Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


To date, no research has been published on therapist assertiveness and its relationship with adaptive client behaviors, other than client assertiveness, during therapeutic process and outcome. Janzen and Myers (1981) proposed that assertive behavior is required for the effective implementation of any therapy technique. Based on this proposal, the authors formulated 9 therapist rights that they conclude are essential for an effective, assertive therapist. In addition, several studies have found that therapist gender and client/non-client expectations interacts with many variables, including assertiveness, in therapy process and outcome (e.g., Angle & Goodyear, 1984; Friedlander, 1982; Kirshner, Genack, & Hauser, 1978; Lee, Hallberg, Jones, & Haase, 1980). In general, females who behave assertively receive more negative reactions than do males with assertive behaviors (e.g., Kern, Cavell, & Beck, 1985; Kelly, Kern, Kirkley, Patterson, & Keane, 1980). In light of this, the present study represents an extension of the above mentioned research. The purpose of this study was to determine possible effects of therapist assertiveness and gender on non-client expectations for a therapist. This experiment was a 2 (assertiveness level) x 2 (therapist gender) factorial design. For this research, there were 4 audiotaped simulated therapist conditions: Assertive female therapist, assertive male therapist, non-assertive female therapist, and non-assertive male therapist. Thirty-six female and 36 male undergraduate students were randomly assigned to one of the 4 audiotaped therapist conditions. To determine expectations regarding the condition subjects heard, each subject then completed the brief form of the Expectations About Counseling questionnaire (EAC) (Tinsley, 1980). It was hypothesized that assertive therapists would receive significantly greater expectations than non-assertive therapists, that male therapists would receive significantly higher expectations than female therapists, and there would be a significant interaction effect between level of therapist assertiveness and therapist gender. A 2-way Multivariate Analysis of Variance was used to analyze the 3 data. Results did not support the hypotheses. However, a significant 2-way interaction between levels of therapist assertiveness and subject gender was found for the dependent variable of Nurturance, a significant 2-way interaction between levels of therapist assertiveness and therapist gender was found for the dependent variable of Self-Disclosure, and a significant main effect was found on the level of therapist assertiveness for the dependent variable of Directiveness. In general, the implications from this study indicate further research is needed on the variable of therapist assertiveness.


David Kleim

Date of Award

Spring 1985

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1985 Linda D. Blowey


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