Within the next 50 years, children of color will comprise nearly 60% of all school-aged children in the United States. Currently, in large urban cities such as New York, Detroit, and Los Angeles, the percentage of White school children is less than 20% of the total enrollment (Orfield & Yun, 1999). In recent years, the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) adopted and revised a position statement encouraging school counselors to ensure that culturally diverse students have "access to appropriate services and opportunities promoting [their] maximum development" (ASCA, 1999). However, little is known about school counselors' attitudes toward culturally diverse students and the resultant impact of such attitudes on their ability to address the needs of these students.
Multicultural counseling competence refers to counselors' attitudes/beliefs, knowledge, and skills in counseling people from diverse cultural groups (Sue, Arredondo, & McDavis, 1992). One aspect of being multiculturally competent is having an awareness and acceptance of both similarities and differences among others (Sue et al., 1992). Vontress (1988, 1996) noted that being aware of and accepting of others' similarities and differences is a vital goal for counselors who work with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. Effective multicultural counseling is rooted in the premise that although people share common or universal experiences (e.g., basic biological functions or life processes), they also have important differences based on cultural group memberships such as race or sex (Fuertes, Miville, Mohr, Sedlacek, & Gretchen, 2000; Miville et al., 1999; Vontress, 1996). An awareness and acceptance of both similarities and differences among people is identified as universal-diverse orientation (UDO; Miville et al., 1999).
UDO consists of three components: "(a) relativistic appreciation of oneself and others, (b) seeking a diversity of contact with others, and (c) a sense of connection with the larger society or humanity as a whole" (Fuertes et al., 2000, p. 158). According to Miville et al. (1999), individuals' UDO may allow them to bond with others who are similar, while also understanding and appreciating people who are different. In particular, counselors' ability to effectively communicate and interact with clients in therapeutic relationships involves the counselors' competence in focusing on both similarities and differences (Miville et al., 1999). Thus, school counselors' awareness of how culturally diverse students may be alike and different from them may be vital to building successful alliances with these students (Fuertes et al., 2000).
School counselors' cultural group memberships may have significant and varying effects on their social attitudes and beliefs, both within and across cultural groups (e.g., Coleman, 1995; Helms, 1990; Miville et al., 1999). Hence, it is important that such attitudes and beliefs be examined in relation to aspects of their ability to provide culturally competent services to students. Moreover, because numerous cultural (e.g., racial, ethnic, sex, social class, sexual orientation, religious affiliation) differences may exist between school counselors and their students, it is vital that these counselors are cognizant of such differences so as to sufficiently consider the impact of students' cultural backgrounds in their lives.
The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between school counselors' UDO and their self-reported multicultural counseling knowledge and awareness. Because previous multicultural education has been found to be significantly positively associated with school counselors' self-perceived multicultural counseling competence in several investigations (e.g., Constantine, 2001; Constantine & Yeh, 2001), the variance contributed by this construct was accounted for prior to examining the contribution of UDO to these dimensions of school counselors' self-reported multicultural counseling competence. Thus, it was hypothesized that after accounting for the number of previous multicultural counseling courses taken, school counselors' UDO would contribute significant amounts of the variance to their self-perceived multicultural counseling knowledge and awareness.
Participants and Procedure
Potential participants were 200 school counselors randomly selected from a mailing list of members of the American School Counselor Association. These counselors were asked to participate in an anonymous study examining their general attitudes about culturally diverse students. The survey packet they were asked to complete consisted of (a) the Miville-Guzman Universality-Diversity Scale-Short Form (M-GUDS-S; Fuertes et al., 2000), (b) the Multicultural Counseling Knowledge and Awareness Scale (MCKAS; Ponterotto, Gretchen, Utsey, Rieger, & Austin, 2000), and (c) a brief demographic questionnaire. No incentives were used to solicit participation in the investigation, and respondents were told that they would receive the study's results at their request. A total of 100 school counselors chose to participate in the study (50% response rate).
Because of missing data, some demographic percentages do not equal 100. The 84 (84.0%) women and 16 (16.0%) men who responded to the study ranged in age from 25 to 63 years (M = 42.72, SD = 11.09). The racial/ethnic breakdown of the participants was as follows: 91 (91.0%) White Americans, 4 (4.0%) Black Americans, and 3 (3.0%) Asian Americans. With regard to educational level, 84 (84.0%) of these school counselors held master's degrees, 7 (7.0%) held doctoral degrees, and 6 (6.0%) held bachelor's degrees. The participants reported a mean of 9.94 years (SD = 8.94; range = 0-37) of counseling experience.
Miville-Guzman Universality-Diversity Scale-Short Form (M-GUDS-S). The M-GUDS-S (Fuertes et al., 2000) is a 15-item, 6-point Likert-type (1 = strongly disagree, 6 = strongly agree) instrument designed to assess UDO. The M-GUDS-S is the short form of the Miville-Guzman Universality-Diversity Scale (M-GUDS), a 45-item scale that is reported to have good content and construct validity and internal consistency and test-retest reliability in numerous validation procedures (Miville et al., 1999). The M-GUDS was initially conceptualized as a unidimensional scale that assesses affective, behavioral, and cognitive components of UDO. Fuertes et al. (2000), however, indicated that using the short form of the M-GUDS allowed for analysis of subscale scores that would differentially predict diversity-related attitudes and behaviors. A strong, positive correlation has been found between the total scale scores of the M-GUDS and the M-GUDS-S (r = .77), indicating that either measure is appropriate for measuring UDO (Fuertes et al., 2000).
The M-GUDS-S yields scores for its three subscales known as (a) Diversity of Contact (5 items, possible range of scores = 5 to 30), (b) Relativistic Appreciation (5 items, possible range of scores = 5 to 30), and (c) Comfort with Differences (5 items, possible range of scores = 5 to 30). The M-GUDS-S full-scale score is achieved by summing the three subscales (15 items, possible range of scores = 15 to 90). The Diversity of Contact subscale assesses respondents' interest in and commitment to interacting with culturally diverse individuals and participating in diverse cultural activities. The Relativistic Appreciation subscale measures people's recognition and appreciation of (a) similarities and differences in others, and (b) the impact of these similarities and differences on their self-understanding and personal growth. The Comfort with Differences subscale taps respondents' degree of affective comfort with culturally diverse others. Higher subscale scores are associated with higher levels of UDO.
In the validation sample, reliability coefficients for the subscales of the M-GUDS-S ranged from .59 to .92 (Fuertes et al., 2000). In the present investigation, Cronbach's alphas of .80, .70, and .79 were computed for the Diversity of Contact, Relativistic Appreciation, and Comfort with Differences subscales, respectively.
Multicultural Counseling Knowledge and Awareness Scale (MCKAS). The MCKAS (Ponterotto et al., 2000) is a 32-item, 7-point Likert-type (1 = not at all true, 7 = totally true) instrument designed to assess dimensions of self-perceived multicultural counseling competence. The MCKAS consists of two factors: Knowledge (20 items, possible range of scores = 20 to 140) and Awareness (12 items, possible range of scores = 12 to 84). The possible range of scores for the full scale is 32 to 224. The Knowledge subscale of the MCKAS assesses general knowledge related to multicultural counseling, and the Awareness subscale measures subtle Eurocentric worldview bias.
Initial studies examining the psychometric properties of the MCKAS indicated coefficient alphas of .85 for each of the subscales; moreover, the MCKAS is reported to possess good content, construct, and criterion-related validity (Ponterotto et al., 2000). In the present study, the Cronbach's alphas were .91 for the full scale, .93 for the Knowledge subscale, and .78 for the Awareness subscale.
Demographic questionnaire. Respondents were asked to indicate their sex, race or ethnicity, age, highest degree earned, and total number of years of counseling experience. They were also asked to report the number of formal academic courses they had taken related to multicultural issues.
The means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations of the variables are presented in Table 1. Because of the small numbers of people of color and men in the overall sample, the data were not analyzed by race, ethnicity, or sex.
Two hierarchical multiple regression analyses were then conducted using the Knowledge and Awareness subscales of the MCKAS as criterion variables. The predictor variables were entered in the same order for both equations. To account for the role of previous multicultural education in the regression analyses, the number of formal multicultural counseling courses taken was entered into the first step. The three M-GUDS-S subscales (i.e., Diversity of Contact, Relativistic Appreciation, and Comfort with Differences) were entered simultaneously into the second step.
Table 2 provides a summary of the hierarchical regression analyses for variables predicting the MCKAS Knowledge and Awareness subscales. In the first analysis, with the MCKAS Knowledge subscale serving as the criterion variable, more multicultural counseling education was associated with higher self-reported multicultural counseling knowledge, F(1, 98) = 5.33, p < .05, [R.sup.2] = .05 (adjusted [R.sup.2] = .04). After controlling for prior multicultural education, the three M-GUDS-S subscales as a whole made an additional significant contribution to the MCKAS Knowledge subscale, [R.sup.2] change = .21, F(4, 95) change = 8.37, p < .001, [R.sup.2] = .26 (adjusted [R.sup.2] = .23), with only the Diversity of Contact and Relativistic Appreciation subscales making unique contributions. In particular, higher Diversity of Contact and Relativistic Appreciation subscale scores were related to greater levels of self-reported multicultural counseling knowledge. The full regression model, consisting of previous multicultural education and the three M-GUDS-S subscales, accounted for 26% of the variance in self-perceived multicultural counseling knowledge.
The MCKAS Awareness subscale served as the criterion variable in the second hierarchical regression equation. In the first step, previous multicultural counseling education was not predictive of self-reported multicultural counseling awareness, F(1, 98) = .79, p > .05, [R.sup.2] = .01 (adjusted [R.sup.2] = -.00). After accounting for prior multicultural education, the three M-GUDS-S subscales as a whole made an additional significant contribution to the MCKAS Awareness subscale, [R.sup.2] change = .09, F(4, 95) change = 3.16, p < .05, [R.sup.2] = .10 (adjusted [R.sup.2] = .06), with only the Diversity of Contact subscale making a unique contribution. Specifically, higher Diversity of Contact subscale scores were related to greater levels of self-reported multicultural counseling awareness. The full regression model, consisting of prior multicultural education and the three M-GUDS-S subscales, accounted for 10% of the variance in self-perceived multicultural counseling awareness.
Our findings revealed that the number of multicultural counseling courses taken was significantly and positively predictive of school counselors' self-reported multicultural counseling knowledge. This finding lends support to previous studies (e.g., Constantine, 2001; Constantine & Yeh, 2001) that reported significant relationships between prior multicultural education and self-perceived multicultural counseling competence in school counselors. Previous multicultural counseling education, however, was not found to be related to self-perceived multicultural counseling awareness in the present study. A possible reason for this finding may reflect differences in the content typically covered in academic multicultural counseling courses as compared to the attitudes assessed by the MCKAS Awareness subscale. For example, this subscale measures subtle Eurocentric worldview bias in counseling, whereas formal multicultural counseling courses tend to focus more on increasing students' didactic knowledge about cultural issues without necessarily emphasizing self-awareness (Constantine, Juby, & Liang, 2001; Goodwin, 1997). Nonetheless, the current study's findings highlight the importance of school counselor training programs in identifying ways to successfully facilitate trainees' knowledge and awareness of both their own and others' cultural worldviews within the context of multicultural counseling courses.
The current study's results also indicated that, after accounting for previous multicultural education, the three M-GUDS-S subscales as a whole contributed significant variance to school counselors' self-perceived multicultural counseling knowledge, with the Diversity of Contact and Relativistic Appreciation subscales making unique positive contributions. Furthermore, after accounting for prior multicultural education, the Diversity of Contact subscale contributed unique positive variance to school counselors' multicultural counseling awareness. Hence, school counselors who are generally (a) interested in and committed to engaging in diverse social and cultural activities, and (b) appreciative of the impact of others' similarities and differences in their own lives may perceive themselves as possessing some aspects of multicultural counseling competence in working with diverse students. It appears that such counselors may place personal and professional importance on valuing cultural diversity. However, because the Comfort with Difference subscale of the M-GUDS-S was not found to be uniquely predictive of multicultural counseling knowledge and awareness in this study, it is feasible to consider that school counselors could have an interest in and appreciation for cultural diversity without necessarily experiencing comfort in interpersonal situations involving culturally diverse students.
This study's findings have important implications for professional school counselors. One such implication relates to the notion that courses emphasizing multicultural counseling awareness and knowledge should comprise an integral part of school counselor curricula. Multicultural education could also be a valuable component of continuing education or in-service programs for practicing school counselors (Constantine, 2001). The development of multicultural knowledge and awareness, particularly school counselors' own self-awareness in relation to various cultural issues, seems critical to their ability to (a) consider the potential salience of cultural variables in working with students, and (b) effectively meet the mental health needs of culturally diverse students (Constantine et al., 2001).
Another vital implication of the findings is that school counselors who ordinarily experience discomfort in cross-cultural counseling situations may find it useful to identify ways to augment their levels of comfort. For example, these counselors may wish to participate in social events and activities that reflect the values, beliefs, and practices of culturally diverse students. Furthermore, becoming a member of culturally diverse professional organizations may provide school counselors with sufficient opportunities to relate to individuals representing a broad range of cultural backgrounds. These types of activities may be valuable in enhancing their appreciation of cultural diversity and in increasing their efficacy in addressing cultural issues in their students' lives (Constantine, 2001).
There are several potential limitations of the present investigation. For example, generalizability of the findings may be limited as the participants might somehow differ from nonresponding school counselors. In addition, this study's sample was largely White. Although school counselors in the United States are predominantly White, it may be important for future studies to assess similar variables in school counselors who represent a broader range of racial and ethnic backgrounds. Furthermore, because the study's measures were self-report in nature, the participants may have responded to some of the instruments in ways that did not reflect their actual attitudes and beliefs.
Future investigations should continue examining the present study's variables in order to understand their potential roles in the development of school counselors' relationships with culturally diverse students. There is also a need for research that identifies systematic ways to increase dimensions of school counselors' UDO in order to improve their effectiveness in working with diverse student populations. In particular, studies are needed that explore ways in which specific multicultural education activities or experiences may contribute to or facilitate aspects of school counselors' UDO.
Table 1. Means, Standard Deviations, and Intercorrelations of the Study's Variables Variables M SD 1 2 1. MCKAS Full Scale Score 162.63 24.55 -- .94 *** Scale Score 2. MCKAS Knowledge Subscale 95.56 20.68 -- 3. MCKAS Awareness Subscale 67.07 8.55 4. M-GUDS-S Full Scale Score 70.09 8.16 5. M-GUDS-S Diversity of 21.52 4.30 Contact Subscale 6. M-GUDS-S Relativistic 24.09 3.03 Appreciation Subscale 7. M-GUDS-S Comfort with 24.48 3.69 Differences Subscale 8. MC Courses 1.68 1.41 Variables 3 4 5 6 1. MCKAS Full Scale Score .59 *** .44 *** .42 *** .43 *** Scale Score 2. MCKAS Knowledge Subscale .29 ** .44 *** .39 *** .42 *** 3. MCKAS Awareness Subscale -- .20 * .25 * .22 * 4. M-GUDS-S Full Scale Score -- .84 *** .65 *** 5. M-GUDS-S Diversity of -- .42 *** Contact Subscale 6. M-GUDS-S Relativistic -- Appreciation Subscale 7. M-GUDS-S Comfort with Differences Subscale 8. MC Courses Variables 7 8 1. MCKAS Full Scale Score .13 .22 * Scale Score 2. MCKAS Knowledge Subscale .17 .23 * 3. MCKAS Awareness Subscale -.04 .09 4. M-GUDS-S Full Scale Score .69 *** .12 5. M-GUDS-S Diversity of .36 *** .13 Contact Subscale 6. M-GUDS-S Relativistic .13 .11 Appreciation Subscale 7. M-GUDS-S Comfort with -- .01 Differences Subscale 8. MC Courses -- Note. MCKAS = Multicultural Counseling Knowledge and Awareness Scale (Ponterotto et al., 2000); M-GUDS-S = Miville-Guzman Universality-Diversity Scale-Short Form (Fuertes et al., 2000). MC Courses = Number of formal multicultural counseling courses taken. * p < .05. ** p < .01. *** p < .001. Table 2. Summary of the Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analyses for Variables Predicting the MCKAS Knowledge and Awareness Subscales Knowledge Variables B SE [beta] t Step 1 MC Courses 3.34 1.45 .23 2.31 * Step 2 M-GUDS-S Subscales Diversity of Contact 1.10 .50 .23 2.20 * Relativistic Appreciation 2.06 .67 .30 3.01 ** Comfort with Differences .24 .53 .04 .46 Awareness Variables B SE B [beta] t Step 1 MC Courses .54 .61 .09 .89 Step 2 M-GUDS-S Subscales Diversity of Contact .48 .23 .24 2.10 * Relativistic Appreciation .36 .30 .13 1.21 Comfort with Differences -.33 .24 -.14 -1.35 Note. MCKAS = Multicultural Counseling Knowledge and Awareness Scale (Ponterotto et al., 2000); MC Courses = Number of formal multicultural counseling courses taken; M-GUDS-S = Miville-Guzman Universality-Diversity Scale-Short Form (Fuertes et al., 2000). * p < .05. ** p < .01.
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Madonna G. Constantine, is an associate professor, Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology. Tina J. Arorash, Michele D. Barakett, Sha'Kema M. Blackmon, Peter C. Donnelly, and Philip A. Edles are graduate students. All are with Teachers College, Columbia University, New York.…