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Journal of Counseling Psychology - Vol 64, Iss 5

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Journal of Counseling Psychology The Journal of Counseling Psychology publishes empirical research in the areas of (a) counseling activities (including assessment, interventions, consultation, supervision, training, prevention, and psychological education), (b) career development and vocational psychology, (c) diversity and underrepresented populations in relation to counseling activities, (d) the development of new measures to be used in counseling activities, and (e) professional issues in counseling psychology.
Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association
  • Intersectionality research in counseling psychology.
    This article introduces the special section on intersectionality research in counseling psychology. Across the 4 manuscripts that constitute this special section, a clear theme emerges: a need to return to the roots and politics of intersectionality. Importantly, the 2 empirical articles in this special section (Jerald, Cole, Ward, & Avery, 2017; Lewis, Williams, Peppers, & Gadson, 2017) are studies of Black women’s experiences: a return, so to speak, to the subject positions and social locations from which intersectionality emanates. Shin et al. (2017) explore why this focus on Black feminist thought and social justice is so important by highlighting the persistent weaknesses in how much research published in leading counseling psychology journals has tended to use intersectionality as a way to talk about multiple identities, rather than as a framework for critiquing systemic, intersecting forms of oppression and privilege. Shin and colleagues also point to the possibilities intersectionality affords us when scholars realize the transformative potential of this critical framework. Answers to this call for transformative practices are foregrounded in Moradi and Grzanka’s (2017) contribution, which surveys the interdisciplinary literature on intersectionality and presents a series of guidelines for using intersectionality responsibly. We close with a discussion of issues concerning the applications of intersectionality to counseling psychology research that spans beyond the contributions of each manuscript in this special section. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The intersectionality framework and identity intersections in the Journal of Counseling Psychology and The Counseling Psychologist: A content analysis.
    The framework of intersectionality is a powerful analytical tool for making sense of how interlocking systems of privilege and oppression are experienced by individuals and groups. Despite the long history of the concept, intersectionality has only recently gained attention in psychology. We conducted a content analysis to assess counseling psychology’s engagement with an intersectional perspective. All articles published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology (n = 4,800) and The Counseling Psychologist (n = 1,915) from their first issues until July 2016 were reviewed to identify conceptual and empirical work focused on intersectionality. A total of 40 articles were identified and examined for themes. Limitations and future directions are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Applying intersectionality to explore the relations between gendered racism and health among Black women.
    The purpose of this study was to apply an intersectionality framework to explore the influence of gendered racism (i.e., intersection of racism and sexism) on health outcomes. Specifically, we applied intersectionality to extend a biopsychosocial model of racism to highlight the psychosocial variables that mediate and moderate the influence of gendered racial microaggressions (i.e., subtle gendered racism) on health outcomes. In addition, we tested aspects of this conceptual model by exploring the influence of gendered racial microaggressions on the mental and physical health of Black women. In addition, we explored the mediating role of coping strategies and the moderating role of gendered racial identity centrality. Participants were 231 Black women who completed an online survey. Results from regression analyses indicated that gendered racial microaggressions significantly predicted both self-reported mental and physical health outcomes. In addition, results from mediation analyses indicated that disengagement coping significantly mediated the link between gendered racial microaggressions and negative mental and physical health. In addition, a moderated mediation effect was found, such that individuals who reported a greater frequency of gendered racial microaggressions and reported lower levels of gendered racial identity centrality tended to use greater disengagement coping, which in turn, was negatively associated with mental and physical health outcomes. Findings of this study suggest that gendered racial identity centrality can serve a buffering role against the negative mental and physical health effects of gendered racism for Black women. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Controlling images: How awareness of group stereotypes affects Black women’s well-being.
    This paper presents research exploring how stereotypes that are simultaneously racialized and gendered affect Black women. We investigated the mental and physical health consequences of Black women’s awareness that others hold these stereotypes and tested whether this association was moderated by the centrality of racial identity. A structural equation model tested among 609 young Black women revealed that metastereotype awareness (i.e., being aware that others hold negative stereotypes of one’s group) predicted negative mental health outcomes (e.g., depression, anxiety, hostility), which, in turn, predicted diminished self-care behaviors and greater drug and alcohol use for coping. High racial centrality exacerbated the negative association between metastereotype awareness and self-care. We discuss implications of the findings for clinical practice and for approaches to research using intersectionality frameworks. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Using intersectionality responsibly: Toward critical epistemology, structural analysis, and social justice activism.
    The increasing popularity of the concept of intersectionality in the social sciences, including in psychology, represents an opportunity to reflect on the state of stewardship of this concept, its roots, and its promise. In this context, the authors aim to promote responsible stewardship of intersectionality and to tip the momentum of intersectionality’s flourishing toward fuller use and engagement of its roots and promise for understanding and challenging dynamics of power, privilege, and oppression. To this end, this article provides a set of guidelines for reflection and action. The authors organize these guidelines along 3 major formulations of intersectionality: intersectionality as a field of study, as analytic strategy or disposition, and as critical praxis for social justice. Ultimately, the authors call for expanding the use of intersectionality toward fuller engagement with its roots in Black feminist thought, its current interdisciplinary richness and potential, and its central aims to challenge and transform structures and systems of power, privilege, and oppression. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • A longitudinal investigation of the impact of psychotherapist training: Does training improve client outcomes?
    This study is a longitudinal examination of the impact of therapist stage of training on client outcomes in psychotherapy. The study included 22 PhD-level psychologists who work in a university counseling center (8 female, 14 male) who had completed at least 2 training periods in the center where data were gathered. Therapists worked with 4,047 clients, and 40,271 sessions were included in our analyses. Clients were given the Outcome Questionnaire-45 (OQ-45) on a session-by-session basis, tracking treatment response. The effect of stage of training on both the magnitude and speed of OQ-45 change was examined through hierarchical linear modeling. Therapists were found to achieve the same amount of change or less change on average in their later stages of training. Therapists were also found, on average, to achieve the same rate of change or a slower rate of change in later stages of training. Findings suggest that as therapists progress through formal stages of training, they do not improve in their ability to effect change in their clients. Given these findings, a better understanding of expertise in psychotherapy practice and how to develop it may be an important area for future theory development, research, and training program development. We call for further work examining if and how an individual therapist can become more effective with time. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Autonomous and controlled motivation for interpersonal therapy for depression: Between-therapists and within-therapist effects.
    Differences between therapists in the average outcomes their patients achieve are well documented, and researchers have begun to try to explain such differences (Baldwin & Imel, 2013). Guided by Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000), we examined the effects on outcome of differences between therapists in their patients’ average levels of autonomous and controlled motivation for treatment, as well as the effects of differences among the patients within each therapist’s caseload. Between and within-therapist differences in the SDT construct of perceived relational support were explored as predictors of patients’ motivation. Nineteen therapists treated 63 patients in an outpatient clinic providing manualized interpersonal therapy (IPT) for depression. Patients completed the BDI-II at pretreatment, posttreatment, and each treatment session. The Impact Message Inventory was administered at the third session and scored for perceived therapist friendliness, a core element of relational support. We created between-therapists (therapist-level) scores by averaging over the patients in each therapist’s caseload; within-therapist (patient-level) scores were computed by centering within each therapist’s caseload. As expected, better outcome was predicted by higher levels of therapist-level and patient-level autonomous motivation and by lower levels of therapist-level and patient-level controlled motivation. In turn, autonomous motivation was predicted by therapist-level and patient-level relational support (friendliness). Controlled motivation was predicted solely by patient self-critical perfectionism. The results extend past work by demonstrating that both between-therapists and within-therapist differences in motivation predict outcome. As well, the results suggest that therapists should monitor their interpersonal impact so as to provide relational support. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The reciprocal dynamic model of career decision ambiguity tolerance with career indecision: A longitudinal three-wave investigation.
    The current study investigated the dynamic interplay of career decision ambiguity tolerance and career indecision over 3 assessment times in a sample of college students (n = 583). While the previous research has repeatedly shown an association of career decision ambiguity tolerance with career indecision, the direction of this association has not been adequately assessed with longitudinal investigation. It was hypothesized in this study that there is a reciprocal pattern of career decision ambiguity tolerance leading to subsequent career indecision and career indecision leading to subsequent career decision ambiguity tolerance. Using a cross-lagged panel design, this study found support for the reciprocal pattern that aversion to ambiguity led to increased negative affect and choice anxiety in career decision making, while negative affect and choice anxiety led to increased aversion to ambiguity. Additionally, this study revealed that aversion led to decreased readiness for career decision making and readiness for career decision making led to increased interests in new information. The key findings were discussed with respect to the theoretical and clinical implications for career counseling along with limitations and suggestions for future research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Examining the psychology of working theory: Decent work among sexual minorities.
    Research has found heterosexist discrimination negatively relates to vocational outcomes among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people, but no known study has examined how heterosexist discrimination relates to the attainment of decent work. Building from the Psychology of Working Theory, which proposes that specific forms of marginalization coupled with economic constraints limit a person’s ability to secure decent work, the present study examined theoretically hypothesized pathways to decent work among a sample of employed sexual minority adults. Heterosexist discrimination and social class were examined as direct predictors of decent work, and indirect links were examined via work volition and career adaptability. Among our sample of 218 sexual minority people, structural equation modeling results suggested heterosexist discrimination and social class directly—and indirectly through work volition—predicted decent work. Practical implications and directions for future research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Born this way: Sexual orientation beliefs and their correlates in lesbian and bisexual women.
    In this study, we examined how beliefs about the nature and origin of sexual orientation were associated with sexual identity outcomes, namely internalized sexual stigma and sexual orientation uncertainty, and in turn, psychological well-being in sexual minority women. A community sample of 393 lesbian and 205 bisexual women were recruited for a cross-sectional online survey. Using multigroup structural equation modeling, we examined whether believing sexual orientation to be inborn/immutable (i.e., natural) and/or as existing in discrete categories (i.e., discrete) was indirectly associated with psychological well-being via internalized stigma and sexual orientation uncertainty and whether some of these relationships were moderated by nonprototypical attractions (nonexclusive same-sex attractions in lesbian women and straight- or lesbian-leaning attractions in bisexual women) and age. Overall, similar patterns of direct effects were observed in lesbian and bisexual women. In both groups, naturalness beliefs were associated with lower internalized-stigma, whereas discreteness beliefs were associated with greater internalized stigma. In bisexual women, nonprototypical sexual attraction patterns moderated the relationship between discreteness beliefs and sexual orientation uncertainty. Younger age was associated with increased sexual orientation uncertainty in both lesbian and bisexual women. Specific to lesbian women, nonprototypical attraction predicted less endorsement of immutability and binary/discrete beliefs about sexual orientation, and unexpectedly, greater internalized stigma. The present study identifies potential implications of common lay theories of sexual orientation for lesbian versus bisexual women. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Decreases in implicit self-esteem explain the racial impact of microaggressions among Asian Americans.
    Asian Americans are commonly perceived as perpetual foreigners and, therefore, not “true” Americans. Asian Americans report inquiries about nationality and English abilities as the most common forms of racial microaggressions perpetrated by White Americans (Sue, 2015). Race theorists assert that these microaggressions are race-related and marginalize Asian Americans. Scholars have claimed that these subtle acts are harmful, yet only a few studies have uncovered the mechanisms by which racial microaggressions affect mental and physical well-being (Ong, Burrow, Fuller-Rowell, Ja, & Sue, 2013; Wong, Derthick, David, Saw, & Okazaki, 2013). The current study conceptualized racial microaggressions as a stressor to address the major gaps in research. Specifically, this study (a) experimentally tested the race-related nature of the microaggression event to determine whether a White American perpetrator would elicit more stress in Asian Americans compared to an Asian American perpetrator and (b) examined threats to explicit and implicit self-esteem as possible mediators of microaggression-generated stress. Findings confirmed that the race of the perpetrator did have an impact on stress among Asian Americans. In the multiple meditation analysis, experience with a White American perpetrator, compared to an Asian American perpetrator, lowered implicit self-esteem, which resulted in more stress. Implications and strategies for counseling Asian American clients are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Autonomy support for conflictual and stigmatized identities: Effects on ownership and psychological health.
    Important others’ perceptions influence self-perceptions. This presents a challenge for the critical developmental task of integrating all aspects of identity, as identities that are devalued or stigmatized by society are harder to own than valued ones. Across 3 studies, we tested the idea that conflictual or stigmatized identities are harder to own, or integrate into the self, than are nonconflictual ones, and we examine how receiving autonomy support for an identity—support for authentic identity exploration and expression—can facilitate ownership of that identity. Cross-sectional (n = 543), experience-sampling (n = 66), and experimental methods (n = 209) tested the dynamics of autonomy-supportive others on identity ownership. Data from these studies converge to show that conflictual identities are indeed harder to own than nonconflictual ones, but that autonomy support predicts greater ownership and psychological health, especially for conflictual identities. In the final study, we replicate these dynamics in 3 identities stigmatized by society: sexual minority, ethnic minority, and gender minority identities. Findings reveal the importance of integrating all aspects of identity—particularly those that are conflictual or stigmatized—into one’s self-concept. We consider implications for counseling and clinical practice, as well as broadly for the psychological health of stigmatized individuals. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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