ERIC Number: ED282156
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Apr
Reference Count: 0
When Will a University Counselor Reveal Confidential Information?
Chu, Lily; Duling, John
A recent study identified confidentiality as the most frequently encountered dilemma for college counselors. A study was conducted to examine whether there was a consensus among directors of college and university counseling centers regarding confidentiality. Directors (N=160) completed questionnaires concerning counseling center background and size, college characteristics, counseling center guidelines and limits on confidentiality, and whether clients were informed of limits. Professional data on directors were also obtained. Subjects read three hypothetical vignettes depicting legal and ethical dilemmas likely to be found in college and university counseling centers. Dilemmas concerned clients and computer crimes, client manufacturing of illegal drugs, and a client with a suicidal roommate. For each vignette, subjects responded to whether or not they would keep the confidentiality. Responses to vignettes revealed that most directors were reluctant to break confidentiality. This reluctance did not correlate with the center's policies on confidentiality, the center's demographics, counseling center size, nor with directors' professional variables. Although most directors reported that their counseling centers had policies about confidentiality, the results suggest that centers need more specific guidelines concerning confidentiality, and that counselors and student clients need to be better informed about confidentiality limits. (NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Washington, DC, April 20-24, 1987).