Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

David W. Pantalone

Second Advisor

Alice S. Carter

Third Advisor

Michelle D. Vaughan


Background: Limited research has directly assessed mental health provider biases toward consensually non-monogamous (CNM) and asexual clients. In the current study, I sought to assess the extent to which mental health providers hold biases toward asexual-identified and CNM-practicing clients, as well as what individual and contextual factors predict such biases. In addition, I aimed to investigate whether sexuality training predicts competency and explicit bias toward asexuality and CNM, and whether these two variables predict implicit clinical bias. Methods: I recruited 193 doctoral-level trainees and practicing psychologists from professional psychology listservs, social media, training program directors, and personal and professional contacts to participate in an online survey. Participant were randomized to one of three conditions. Each participant was presented with a vignette describing a depressed client who was described in one the following ways: asexual, practicing CNM, or monogamous and experiencing sexual attraction. Vignettes were otherwise identical, and all hypothetical clients were described as happily married. Participants were asked questions about attitudes toward this specific client as well as more general questions to asses for bias toward asexuality and CNM practices. Lastly, all participants completed demographic items, questions assessing potential social influences on their attitudes, and questions regarding their professional background and training. Results: I found that, for both asexuality and CNM, sexual orientation, age, and general prior knowledge of asexuality and CNM were relatively consistent predictors of both explicitly and implicitly biased attitudes. I found evidence of implicit clinical bias toward CNM-practicing clients in response to the vignette. Finally, I found that the paths between training and self-perceived competency, as well as between explicit and implicit bias, were statistically significant. Discussion: I discuss implications for research and clinical training, as it is critical that we as a field continue to innovate as we conduct research and create training paradigms that are truly inclusive of sexual, gender, and relationship diversity.


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