Research & Evaluation

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Question description

What conclusions can be drawn about school counseling services considering the results and effect sizes based on the example from the following:

 Whiston, S., & Quinby, R. (2009). Review of school counseling outcome research. 

 Responsive Services

The responsive services component of a school counseling program consists of services to assist students in coping with immediate issues, concerns, and needs (ASCA, 2005). Typical modalities used in responsive services activities are individual counseling, group counseling, referral, consultation, and peer assistance programs. Whiston et al. (2007) found that responsive services produced an overall effect size of .35. It should be noted that elementary children seemed to particularly benefit from services designed to assist them in addressing problems with an effect size of .39. They found that only 10 studies assessed the effectiveness of interventions in the responsive services area with middle school or junior high students, with an effect size of .22. Whiston et al. also found a significant effect size (.34) for responsive services interventions with high school students.

Individual and Group Counseling. In terms of responsive services, some schools have developed groups related to specific issues, whereas other schools focus more on assisting students individually. The research findings are somewhat mixed on whether it is more effective for school counselors to provide therapeutic services primarily through group interventions or through individual counseling. Prout and Prout (1998) found that most research studies concerning counseling and psychotherapy in schools examined group approaches. Whiston et al. (2007) found that group interventions were often evaluated and produced a weighted effect size of .35, whereas only three studies investigated individual counseling. Other researchers (e.g., Nearpass, 1990; Wiggins & Wiggins, 1992) found that individual counseling is generally more effective than group counseling. Wiggins and Wiggins (1992) also found that counselors who predominately used individual counseling were more effective than those counselors who predominately used classroom guidance activities. This finding, however, should be interpreted cautiously because of methodological problems with the study and the age of the studies. 

Borders and Drury (1992) pointed to a substantial number of studies that verified the positive effects of group counseling interventions. Whiston and Sexton (1998) found support for group counseling approaches for social skills training, family adjustment issues, and discipline problems. In particular, research indicates that groups designed to assist students whose parents have divorced have both short-term (Pedro-Carroll & Alpert-Gillis, 1997) and more long-term positive effects (Pedro-Carroll, Sutton, & Wyman, 1999). There is also empirical support for relaxation groups and cognitive-behavioral approaches to group counseling with high-school students (Bauer, Sapp, & Johnson, 2000; Kiselica, Baker, Thomas, & Reddy, 1994). 

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