Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

Andrew T. Roach, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Stephen D. Truscott, Psy.D.

Third Advisor

Brian Barger, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Erin Mason, Ph.D.

Fifth Advisor

Christy Jaffe, Ph.D.


Racial/ethnic incongruence (REI) describes a relationship in which there is a mismatch between individuals in terms of their racial or ethnic identification, perceived or self-reported. There is an existing body of literature about the challenges associated with teacher-student and counselor-counselee REI as well as the benefits associated with racial/ethnic matching (REM) among individuals from these groups. Within the field of school psychology, there exists theoretical arguments in favor of REM among school psychologists and students (Blake et al., 2016). Further, qualitative investigations of Black school psychologists have revealed that they identify REM between them and the students that they serve as a unique benefit (Truscott et al., 2014). Chapter One of this dissertation is a systematic literature review to investigate the number of empirical articles investigating school psychologist-student REI and/or REM and their findings. Given that school psychologists have a broad scope of practice, often delivered through consultation with teachers and parents, studies explicitly investigating school psychologist-consultee match were also included. Results from this systematic review identified three empirical articles published between 1974 and 2005. Implications of the review’s findings and potential opportunities for future research investigations are offered. Chapter Two describes an empirical study that examines differences in student outcomes related to school psychologist-student match in a school district in the southeastern United States. For this study, extant data from one large suburban school district was used to investigate the relationship between REM/REI between school psychologist (N=47) and students on referrals (N=4097) for special education and subsequent recommendations for eligibility for special education services. Using descriptive and inferential statistics (chi-square tests of independence), a significant association between race/ethnicity of school psychologists and students was found among initial referrals for evaluation and school psychologists’ recommendations for eligibility consideration. Significant relationships between school psychologist and student race were also found among school psychologists’ recommendations for categorical eligibility in several “judgmental” classifications (autism, specific learning disability, and emotional behavior disorder). No relationship between these variables was found among psychologists’ recommendations for intellectual disabilities. Findings from this study offer direct empirical evidence regarding REM/REI and its potential impact on school psychological service delivery.


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