Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Joel F. Diambra

Committee Members

Jeffery L. Cochran, Shawn L. Spurgeon


In the last several decades, multiculturalism has became the one of the most popular research topics in psychology and counseling, and the counselor preferences of ethnic minority clients has been well researched. However, in the history of research on counselor preferences, the needs and preferences of ethnic majority clients have been neglected. This study investigated the counselor preferences of White university students.

This study examined three primary research questions: whether counselor ethnicity influenced White university students’ initial counselor preferences, what were White university students’ preferences for various counselor characteristics, and whether White university students preferred specific counseling styles for different problem types. A survey consisting of three parts, a demographic questionnaire, a questionnaire including three analogical counselor-client vignettes, and a Preferred Counselor Characteristics Inventory, was administered to students at a university in the southeastern United States.

With regard to preferences for counselor ethnicity, the findings suggested that counselor ethnicity generally did not affect White participants’ initial counselor preferences. Aside from ethnicity, the study investigated White students’ preferences for various counselor characteristics: credibility, counseling style, age, gender and race. The results indicated that the characteristics valued by the highest percentage of White students were counselor credibility and counseling style. Moreover, participants’ preferences were influenced by their own gender and past experiences with counseling. Lastly, participants favored different counseling styles depending on the problem type, and gender played an important role in preference for counseling style.

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