Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Developing Cultural and Contextual Sensitivity

It seems essential that psychologists must develop cultural and contextual sensitivity (American Psychological Association (APA), 2002. By understanding that one's own perceptions are biased by their own cultural affiliation, psychologists may become more open to seeking help on tasks such as obtaining an accurate and representative sample.

Considering the underrepresentation of diverse populations (again) in peer-reviewed studies, making inclusion and representation a more daunting task is that all Latinos are not alike, all Filipinos are not alike, and all Hawaiians are not exactly alike. The variations within cultures are wide. So, choosing Latinos as 10% of a sample may not necessarily be representative if these participants are fully encultured into the majority culture, and a Latino of high socioeconomic status (SES) may not accurately represent one of lower SES. Furthermore, if the researcher is including Latino participants, it would be valuable to understand that generally speaking, Latinos are apprehensive about self-disclosure outside of the extended family (Schwartz, Galliher, & Domenech Rodriguez, 2011). This, too, can affect the results of research. Cultural issues have a tremendous impact on research, and accomplishing it in a way that is representative of the intended population is a complex task, indeed.

American Psychological Association. (APA) (2002). Guidelines on Multicultural Education, Training, Research, Practice, and Organizational Change for Psychologists. American Psychological Association. Retrieved December 10, 2012, from http://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/policy/multicultural-guidelines.aspx

Schwartz, A. L., Galliher, R. V., & Domenech Rodríguez, M. M. (2011). Self-disclosure in Latinos' intercultural and intracultural friendships and acquaintanceships: Links with collectivism, ethnic identity, and acculturation. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 17(1), 116-121. doi: 10.1037/a0021824

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