Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Counseling Psychology & Community Services
Results of studies investigating the possible presence of bias in psychotherapy are equivocal. Past studies have not taken into consideration the amount of information provided to clinicians and therefore have varied this dependent variable unsystematically from study to study. The current study explored the effects of the gender of the psychologist, gender of the client, and level of information provided upon which to base decisions on diagnostic and treatment decisions. Three cases varying gender of the client and the amount of information given were mailed to 814 psychologists listed in the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology. Respondents were asked to make a series of diagnostic and treatment decisions based upon the material provided. The amount of information presented was the most influential component of the decision making process. The specificity of data given upon which psychologists based their impressions resulted in differential diagnostic decisions. The gender of the psychologist and that of the client did not play significant roles in diagnosis or on recommendations for medication. The lack of findings indicating bias suggest that it may be time to move beyond analogue studies and investigate using other methods. Research involving a more naturalistic approach is required to further explore bias and also its presence in aspects of therapy other than diagnosis and treatment planning.
Sumerall, Scott W., "An Investigation of the Effects of Gender and Specificity of Information on Diagnosis" (1993). Theses and Dissertations. 3227.