Nonsexual multiple role relationships, attachment style, and perception of the counseling situation and the counselor
Professional discussion of nonsexual multiple role relationships (NMRR) has been extensive in the last fifteen years. However, only a few investigations have explored clients or former clients' views on NMRR. This analogue experimental study focused on the former clients' views on NMRR with mental health professionals. Additionally, associations between participants' attachment styles and their emotional and cognitive reactions to the counseling situations, as well as their perceptions of the counselor, were explored.;An experimental mixed 2 (multiple roles: accepted, declined) x 2 (gender: male, female) x 2 (type of multiple roles: social, professional) factorial design was used in this analogue study. One hundred-seventeen volunteer participants, all current college students and former counseling clients, completed the experiment in which they were exposed to vignettes, constructed descriptions of client-counselor interactions. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of the two between-subjects experimental conditions (multiple roles accepted vs. multiple roles declined). Each participant was presented with two vignettes describing counseling situations in which multiple roles either developed or did not. One vignette in each set described social interaction, while another one focused on professional interaction. Additionally, participants completed the following measures: the Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding (BIDR), the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale (ECRS), the Multiple Role Questionnaire (MRQ), the Reaction Questionnaires (RQs), and the Counselor Rating Form---Short Version (CRF-S).;It was found that when multiple roles were accepted by the counselor, participants had more positive emotions and less negative feelings towards the counseling situation, and they perceived the counselor more positively than when multiple roles were declined. The relationships between subjects' cognitive evaluation of the counseling situation and multiple roles were moderated by the type of multiple roles (social versus professional). Additionally, it was found that attachment anxiety predicted participants' negative emotional reactions to the counseling situation. Attachment avoidance predicted former clients' perceptions of the counselor. Study findings have important clinical implications. For example, former clients seemed to react positively to the multiple roles presented in vignettes. This finding suggests that they may not necessarily be harmed by selected types of NMRR.