Client Perception of Therapist Body Size: Effect on Evaluations
Type of Degreedissertation
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The present study sought to determine whether there are differences in the competency ratings assigned to counselors of varying body sizes and whether the relationship between these variables is moderated by the client’s self-reported level of impulsivity and the counselor’s gender. A total of 307 women were recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire and the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-Brief. Additionally, they were presented with a computer generated image of a counselor, along with a brief description, and asked to rate the counselor’s competency using the Counselor Rating Form-Short. Hierarchical regression analyses were employed to test the extent to which counselor body size related to assigned competency scores and the extent to which participant impulsivity and counselor gender moderated the relationship. Counselor body size predicted counselor competency scores such that smaller body size was associated with higher competency ratings. Study results did not support the hypothesis that participant impulsivity would interact with counselor body size to predict counselor competency ratings such that the significance of the relationship between perceived counselor body size and perceived competency was greater at higher levels of participant impulsivity. Instead, the negative relationship between counselor body size and counselor competency scores was found to be stronger for participants who reported low levels of impulsivity. The hypothesis that counselor gender would interact with counselor body size to predict counselor competency scores was not supported. Future research needs to explore additional variables that may moderate or otherwise impact the relationship between counselor body size and counselor competency scores.