A program evaluation measuring the effectiveness of service delivery at a university counseling center

Steven Aaron Roth, Pace University


The focus of this study was to determine the effectiveness of services offered by a large (greater than 10,000 full-time enrollment), suburban college/university counseling center, located in the Northeast. The goal of the evaluation specifically was to ascertain whether the operation of the center could be improved by examining the relationship between the predictor variables, such as student demographics, number of sessions, diagnosis, therapist experience, and therapeutic modality and the treatment outcomes at the center. To answer the research questions, the outcome data were generated from the intake and termination summaries completed for each student seen at the Psychological Services Center by the student's therapist. Each intake and termination summary included the predictor variables named above. Finally, each therapist rated the client on a Likert-type scale as to the level of functioning and the level of distress at both intake and termination. The results of logistic regression analyses indicate that number of sessions was a significant predictor of both improvement in functioning and reduction of distress. In addition, the presence/absence of an Axis II- disorder was a strong predictor of reduction in distress. Therapist experience was a good predictor of both improvement and functioning and reduction in distress. The use of a dynamic treatment modality was a significant predictor of reduction in distress, while the use of a cognitive-behavioral model was not a significant predictor of reduction in distress. Sensitivity and specificity analyses were also conducted for the significant models. The general implications of the current study are that psychotherapy is generally effective, especially for emotionally stable students who are seeking to manage situational events in their lives. The inherently short-term nature of college counseling is sufficient to address most of these situational difficulties. Longer-term therapy should be reserved for those who have greater levels of psychopathology. Based upon the literature, counseling theory, and the outcome data of the present study, college counseling centers may better serve students with significant psychological issues by taking a stance of active referral, rather than offering them short-term treatment. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Subject Area

Academic guidance counseling|Psychotherapy

Recommended Citation

Roth, Steven Aaron, "A program evaluation measuring the effectiveness of service delivery at a university counseling center" (2003). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3073665.



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