Murray State Theses and Dissertations


Although the current mental health treatment model provides little opportunity for consumers of services to exert control of their mental health experiences (specifically when choosing a provider), the ability to select a service provider may aid in the formation of the therapeutic alliance. The abundance of research regarding the topic of racial and gender matching of clinicians and clients has focused on treatment outcomes and client retention, and less on client preference and how it relates to likelihood that they will seek out services. Previous studies have used face-valid surveys asking whether clients would prefer a clinician who is a member of their racial or gender in-group – a method that is susceptible to social desirability bias. The current study proposed new method of assessing service provider preference that is less susceptible to social desirability bias: by providing participants with a hypothetical scenario asking if they will seek services from a given service provider in a confidential online survey setting. The results indicated that there was not a significant difference in the likelihood of an individual to seek services when they were presented with a race and gender match.

Year manuscript completed


Year degree awarded


Author's Keywords

Race, Gender, Mental Health Services, Therapy

Thesis Advisor

Sean C. Rife

Committee Member

Michael Bordieri

Committee Member

Patrick Cushen

Committee Member

Rebecca Penderbaum

Document Type