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Effect of Therapist Gender and Use of Informed Consent on Clients' Ratings of Therapists: A Partial Replication and Extension Study

9 December 2005


This study was designed to replicate an oft-cited study assessing the impact of . informed consent, presented in both oral and written formats, on clients' perceptions of therapists' trustworthiness, expertness, and attractiveness. The study was also extended to examine the effect of therapist gender on clients' perceptions of therapists' trustworthiness,expertness, and attractiveness. As part of this study, 109 undergraduate students from Pacific University were asked to read a hypothetical transcript between a client and therapist and then answer, a series of questionnaires, including the Counselor Rating Form - Short Version (CRF-S). The dependent variables were Overall Impression, and CRF-S scores for Trustworthiness, Expertness, Attractiveness, and Total. The independent variables were therapist gender and presence/absence of informed consent.· Data were analyzed using a 2X2 MANOVA to determine both the effects on the dependent variables and the interactions among the independent variables. The results were in keeping with the original study and indicated that the therapist who made explicit Use of an informed consent procedure was seen as more trustworthy, expert, and attractive than the therapist who did not. Additionally, the therapist who used informed consent procedures received higher Overall Rating scores, suggesting that subjects had a more positive overall reaction to the therapist who discussed informed consent and were more likely to see and refer friends to the therapist. Therapist gender had no significant effect on ratings of therapists. Additionally, no significant main effect was found for the interaction between independent variables. Overall, the results suggest that how a therapist conducts him or herself has a greater impact on a client's reaction than does the gender of the therapist.


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