Impact of perceived responsibility for problems and their solutions on perceptions of clients.
AuthorFeder, Caryn Ann
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study investigated the effects of being perceived as responsible or not for a psychological problem, being responsible or not for solving that problem, as well as type of disorder (substance abuse or depression), on perceptions of clients. It was predicted that clients perceived as more responsible for causing their problem and/or solving it would elicit greater negative reactions than clients perceived as not responsible for their problem and/or its solution. It was also predicted that substance abusers would be derogated more than depressed clients. These hypotheses were tested by having college students (N = 336) read therapists' case descriptions in which the key independent variables were manipulated and then subjects responded to questions measuring perceived client responsibility for the problem and its solution, treatment effectiveness, client competency, feelings toward the client, and social acceptance of the client. A series of hierarchial regressions was performed to create a path analysis. Clients presented as responsible for their problem were perceived to be more responsible and were viewed as less competent, elicited more negative feelings, and were less socially accepted than clients perceived as not responsible for their problems. Although clients presented as responsible or not responsible for the solution to their problems were perceived as such, those perceptions had no impact on other perceptions of clients. Instead, clients presented as responsible for their own treatment were perceived as receiving a less effective treatment than those presented as not responsible for the solution. Perceptions of low treatment effectiveness, in turn, lead to lower ratings of client competency, more negative feelings, and less social acceptance of the client. In addition, substance abusing clients were seen as more responsible for their problem and its solution, were viewed as less competent, elicited more negative feelings, and were less socially accepted than depressed clients. This research has many clinical implications and may help alleviate the discomfort caused when certain attributions are made in regard to clients in treatment for psychological problems.