Client outcome, multicultural competence, working alliance, counselor education


Early termination and low retention of clients is a common problem in counseling, with between 65%-80% of clients terminating treatment before the 10th session (Garfield, 1994; Lambert, 2013). Researchers (Lampropoulous, Schneider, & Spengler, 2009; Owen, Smith, & Rodolfa, 2009) have found that predictors of early termination include client age, race, socioeconomic status, and level of perceived distress. Furthermore, racial and ethnic minorities underutilize mental health services and have low retention when engaged in services, highlighting the need for counseling professionals to empirically explore factors that may be contributing to client engagement of the counseling process. Exploration of multicultural competence and working alliances may increase understanding of the therapeutic factors that influence client outcomes. The purpose of this research study was to investigate relationships between multicultural competence, working alliance, and client outcomes as perceived by counselors-in-training and their clients (N = 191; n = 72 counselors'-in-training, n = 119 clients). The Tripartite Model of Multicultural Counseling (Arredondo et al., 1996) was used as the primary theoretical framework in which the study is grounded. This investigation explored clients' perceptions of their counselors'-in-training ' multicultural competence as measured by the Cross-Cultural Counseling Inventory ([CCCI-R]; LaFromboise, Coleman, & Hernandez, 1991), the working alliance as measured by the Working Alliance Inventory- Short Revision ([WAI-S]; Horvath & Greenberg, 1989; Tracey & Kovocivic, 1989) and prediction on client outcome as measured by the Outcome Questionnaire 45.2 ([OQ 45.2]; Lambert & Burlingame, 1996), after controlling for social desirability (as measured by the (Social Desirability Scale-Short Form [SDS; Reynolds,1982]). This investigation also examined if there were any differences in clients' and counselors'-in-training perceptions on multicultural competence (as measured by the CCCI-R) or the working alliance (as measured by the WAI-S). Results from the investigation indicated that counselors'-in-training perceptions of their multicultural competence was a predictor of client outcomes. However, counselors'-in-training perceptions of the working alliance or clients' perceptions of their counselors'-in-training multicultural competence and the working alliance were not predictors of client outcomes. Positive relationships between clients' and counselors'-in-training perceptions of counselors'-in-training multicultural competence and the working alliance were found. The results of this investigation contribute to a gap in the counseling literature on multicultural competence, the working alliance, and client outcomes. A review of the literature on the constructs of interest, research methodology, data analysis, results and implications are discussed.


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Graduation Date





Barden, Sejal


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Education and Human Performance

Degree Program

Education; Counselor Education








Release Date

May 2015

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)