Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




The purpose of this analogue study was to investigate the effects of counselor body size and counselor gender on subjects' perceptions of counselor characteristics. In a fixed effects factorial design, 256 undergraduate male and female subjects were exposed to videotaped vignettes of an initial counseling session in which a normal weight or overweight male or female counselor interacted with a female client who was not visible on camera;The instruments used in the study were the Counselor Rating Form('1) (Barak & LaCrosse, 1975) and the Degree of Confidence Scale Help with Specific Personal Problems Checklist('2) (Cash, Begley, McCown, & Weise, 1975). Other measures included in the study were a personal data sheet and a continuation of counseling questionnaire;Subjects perceived normal weight counselors as more attrac- tive (p < .01) and trustworthy (p < .05) than overweight counselors. Subjects perceived male counselors as more attractive (p < .05) than female counselors;Female subjects rated counselors more highly on a number of dependent measures than did male subjects and the differences in the ratings were statistically significant. Counselor body size had an effect on subjects' perceptions of counselor characteristics but not on their willingness to seek help from a particular counselor. Coun- selor gender had an effect on subjects' perception of counselor attractiveness with subjects rating male counselors higher on the attractiveness scale;Applied implications of this analogue study include the effect counselor body size might have on a client with eating disorders. This study provides additional evidence for the salience of initial impressions in counseling and suggests that while impressions;can be manipulated, these impressions may have no bearing on subject's perceptions of their help seeking behavior; ('1)Barak, A., & LaCrosse, M. B. (1975). Multidimensional perception of counselor behavior. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 22, 471-476. ('2)Cash, T. F., Begley, P. J., McCown, D. A., & Weise, B. C. (1975). When counselors are heard but not seen: Initial impact of physical attractiveness. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 22, 273-279.



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Equilla Luke



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117 pages