Mental health trainees' responses to gay male same-sex domestic violence: An intervention study

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Counseling Psychology

First Committee Member

Margaret Crosbie-Burnett - Committee Chair


The goal of the study sought to test and identify predictors that determined counselor trainees' identification and rating of urgency for a gay male same-sex domestic violence (SSDV) case vignette. This study tested the hypothesis that counselor trainees will recognize an opposite-sex domestic violence (OSDV) situation and view the situation more urgently in comparison to a SSDV situation. It tested the hypothesis that individual variables (e.g. religious fundamentalism, authoritarianism, sex-role types and contact with gay men) would predict counselor trainees' ability to identify and assess the urgency for a SSDV situation. The study also tested the change in counselor trainees' ability to address SSDV following a 45-minute domestic violence (DV) intervention that was inclusive of same-sex couples. The results of the study indicated that counselor trainees were able to identify SSDV at similar rates as OSDV. There was no difference between masculine, feminine, and androgynous sex role type participants for recognition of SSDV or ratings of DV urgency. Greater contact with gay men was associated with higher ratings of DV urgency for SSDV cases. The findings of the Beliefs about DV (BAD) suggested that participants who did not recognize DV had schemata permeated with DSM criteria for anxiety or depression. Furthermore, the BAD indicated that counselors receive adequate training in identifying symptoms of DSM diagnoses; however, they are not able to recognize that those symptoms maybe a sign of a situational problem (i.e. DV) that is not listed in the DSM. It was also found that a DV intervention inclusive of same-sex couples significantly improved the counselor trainees' ability to identify SSDV and OSDV. An unforeseen and unique contribution to the literature was that successful recognition of DV was associated with lower socioeconomic status and higher ratings of DV urgency were associated with being older. Theoretical, training, and research implications are discussed.


Health Sciences, Mental Health; Education, Guidance and Counseling; Psychology, Clinical

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