UC Santa Barbara Public Affairs and Communications

NEWS RELEASE

CULTURE MUST BE WEIGHED IN PRACTICE OF PSYCHOLOGY

August 20, 1999

Efforts by health maintenance organizations to take a cookbook approach to providing psychological care often fail to take into account cultural differences of patients, according to University of California, Santa Barbara Professor of Education J. Manuel Casas.

Casas plans to make a case for that assertion in a paper he will deliver to the American Psychological Association convention in Boston, which runs Friday through Tuesday.

There is a trend in some branches of health care – including psychology – to take a by-the-book approach, writing manuals that match symptoms and conditions with suggested remedies. The object, Casas said, is to reduce costs.

"You don't need to hire a Ph.D. to use a manual," Casas said. "You can hire someone else at a lower salary."

All in all, that's not a bad idea, Casas said. But the manuals need to take a lot of factors into account – including cultural issues – and many times they do not.

Casas said the manuals have usually been tested on test groups largely drawn from the Caucasian majority. Tests have not been done on groups made mostly of other races and cultures.

"We have a lot of work to do before we can use these things on minority people," Casas said. "These procedures have not been empirically tested for minority people."

Casas' presentation, given at 1 p.m. today (Friday) in Exhibit Hall A of the Hynes Convention Center, is one of several by UCSB faculty and graduate students at the APA convention. Many of them deal with issues of race and culture.

Latino and African-American culture are the considerations for three UCSB presentations scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday in the Essex Ballroom of the Westin Hotel Copley Palace.

First up will be a presentation titled "Cultural Affiliation, Family Stress, and School Performance in Latino Adolescents," by education professor Merith Cosden and graduate student Katherine Elliott.

"What we found is that Latino adolescents often have very different cultural values than their parents," Elliott said. "Kids who differ more from their parents' values tend to get lower grades in school."

A presentation titled "African Americans: Skin Tone, Perceived Discrimination, and Career Aspirations and Expectations," follows. Delivering the paper are UCSB Professor of Education Michael Brown and graduate student Lori Wicker. The third of the trio will be "Casual Attributions in African American Adolescents' Response to Racial Discrimination," by Professor of Education Cynthia Hudley and graduate student William Wakefield.

Other UCSB papers and talks include:

  • "Caribbean Village Children's Achievement: Behavioral and Cognitive Explanations," by Shane Jimerson, professor of education. 9 a.m. Friday, Hynes Convention Center, Exhibit Hall A.

  • "Investigation of the Relationship Between Internal and External Bias and Predictive Validity of a Test With Bias Cancellation," by Sehee Hong, professor of education. 9 a.m. Friday, Hynes Convention Center, Exhibit Hall B.

  • "Effects of Client and Therapist Similarity on Treatment Outcomes," by Nolan Zane, professor of education and graduate students Lillian Huang and John Huang. 4 p.m. Friday, Hynes Convention Center, Exhibit Hall A.

  • "Technological Applications to Psychological Assessment in the Computer Age," by Larry Beutler, professor of education. 9 a.m. Saturday, Hynes Convention Center, Meeting Room 106.

  • "Next Revolution: A Dream and a Nightmare," by Beutler. 1 p.m. Saturday, Sheraton Grand Ballroom.

  • "Ethnic Group Preference for Multicultural Counseling Competencies," by Donald Atkinson, professor of education; and graduate students Bruce Wampold and Elizabeth Fraga. 2 p.m. Saturday, Hynes Convention Center, Exhibit Hall A.

  • "Relationship of Bonding for Social-Emotional and Academic Functioning," by Merith Cosden and Gale Morrison, professors of education; and graduate students Ann Leslie Albanese, Sandra Macias and Mari Minjarez. 10 a.m. Sunday, Hynes Convention Center, Exhibit Hall A.

  • "Comparative Study of Cultural Values Among Asian American Ethnic Groups ," by graduate students Bryan Kim, Peggy Yang and Maren Wolfe. Noon Sunday, Hynes Convention Center, Exhibit Hall A.

  • "When Psychotherapy Research Meets Healthcare Delivery System," byBeutler. 1 p.m. Sunday, Hynes Convention Center, Meeting Room 209.

  • "Empirically Supported Intervention Programs: Implications for Diversity," by Atkinson. 11 a.m. Monday, Hynes Convention Center Meeting Room 200.

  • "Protective Factors Against Substance Use for Asian American Youth," by Zane, professor of education, and graduate student Irene Kim. 10 a.m. Tuesday, Hynes Convention Center, Exhibit Hall A.

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