Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Bill Carlson

Second Advisor

Dr. Jim Bosco

Third Advisor

Dr. Ed Trembley

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Bob Wait


The responses of therapists to anger directed at them by female clients was the topic under investigation. Sixty-nine professional therapists were engaged as subjects, with each therapist reading two fictitious transcripts depicting the first portion of a therapy session. The two transcripts portrayed an angry client and a nonangry client, with client sex varied in each condition for a total of four transcripts. Each subject read both an angry and nonangry transcript of either two male or two female clients. Subjects were then asked to rate the client on competence, and interpersonal functioning, along with providing diagnostic impressions. A four factor repeated measures analysis of variance was conducted, with client sex, therapist sex, and therapist level of training as between-subjects factors, and anger versus nonanger as a within-subjects factor. It was hypothesized that the angry female client would be rated more negatively on competence and interpersonal functioning than the angry male client, and that the angry female client would be perceived as having a greater degree of internally-generated psychopathology when compared with the angry male client.

None of the proposed hypotheses were supported. Results indicated that the female clients were rated as more competent and as functioning better interpersonally than the male clients. In addition, the angry clients were rated as less competent, functioning less well interpersonally, and as having a more internally-generated type of psychopathology than the nonangry clients. These findings suggest that nonangry female clients may be the most favored client group. It was also found that female therapists judged the angry clients as functioning less well interpersonally than the male therapists did, and the doctoral level therapists perceived the angry clients as less likely to have an externally-generated form of psychopathology when compared with the master's level therapists.

Overall, the present results suggest that client sex, therapist sex, and therapist level of training are not factors which contribute to sex bias by therapists against angry female clients on judgments of competence, interpersonal functioning, and diagnostic appraisals.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Counseling Commons