Stages of Change and Therapeutic Alliance among College Students Seeking Mental Health Services in an Integrated Health Center

By Christine B. Kleinpeter, Marilyn Potts and Rob Bachmann.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: June 16, 2015 $US5.00

This exploratory study describes the mental health services provided to students attending a southern California community college during the 2012-2013 academic year. One hundred-thirty students were seen in a brief therapy model (1 to 8 sessions) at the student health center. Students were ethnically diverse: 18.3% Latino, 27.0% Asian, and 52.2% European-American. Students’ mean age was 26.2 years. The majority of students seen for mental health services were female (71.3%) and the mean number of sessions provided was 4.2. Mental health issues presented included depression 24.6%, anxiety 15.4%, and stress 13.1%. Students demonstrated a significant increase on a standardized University of Rhode Island Change Assessment (URICA) checklist between pre- and post-test scores on the Action Scale (p=<.001, t=5.82). This finding indicates that students were taking more active steps to solve their problem at discharge than upon admission. The therapeutic bond between clients and therapists was high, as measured by the Working Alliance Inventory (WAI) (Bond=26.2; Task=25.9; Goal=25.1). Higher WAI scores were related to higher Action Scale (URICA) scores (r=.43, p=.001), indicating that students who had a strong alliance with their therapists were more likely to begin taking steps toward solving the problem for which they sought help. Clinical and administrative implications are explored and areas for future research are outlined.

Keywords: College Mental Health, Stage of Change, Therapeutic Alliance

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 5, Issue 2, June 2015, pp.7-18. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: June 16, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 506.613KB)).

Dr. Christine B. Kleinpeter

Professor, School of Social Work, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, California, USA

Dr. Marilyn Potts

Professor, School of Social Work, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA, USA

Rob Bachmann

Associate Dean, Student Health Center, Golden West College, Huntington Beach, CA, USA