt (1970), Strong and Dixon (1971), and Kaul and
Schmidt (1971). The CRF, modified by LaCrosse and Barak (1976),
consists of 36 bipolar seven-point scales. From an original list of
83 adjectives suggested by communication research, four judges selected
and assigned 36 to appropriate influence dimensions. All judges agreed
on 22 of the assignments, while three judges agreed on the remaining
14. Students then rated filmed interviews using the new scale.
Across the ratings of three different counselors the dimensions of
expertness, attractiveness, and trust appeared to be distinct from
each other. Attempts to extract another factor produced meaningless
results. Each of the three dimensions is measured by 12 items. The
range of scores is from 12 to 84.
The CRF can discriminate between and within counselors on the
three dimensions (Barak & Dell, 1977; LaCrosse, 1977; Kerr & Dell,
1976; LaCrosse & Barak, 1976). The CRF (see Appendix A) also has
very high intercorrelations with the more established Barrett Rela-
tionship Inventory (Barrett-Lennard, 1962) for both client and ob-
server ratings. The predictive validity of the CRF was tested
(LaCrosse, 1980) with strong indications of a positive relationship
between measured perceptions and outcome. LaCrosse and Barak (1976)
report split half reliabilities of .87, .85, and .90 for expertness,
attractiveness, and trustworthiness, respectively.
Problem Solving Attitude Scale
The problem solving attitude scale (see Appendix B) is an 18 item
Likert type scale that was developed by Carey in 1958. She was inter-
ested in investigating the differences between men and women in problem
solving ability and hypothesized that the difference in problem solving
performance was actually a reflection of a difference in attitude
toward problem solving. According to Carey, an attitude is liking or
not liking to solve problems or "to the valence which problem solving
has for the individual" (p. 256). Originally she and a group of re-
searchers selected 63 items which they believed were related to prob-
lem solving. She then conducted an item analysis using 32 males and
100 females from introductory psychology classes at Stanford University.
From the original items the investigators were able to select 36 which
differentiated between high and low scores at the .05 level or better.
The 36 items were then split up on the basis of content to form two
tests, Form A and Form B. Many of the items refer directly to an
interest in or frequency of problem-solving activity. These were the
most highly differentiating items in the analysis.
The instrument appears to be relatively reliable. Intercorrelation
of the two forms on the first sample was .94. With a second sample of
59 men and 50 women equivalent forms reliability was reported as .83.
The functional characteristics of the test were successfully assessed
upon a third sample of 48 women and 48 men also from Stanford Univer-
sity. The only estimates lacking are those for test-retest reliability.
According to Shaw and Wright (1967) the instrument is average
or above average in validity. "Some internal evidence of validity was
provided by the fact that items that referred directly to interest in
or frequency of problem solving activity were among the most highly
differentiating items in the items analysis" (Carey, 1958, p. 257).
Evidence for predictive validity also exists. Carey's results (1958)
showed a positive relationship between performance scores and scores
on her attitude scale. Further results reported by Carey are that men
were found to have significantly higher scores than women and that
women showed a change to a more positive attitude after an influence
Scoring for the scale can range from 18 to 90 with the high score
being the most favorable. Individual items are scored from 1 (strongly
disagree or almost never) to 5 (strongly agree or almost always).
Weightings for negative items are reversed. High scores indicate a
positive attitude toward problem solving while low scores indicate a
The behavioral measure was a duplication of the approach used by
Merluzzi et al. (1977). It was an indirect assessment of therapist
influence, since no specific suggestion was made that it be accom-
plished. The behavioral measure consisted of an accounting of those
individuals who returned a follow-up questionnaire within two weeks
of its mailing. This follow-up questionnaire consisted of the alter-
nate form of the problem solving attitude scale and open-ended
questions allowing student feedback.
Subjects were randomly assigned to one of five possible conditions:
1) Black expert counselor, 2) White expert counselor, 3) Black referent
counselor, 4) White referent counselor, or 5) Control group. Inter-
view roles were patterned after the portrayal of the expert and re-
ferent power base roles used by Merluzzi et al. (1977) and Dell
(1973). Dell (1973) designed the format for the role portrayal based
upon the definitions of the expert and attractive power bases in
Schmidt and Strong (1971) and Strong and Schmidt (1970). Additional
material for the role portrayed came from the work of Strong and
Matross (1973) on the impelling forces of counselor power. Both the
expert and referent roles provided evidential, reputational, and
behavioral cues to the subjects (Corrigan et al., 1980).
The expert interviewer was described to the subject as
Ms. who is in a counseling doctoral program at the
University of Florida. She was described as being aware of a lot of
recent research in career counseling and decision making. Following
Dell's (1973) expert role development, the expert interviewer did
not rise from her chair but directed the subject to the seat.
The expert's opening remarks structured the sequence of events
to follow. This summary structured the roles of the client and the
interviewer. Items addressed included expert questioning, student
responses, expert commentary and literature citation, expert sugges-
tions and description of problem-solving strategy, and finally a
recommendation and referral to the Career Resource Center.
All expert questioning was explicit and came from a formal proto-
col. Any comments made by the expert were solely in regard to other
students she had counseled or to research. No comments were made
citing any similarity between the counselor and the subject nor was
disclosure of personal experiences made. A minimum of four references
were made by the counselor to establish their expertnesss."
The expert was attentive and professionally interested in the
subject. Eye contact was maintained, and the counselor was responsive
to the subject's behavior. Hand gestures were used to emphasize
critical points. The expert performed with an air of confidence in
her ability. Expert attire was not casual; a pants suit or dress were
worn (Kerr & Dell, 1976).
The referent interviewer was introduced as a graduate student
counselor who has had to deal with career planning problems herself
and who was now interested in helping others with similar concerns.
The referent interviewers attempted to convey an open friendly attitude
and liking for the client. She greeted the client at the door, used
her first name, and made comments to put the client at ease.
The referent counselor was verbally responsive to the client
throughout the interview and made use of reflective statements to dem-
onstrate understanding. No written protocol was used for the inter-
view. Four self-disclosures were made by the counselor to stress
similarity of attitude and experience with the client (Merluzzi et al.,
1977). No reference was made to the counselor's previous counseling
experiences or psychological knowledge.
Interviewers and Interviewer Training
The interviewers for this study were two white female and two
black female graduate students in the Counseling Psychology Program at
the University of Florida. The interviewers were paid at the rate of
five dollars per hour of training and counseling. Each interviewer
worked with 16 subjects. Training consisted of three phases. In the
first phase all interviewers were brought together at the Counseling
Laboratory. Each interviewer was provided with general instructions
(see Appendix C), a written description of the appropriate counseling
role (see Appendices D and E), plus a copy of the problem solving
strategy (see Appendix F) to be given to all students. Expert inter-
viewers additionally received a copy of a protocol (see Appendix G)
to follow in interviewing the students, plus a special version of the
problem solving strategy (see Appendix H). This special version con-
tained research references and results. In this first phase all
interviewers studied their procedures and were given the opportunity
to clarify their understanding of their roles.
In the second phase of training expert interviewers were trained
separately from referent interviewers. The second phase activities
consisted of modeling and rehearsal. Interviewers viewed an enactment
of their role as portrayed by the experimenter. Respective roles were
then rehearsed for two hours.
The third phase consisted of evaluation of role standards. Each
interviewer was videotaped and judged by a three-member panel of
advanced counseling psychology students using the Counselor Rating
Form. The expert interviewers did not see subjects until their
expertness rating was significantly above their attractiveness rating
for all three judges. The referent interviewers did not see subjects
until their attractiveness rating was significantly above their
expertness rating for all three judges (p < .10). Results of this
judging are in Table 2. To ensure some measure of control over the
way the roles were actually enacted with the subjects, a random
selection of eight interviews (10 percent) were videotaped and rated
by the panel of three advanced graduate students.
Counselor Expertness-Attractiveness Rating--Preexperiment
Treatment Mean T PR > T
White Referent -15.67 -7.73 .02
White Expert 20.34 6.86 .02
Black Expert 22 9.53 .01
Black Referent -22 -3.99 .06
All subjects had specific appointment times for their interviews
in the Counseling Laboratory of the Counselor Education Department.
Interviews were scheduled to last 20 to 25 minutes with a 5-10 minute
break between sessions. Thus, one interview was completed every 30
minutes. The career development laboratory room was used as a recep-
tion area. Subjects were greeted by a receptionist who gave them
informed consent forms to be signed (see Appendix I).
Treatment subjects were then brought to one of two treatment
rooms reserved for the experiment. En route to the interview room,
the receptionist gave each subject a short description of the inter-
viewer. The description was appropriate to the interviewer's role,
expert or referent, and was given to enhance the effectiveness of that
role. Control subjects were given their information and referral
packets and given 10 minutes to read them.
All interviews lasted 20 to 25 minutes. During the last 10 min-
utes of the interview, an influence attempt was made that was con-
sistent with the respective roles. The interviewer introduced a
problem-solving strategy and applied it to the specific situation
being discussed. The problem-solving strategy used the five stages
identified by D'zurilla and Goldfield (1971) and extended by Heppner
(1978). This same information was contained in the handout given to
the control subjects upon arrival and to interviewees after testing.
Finally, a suggestion was made at the end of the interview that the
subject visit the Career Resource Center very soon. A referral card
was given to each student. The suggestion was incorporated as part
of the problem-solving task.
Immediately after the interview, subjects completed the attitude
scale and the Counselor Rating Form. The control subjects completed
the attitude scale but not the Counselor Rating Form. All participants
received information and referral packets after this testing. Each
individual had a referral slip to turn in to the receptionist at the
Career Resource Center.
At the Career Resource Center, the students were given the
opportunity to sign up for minicourses in 1) center services,
2) cooperative education, 3) job hunting tactics, and 4) career
planning. Center services also include 1) a career information library
with a special section for minority students, 2) audio-visual resources,
3) a computer aided decision-making activity, 4) job interview sign-up
lists, and 5) personal vocation counseling.
Seven days after each individual's interview, the follow-up
questionnaire was mailed out. Each mailing contained Form B of the
problem-solving attitude scale (Carey, 1958), several open-ended
questions, a cover letter, and a stamped self-addressed envelope.
Subjects had two weeks to return the questionnaire. Those returned
after two weeks did not meet the behavioral criteria for the variable.
In order to assess the effects of expert and referent power bases
on client perceptions, a three-factor analysis of variance was used
as depicted in Table 3. In order to take into account the counselor
and client race variables, a three-factor analysis of variance was
conducted on perceptions of expertness and then on perceptions of
attractiveness. This procedure allowed the determination that the
roles were differentially perceived. It also allowed the study of
the separate and combined effects of counselor role, counselor race,
and client race on perceptions.
In order to assess the effect of treatment (counselor race x
role or control), client race, or interactions on client attitudes, a
two-factor analysis of variance design was used. This allowed the
incorporation of data from the control groups (Table 4).
Counselor Race A
Treatment x Client Race
Client 8 8 8 8 8
Client 8 8 8 8 8
to gain a more detailed understanding of the nature of the interac-
tions, a more refined analysis was possible by taking the additional
step of dropping control groups and performing a three-factor analysis
of variance as depicted in Table 3. The Tukey multiple comparison
procedure was used for all anovas in order to make all possible pair-
wise comparisons. A multiple comparison error rate of .05 was used
to provide a 95 percent simultaneous confidence interval.
The response to the behavioral measure was a dichotomous variable
which did not lend itself to analysis of various procedures. In the
past decade, however, statistical theory has led to advances in the
analysis of multidimensional cross classified categorical data that
are analogous to analysis of variance procedures. These loglinear
models as described in Bishop et al. (1975), Reynolds (1977), and
Fienberg (1977) are able to "describe the structured relationship
among the variable corresponding to the dimensions of the table"
(Fienberg, 1977, p. 3). Interaction is defined as being based on the
cross product ratios of expected cell values. "The models are linear
in the logarithms of the expected value scale" (Fienberg, 1977, p. 3).
From this is derived the term loglinear. The coefficients of loglinear
models are based on maximum likelihood estimation.
In order to assess the affects of counselor role, counselor race,
and client race on return of the follow-up questionnaire, a loglinear
analysis was used. The loglinear analysis made use of a 2 x 5 table
as depicted in Table 4. The analysis made use of the X2 statistic.
The results were a rank order of counselor race x role treatment
conditions according to client race, determination at the .05 level
of difference, and an assessment of possible interactions.
Use of the F ratio assumes independent random samples, normal
population distribution, and equal population variances. Moderate
departures from normality of populations can be tolerated. In the
case where sample sizes are equal, the F test is robust to violations
of the assumption of equal variances.
The X2 statistic can be used only with frequency data composed of
independent measures. The X2 tests are approximate in the sense that
the true sample distribution of the X2 statistic approaches the X2
distribution as n increases (Agresti & Agresti, 1979). The tests
should not be used if several of the fe's are close to zero. When fe
sets close to zero, the statistic tends to blow up. If these condi-
tions are not met, there are analogs of Fisher's exact test for the
r x c table (Agresti & Wackerly, 1977).
One dimension which posed a particular limitation for this study
was the population. Taken together, the target problems of problem
solving and career planning were highly relevant areas of counseling
for a university client population. Results of this study would not
necessarily be appropriate for a nonuniversity population. A second
limitation was that the sample used in the study was not selected
randomly and is not truly representative of the university as a whole.
The sample is, however, more nearly representative of those students
likely to take advantage of career oriented counseling as offered by
a university agency. A third limitation was that only female
counselors were used. Further research will be needed to assess the
applicability of findings for male counselors. The fourth and fifth
limitations were the duration of the interview and its one-time
occurrence. These two dimensions were at the heart of the analogue
question. Effects attributed to treatment during such a short session
would be most appropriately generalizable to the early stages of a
counseling relationship or to a one-visit session.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of black and
white counselors' expert and referent power bases on the perceptions,
attitudes, and behavior of black and white clients. The results of the
data analyses for the four hypotheses are presented in this chapter,
followed by a discussion of the results.
The first hypothesis was that there would be no differences
among black and white clients' perceptions of counselors. A three
factor analysis of variance was conducted, first on client perceptions
of expertness, and then on client perceptions of attractiveness. A
3x2 ANOVA procedure was used to allow the study of the separate and
combined effects of counselor role, counselor race, and client race
In the analysis of the expert means a significant main effect was
found for the race of the subject. Table 5 presents the results of the
analysis of variance for the dependent variable of expertness. The
p value for race was significant at the .05 level. There were no
other significant effects or interactions. This result means that the
black clients in this study perceived the counselors in general to be
ANOVA of Counselor Race by Role and Client Race
for Expert Variable
Source df MS F
CRACE 1 4.52 .06
ROLE 1 0.02 0.00
CRACE*ROLE 1 97.52 1.28
RACE 1 328.52 4.30*
CRACE*RACE 1 92.61 1.21
ROLE*RACE 1 83.27 1.09
CRACE*ROLE*RACE 1 5.65 .07
ERROR 56 76.43
*p < .05.
more expert than the white clients perceived them. Therefore, the
first hypothesis was rejected for the variable expertness.
In testing the first hypothesis a three factor analysis of vari-
ance was also conducted on the clients' perception of counselor
attractiveness. The results depicted in Table 6 indicate a significant
main effect for role. The p value for role was significant at the
.05 level. This result means that all clients perceived the referent
counselors as being significantly more attractive than the expert
counselors. The hypothesis that no differences existed among black
and white clients' perceptions of attractiveness was not rejected.
ANOVA of Counselor Race by Role and Client Race
for Attractiveness Variable
Source df MS F
CRACE 1 13.14 0.19
ROLE 1 425.39 6.21*
CRACE*ROLE 1 0.39 0.01
RACE 1 19.14 0.28
CRACE*RACE 1 192.52 2.81
ROLE*RACE 1 206.64 3.02
CRACE*ROLE*RACE 1 1.26 0.02
ERROR 56 68.52
*p < .05.
Further analyses were made of the data generated for the first
hypothesis. Means and standard deviations for counseling variables by
client race are contained in Table 7. Means and standard deviations
for counseling variables by counselor role are contained in Table 8.
Tukey's studentized range test was used in the further analysis of
both the expertness and attractiveness variables. The test provided
rank orders of counselor race x role treatment conditions for all
groups according to client race. The rank order for expertness means
is in Table 9. There were no significant differences. The rank order
for attractiveness means is in Table 10.
The results in Table 10 indicate that there was a significant
difference at the .05 level in the perception of attractiveness by
Means and Standard Deviations for Counseling Variables
by Client Race
X SD X SD
Expertness 70.25 10.49 74.78 6.09
Attractiveness 72.75 10.29 73.84 6.71
Means and Standard Deviations for Counseling Variables
by Counselor Role
X SD X SD
Expertness 72.53 9.26 72.52 8.48
Attractiveness 70.72 9.46 75.88 6.94
Rank Order of Means of Perceived Expertness by Race
and Treatment Condition
Treatment X Treatment X
Black Referent 71.38 Black Referent 76.625
White Referent 71.38 White Referent 76.000
White Expert 71.00 Black Expert 75.875
Black Expert 67.25 White Referent 70.625
Rank Order of Means of Perceived Attractiveness
by Race and Treatment Condition
Treatment X Treatment X
White Referent 79.38* Black Referent 76.125
Black Referent 74.88 Black Expert 74.125
White Expert 70.50 White Referent 73.125
Black Expert 66.25* White Expert 72.000
*p < .05.
white clients. This means that white clients perceived white referent
counselors to be significantly more attractive than black expert
The second hypothesis was that there would be no differences
among black and white clients' attitudes towards problem solving. It
was desirable to be able to compare client attitudes towards problem
solving in all treatment conditions. Each treatment condition con-
sisted of either a control group or a counselor's race and role. A
two factor ANOVA assessed the effect of treatment and client race on
problem solving attitude. The data presented in Table 11 show a strong
effect for client race that is significant at the .01 level. There
was no significant effect for treatment and no interaction between
treatment and client race. The net result was that black clients
had a significantly more positive attitude toward problem solving
than the white clients. The second hypothesis was therefore rejected.
ANOVA of Treatment by Race for Problem Solving
df MS F
Treatment 4 28.58 0.36
Race 1 696.20 8.84*
Treatment*Race 4 105.20 1.34
*p < .01.
For further analyses the control groups were dropped and a three
factor ANOVA was conducted. Again the only significant factor was a
main effect for client race at the .01 level. These data are in
Table 12. Table 13 contains the means and standard deviations for the
black and white problem solving attitude scores.
From the 2x5 ANOVA design which includes all treatment and
control conditions by client race, a Tukey multiple range test was
conducted. This yielded a rank order of counselor race and role
conditions for each race of client which is depicted in Table 14.
The results show that when each client race group was considered
separately, there was no significant difference in problem solving
attitude between any two treatment levels.
The third hypothesis was that there would be no differences
among black and white clients in being influenced to return a
ANOVA of Counselor Race by Role and Client Race
for Problem Solving Attitude Variable
df MS F
CRACE 1 0.76 0.01
ROLE 1 28.89 0.33
CRACE*ROLE 1 83.26 0.96
RACE 1 708.89 8.14**
CRACE*RACE 1 199.52 2.29
ROLE*RACE 1 141.01 1.62
CRACE*ROLE*RACE 1 34.52 0.40
**p < .01.
Means and Standard Deviations for Problem Solving
Attitudes by Client Race
I SD X SD
53.53 9.33 60.19 9.28
Rank Order of Means of Problem Solving Attitude
by Race and Treatment Condition
Treatment X Treatment X
Black Referent 57.75 White Expert 64.75
Control 55.75 Black Referent 59.38
White Referent 53.63 White Referent 59.38
Black Expert 52.63 Control 58.62
White Expert 50.12 Black Expert 57.25
questionnaire. A loglinear analysis of the 2 x 5 tables using the
chi-square statistic was conducted. Results are depicted in Table 15.
Neither treatment, nor race, nor an interaction of the two was sig-
nificant. This means that no difference could be claimed for black
and white clients in being influenced to return a questionnaire. It
Loglinear Analysis of Treatment by Client Race
for Return of Questionnaire
Source df Chi-Square Probability
Treatment 4 1.65 .80
Race 1 3.52 .06
Treatment*Race 4 4.80 .31
also means that neither client race nor treatment (counselor race and
role) influenced the rate of questionnaire return. The third hypothe-
sis was not rejected. It was noted that the client race factor did
approach significance. Response frequencies by treatment are in
Table 16. Table 17 contains the treatment rank order by race.
The fourth hypothesis was that there would be no interaction
among the independent variables. The independent variables were
counselor race, client race, and counselor role. The dependent
variables were client perception of the counselor, client attitude
toward problem solving, and client return of a mailed questionnaire
within a time limit.
Possible interactions among the independent variables were as-
sessed at each step of the process of testing the first three hypothe-
ses. Tables 5 and 6 contain results of three-factor ANOVA's of
client perceptions of expertness and attractiveness, respectively.
No significant interactions were found with any independent variables.
Table 11 contains results of a two-factor ANOVA of treatment by race
for problem solving attitude. No interaction was noted. A three-
factor ANOVA was also conducted for the problem solving attitude
variable. Results in Table 12 show no significant interactions.
Finally, the loglinear analysis results for the return of the ques-
tionnaire, which are in Table 15, show no interaction.
No interaction effects were noted as significant in any of the
analyses. Therefore, the hypothesis of no interaction among in-
dependent variables was not rejected. This means that no
Treatment Race--White Race--Black Total
Control 4 6 10
White Referent 6 5 11
Black Referent 5 5 10
White Expert 2 6 8
Black Expert 4 7 11
TOTAL 21 29 50
Rank Order of Questionnaire Return
by Treatment and Race
Treatment Frequency Treatment Frequency
White Referent 6 Black Expert 7
Black Referent 5 White Expert 6
Black Expert 4 Control 6
Control 4 Black Referent 5
White Expert 2 White Referent 5
interaction between or among counselor race, counselor role, or client
race could be claimed as a factor in influencing client perception of
expertness or attractiveness, attitude toward problem solving, or re-
turn of the questionnaire.
A procedure was instituted to monitor the actual enactment of the
counselor roles during the study. A random selection of two inter-
views for each of the four counselors was videotaped. Interviewers
and clients never knew which sessions were being videotaped. Each
videotaped interview was rated by the same panel of intern level doc-
toral counseling students using the Counselor Rating Form (Barak &
LaCrosse, 1975). For an expert interviewer to be considered signifi-
cantly within her designated role, she would have to be perceived by
the judges as significantly more expert than attractive. For a
referent interviewer to be considered significantly within her desig-
nated role, she would have to be perceived by the judges as signifi-
cantly more attractive than expert. The criterion for significance
was a p value of .10.
T-test results for each treatment condition are shown in
Table 18. The white referent counselor was judged significantly more
attractive than expert on her first tape. There was no significant
difference on her second tape. The white expert counselor was sig-
nificantly more expert than attractive on her first tape, but there
was no significant difference on her second tape. The black expert
counselor was significantly more expert than attractive on both of
her tapes. The black referent counselor was not significantly more
on Role Maintenance by Counselors
Treatment Tape # T PR > T
White Referent 1 7.95 .02*
White Referent 2 1.79 .22
Black Referent 1 2.56 .12
Black Referent 2 2.29 .15
White Expert 1 -4.62 .04*
White Expert 2 -1.38 .30
Black Expert 1 -6.55 .02*
Black Expert 2 -4.99 .04*
*p > .05.
attractive on either of her tapes. Although the results consistently
show an attractiveness-expertness difference in the desired direction
for every tape, they also suggest a lack of consistency in the degree
to which the roles were enacted.
The first analysis dealt with the separate and combined effects
of counselor role, counselor race, and client race on client percep-
tions. Results were different from what was expected in the case of
perceived expertness. Counselor roles were experimentally manipulated
to be either expert or referent, yet in the analysis of the expert
scores there was no main effect for role. There was, however, a main
effect for race. Black clients perceived the counselors in general
to be more expert than the white clients perceived them. There was no
racial difference between the clients in their perception of the
counselor's attractiveness. All clients perceived the referent
counselors as being significantly more attractive than the expert
counselors. In this case there was a main effect for role. A within
race analysis for clients indicated that for white clients, white
referent counselors were significantly more attractive than black
Significant results also led to the rejection of the second
hypothesis. A significant main effect for client race was again
noted, this time in regards to attitude toward problem solving. Black
clients had a significantly more positive attitude toward problem
solving than white students. Testing of differences in the rate of
return of a questionnaire yielded no significant results. Finally,
an assessment of interaction influence on any of the dependent vari-
ables yielded no significant results.
As has been described in the preceding chapter, counselors were
trained to use specific behaviors and attire which research has shown
delineates either the expert or referent role, respectively. Dif-
ferent specific introductions were also used for each role. It was
therefore expected that regardless of other possible results, the
counselor's role would be a significant factor in the client's per-
ception of the counselor's expertness or attractiveness. Results
indicate that the expert counselor role, as defined by introduction,
attire, and behavior, had no effect on client perception of counselor
expertness. This is contrary to all expectations derived from the
results of extensive early research as reviewed by Corrigan et al.
(1980). On the other hand, the referent counselor role was a sig-
nificant factor in the client perception of counselor attractiveness.
The results raise the question of whether there was successful
incorporation of expert and referent role criteria in the training
and/or performance of the counselors. Results located in Table 2,
Chapter Three, indicate that all intern judges rated both expert
counselors as significantly more expert than attractive on their
training tapes. Results from Table 18 indicate the intern judges
rated the white expert counselor as more expert than attractive on one
of two quality control tapes. The intern judges rated the black
expert counselor as more expert than attractive on both quality control
tapes. The data from videotaped sessions indicate that the expert
criteria were incorporated in training but not necessarily consistently
The data on referent training and practice are even more il-
luminating. Both referent counselors were judged by the interns as
being significantly more attractive than expert on their training tapes.
On the quality control tapes, however, the interns judged the white
referent counselor as being more attractive than expert on only one
of two tapes. The black referent counselor was not judged as being
more attractive than expert on either quality control tape. Yet for
the clients as a whole there was a significant main effect for the
attractiveness role. It was differentially perceived by the clients.