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Virtue Ethics in Counseling Psych

Virtue Ethics in Counseling Psych

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Published by John Gavazzi

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Published by: John Gavazzi on Dec 31, 2011
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01/03/2013

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 THE APPLICATION OF VIRTUE ETHICS TO THEPRACTICE OF COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGYDISSERTATIONPresented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements forThe Degree Doctor of Philosophy in the GraduateSchool of The Ohio State UniversityByHeather L. Fry, M.A.*****The Ohio State University2005Dissertation Committee:Approved byDr. Don M. Dell, AdvisorDr. Richard K.Russell________________________Dr. Lyle D. Schmidt AdvisorPsychology Graduate Program
 
 ABSTRACTThe increasingly diverse populations served by psychologists has led to anincrease in the importance of acknowledging cultural factors in both practice andresearch. The practice of virtue ethics encourages professionals to develop a consciousawareness of their morals from a multicultural perspective, and to strive to attain aworldview that does not perpetuate the beliefs and values of mainstream culture.Although scholars within the field acknowledge the complimentary nature of virtue ethicsto current ethical standards, the integration of virtue ethics into the training and practiceof psychology has produced more theoretical discussion than empirical research.Accordingly, the purpose of the current study is to replicate the findings of Fry(2002) using a sample of licensed, practicing psychologists and to examine the empiricalrelationship between the two constructs within virtue ethics that have been identified asthe essential components to developing a psychology sensitive to cultural, racial, andsocial diversity and moral decision-making. More specifically, the present studyexamined the likelihood of psychologists to actually demonstrate the virtues of benevolence and respectfulness in everyday behaviors and to distinguish suchpractitioners from those who may possess knowledge of such virtues, but choose not toact upon them.ii
 
A battery consisting of four measurement scales and nine demographic questionswas administered to 190 licensed, practicing psychologists from the membershipDivisions 17 and 29 of The American Psychological Association. Benevolence, but notrespectfulness, was found to be a significant positive predictor of greater sensitivity tomulticultural issues among respondents. Unlike the previous empirical study by Fry(2002), no group differences were observed across gender, racial/ethnic identity, age,degree, or theoretical orientation of psychologists. Several hypotheses are discussed thatmay explain the results of the present study.Implications of the results address the integration of virtue ethics into the trainingand practice of culturally competent counseling psychologists. Limitations of the presentstudy and suggestions for future research in the area of virtue ethics are discussed.iii

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