EFFECTS OF MALE THERAPIST AGE AND DEGREE OF STRUCTURE ON MOOD STATE AND SATISFACTION WITH THERAPIST FOR HIGH- AND LOW-TRUST MALE SUBJECTS LISTENING TO AN INITIAL INTERVIEW AUDIOTAPE

JOAN FITZHUGH, Fordham University

Abstract

The present study tested effects of subject anticipatory interpersonal trust, therapist age, and interview structure on satisfaction with therapist and on mood states. Male college students (N = 120), dichotomized as low-trust and high-trust subjects on Rotter's Interpersonal Trust Scale (ITS), were assigned to listen to one of two simulated initial interview audiotapes characterized by low or high interview structure. Half of each group saw a photo of an older "therapist"; the remainder, a younger "therapist." Eight cells contained 15 independent subjects each. Subjects reported reactions on the Profile of Mood States, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and a Therapist Rating Scale. Analyses were performed on full sample and extreme groups scores: The latter compared upper and lower thirds (ITS scores) of subjects to increase statistical sensitivity.^ Anticipatory trust, alone, did not affect ratings of satisfaction with therapist. Only anger, of seven mood states, distinguished trust groups regardless of interview structure; low trusters reported greater anger (p < .05). Under the low-structure condition, low-trust extreme group subjects reported greater state anxiety, depression, and confusion (p < .05). Anticipatory trust was found to correlate negatively with trait anxiety (p < .001). Overall, subjects reported greater satisfaction with the older therapist (p < .01) and when the interview structure was low (p < .05).^ In conclusion, low-trusters appear to be slightly more mood reactive than high-trusters, particularly in low-structure conditions. The discrepancy, found under some conditions, between mood disturbance and satisfaction with the therapist may result either from rationalization in rating satisfaction or from dishonest self-reports. Reports of less mood disturbance under high structure conditions suggest preoccupation with cognitions. Preference for the older therapist possibly originates in transference or in estimate of expertise based on age. Subject anticipation of exploitation by the younger therapist was apparently evoked by interview conditions rather than subject trust level and suggests a transference reaction. Results suggest an initial advantage for older therapists: Their subjects may be more tolerant of discomfort-producing therapist behavior. Training of young therapists in interview techniques which produce a relaxed, open style may be most conducive to engaging the client in therapy. ^

Subject Area

Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

FITZHUGH, JOAN, "EFFECTS OF MALE THERAPIST AGE AND DEGREE OF STRUCTURE ON MOOD STATE AND SATISFACTION WITH THERAPIST FOR HIGH- AND LOW-TRUST MALE SUBJECTS LISTENING TO AN INITIAL INTERVIEW AUDIOTAPE" (1984). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8506327.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8506327

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