The impact of the counseling environment on clients' desire to affiliate and level of state anxiety

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dc.contributor.advisor Dimick, Kenneth M. en_US Fink, Samuel H. en_US 2011-06-03T19:25:29Z 2011-06-03T19:25:29Z 1980 en_US 1980
dc.identifier LD2489.Z68 1980 .F5 en_US
dc.description.abstract The purpose of this study was to extend the theoretical approach to environmental psychology set forth by Mehrabian and Russell to outpatient mental health treatment settings. Mehrabian and Russell have proposed that the effects of the physical environment on behavior are mediated by emotional responses to that environment, and that these emotional responses can be summarized by three independent and bipolar dimensions: pleasure-displeasure, arousal-non-arousal, and dominance-submissiveness.This project was accomplished in two parts. The primary emotional reactions elicited by a variety of six mental health clinics were assessed. Then, an attempt was made to determine whether physical settings as judged on the three emotional dimensions influenced clients' desire to affiliate with a counselor or therapist and their level of state anxiety. It was hypothesized that, as compared to clients in less pleasant counseling settings, those inmore pleasant counseling settings would express a greater desire to affiliate with a counselor, and would report less state anxiety.Raters utilized for evaluating the six mental health clinic environments consisted of 30 undergraduate and graduate students at Ball State University. While imagining themselves as individuals seeking counseling services for the first time, the raters first observed six slides of each of the mental health clinics, depicting the entrance, reception area, and waiting room. After viewing each set of slides, the raters responded to the emotional response scales developed by Mehrabian and Russell.The environmental ratings were compared using the Newman-Keuls method of multiple comparisons, which revealed that raters perceived a clear difference in the pleasantness-eliciting qualities of the six sites. Two sites were placed in the most pleasant grouping, three were placedin the neutrally pleasant range, and one was clearly viewed as unpleasant. Generally high item-dimension correlations provided support for the reliability of the scales.Subjects utilized in this study consisted of 40 client applicants in five of the six previously rated clinics. Efforts to obtain a larger sample were hindered by a low rate of intake in some clinics and possible reluctance by some personnel to impose additional "paperwork" on new clients. It was not possible to obtain any sample from the clinic evaluated as least pleasant. Prior to their initial interview with a therapist, subjects responded to Mehrabian and Russell's two question desire to affiliate questionnaire and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Overall, subjects expressed a moderate level of desire to affiliate and a high level of state anxiety.Data were analyzed by two multiple, linear regression equations, utilizing desire to affiliate and state anxiety as criterion variables, and using pleasure, arousal, 'dominance, sex, and age as predictor variables. The results failed to support the hypotheses. Only one of the predictor variables was found to explain a significant amount of the variance on desire to affiliate. Client sex accounted for 17.1% of the variance (p <.05), indicating that male clients in this study expressed a greater desire to affiliate with a counselor compared to female clients. It was speculated that because fewer men were seeking psychological services, they may have been a small self-selected group who were more highly prepared than others to share their concerns with a therapist. None of the predictor variables were found to account for a significant amount of the variance on state anxiety.The interpretability of the results was hampered by the relatively small sample size, and by the non-inclusion of data from a site clearly rated as unpleasant. Also, since most previous research on environmental effects was not done in mental health treatment settings, it is conceivable that a population suffering from emotional or psychological problems may actually react differently to environmental conditions compared to the general populace. en_US
dc.format.extent v, 57 leaves ; 28 cm. en_US
dc.source Virtual Press en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Counseling. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Human beings -- Effect of environment on. en_US
dc.title The impact of the counseling environment on clients' desire to affiliate and level of state anxiety en_US Thesis (Ph. D.) en_US
dc.identifier.cardcat-url en_US

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  • Doctoral Dissertations [3194]
    Doctoral dissertations submitted to the Graduate School by Ball State University doctoral candidates in partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

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