Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Genetic Counseling

First Advisor

Karen A Brooks


Genetic counseling is a field in which client-counselor rapport plays a critical role in client satisfaction with the genetic counseling process. One factor that may impact this rapport is gender of the genetic counselor. Previous studies in the field of psychological counseling suggest that gender is not a significant moderator of this rapport. To the best of our knowledge, no study has been published in the field of genetic counseling examining the impact that the gender of the genetic counselor has on client-counselor rapport. To study this effect, an amended version of Horvath & Greenberg's (1989) Working Alliance Inventory tool was employed to survey clients of male and female cancer genetic counselors at The Ohio State University. Respective questions measured Goal, Task, and Bond score, as well as overall WAI score. The final study sample consisted of 45 female clients of two cancer genetic counselors, one of each gender. A repeated measures ANOVA with a Greenhouse-Geiser correction determined that gender of the genetic counselor was shown not to be a statistically significant moderator of overall WAI score. The study did show, however, that genetic counselors self-reported significantly higher Total WAI scores than their clients (p = .024), specifically with regards to Bond score (p = .002). Our study showed that the genetic counselors had a more positive view of the effectiveness of the sessions, particularly with respect to rapport, than their clients had. This suggests that genetic counselors may benefit from using tools like this one in order to self-assess their sessions more effectively. By doing so, rapport between themselves and their clients may theoretically improve from the perspective of the clients, leading to a more enriched and satisfying experience for both parties. >


© 2013, John Abernethy