The Relationship between Perceived Cultural Interaction, Client Demographics, and Client Satisfaction of Mental Health Services Providers in the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Survey (2001-2003): An Exploratory Study
Cultural competence is essential to sound social work practice (Boyle & Springer, 2001) and social work professionals are expected to provide culturally competent practice (NASW, 2001). The President's [George W. Bush] New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (2003) called for transforming social service systems to provide culturally and linguistically competent services to facilitate improved quality of life for all Americans, "from all communities" to help eliminate disparities in service delivery and to advance a vision for social services for all racial, ethnic, and cultural groups (National Center for Cultural Competence [NCCC], n.d.; italics in original). Studies have shown that practitioners perceive themselves as being culturally competent (Armour, Bain, & Rubio, 2004; Delva-Tauili'ili, 1995). However, the extent to which clients perceive practitioners as culturally competent in their service delivery remains unclear as very few studies have investigated this question (Switzer, Scholle, Johnson, & Kelleher, 1998). The purpose of the study was to explore the relationships between client's perception of their cultural interaction with mental health provider and the clients' levels of cultural self-awareness, cultural self-determination, and range of assimilation on client satisfaction. To do this, a secondary data analysis was conducted using the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys (CPES), 2001-2003. The researchers developed composite variables for independent variables: cultural self-awareness, cultural self-determination, range of assimilation, cultural interaction, and the dependent variable, client satisfaction to determine the relationship between the independent variables and dependent variable. With a sample size of 5,002, it was hypothesized that: Clients with high cultural self-awareness, high cultural self-determination, those at the high range of assimilation, and positive cultural interaction will report higher levels of client satisfaction with their mental health providers.Findings indicated that cultural self-determination had the strongest relationship with client satisfaction and with the other independent variables, as clients exhibit more cultural self-determination they experience more client satisfaction. Cultural competence strongly influences client satisfaction with mental health services. Further research is strongly suggested to examine more deeply the relationships between the independent variables, the constructs that contribute to each of the independent variables, and enhanced methods to gather such data from cross-cultural clients.
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