Abstract

The question whether levels of psychopathology and symptom severity among university counseling center client populations are increasing or not has received a great deal of attention in professional psychology. We examined 12-year archival intake records of a university counseling center to test for trends regarding: (a) the overall number of student-clients seeking counseling, (b) the frequency with which specific symptoms were reported, (c) the number of times student-clients reported experiencing hopelessness at various levels of intensity, and (d) the number of times student-clients reported suicide ideation at two levels of intensity. The sample (n = 6,676) was predominantly female (69.2%), White (80.2%), and on average 23.1 years old (SD = 8.0). Individual intake records were converted into monthly counts, which were checked for linear trends over time using autoregressive models. No significant linear trends were found except for a small decreasing trend regarding the number of intake clients reporting advanced suicide ideation (β = –0.019, p = 0.027). Our findings suggest a long-term (i.e., more than 10-year) stability of student-clients’ self-reported symptoms, and corroborate previous findings of short-term (i.e., 5–8 years) stability of client distress at intake over time.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-3382
Print ISSN
0897-5264
Pages
pp. 539-550
Launched on MUSE
2009-09-17
Open Access
No
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