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However, SES is not consistently related to symptom reduction (Petry et al., 2000).On the other hand, SES does relate to counselor perceptions of the client.This challenge is best expressed in the old adage “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” In other words, do lower SES levels lead to higher rates of mental health disorders or do higher rates of mental health disorders lead to lower SES levels?Mental health practitioners have perceived clients as less motivated when they have lower SES levels (Leeder, 1996) and lack similar social support (Beatty, Kamarck, Matthews, & Shiffman, 2011).In another study, counselors and counselor trainees rated case vignettes and videos of presenting problems featuring clients from either lower or higher SES (Dougall & Schwartz, 2011).To respond to this shortcoming, we investigated potential links between SES and counseling outcome.
Individual SES variables predicting positive change were educational attainment and whether the client had health insurance.
Pope-Davis and Coleman (2001) argued that SES is an important cultural variable that is closely aligned with race and gender.
Despite the risk factor that SES poses for mental health and well-being, the current literature does not empirically represent SES as much as other cultural variables, especially with regard to counseling outcome research (Falconnier, 2009; Liu, 2011).
Regression analyses showed that, overall, SES predicted positive changes in symptom checklists over the course of treatment.
We also explored links between SES and three factors that are generally regarded as facilitative of client change in counseling: motivation, treatment expectancy and social support.