Counselors are members of the general public and, thus, are exposed to popular misperceptions about specialty populations, specifically sex offenders. Male and female counselors can be socialized to vary in their responses to sex offenses. Inaccurate assumptions about sex offenders and discrepancies in counselor attitudes towards clients can linger in the counseling environment impacting treatment. This quantitative survey study was conducted to assess the attitudes of male and female counselors towards sex offenders of both sexes. This study hypothesized that male and female counselors would differ significantly in their attitudes towards sex offenders and that counselors’ attitudes towards male sex offenders would differ significantly from attitudes toward female sex offenders. Participants completed the Attitudes Toward Sex Offenders Scale (ATS) in conjunction with reading a vignette about the relationship between an adult teacher and a high school student. A purposive sample of 202 counselors was obtained through national and state counseling organizations. Participants reviewed vignettes and completed the ATS online via Qualtrics. Data were analyzed with SPSS and ANOVA, indicating that male counselors had significantly more positive attitudes towards sex offenders than female counselors. Results also showed that both male and female counselors had more positive attitudes towards female sex offenders than toward male sex offenders; however, the difference in attitudes towards male versus female sex offenders was not statistically significant. The findings suggested that counselors are at risk for maintaining inaccurate assumptions leading to unhelpful treatment. The results can lead to improved trainings to counselors and counselor educators to provide education about the experience of specialty populations and to discuss internal counselor responses to such clients.
|Commitee:||Klepper, Konja, Schooley, Anna Lynn|
|Department:||Social and Behavioral Sciences|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-B 78/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Mental health, Behavioral Sciences, Gender studies|
|Keywords:||Counseling, Counselor education, Female sex offender, Gender differences, Sex offender|
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