The Relationship Between Yavis Counselor Sex Role And Levels Of Facilitation With Non-Yavis Clients

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between sex role identity of male and female counselors and their ability to respond in an empathic, active, and therefore facilitative fashion to the different needs expressed by YAVIS (middle class) and Non-YAVIS (lower class) clients. Sex role theory suggests that the androgynous individual (counselor) demonstrates a behavioral flexibility which allows for the communication of a sense of communion and a sense of agency. In order to examine the relationship between sex role flexibility and levels of facilitation, the responses of male and female counselors sex-typed Androgynous, Undifferentiated, Sex Type Male, and Sex Type Female according to the Bem Sex Role Inventory were compared on levels of facilitation, the ability to respond to Being versus Deficiency needs, and the ability to express empathy and/or action in response to middle-class stimulus statements of the Carkhuff Communication Index and lower-class stimulus statements of a parallel form of the Communication Index.The subjects in the study were 28 male and 29 female counselor trainees enrolled in graduate degree programs at the University of Miami. They were administered the Bem Sex Role Inventory, and on the basis of their scores were assigned to one of the four sex type groups. Counselor level of facilitation, recognition of Being and Deficiency needs, and expression of empathy and action in written counselor responses to the Carkhuff Communication Index and to a parallel form of the Index were assessed by trained raters.Since the subject groups did not achieve minimally facilitative scores according to Carkhuff's scale (2.5), only two hypotheses were tested, with a subsequent post hoc analysis done to identify areas for future research. The results of the analysis suggest that while biological sex of counselor does not affect the level of facilitation nor the expression of empathy in response to middle class clients, counselors classified Undifferentiated in sex type are more facilitative and more empathic than Androgynous counselors in response to middle class clients. Post hoc analysis revealed that female counselors recognized more Deficiency needs and responded more facilitatively to lower class clients than did male counselors, though neither sex nor sex type of counselor affected the expression of empathy towards lower class clients. Finally, it was found that counselors regardless of sex or sex type, tended to respond to middle class and lower class clients similarly, their level of facilitation with lower class clients being highly correlated to their level of facilitation with middle class clients.The study indicates that special counselor training program goals to increase sex role flexibility of the counselor trainee may not be as helpful in increasing overall facilitation levels of counselors working with clients from different socioeconomic backgrounds as direct training with different populations. According to sex role theory, the androgynous counselor should demonstrate higher levels of empathy and action and should therefore be more facilitative than Undifferentiated or Sex Typed counselors. The results of this study do not support this theory, and suggest a need for further research to determine if: (1) the sex role theory of androgyny is meaningless as presently defined, or (2) the Bem Sex Role Inventory is not an accurate measurement of the general construct of sex roles.


Education, Guidance and Counseling

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