race, ethnicity, culture, psychotherapy, therapeutic alliance
The effects of matching clients with therapists of the same race/ethnicity have been explored using a variety of approaches across several decades. We conducted a meta-analysis of three variables frequently used in research on racial/ethnic matching: Clients' preferences for a therapist of their own race/ethnicity, clients' perceptions of therapists, and therapeutic outcomes. Across 52 studies of preferences, the average effect size was d = .63, indicating a moderately strong preference for a therapist of one's own race/ethnicity. Across 81 studies of individuals' perceptions of therapists, the average effect size was d = .32, indicating a tendency to perceive therapists of one's own race/ethnicity somewhat more positively than other therapists. Across 53 studies of client outcomes in mental health treatment, the average effect size was d = .09, indicating almost no benefit to treatment outcomes from racial/ethnic matching of clients with therapists. These three averaged effect sizes were characterized by substantial heterogeneity; the effects of racial/ethnic matching are highly variable. Studies involving African American participants demonstrated the highest effect sizes across all three types of evaluations: preferences, perceptions, and outcomes.
Original Publication Citation
Cabral, R., & Smith, T. B. (in press). Racial/ethnic matching of clients and therapists in mental health services: A meta-analytic review of preferences, perceptions, and outcomes. Journal of Counseling Psychology. http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/cou/index.aspx
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Smith, Timothy B. and Cabral, Raquel R., "Racial/Ethnic Matching of Clients and Therapists in Mental Health Services: A Meta-Analytic Review of Preferences, Perceptions, and Outcomes" (2011). Faculty Publications. 80.
American Psychological Association
David O. McKay School of Education
Counseling Psychology and Special Education
© 2001 American Psychological Association, all rights reserved. This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
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