Relationships of therapist characteristics with self-reported multicultural competence

Adriana DiPasquale (2004)

The changing demographics of the U.S. necessitate increased attention to a growing culturally diverse population and the implications it presents for the field of psychology. Research (Pedersen, 1999; Pedersen, Draguns, Lonner & Trimble, 2002; Sue, Arredondo, & McDavis, 1992; Sue et al., 1982; Sue & Sue, 1999) has identified multicultural psychology as a method of recognizing that cultural differences play a significant role in therapy. Specifically, in the consideration of how individuals present for treatment, how they view their situation, and which clinical variables impact treatment efficacy. A specific field of study that has begun to examine these issues is that of multicultural competence (Sue & Sue, 1999; Sodowsky, Taffe, Gutkin & Wise, 1994). Previous multicultural competence research has examined the racial designation of practicing clinicians and its relationship with self-perceived expertise in the realm of multicultural therapy. In the current study, archival data from therapist self-report was utilized to explore additional clinician characteristics. Demographic and education/training variables and their relationship with self-reported multicultural competence were re-examined using multiple regression analyses. Results indicated that education/training variables, such as participation in multicultural workshops and clinical work with minority clients, significantly contributed to self-reported multicultural competence. Among the minority group participants, where socialization was expected to increase awareness of cultural differences, education/training variables continued to contribute significantly to the self-perception of multicultural competence. Membership in specific racial/ethnic groups (African American and Hispanic/Latino) was also found to account for significant variance on select subscales. Demographic characteristics (age, income, relationship status, and race/ethnicity) were also significantly related to an increase in self-reported multicultural competence. The findings suggest that identifying constructs that make up one's cultural identity, beyond racial/ethnic designation, can be useful in examining the role of cultural differences in training and practice with culturally diverse clients. Clinicians and researchers alike should be encouraged to expand on traditional views of diversity and tap into these life experiences that help increase awareness. The study's findings underscore the importance of conducting further research in the field of multicultural competence and using experiential training methods to increase levels of self-perceived multicultural competence.