An analysis of request-centered relational communication within behavioral consultation using a sample of practicing school psychologists
The Folger and Puck (1976) request-centered relational communication coding system was used to examine the relationship between measures of consultant and consultee control in behavioral consultation and (a) consultee satisfaction; (b) client behavior change; (c) perceived treatment integrity; and (d) perceptions of client behavior change. School psychologists from across Iowa served as consultants to one consultee each across three problem-solving interviews. The Problem Identification Interview was audiotaped and request-response transactions were coded. Requests were coded as either: dominant, dominant-affiliative, or submissive and served as measures of consultant and consultee control. Measures of consultant and consultee control and the outcome measures were correlated. The hypotheses regarding the relationship between consultant and consultee measures of control and consultation outcomes were not supported. Consultant and consultee total bids, which provide a measure of interview length, were significantly related to consultee satisfaction with consultation and treatment integrity. The longer the consultation interview the more dissatisfied the consultees were with consultation and the less likely they were to implement interventions with integrity. Consistent with previous research (e.g., Erchul, 1987; Erchul & Chewning, 1990; Erchul et al., 1995) a pattern of interaction where the consultant leads and the consultee follows during consultation was found. Further, consultation resulted in positive outcomes for clients. These results were not, however, adequately explained by the variables studied in this research. Several explanations were advanced for these nonsignificant findings.