UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Anxiety and coping of female counselling students : responses to sexual, physical abuse and role conflict Parisien, Lynne S.


The focus of this study was an examination of the anxiety level and coping processes of female counselling students when confronted with a client who has either been sexually abused, physically abused, or who is experiencing role conflict. It was hypothesized that students who were exposed to a sexually abused client would demonstrate a significant increase in anxiety and poorer coping processes than the comparison groups. Coping processes were construed as coping thoughts (the relationship between negative and positive self-statements), and operationalized as the proportion of negative self-statements to total self-statements. It was further expected that there would be a moderate, positive correlation between anxiety and relative negative self-statement scores after viewing the client videos. Sixty female volunteer counselling psychology students (M age 35.8) at the University of British Columbia were randomly assigned to one of three experimental groups: exposure to a video presentation of a client who had either been sexually abused, physically abused, or was experiencing role conflict. Each student completed the State Form of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and the thought-listing procedure before and after viewing the client. Data were analyzed by two repeated measures, 2-way (group x time) ANOVAs, with anxiety and relative negative self-statement scores as the dependent variables. A Pearson product-moment correlation was also conducted between these two variables at post-test. The ANOVAs revealed no significant differences between the three groups from pre- to post-video, and, unexpectedly, the relative negative self-statement scores decreased for all groups. A positive correlation but of low magnitude was found between anxiety and relative negative self-statement scores (r=.21, p<.05). Because of the unexpected results, and based on findings from the literature, post-hoc analysis was carried out A repeated measures ANOVA with positive self-statements as the dependent variable revealed a group x time interaction that approached significance, F(2,60)=2.20, p.<.12. Post-hoc Scheffe's tests (p<.05) indicated that the sexual abuse group increased these positive self-statements more than the comparison groups. Data were also examined from the perspective of Schwartz and Garamoni's (1986) States of Mind model. These findings coupled with data from the ancillary questionnaires suggested that students were functioning from a position of grandiosity with respect to their counselling ability with adult survivors of sexual abuse. There was also some indication that at least some students who had been sexually abused themselves were in a state of denial in relation to the effects of their own abuse.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.