Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

Gregory Brack, Ph.D. - Chair


PERCEPTIONS, EMOTIONS, AND APPRAISALS OF GRADUATE LEVEL COUNSELOR TRAINEES WORKING WITH AFRICAN AMERICAN AND CAUCASIAN FEMALE CLIENTS WITH HIV/AIDS by Pamela McMichen Wright Many people with HIV/AIDS are experiencing increased life expectancy along with a better quality of life due to the advances of HIV/AIDS medications such as highly active antiretroviral therapies (HAART). Individuals in this growing population often experience psychological and psychosocial concerns that require the assistance of mental health counselors. Counseling interventions represent one of the most effective ways to address the psychosocial aspects of HIV/AIDS. The purpose of this study is to investigate counselor trainees’ attitudes and perceptions about HIV/AIDS disease and individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Participants are masters and specialists level counseling students enrolled in a large southeastern university that is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The present study will qualitatively and quantitatively measure counselor trainees’ attitudes toward women clients with HIV and women clients without HIV. The study will also quantitatively measure counselor trainees’ potential biases toward black female clients. Several hypotheses will be tested in this study. One hypothesis is that counseling students in the masters and specialists degree programs will express more negative emotions and perceptions about female clients with HIV than about female clients without HIV. The second hypothesis is that these counseling students will express relatively more negative emotions and perceptions toward the African American female clients, particularly the African American client with HIV. Four separate case vignettes will be used in the study. Each vignette is worded identically with the exception of four separate demographic characteristics. One vignette will feature an African American female who is not HIV positive. Another vignette will feature an African American female who is HIV positive. The same pattern will be followed for the other two vignettes, except a Caucasian female will be featured instead of an African American female. The Roseman et al. (1996) cognitive appraisal model will be used to obtain emotional responses about how a client is perceived. A questionnaire will be used to elicit demographic information and counselor training experiences.