This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Exploration of Counselors’-in-Training Multicultural Competency when Working with Persons of Low Socioeconomic Status: An Examination of Attitudes, Attributions, and Perceived Self Efficacy




Stafford, Emily

Type of Degree



Rehabilitation and Special Education


This study examined Clinical/Community Mental Health (CCMH) counselors-in-training attitudes about poverty, attributions about the causes of poverty, and levels of perceived self-efficacy when working with clients of low socioeconomic status. In order to gather data regarding these variables, several survey measures were utilized: an author created demographics survey, the Attributions of Poverty Scale (Bullock, Williams & Limbert, 2003), the Attitudes about Poverty and Poor People (Atherton et al., 1993), and a researcher revised version of the Multicultural Counseling and Training Survey (Holcomb-McCoy & Myers, 1999; revised Stafford & Carney, 2013). Data analysis revealed CCMH counselors-in-training reported feeling “competent” when providing services to clients with low socioeconomic status backgrounds. In addition, completion of a multicultural counseling course and completion of a multicultural course with the inclusion of SES as a factor of diversity predicted more favorable attitudes towards persons in poverty among CCMH counselors-in-training. Lastly, CCMH counselors-in-training who identified as having primarily a structural or fatalistic attributional style indicated having more favorable attitudes towards persons in poverty than did counselors-in-training who reported primarily individualistic attributions. Implications for counselor education multicultural training are discussed.