Date of Conferral
Traditionally, mental health professionals have provided psychotherapeutic services through face-to-face sessions. As the Internet has become an increasingly important part of individuals' personal and professional lives, psychologists and clients have used this medium to expand access to psychotherapy. The purpose of this quantitative correlational design was to investigate whether demographic variables and the personality traits of extroversion/introversion (E/I), as assessed by the Big Five Inventory, predicted clients' preferences for a specific method of administered psychotherapy. The theoretical framework for this study was social information processing through computer-mediated communication. An online survey site was used to assist in survey design and data collection, and 301 individuals participated in the study. Results of the Pearson correlation indicated that age was negatively correlated with use of online therapy (p = .038). The variables of region, race, and E/I had no statistically significant effect on the use of online versus in-person therapy (all p values > .05). Findings reflected larger social trends that decisions to seek online therapy fall along lines of diversity related to age and technological knowledge. Recommendations include engaging older patients in opportunities for participating in online therapeutic services, as well as further research on the relationship between cultural diversity and online therapy. These results can inform practitioners and the community about the importance of expanding access to psychotherapeutic services for individuals who need them, which will in turn be an important component of positive social change.