Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

E. Wayne Wright


E. Wayne Wright


Keith T. Checketts


William R. Dobson


The purpose of this study was to determine the preferences, if any, subjects have for counselors based on counselor characteristics of age, sex and attire. Photographs were taken of persons of differing ages (old, middle-age, young), sex (male, female) and attire (formal, casual, grub). One-hundred and five college and noncollege adults were shown the photographs, asked to perceive the photographs as being those of counselors, and asked to rank their preferences for the persons depicted as counselors using a modified Q sort methodology. To determine whether the subjects had actually perceived the photographs as representing counselors and, therefore, discriminated among them on that basis, the subjects were also instructed to perceive the photographed individuals as attorneys and as friends, and to rank their preferences for the persons pictured under these conditions.

Statistical analysis of the data was accomplished by assigning each photograph a numerical value (weighting) from one to seven, based on the location (ranking) it had been given by each subject. This procedure resulted in each photograph receiving a score each time a subject ranked the set of pictures. The data were analyzed using three three-way analyses of variance.

Significant main effects were found for counselor age (F=6.77; df=2; p<.05) and attire (F=110.97; df=2; p<.05). Significant interaction effects were found for counselor age by sex (F=12.65; df=2; p<.05), counselor sex by attire (F=10.46; df=2; p<.05), and counselor age by sex by attire (F=8.54; df=4; p<.05).

The manipulation of subject perception of the photographs appeared successful. The results indicated that systematic differences occurred in subject rankings of the photographs when the photographed individuals were perceived and ranked separately as counselors, attorneys and friends, respectively.

From the results of the study it was concluded that counselor age, attire and, to a lesser extent, sex are related to subject preferences for counselors. Recommendations concerning the applications of the results to practical settings and areas of further research were given.