Group Climate: Construct in Search of Clarity

Debra Theobald McClendon and Gary M. Burlingame

in The Oxford Handbook of Group Counseling

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195394450
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Group Climate: Construct in Search of Clarity

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  • Psychology
  • Counselling Psychology



The definitions and key measures associated with group climate that underscore definitional confusion and overlap with other group process constructs (e.g., cohesion) are reviewed. Next, research associated with the Group Climate Questionnaire (GCQ), which has become the default definition of climate in the literature, is reviewed. More specifically, 83 studies examining the GCQ relationship with outcome, group development, and other process variables are summarized. Finally, findings from an international collaborative research project over the past decade are summarized to provide an alternative definition of group climate that encompasses other relationship variables (e.g., cohesion, therapeutic alliance, and empathy). We end with a set of questions that this model directly addresses as well as questions to be addressed by future research.

Keywords: group climate; group psychotherapy; group outcomes; group process; three-factor model of therapeutic relationships in group

Article.  11595 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Counselling Psychology

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