Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Counseling and Personnel

First Advisor

Dr. Robert L. Betz

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Brashear

Third Advisor

Dr. George Sidney


The study's purpose was to examine possible gender differences in problem perception and desired treatment outcome of 311 persons (135 males and 176 females) selected from a pool of 1500 clients seeking treatment at an outpatient mental health clinic in a medium-sized midwestern city. One hundred males and one hundred females were randomly selected for inclusion.

Literature related to crisis theory, research in linguistics, and gender role indicated evidence supporting gender role differences in a variety of interpersonal situations. Clients' verbatim written statements and their reactions to a standard problem checklist at the time of intake provided the data base for analysis. Coding of verbatim statements following neurolinguistic categories permitted comparisons between male/female response to psychological crisis. Chi-square and t-tests were used to compare linguistic categories and problem perception; the p. < .05 level of significance was used.

Statistically significant findings were: (1) Women expressed a desire for intrapersonal change in their treatment outcome statements; (2) Women identified more symptom items on the problem checklists; (3) Women used more first person pronouns in their treatment statements; (4) Women used more kinesthetic or feeling words in their problem statements; and (5) Both sexes' use of unspecified representational predicates increased from the problem statements to the desired outcome statements.

The research results provided support for the theoretical propositions of Miller (1976) and Gilligan (1982), who hypothesized that women are different from men in their intrapersonal and interpersonal processes. Females, as clients, possessed attributes such as the desire to change intrapersonally, an acceptance of responsibility to change themselves, and a willingness to discuss and express their problems in the affective domain. For counselors and psychotherapists such client characteristics are highly desirable for participation in counseling and psychotherapy.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access