ERIC Number: ED259266
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Attitudes toward Counseling Clients: Subtle Stigmatization?
Sibicky, Mark; Dovidio, John F.
Although attitudes toward people who have sought psychological counseling have been characterized as negative and stigmatizing, research suggests the public holds no prejudice toward the mentally ill. To examine whether the apparent decrease in negative attitudes toward people involved in psychological treatment is more superficial than real, two experiments were performed. In the first, 144 undergraduates (68 male; 76 female) recorded their impressions of a target person, who was or was not depicted as a counseling client. Involvement was manipulated by leading some subjects to believe that they would not meet the target person (low involvement) and by informing other subjects that they would have a getting acquainted conversation with the target (high involvement). Results showed that negative attitudes toward the counseling client increased as involvement increased. In the second experiment, 24 undergraduates (12 males; 12 females) were presented words as primes ("client", "student", and "house"). Each prime was twice paired with 16 test words. Results showed that subjects strongly associated socially desirable characteristics with nonclients and socially undesirable traits with clients. The findings support the hypothesis that people harbor negative attitudes toward counseling clients, yet do not readily express these sentiments. (KGB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association (Boston, MA, March 21-24, 1985).