Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services


Counselor Education and Supervision

Committee Director

Alan Schwitzer

Committee Member

Jeffrey Moe

Committee Member

Dana Burnett

Committee Member

Agatha Parks-Savage


The current college counseling literature has conflicting findings regarding the extent to which the severity of mental health symptoms has increased for college students. Some researchers claim that over time student’s mental health symptoms have become more complex rather than more severe. This study examined archival data to analyze both the severity and complexity of symptoms in an eight year time span. The study also examined how disruptiveness and treatment demand have changed over the eight year period. The data were analyzed using multiple regression. The results of the study supported perspectives found in the current literature indicating little increase in severity of symptoms over time. The results did not indicate any significant change over time in complexity of problems and disruptiveness. There was a significant increase in treatment demand over time. Implications for the college counseling knowledgebase, college counseling directors and their institutions, college counseling professionals, and students are discussed. Limitations of the study and recommendations for future research are provided.


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