Clinicians' appraisal of mental health in homosexual and heterosexual women and men (1992)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameMaster of Arts
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
114 NZ Registered Psychologists participated in a study which examined diagnostic perceptions and procedures and investigated the effects of client sex, sexual orientation and clinician sex on clinical assessments of mental health. Subjects were presented with one of four hypothetical case studies which varied client sex (male, female) and sexual orientation (heterosexual, homosexual) and were asked to respond to exploratory questions regarding their first impressions, major assessment issues and diagnoses. They also evaluated one of four types of mentally healthy adults (heterosexual male or female; and homosexual male or female) on 14 masculine-instrumental and 14 feminine-nurturant traits. Content analyses of exploratory questions indicated a trend to treating homosexual orientation as salient but not heterosexuality or client sex.
A 2(Stimulus Person Sex)x2(Stimulus Person Sexual Orientation)x2(Subject Sex)x2(Rating) analysis of variance revealed a main effect for stereotype sex. Masculine traits were perceived as more important overall determinants of mental health. This, however, was qualified by two interaction effects. A stimulus person x rating interaction demonstrated an androgynous model of mental health for men and a masculine model of mental health for women.
A sexual orientation x rating interaction suggested an androgynous model of mental health for homosexuals and a masculine model for heterosexuals. This was affected primarily by the evaluations of gays and heterosexual women. There was no evidence of sex-role inversion for homosexual clients, nor were there any effects for clinician sex.
Results were discussed in terms of the hypothesised androgynous model only holding for males and homosexuals and that the masculine model for women suggested a continued double standard for mental health as was found by Brovem1an, Braverman, Clarkson, Rosenkrantz and Vogel in 1970. Implications in clinical assessment were also considered. Suggestions for improvements to the research design and ideas for future research were offered.
KeywordsSex role; Stereotypes (Social psychology); Clinical psychologists; Lesbians--Mental health; Gays--Mental health
RightsAll Rights Reserved
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