Asian and European American Cultural Values, Bicultural Competence, and Attitudes toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help among Asian American Adolescents
Omizo, Michael M., Kim, Bryan S. K., Abel, Nicholas R., Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development
The authors examined the extent to which Asian American adolescents who were living in Hawaii adhered to Asian and European American cultural values in relation to mental health variables including collective self-esteem (membership, private, public, importance to identity), cognitive flexibility, general self-efficacy, and attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help. Results and implications for counselors are discussed.
Los autores examinaron hasta que medida los adolescentes Asiaticoamericanos residentes en Hawai se adhieren a los valores culturales Asiaticos y Euroamericanos en relacion a ciertas variables de salud mental que incluyen la autoestima colectiva (pertenencia, privada, publica, su importancia para la identidad), flexibilidad cognitiva, autoeficacia general y actitudes hacia la busqueda de ayuda psicologica profesional. Se discuten los resultados y las implicaciones para los consejeros.
********* To study the within-group diversity of the Asian American population in terms of their levels of cultural adaptation and retention, theorists and researchers have examined the constructs of acculturation and enculturation. Redfield, Linton, and Herskovits (1936) described acculturation as "those phenomena which result when groups of individuals sharing different cultures come into continuous first-hand contact, with subsequent changes in the original culture patterns of either or both groups" (p. 149). Herskovits (1948) referred to enculturation as the process of socialization to the norms of one's indigenous culture, including the values, ideas, and concepts that are salient for the culture. Recently, Kim and Abreu (2001) described acculturation as consisting of adaptation to the norms of the dominant group (i.e., European Americans) and enculturation as consisting of retention of the norms of the indigenous group.
For Asian American adolescents, important dimensions of acculturation and enculturation are adherence to Asian and to European American cultural values, where values refer to attitudes about what one thinks is desirable (see Atkinson, 2004). Asian cultural values that are salient for Asian Americans in general include collectivism, conformity to norms, deference to authority figures, emotional restraint, filial piety, and humility (Kim, Atkinson, & Yang, 1999). Regarding European American values, individualism, autonomy, future orientation, and mastery of the environment have been highlighted (see Atkinson, 2004). Current theories on cultural values have suggested that first-generation Asian American adolescents will adhere to Asian values more strongly than will their counterparts who are several generations removed from immigration (Atkinson, 2004). Similarly, it can be theorized that fifthgeneration Asian American adolescents will adhere to European American values more strongly than will recent immigrants to the United States.
The current literature on cultural adaptation and retention proposes that individuals who can adhere to the norms (including values) of both the indigenous and the dominant cultures may exhibit increased psychological functioning (LaFromboise, Coleman, & Gerton, 1993). These authors used the term bicultural competence to describe the process in which individuals are able to successfully meet the demands of two cultures. They described bicultural competence as including (a) knowledge of cultural beliefs and values of both cultures; (b) positive attitudes toward both groups; (c) communication ability in both cultures; (d) bicultural efficacy, or belief that one can live in a satisfying manner within both cultures without sacrificing one's cultural identity; (e) role repertoire, or the range of culturally appropriate behaviors; and (f) a sense of being grounded in both cultures. However, there is a virtual void of research that specifically addresses the relations between adherence to both Asian and European American cultural values (i.e., the first dimension of bicultural competence) and the rest of the dimensions of bicultural competence among Asian American adolescents and how these relations may be relevant for counselors. Given that there are different developmental needs of adolescents in comparison to adults, examination of these constructs among the adolescent population could offer helpful information to counselors, particularly those who work in schools. In the present study, we focused specifically on the first four of the six dimensions of bicultural competence. Although the fifth and sixth dimensions are important to study, we unfortunately could find no reliable and valid measures that have adequately operationalized them.
In a related body of research literature, adherence to either Asian or European American values has been found to influence individuals with regard to several factors related to mental health, including their help-seeking behaviors (Atkinson, 2004). Consistent with this idea, Kim and Omizo (2003) found that Asian Americans with high adherence to Asian values had less positive attitudes toward psychological help seeking and less willingness to see a counselor in general or for personal and health-related problems. With regard to the counseling process, several studies have found that high adherence to Asian cultural values were related to positive evaluations of counselors (Kim, Ng, & Ahn, 2005). Similarly, Kim et al.'s (2005) study showed that high adherence to European American values was positively associated with counselor ratings. However, all of these studies were conducted with adult college students who are 18 years of age or older and, therefore, may not be relevant for counselors who work with Asian American adolescents. Therefore, the purpose of our study was to examine Asian American adolescents' adherence to Asian cultural values and European American cultural values in order to study the relation between these previous findings and the following dimensions related to bicultural competence or help-seeking attitudes: collective self-esteem, cognitive flexibility, general self-efficacy, and attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help.
Collective self-esteem refers to …
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Publication information: Article title: Asian and European American Cultural Values, Bicultural Competence, and Attitudes toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help among Asian American Adolescents. Contributors: Omizo, Michael M. - Author, Kim, Bryan S. K. - Author, Abel, Nicholas R. - Author. Journal title: Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development. Volume: 36. Issue: 1 Publication date: January 2008. Page number: 15+. © 2008 American Counseling Association. COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale Group.
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