Date of Graduation

12-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Psychological Science

Advisor/Mentor

Ana J. Bridges

Committee Member

Lindsay S. Ham

Second Committee Member

Scott Eidelman

Keywords

Ethnic Matching, Help Seeking Preferences, Hispanics, Language Matching, Treatment Perceptions

Abstract

Cultural adaptations to mental health treatment have been recommended to improve treatment outcomes in minorities, including Hispanics (Griner & Smith, 2006). One such adaptation includes matching the therapist to the client on culturally salient variables, such as spoken language or ethnic background. Yet, most investigations about the efficacy of matching have been correlational or have not examined language and ethnic match together (Cabassa, 2007). I investigated the effects of both ethnic and language matching on Hispanics' perceptions of psychological treatment. Participants were 100 Hispanic adults (36 men) randomly assigned to one of four conditions. In each condition, participants read a vignette describing a Hispanic man with depression symptoms who received services from a mental health clinician. Vignettes varied the clinician's language (Spanish or English) and ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). Questions following the vignette asked participants to indicate the extent to which they felt the clinician was qualified, would be helpful, the treatment was appropriate, and treatment would consider important cultural factors. An exploratory factor analysis revealed these questions represented two factors: clinician professional qualifications and clinician consideration of culture into treatment. These factors represented dependent variables in subsequent analyses. Analyses of variance revealed a significant main effect of ethnic match on both dependent variables, with ethnic match leading to enhanced perceptions of the qualifications and cultural sensitivity of the clinician. A significant main effect of language match was found only for perceptions of the clinician's professional qualifications. Contrary to hypotheses, no significant interaction between matched ethnicity and language emerged. Results demonstrate language matched clinicians, regardless of ethnicity, were seen as more qualified than unmatched clinicians, but only clinician ethnicity was related to a sense that cultural factors would play a role in treatment decisions.

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