Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Joseph R. Morris

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Z. Anderson

Third Advisor

Dr. Sherria D. Taylor


White privilege, multicultural competence, supervisory working alliance, supervision, White supervisors


Research indicates that White supervisors have difficulty facilitating and integrating multicultural issues in supervision (Fong & Lease, 1997; Hird, Tao, & Gloria, 2004). A factor that interferes with a multicultural focus in supervision is the multicultural competence of the supervisor (Miville, Rosa, & Constantine, 2005). Moreover, as a result of White privilege, White supervisors may also be less aware of their cultural selves and subsequently less inclined to discuss multicultural issues in supervision (Hird et al., 2004). Lack of attention to important multicultural issues, such as White privilege, can interfere with the development of an effective supervisory alliance (Constantine & Sue, 2007; Crockett & Hays, 2015; Hays & Chang, 2003). Despite the theoretical impact of White privilege on the supervision process and outcomes, there is a paucity of literature on this topic. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to examine the nature of the relationship between supervisor multicultural competence, White privilege attitudes, and the supervisory working alliance within the context of clinical supervision.

Participants were recruited from e-mail listservs and graduate programs in counselor education and counseling psychology. A total of 38 White clinical supervisors participated. Data were collected using online password protected survey software. The survey contained a demographic questionnaire and measures of multicultural competence, White privilege attitudes, and the supervisory working alliance. Primary analyses were simultaneous and hierarchical regressions.

Findings indicate that White privilege awareness is positively associated with supervisor multicultural competence. Other findings revealed a significant positive relationship between multicultural competence and supervisors’ perceptions of the supervisory working alliance. Overall, findings support limited available research indicating a positive relationship between supervisor multicultural competence and the supervisory working alliance (e.g., Crockett & Hays, 2015; Inman, 2006). Findings also provide support for the commonly held assumption that White privilege awareness is associated with the development of multicultural competence (Imig, 2018; Mindrup, Spray, & Lamberghini-West, 2011). Limitations of the study are discussed and implications for future research and practice are recommended. Results of this investigation can be used to inform supervision practices related to multicultural issues and to enhance supervision outcomes.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access