Counseling Services for Asian, Latino/a, and White American Students: Initial Severity, Session Attendance, and Outcome

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Abstract

Objective: The current study examined racial/ethnic differences in initial severity, session attendance, and counseling outcomes in a large and diverse sample of Asian American, Latino/a, and White student clients who utilized university counseling services between 2008 and 2012. Method: We used archival data of 5,472 clients (62% female; M age = 23.1, SD = 4.3) who self-identified their race/ethnicity as being Asian American (38.9%), Latino/a (14.9%), or White (46.2%). Treatment engagement was measured by the number of counseling sessions attended; initial severity and treatment outcome were measured using the Outcome Questionnaire-45. Results: Asian American clients, particularly Chinese, Filipino/a, Korean, and Vietnamese Americans, had greater initial severity compared with White clients. Asian Indian, Korean, and Vietnamese American clients used significantly fewer sessions of counseling than White clients after controlling for initial severity. All racial/ethnic minority groups continued to have clinically significant distress in certain areas (e.g., social role functioning) at counseling termination. Conclusions: These findings highlight the need to devote greater attention to the counseling experiences of racial/ethnic minority clients, especially certain Asian American groups. Further research directions are provided.

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