Degree Date



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The present research investigated the effect of race in therapy by examining the activation and application of the African American stereotype in two separate studies. In Study 1, 46 graduate students in clinical psychology, counseling psychology, or social work watched a video of a therapy session with a client. The client was either an African American or Caucasian man who described an experience of prejudice or did not. After watching the video, participants completed a lexical decision task, in order to measure their stereotype activation. Then, participants rated their impressions of the client on a questionnaire, which was our measure of stereotype application. In Study 2, participants were 73 undergraduate students who watched a video of an African American or Caucasian therapist who drew attention to his race or did not. As in Study 1, participants completed a lexical decision task and completed an Impressions Questionnaire rating the therapist on several different scales. Contrary to hypotheses, results for both studies indicated that the African American stereotype was not reactivated after race became salient, as in the cases of the African American client who described an experience of prejudice, or the African American therapist who drew attention to his own race. Furthermore, rather than rating the African American client or therapist more negatively, as is typical in the stereotype literature, participants rated the African American client and therapist more positively than the Caucasian client or therapist. The race halo effect is discussed as a potential explanation for this pattern of results.


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