Definition and Research Two Emerging Issues in Multicultural Psychology

This paper is a description of how the emerging issues of definitions and research will impact society. Also included in this work is an explanation of how these issues will affect the interaction among culturally diverse groups. Society may have a variety of meanings for words, depending on the origin of the word, the current location where the word is utilized, and the cultural identity of the user. Research methodologies have been primarily developed by European and American culture, thus limiting the ability to address the culturally diverse.

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Professional providers will be required to review continually and ascertain available information concerning standard definitions and appropriate research methodologies. Definitions Throughout the ages, nothing has caused more problems than the lack of communication. Many times the misuse of a word has led to comical results. Unfortunately, however misuses of this nature may have also resulted in less than positive results. Consider, for example, the word ‘nigger’. Among many African Americans, use of this word is not only accepted, it is used freely in conversation and music.

However, if this word was used by someone outside of the group (or culture) there would be severe repercussions. Similarly there can be miscommunication between patient and provider. “Culture involves shared attitudes, beliefs, norms, roles, and self-definitions” (Hall, 2010, p. 8). This act of self-definition has sometimes resulted in misunderstandings between cultures. The perception of the provider may differ from the patient because of the patient’s self-definition of his actions or beliefs. Consider also that the majority of theories and concepts for psychology are derived by Europeans or Americans.

This creates a limited area of response that does not include many ethnic groups and other sub-cultures. This equates to apples describing oranges. The creators of these processes fail to have a standard set of definitions and verbiage so all providers are operating from the same controls. The APA has even experienced problems with definitions within their ranks. In January 2009 the Ethic Committee created a public comment solicitation website to survey member comments concerning the current Ethical Standard 1. 03 (Ethics Comity, 2009).

A portion of these responses illustrated problems with definitions when they concluded that “codification of standards without clear and concise definitions of terms leaves all psychologists vulnerable to a variety of definitions of human rights” (Ethics Comity, 2009, p. 16). Whereas this is a specific reference to legal terminology for enforceable standards, it is indicative of the impact on a professional society when definitions are vague or misleading. The failure to clarify and standardize these types of definitions impact other areas such as research. Research

Research is the vehicle to scientifically and systematically establish facts. “Science is only as useful as its ability to define its terms. Controversy over meaning is the nature of science; however, when terminology is debated or interchanged, less understanding and knowledge results” (Jackson, 2005, para 6). The majority of current research constructs are based upon an outdated set of standards. When introduced, these constructs were required to address a relatively small cross-section of cultures. When research was conducted on ethnic groups, these groups were painted with a large brush of generalizations.

For example, Research on persons of color who are of lower socioeconomic status is important because it could guide the development of useful interventions for these populations. Nevertheless, a disproportionate emphasis on these persons has left psychology with a dearth of information on persons of color who are not poor and the tendency to generalize from those who are poor to all members of ethnic groups. (Hall, 2004, pg 22) The ever increasing tide of immigration has resulted in a massive influx of multicultural individuals in areas throughout the United States.

A failure to modify current constructs to reflect this influx will result in a decline in validity. Additionally multicultural individuals requiring professional care will not be able to benefit from such research as it would not be specific to their needs. Interaction among culturally diverse groups The evaluation of the emerging issues, definitions and research, affect individuals without regard to race or ethnicity. However, the impact on culturally diverse groups is far more widespread.

Without continual review and refinement of current terms and definitions, the probability of erroneous diagnosis and treatment will remain high for these types of groups. Additionally if there are not modifications to existing research constructs, the information derived from that research will not be applicable to culturally diverse individuals. Failure to enact the required changes will allow a continuation of inequality in treatment for the culturally diverse. Conclusion This paper was an examination of two different emerging issues that psychologist face when dealing with multicultural psychology.

When dealing with culturally diverse groups there are many issues that may arise. The information in this paper focused on the issues of definitions and research. Psychologist have found many ways in which these emerging issues may impact society. This paper also included an explanation of how these issues will affect the interaction among culturally diverse groups. When addressing these emerging issues it will be necessary to consider the cultural source of the individuals to rectify any concerns over definitions or research constructs.

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