Date of Award:

1979

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

E. Wayne Wright

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was two-fold: (1) to determine whether the ratings a client receives on measures of likeableness, psychological effectiveness, and prognostic outcome differ as a result of the client's perceived level of physical attractiveness (high or low) and, (2) to determine whether the level of professional training in clinical/counseling psychology possessed by the raters mediates these effects.

To achieve these purposes, four groups of subjects (varying in level of training in clinical/counseling psychology) listened to the same 12-minute audio-tape excerpt of an actual initial interview with a client. Half the subjects in each group viewed a photograph of a woman previously determined to be of a high physical attractiveness level and half the subjects in each group viewed a photograph of a woman previously determined to be low in physical attractiveness level. The subjects were told that the photograph was of the client to whom they were listening. Following the presentation of these stimulus materials, the subjects responded to questionnaires designed to determine the subjects' perceptions of the client's likeableness, psychological effectiveness, and prognosis.

Analysis of variance techniques were used for statistical comparisons of the data. The results showed: (1) the physical attractiveness level of the client (high or low) resulted in no systematic biasing of the subjects' judgements of the client's likeableness, psychological effectiveness, or prognosis, and (2) the four groups (representing different levels of training in counseling/ clinical psychology) did not differ significantly from one another in the ratings they gave the client. Therefore, the results of the present study did not support previous research on this topic. Possible implications of the findings of the present study, with consideration of the apparent contradiction with earlier research and suggestions for further investigation of this topic are discussed.

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