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The essence of African Americans\u27 perception of psychological testing in counseling: A phenomenological study

By Crystal Renee Harris

Abstract

Psychological assessment and testing are important aspects of counseling psychology. Even so, because most tests have been normed on European Americans, their appropriateness has been questioned and debated for years, especially for African American and other ethnic minority clients. Additionally, although African American college students experience distress, they tend to underutilize counseling services and are sometimes assessed incorrectly in counseling. Psychologists should gain more understanding of African Americans\u27 testing-related attitudes and perceptions, principally to ensure their cultural needs are met when they seek services. In this phenomenological qualitative study, I explored 10 African American college students\u27 attitudes and perceptions of testing. Participants were (a) students from Purdue University, (b) between the ages of 18 and 25, (c) self-identified as Black/African American, and (d) had familiarity with psychological testing. Two research questions were examined: What are African American college students\u27 attitudes of psychological testing in counseling? and What are African American college students\u27 perceptions of an effective, or ideal, testing experience? The interview data were transcribed verbatim and standard phenomenological data analysis procedures were used. Three main themes emerged from the data. First, most participants reported having a positive view of counseling services, in general, and psychological testing in counseling, specifically, with two sub-categories (i.e., counseling services are most appropriate for those who have had a devastating experience; and one may have initial reservations to the suggestion of testing). Second, developing a relationship with the psychologist is important. The quality of this relationship is contingent upon etic factors, which emphasize cultural universals (e.g., ethical behavior, empathy) and emic factors, which emphasize culture-specific attitudes, values, and behaviors (e.g., race of psychologist affects client\u27s behavior). Third, the majority of the participants stated that in order for a testing experience to be effective, they would need to be allowed to be expressive, either in a verbal or written form throughout the testing experience. Theme-related trustworthiness was established through audio recording the interviews, taking reflective notes after each interview, having two students code data independently, and using a member checking procedure. Limitations, future directions for research, and practical implications of the results were discussed

Topics: Counseling Psychology
Publisher: 'Purdue University (bepress)'
Year: 2013
OAI identifier: oai:docs.lib.purdue.edu:dissertations-14014
Provided by: Purdue E-Pubs
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