Date of Award

8-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Counselor Education

Major Professor

Robert Kronick

Committee Members

Melinda Gibbons, Gary Skolits, Leticia Flores

Abstract

The Arab American experience entwines with politics, world affairs, race issues and more recently, in coping with refugee status. The counseling field has been increasing focus on multicultural competence, advocacy, and inclusion of marginalized populations, emphasizing it as a critical component in counselor training and education (Kiselica & Robinson, 2001). Multicultural counseling competence requires demonstrated competence in the areas of multicultural awareness, knowledge and skills when working with diverse populations (Sue et al., 1992). Despite the significant mental health implications identified among the Arab American population, there is limited empirical evidence regarding the multicultural training, education and practice of counselor trainees and professionals when working with this group. As such, the purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate counselor’s multicultural counseling competence with the Arab American population. More specifically, it examined the relationship between professional counselor’s multicultural knowledge, multicultural awareness, specific knowledge about Arab Americans and attitudes held towards Arab Americans. This study also identified variables that predicted attitudes towards Arabs. First, a descriptive analysis of the data identified that counselors and counselor educators demonstrated higher levels of multicultural awareness than multicultural knowledge. Counselors and counselor educators demonstrated low levels of negative attitudes towards Arabs as well as significantly low levels of knowledge about Arab Americans. Second, a correlational analysis identified that there was a significant relationship between general multicultural awareness and negative attitudes towards Arabs, demonstrating that higher levels of multicultural awareness can decrease negative attitudes towards Arabs. Third, a stepwise regression identified multicultural awareness, specific knowledge of Arab Americans and level of training as predictor variables of positive attitudes towards Arabs. Discussion includes findings, implications for education, clinical practice and future research.

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