Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Rehabilitation Counseling

First Advisor

Dr. Eva Miller

Second Advisor

Dr. Jeong Han Kim

Third Advisor

Dr. Roy Chen


With the increased numbers of homeless individuals over the past several years, it is important to consider factors that contribute to chronic homelessness, including barriers to service delivery that impede one’s ability to exit homelessness. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the attitudes and compassion among student counselors-in-training (SCITs) toward individuals experiencing homelessness as these students represent future mental health providers who will be serving the homeless, a highly marginalized population. A total of 162 graduate students from two southwestern Hispanic-serving institutions were recruited for the study. A correlational analysis, independent t-tests, and one-way ANOVAs were conducted to identify significant results among attitudes and compassion of SCITs. Significant findings showed SCITs who reported more kindness were more mindful of others’ pain, demonstrated more common humanity, and they identified structural causes (e.g., societal constraints) to be a primary cause of homelessness. SCITs who were more willing to interact with homeless individuals were also more likely to believe in structural causes as a primary cause of homelessness. The findings also showed more females, SCITs with a doctorate, SCITs who had completed over 75% of their program coursework, and SCITs with counseling experience reported higher levels of compassion. Future research and implications for counselor educators are provided.


Copyright 2023 Kristine R. Gonzalez. All Rights Reserved.