Date of Award

8-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Jacob J. Levy

Committee Members

John W. Lounsbury, Richard A. Saudargas, Tricia McClam

Abstract

Premature termination is a common clinical phenomenon in university counseling setting, often very disruptive to the therapeutic process, can be dangerous for clients at risk, evokes considerable reactions and among therapists, and often causes treatment to be not as beneficial to them. The existing literature reflects both clinical conceptualizations and empirical investigations into the nature and effects on premature termination in psychotherapy, both on clients and therapists. However, there are only few studies that examined, from an objective personality assessment standpoint, profiles of clients who tend to drop-out of therapy prematurely. The current study investigated if clients at a university counseling center, who were classified to two groups (prematurely terminated and non-prematurely terminated), significantly differ on their Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI; Morey, 2003) scales. A canonical discriminant function analysis was conducted to determine whether the PAI scales could predict premature termination within a sample of university counseling center clients. The results indicated that the overall predictors differentiated between the two groups. The within-groups correlations between the predictors, two scales demonstrated significant relations with the discriminant function—SCZ and ANT-A. These results suggest that clients with antisocial behaviors (ANT-A) tend to prematurely terminate, whereas clients with schizophrenic tendencies (SCZ) tend to remain in treatment. In order to receive more accurate results and better range of those scales descriptive statistics were utilized, checking the percentage of students from the ANT-A group that received moderate results on the scale (T=>60) as well as those from the SCZ group who also receive moderate results on the scale (T=>60) . Results suggested that 83% of the prematurely terminating group had moderate elevation of ANT-A symptomatology (T=>60T), and 66% of the non-premature terminating group had moderate elevation of SCZ symptomatology (T=>60T). An integrative discussion of the results, via the lens of Motivational Interviewing perspective, allows for explanation and possible implications for clinical work.

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