College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date

8-2010

Document Type

Dissertation

College/Department Conferring Degree

Psychology

Keywords

psychological assessment, acculturation, vocational rehabilitation, clinician perceptions

Abstract

The vocational rehabilitation (VR) system, which provides services to people with disabilities to gain employment, often requires psychological testing to determine client access to services and vocational planning. Cultural bias inherent in standardized tests and inappropriate administration of tests can lead to invalid test results. Assessment of acculturation and test adaptations have been suggested as methods of cultural bias remediation. This study examined the testing practices of 25 psychologists who test VR clients via telephone interview. The study explored psychologists (a) clinicians’ definitions/conceptualizations of acculturation, (b) clinicians’ perceptions of the role of acculturation in the testing process for clients, (c) the influence of client acculturation of clinician testing practices, (d) the method in which acculturation is assessed, (e) clinicians’ perceptions of the challenges of testing clients who are culturally different from themselves, and (f) clinicians’ perceptions of the role of their cultural background on the testing process. Some of the results indicated that most clinicians conceptualized acculturation within an assimilation paradigm, assessed acculturation via the clinical interview, altered their test practices due to client level of acculturation, and often questioned the validity of test results from culturally different clients. The themes from the six research questions are discussed and the study's implications for theory, research, and practices are detailed.

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