Effect of counselor attire in an initial interview

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Examined the effect of counselor attire on clients' state anxiety, willingness to self-disclose, and preference to be counseled by the counselor seen in the study. Clients were 50 female undergraduates seen at an initial interview, and counselors were 3 male doctoral students in counseling psychology. Counselor attire was fixed at 3 levels: traditional (coat and tie), casual (sport shirt and slacks), and highly casual (sweat shirt and jeans). Clients experienced significantly lower anxiety with counselors in casual vs highly casual attire, although no differences emerged between traditionally and casually attired counselors. Client report of her own typical dress was a crucial moderator. Those whose attire was typically casual manifested the most positive reaction to traditionally attired counselors, whereas those whose dress was typically highly casual exhibited the most positive reaction to casually attired counselors. Contrary to expectation, client dogmatism did not moderate the effects of attire on the dependent variables. (10 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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