Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department


Reader 1

Phil Zuckerman

Reader 2

Sheila Walker

Reader 3

Jennifer Ma

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2019 Emily S. Lavine


This qualitative research study explores the correlation between socioeconomic status and factors of psychotherapy dropout among college students who have prematurely terminated therapy while attending college. Twelve female-identifying college students were interviewed in a semi-structured design. It was predicted that socioeconomic status moderates the impact of financial and logistical barriers to access, mental health stigma, and perceived lack of socioeconomic status competency among practitioners on the decision to leave therapy prematurely, such that these factors have an amplified effect for students coming from lower socioeconomic status backgrounds. Findings indicate that logistical barriers to access are experienced across the socioeconomic spectrum, but with low socioeconomic students having fewer treatment options and an additional step of securing external funding. Results pertaining to identity competency did not indicate a socioeconomic status moderation or the specific need for socioeconomic status competence. Stigma was not found to be related to dropout. Other results are discussed. Further research should apply the present findings and recommendations to intervention-based pilot programs to investigate ways in which dropout can be reduced.


This project was supported by funding from the Hearst Foundation.