This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Caught Between a Rock of Competency and a Hard Place of Race: An Examination of the Relationship Between the Racial Identity Development and the Multicultural Counseling Competency of White Mental Health Practitioners




Sam, Thomandra S.

Type of Degree



Counseling Psychology


The purpose of this dissertation was to examine the relationship between multicultural counseling competency and the racial identity development of White mental health practitioners. We sought to gain knowledge about possible relationships that existed between White mental health practitioner’s responses to self-report measures of their multicultural counseling competency and their own racial identity development. It was hoped that inferences and new, more effective methods for multicultural training of mental health practitioners could be established. The current study includes a national sample of 402 self-identified White mental health practitioners. Participants completed three assessments: the White Racial Identity Attitudes Scale (WRIAS), Multicultural Counseling Inventory (MCI) and a Demographic Questionnaire. Confirmatory factor analyses were utilized both to compare the measures to their corresponding theories and to ensure the items corresponded to the factors the measures claimed to assess. A bivariate correlation was conducted to examine the relationship between the statuses of white racial identity development and the domains of multicultural counseling competencies. Also, a simple regression was used to determine relationships between the individual items of the assessments to both the domains of multicultural counseling competency and the statuses of white racial identity development. Results indicate that a relationship exists between the racial identity development and the multicultural counseling competency of White mental health practitioners. The study explored the validity and reliability of both the White Racial Identity Scale and the Multicultural Counseling Inventory. Furthermore, the current study found that the Multicultural Counseling Inventory that noted the appreciation of both the White persons and the persons of color culture was a significant predictor of one’s level of racial information processing. The current study also found that white practitioners did not endorse Relationship as a significant competency while highly endorsing mostly Knowledge and Skills. No relationship was found between the initial status of Contact to any of the multicultural competencies, while a significant relationship was identified between Autonomy status and the competency of Awareness. Finally, results indicate that only one of the demographic variables was significant in relation to multicultural counseling competency. Implications for these findings are discussed along with recommendations for both counseling professionals and training future practitioners.