Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Joseph R. Morris

Second Advisor

Dr. Lonnie E. Duncan

Third Advisor

Dr. Susan V. Piazza


In recent years, scholars have become more vocal regarding counselors and counseling psychologists’ responsibilities to advance efforts for social change (Goodman et al., 2004; Speight & Vera, 2004; Vera & Speight, 2004). As a result, empirical investigations have started to evaluate variables that may contribute to trainees and mental health professionals’ desire to participate in social justice advocacy (Beer, 2008; Caldwell, 2008; Landreman et al., 2007; Nilsson & Schmidt, 2005). However, most of these studies do not focus on trainees and mental health professionals who identify as White. The present study used quantitative analyses to explore nine hypotheses regarding the relationship between social justice, White racial identity, and multicultural competency among White master level trainees.

Trainees who participated in this study were recruited from master level programs in counseling psychology or counselor education at a large Midwestern University. A total of 208 surveys were used in the analyses of this research design. The measures used include the Social Justice Advocacy Scale (SJAS; Dean, 2008), the Oklahoma Racial Attitudes Scale-Revised (ORAS-R; Vandiver & Leach, 2005), the Multicultural Counseling Knowledge and Awareness Scale (MCKAS; Ponterotto, Gretchen, Utsey, Rieger, & Austin, 2002), and the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (MC-SDS; Crowne & Marlowe, 1960). Statistically significant results were found on six of the nine research questions. Major findings suggest that advanced multicultural training, knowledge about diversity and multicultural issues, and White racial attitude orientation have statistically significant effects on White master level trainees’ interest in social justice advocacy. The results of this study, limitations, and recommendations for future research are discussed.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access