Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Education

Document Type



This qualitative study examined female Black school counselor’s perceptions regarding their role when working with students – specifically Black students. More so, this study looked at cultural influence on female Black school counselors’ thoughts and feelings relative to role confusion and burnout. Black Feminist Thought and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs served as the theoretical framework that guided this study. In consideration for cultural differences, female Black school counselor’s perceptions can be used to further explain the phenomenon of role confusion and burnout.

More than 10 invitations to participate, interviews were conducted with five female Black school counselors. The research questions for this study were (1) How did female Black school counselors perceive their role when working with Black students? (2) How did female Black school counselors explain how to cope with role confusion and burnout caused by cultural expectations along with multiple role expectations from administration, teachers, students, and parents? (3) How do cultural expectations co-mingle, blend, and merge with their perceived role of a school counselor? [M1] Multiple studies have shown the negative impact of role confusion and burnout on school counselors. The results of this study can provide valuable information and add to the existing body of literature, extending a more in-depth review of such experience by a select group of school counselors.

Results of this qualitative study were catalogued by themes, revealing the perceptions of the participants. The voices of female Black school counselors included in this study were heard, as their quotes embody their lived experiences. Through their experiences, it was evident that the role of school counselors remains ambiguous. In addition to vague job functions and roles, female Black school counselors cited cultural expectations from Black students and parents to function as a parent and or mentor. Essentially creating duties that extend beyond suggested social and or emotional support outlined by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) - furthering the role confusion for female Black school Counselors. Implications and recommendations for policy and practice are presented to further investigate this phenomenon.



Committee Chair

Sulentic Dowell, Margaret-Mary