Lesbians' attitudes of online counseling as mediated by identity development, degree of outness, internet use, and demographic factors
The purpose of this thesis was to investigate lesbians' attitudes toward online counseling by exploring identity development, outness, Internet use, and demographic variables. A total of 320 participants were recruited for the study. Data were collected through online surveys posted in forums and electronic mailing lists whose target audience was comprised of lesbians. Once participants consented to participate, they were asked to complete a brief set of demographic questions, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Identity Scale (LGBIS), the Outness Inventory (OI), and the Online Counseling Attitudes Scale (OCAS). Data were analyzed using a multiple regression analysis to examine the effects of the predictor variables of Internet use, online support, geographic location, utilization of counseling, and negative identity on the criterion variables of value and discomfort with online counseling.
Multiple regression analyses indicated that negative identity, seeking social support online, and face-to-face counseling were significant predictors of value of online counseling with negative identity being the biggest contributor. Regression analyses also indicated that negative identity and seeking social support online were significant predictors of discomfort with online counseling with seeking social support online being the biggest contributor. Implications for counselors and future research to help further investigate online counseling with the lesbian population are presented.