The Effects of Training and Selection on Undergraduate Students' Helping Skills as Measured by the Danish-Hauer Helping Skills Verbal Response Inventory
Date of Award
Dissertation - Restricted
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
In recent years, paraprofessionals have been increasingly used to provide services in mental health settings. Issues regarding the importance of selection and training in their development are unclear. This study examined the relationship of selection and training to paraprofessional helping skills development in a University Counseling Center setting. Subjects for the study consisted of 40 undergraduate students, 30 of whom went through a formal selection process to become paraprofessionals. Pre-test/Post-test differences on the eight scales of the Danish-Hauer Helping Skills Verbal Response Inventory were subjected to analysis of variance for the groups Selected-Trained (N = 10); Selected-Untrained (N = 10); Unselected-Untrained (N = 10); and Unselected-Untrained (N = 10). Testing consisted of rating a 5-minute exerpt from a 15 minute audio-taped interaction by each S in the role of helper prior to and after the completion of 24 hours of training. The results indicated that from Pre-Test to Post-test, training was successful in reducing the total number of thought units, and in increasing the percent of Affective, Content, and Open Question responses in S's who received training. Also, overall, the Trained groups used significantly fewer Influencing, Advice, and Self-Disclosure responses. The changes in the percent of responses was in the anticipated direction for all but one response category, Closed Questions, which increased as opposed to decreased in the groups trained. Selection was significant in only one response category. This variable appears to be important in identifying individuals who used fewer closed question responses. The results of this study would suggest that training is the more potent variable in the development of paraprofessional helping skills.