Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Objective Measurement of Effectiveness of Psychological Consulting Services

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Objective Measurement of Effectiveness of Psychological Consulting Services

Article excerpt

In recent times, Chinese college students' psychological issues have become increasingly serious. In a study conducted at a university in Shanghai, Qu and Tang (2010) found that about 20% of the students suffered from interpersonal sensitivity, obsessive-compulsive disorder, unhealthy fixations, depression, and feelings of inferiority. Some of them were only mildly affected, but others had serious psychological issues. According to a report based on data from Shanghai, about 90,000 of 433,000 students had psychological difficulties, such as affective issues, interpersonal relationship problems, study pressure, family-related distress, anxiety regarding their career path, and feelings of inferiority (Lin, Tao, & Wang, 2015). At 16 universities in Beijing, around 17% of student suspensions and 65% of dropouts were found to be due to poor psychological health (Yi, Zhong, & Peng, 2015). As a result of China's one-child policy, children are dependent, sensitive, less social, and feel more helpless and lonely when they leave home, leading to some extreme behavior (Fang, Jing, & Wang, 2010).

When many college management departments realized the serious situation of students' psychological health more than 10 years ago, they set up consulting centers to help students with psychological problems. Psychological consultation became a very important way to help the students, who hoped that the psychological counselor would solve their problems. High-quality consulting services thus became a pressing need, but there have been a number of complaints about the effectiveness of these services (Liu, 2014). To improve their quality, it is essential to measure the change in customers' psychological status during the consultation, but measurement of the effectiveness of a consultation poses a technical challenge.

Previous researchers have evaluated the quality of psychological consultation with subjective questionnaires. Abdi, Faraji, and Abasi (2012) used a personal profile questionnaire and a sexual satisfaction questionnaire to determine the impact of counseling on the sexual satisfaction of infertile women who had been referred to infertility clinics in Tabriz. They found that psychological consultation had a significant effect on the sexual satisfaction rate of infertile women. Abdi et al. also found that the subjective evaluation was closely related to the women's level of cooperation and their attitude. MacLeod, Jones, Somers, and Havey (2001) used a retrospective survey of participants' perceptions to evaluate the effectiveness of school-based behavioral consultation. However, it was unclear how well the teachers who were the respondents represented all those who had experienced school-based behavioral consultation. The teacher sample was small and only teachers with favorable impressions completed and returned the surveys. Kratochwill and Van Someren (1995) reported some barriers in behavioral consultation, including the lack of standardization of consultation, specific training, and objective evaluation. They stated that each of these areas needed to be addressed in future research.

Recent researchers have put great effort in searching for reliable objective measures to evaluate psychological status. Phitayakorn, Minehart, Hemingway, Pian-Smith, and Petrusa (2015) compared physiological and psychological anxiety assessments in operating room teams during simulated events. Participants completed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI; Spielberger, Gorsuch, & Lushene, 1970) and wore a galvanic skin response sensor, after which differences in STAI scores and galvanic skin response levels were analyzed. All groups showed a significant increase in galvanic skin response, with senior practitioners and residents having a higher level of baseline trait anxiety. Operating room team training resulted in physiological signs of anxiety that were not correlated with self-reported psychological measurements. It is unclear why this happened, but it is possible that many interfering signals made assessment inadequate. …

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