Date of Award

8-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Jacob Levy

Committee Members

John Lounsbury, Tricia McClam, Suzanne Molnar, Gina Owens, Dawn Szymanski

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between transition variables and Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) profiles of university counseling center clients. If these variables have a significant impact on PAI profiles, then understanding how these variables are related to personality profiles will provide important information for diagnosis and treatment planning. Archival data was reviewed for 838 clients seen at a midsized southeastern university counseling center. Transition variables included international or domestic student status, distance from home, student classification (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, or graduate), parent education level, and rural or urban classification of hometown. Ethnicity and gender were also considered as important demographic variables. Mean scores were compared on each of the PAI clinical, treatment, and interpersonal scales.

The results indicated that there were significant differences between the profiles of international and domestic clients, student clients far from home and student clients close to home, clients by academic classification, White and Non-White clients, and male and female clients. There were insufficient data in the archive to investigate differences between students from rural and urban hometowns.

The differences between PAI profiles based on transition variables were relatively minor in terms of differences in means and effect size. Therefore, it is not likely that these variations would alter a decision about client treatment or that clients are at risk of being misdiagnosed or inappropriately prioritized as urgent. The largest differences were found between men and women, suggesting that further research examining the differences between the genders on PAI profiles is necessary. Overall, the research suggests that the PAI is appropriate for use as a screening tool in university counseling centers; however, differences were found which suggest that transition variables may impact the PAI profiles of counseling center clients.

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