There is a large and growing population of individuals within the United States’ Criminal Justice system suffering from both diagnosed and undiagnosed mental health issues. The stigma associated with their offender status and mental illness can prevent sufficient quality of mental health services from being provided to this population. Even individuals that work closely with offenders have been shown to exhibit negative perceptions of offenders with mental illness and little research exists in this area related to counselors. Further, the offender population is one that requires specialized training and consideration and it is unclear how much training or exposure counselors receive in working with this challenging population. The current study investigated empathy levels, prior exposure to offenders, and attitudes towards offenders with mental illness in a population of 100 masters-level counselor trainees. Multiple regression analyses were used to examine which study variables could predict counselor trainee attitudes towards offenders with mental illness. Results of the study showed that prior exposure and some types of empathy could predict attitudes towards this population. These findings offer intervention and training recommendations that graduate counseling programs could implement to better prepare counselor trainees to work with the population of mentally ill offenders in the US.
|Commitee:||Murphy, Patrick, Zanskas, Steve, West, Steve|
|School:||The University of Memphis|
|Department:||Counselor Education and Supervision|
|School Location:||United States -- Tennessee|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Counseling Psychology, Mental health, Health education|
|Keywords:||Counselor trainee, Empathy, Exposure , Attitudes , Offenders, Mental illness|
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