The Effects of Likeability and Physical Attractiveness on Perceptions of the Competency of Counselors Committing Ethical Violations

by Flaum, Michelle E.

Abstract (Summary)
This study explored the effects of three counselor factors (likeability, physical attractiveness, and ethical behavior) on the ratings of the counselor's Expertness, Attractiveness, and Trustworthiness by participants who read stimulus materials depicting a counseling session. This 2 X 2 X 2 analogue design employed the Counselor Rating Form - Short Form (Corrigan and Schmidt, 1983) to capture participants' perceptions of the counselor from one of eight possible combinations of likeable/unlikeable, physically attractive/physically less-attractive, and ethical/unethical behavior. Eighty one advanced graduate counseling students from a Midwestern university were randomly assigned to one of the eight conditions. Participants read a counselor biography, viewed a photograph, and read a transcript of a counseling session before rating the counselor using the CRF-S. Multivariate analyses and follow-up univariate analyses yielded significantly higher ratings for the likeable counselor (p < .001), for the physically attractive counselor (p < .05), and for the ethical counselor (p < .001). There were no significant interactions among the three independent variables in the multivariate analysis. Univariate analyses revealed that the likeable counselor was rated as significantly more Expert, Attractive, and Trustworthy; analyses for physical attractiveness revealed that the physically attractive counselor was rated significantly more Attractive; and results also showed that the counselor who behaved ethically was rated significantly higher on Expert and Trustworthy subscale items. The limitations of this study, as well as suggestions for further research, are discussed.
Bibliographical Information:


School:University of Cincinnati

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:counseling therapeutic relationship social influence halo effect counselor ethics


Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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