Academic journal article College Student Journal

Black Undergraduate Students Attitude toward Counseling and Counselor Preference

Academic journal article College Student Journal

Black Undergraduate Students Attitude toward Counseling and Counselor Preference

Article excerpt

A help seeking survey and measures of socioeconomic status, cultural mistrust, and African Self-consciousness were administered to 315 Black college students to study attitudes toward counseling and counselor preference. Multiple Regression analysis indicated that gender, cultural mistrust, and socioeconomic status were statistically significant predictors of attitudes toward counseling with lower socioeconomic class, lower cultural mistrust and female being associated with more favorable attitudes toward seeking counseling. Canonical correlation analyses of participant attribute variables and counselor preference variables of race and gender for personal (e.g., feeling of inadequacy, depression, poor interpersonal relationships, etc) vocational (e.g., poor grades, indecision about major or occupation), and environmental concerns (e.g., level of perceived racism, sexism, or feelings of isolation) were performed. For personal concerns, canonical analyses indicated that when African Self-consciousness and cultural mistrust are high Black college students tended to prefer a Black counselor, and that Black students who tended to have low levels of African Self-consciousness and who were male preferred a male counselor when faced with personal concerns. For environmental concerns analyses indicated that higher African Self-consciousness and being female were associated with a preference for Black female counselors. Implications for counseling research and practice are discussed.

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The utilization of counseling services by Black college students have been a focus of the help seeking literature (Duncan, 2003; Gary, 1985; Hutado, Carter, & Spuler, 1996; Phelps, Taylor, & Gerard, 2001; Savitz & Walls, 1986). Traditionally, White students often utilized college counseling centers, however, the rate of Black students utilizing counseling centers have increased dramatically over the past several years (Boesch & Cimbolic, 1994). Despite evidence suggesting a higher utilization rate among some Black college students, the preponderance of literature on utilization rates indicate that Black students are still underutilizing counseling services (Cheatham, Shelton, & Ray, 1987; Nickerson, Helms, & Terrell, 1994; Phelps, Taylor, & Gerard, 2001). Despite the reluctance on some Black students to utilize the counseling center, Black students have expressed a need to seek help for their emotional, environmental, and vocational concerns (Jones, 1991).

Black students come into a predominantly white university with attitudes and behaviors that influence their experience of formal services such as counseling that may predispose them to positive or negative outcomes (Tinsley, Brown, & de St. Aubin, 1984). To understand better the reluctance of Black students to utilize the counseling center, research has focused on Black student attitudes toward counseling and counselor preference in relationship to varying degrees of racial consciousness (Ponterotto, Alexander, & Hinkston, 1988; Austin, Carter, & Vaux, 1990; Delphin & Rollock, 1995; Duncan, 2003; Parham and Helms, 1981; Want, 1995). The literature examining these two areas have added much to the understanding of Black students help seeking behavior but have often been contradictory and unclear. Much of this confusion can be traced to different measure of racial consciousness (Fyffe, 2000; Jackson & Kirshner, 1973; Parham & Helms, 1981; Ponterotto, Alexander, & Hinkston, 1988) and varying methodologies (Fyffe, 2000; Neighbors, 1991; Ponterotto, Alexander, & Hinkston, 1988).

The lack of a clear understanding of factors that influence Black students' participation in therapeutic settings continue to hamper any sustained efforts that would make utilizing formal help sources more attractive. A major limitation in the literature on Black student's underutilization of counseling services is a failure to explore other variables (i. …

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