An examination of the individual factors predictive of counseling self-efficacy among international counseling students
The number of international students studying in counseling programs is on the rise. Studies focusing on international counseling students (ICSs) report that ICSs experience unique challenges during their studies. Researchers reported that ICSs experience academic, psychological, and cultural challenges. Little focus has been given to how these challenges may affect ICSs’ effectiveness as counselors. Counseling self-efficacy (CSE) refers to the degree to which counselors or counselors-in-training believe that they can effectively counsel potential clients in the near future. Although CSE pertains to perceived effectiveness and does not refer to competency, researchers have reported a correlation between CSE and higher quality of services to clients. Despite the significance of the topic, scant research related to international counseling students’ CSE is available. In the few studies of CSE among ICSs, researchers have reported inconsistent findings. Consequently, this study examined the academic, psychological, and cultural factors that may explain CSE among ICSs. The variables used to predict CSE were selected based on the extant literature and included counseling-related coursework, clinical experience, anxiety, social support, and acculturation. Eighty-nine participants representing five continents (e.g., Asia, Africa) and seven counseling specialty areas (e.g., counselor education, school counseling) completed the survey. A hierarchical multiple regression analysis (HMRA) revealed that counseling-related coursework and clinical experience were significant predicators of CSE. Additionally, acculturation was a significant predictor of CSE among ICSs after controlling for counseling-related coursework, clinical experience, and anxiety. Anxiety did not explain a significant percentage of the variance in ICSs’ CSE scores while social support was removed from the primary analysis due to violation of an HMRA assumption. Discussion of the findings along with implications, limitations, and recommendations for future research are provided.