Multicultural Psychology Paper Multicultural Psychology Paper Multicultural psychology is “the systematic study of all aspects of human behavior as it occurs in settings where people of different cultural backgrounds encounter each other. Multiculturalism has been considered a “fourth force” in the field of psychology, supplementing behaviorism, psychodynamic theories, and humanistic psychology.
It explores such topics as differences in worldviews and in means of communication; the acculturation process; stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination and racism; cultural identity development; and building multicultural competence” (Fhagen-Smith, 2010). Multicultural psychology attempts “to understand and to accurately represent the psychology of the many different groups and individuals” (Hall & Barongan, 2002). “Our definition of multicultural psychology states that the field is interested in what happens when people of different backgrounds interact with one another.
Bochner (1999) defines culture contact as “critical incidents where people from different cultural, ethnic, or linguistic backgrounds come into social contact with each other” (p. 22) and describes two broad categories of contacts: (1) contacts that occur between members of a culturally diverse society, or between people of many different backgrounds who live and work together on a daily basis; and (2) contacts that occur when people from one society visit another country, for purposes such as business, tourism, study, or assistance (e. g. , Peace Corps).
Multicultural psychology is interested in both types of cultural contact, although it emphasizes the first type. Although diversity increases in America, psychology has been slow to embrace the study of multicultural issues. Historically, however, cross-cultural psychology has been the primary area in which psychology has examined culture. The cross cultural approach typically examines two national groups that are not in the same social context. As new multicultural issues began to emerge in society, the field of multicultural psychology began to emerge. Conversely, multicultural psychology is the study of multiple cultural groups in the same context. Cultural groups influence one another when they are in the same sociocultural context; the strength of this influence is largely dependent on the power and status that cultural groups have in society. All the cultural groups discussed in this textbook have ethnic minority status. Thus, multicultural psychology is the study not only of culture, but also of the sociopolitical issues that ethnic minority persons face in the United States.
Although cross-national issues are of importance in psychology, issues of dealing with persons of multiple cultural backgrounds in the United States are more likely to affect the lives of most American students. There are several cross-cultural psychology textbooks that address multicultural psychology within a single national and sociopolitical context” (Hall & Barongan, 2002). According to Hall and Barongan (2002), as multicultural issues emerged in society the force – “multicultural psychology” – began to emerge including such things as cultural and minority status issues in psychology.
Multicultural issues are addressed in terms of biological, social, personality, and developmental psychology. It also “includes specific issues involving women and ethnic minority groups, including African Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Latino/a Americans, and American Indians. Issues of gender, class, and sexual orientation are integrated into the discussion of these groups. Research in this area “compares each ethnic group with European Americans and other groups in an effort to demonstrate that each of the groups covered has characteristics and experiences that are unique and unlike those of other groups.
Although there are similarities between European Americans and each of the groups of color there are unique aspects of each group and much diversity within each group” (Hall & Barongan, 2002). There are many areas of study in Multicultural Psychology and new research associations emerging as well. For example, “the Culture and Suicide Research Network (CSRN) was established to facilitate research collaboration among a group of psychologists and psychiatrists who had been actively involved in this area of research individually.
It is a national network of like-minded individuals interested in furthering the development of research, prevention, intervention, and postvention programs that incorporate cultural, racial and ethnic issues to the understanding of the risk/resilience factors, antecedents, and consequences of suicidal behaviors. ” However, Multicultural Psychology is a new and emerging field, and there are many issues in multicultural psychology that still need to be studied with an empirical approach. Many multicultural issues do not lend themselves well to empirical study, such as traditional forms of spirituality (Hall & Barongan, 2002).
However, Multicultural Psychology is necessary to study the divers groups present in today’s society. Areas of study include areas such as: (a) Culture and mental health, (b) Culture in organizations, (c) Culture in communities, (d) Culture and human development, and (e) Cross-cultural assessment and research methods. Because American society is rapidly changing and becoming more diverse, a new type of psychology was needed to address the new emerging issues. For example, “Within 50 years, persons of color will be the majority in the United States and already compose one-third of the U. S. population.
In California, persons of color are now the majority. Thus, competence in cultural issues is a necessary life skill for full participation in society during the twenty-first century” (Hall ; Barongan, 2002). According to Hall and Barongan (2002), “the traditional individual approach that has characterized much of Western psychology is inadequate to explain the multiple influences that impinge on persons of color in the United States. Thus, we use an ecological theoretical perspective in this book that examines individual, family, community, institutional, and societal influences on behavior” (Hall ; Barongan, 2002).
Therefore, multicultural psychology is needed, quite simply, because the United States is a multicultural society. It is where people of different backgrounds encounter and interact with one another. According to the Census Bureau (Grieco ; Cassidy, 2001), the population of the United States is currently 69. 1% non-Hispanic White, 12. 5% Hispanic, 12. 3% Black, 3. 7% Asian and Pacific Islander, and 0. 9% American Indian. Census projections indicate that the European-American population will decline while each of the other racial groups will grow. Therefore, although European Americans currently make up the majority, U.
S. Census projections suggest that sometime in this century. References Barongan, C. ; Hall, G. C. (2002). Multicultural Psychology. New York: Prentice Hall. Bochner, S. (1999). The Psychology of Culture Shock. Philadelphia: Routledge. Fhagen-Smith, P. E. (2010). Social class, racial/ethnic identity, and the psychology of “choice”. In K. Korgen (Ed. ). Multiracial Americans and social class: The influence of social class on racial identity. New York: Routledge. Grieco, E. M. , and R. C. Cassidy. 2001. Overview of race and Hispanic origin. Washington, DC: U. S. Census Bureau.