Intersectionality of Ethnicity/Race and Gender in the Phenomenology of African American College Students’ Presenting Problems: a Profile Analysis Using Nonmetric Multidimensional Scaling

  • Arthur L. WhaleyEmail author
  • John Dubose


Multidimensional scaling analyses (MDS) was used to uncover the phenomenology or implicit cognitions underlying presenting problems for which African American male and female students reported seeking college counseling services, in comparison to their European American counterparts. Normative, idiographic, and idiothetic approaches to the measurement of explicit versus implicit dimensions of students’ reports of eight psychological issues (seven disorders and medication use) for which they sought counseling in two timeframes (historical and current) were conducted by ethnicity/race and gender. It was hypothesized that idiographic and idiothetic approaches, which involved profile analyses using nonmetric MDS, would be more likely to reveal intersectionality between ethnicity/race and gender than the normative approach. Results supported the hypothesis of the greater sensitivity of the two individual difference models. Nonmetric MDS analyses revealed significant differences across profiles, with African American males underutilizing mental health services but displaying significant psychological distress; and African American females receiving significantly more pharmacotherapy for depression. Implications for college mental health services for African Americans are discussed.


African Americans College counseling Implicit cognitions Multidimensional scaling Psychological disorders 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declared that they have no conflict on interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTexas Southern UniversityHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyJackson State UniversityJacksonUSA

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