Multidisciplinary Mental Health Research Needs:
Emotional Health in Interethnic Contexts
David Rollock, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychological Sciences
Director of Clinical Training
Purdue University
Brief Overview of Psychologists’ Roles as
Health Care Professionals
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High costs of mental health problems
– Pain and suffering
– Financial costs: lost wages, mistaken med dx, etc.
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Distinctive roles of psychologists
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Basic research
Assessment: cognitive, behavior analysis, diagnostic..
Psychotherapy/behavior management (vs. meds)
Treatment/program evaluation
My interests: Minority mental health
– ALL behavior takes place in cultural context
Ethnocultural Issues in Mental Health
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DHHS Healthy People 2010 funding:
– Increase quality & years of life
– Eliminate demographic group disparities:
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Data: incidence/prevalence, service access, outcomes…
Special attention to ethnic minority mental health
Globalization 
impact of intercultural contact & transition?
Cultural-Ecological approach (cf. Ogbu, 1981, 1995)
– Groups foster skills for members’ expected roles
– Internal/external influences on behavior/outcomes, e.g.,
Theories
of success
Mainstream
relations
Existing
skills
Implications of a Cultural-Ecological
Approach to Minority Mental Health
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Mental health status
– Symptom experience & expression
– Cultural contact/transition distress results from
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match/mismatch of skills with new context
violations of expectations
Mental health services
– Decision to seek help
– Preferred help sources—and compliance
Implications of a Cultural-Ecological
Approach to Minority Mental Health
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Mental health research questions
– Domains of culturally-developed skills & preferences that
could be helpful/problematic, e.g.,
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Language
Values, beliefs
– Goals of contact/transition
– Situations well- or ill-matched to skill/behavioral repertoir
– Within-group differences
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Gender, religion, generational status
Confounded group distinctions (e.g., nationality vs “race”)
Research Program in Acculturation:
Hispanics
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Fastest-growing ethnic minority group in U.S.
– Voluntary minority group (Ogbu), comprised of
different groups across multiple generations
– Language use & demographics as predictors of
depressive affect
– General vs. specific competence as predictors
of depressive affect
Relationships among Acculturation, Competence,
& Depression (Torres & Rollock, 2007)
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What aspects of cultural transition
contribute to depression?
– Intercultural competence as best
predictor of acculturative distress
(> demographics, general coping,
acculturation)(Torres & Rollock, 2004)
– Participants: 96 adults
– Predictors: coping,competence,accult.
– Criterion: depressive symptoms
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CONCLUSION:
– General coping as crucial predictor!
– Specific competence as key moderator
– Need to consider domains, goals
Research Program in Acculturation:
South Asians
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Third largest/fastest-growing Asian group
– Lack of research, despite group size
– Perfect “laboratory” for acculturation research
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Ethnically distinct from mainstream
English language skills
Broader SES variations
Investigations
– Goals and expectations
– Longitudinal research
– Structure of standard depression measure
Culture Contact Goals as Predictors of Behavior
Change & Depression (Rollock & Rahman, 2007)
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Do goals predict adoption of US behaviors &
depressive symptoms?
– Plans to remain in US should be associated with greater US
acculturation
– Plans to leave US should be associated with greater
traditional cultural retention
– Plans to leave US should be associated with greater
depressive symptoms
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Method:
– Participants: 149 SA male international students
– Predictors: goals, ingroup & outgroup orientation vars
– Criterion variables: traditional customs, depressive sx
Means (& SDs) and Mean Ranks of adjustment
variables by cultural contact goal group (n=149)
Acculturation Goal
Return
Immediately
(n = 14)
Reside in U.S.
Temporarily
(n = 115)
Remain in
U.S.
Permanently
(n = 20)
(df = 2)
Mean (SD)
Mean Rank
41.64 (6.66)
61.11
44.03 (6.45)
80.86
39.45 (4.35)
47.60
11.80**
Mean (SD)
Mean Rank
17.14 (4.47)
71.14
18.08 (4.53)
79.81
15.05 (3.36)
46.60
10.39
Mean
Mean Rank
72.36 (16.81)
99.89
58.90 (17.23)
69.68
67.20 (20.12)
88.18
8.28*
Mean (SD)
Mean Rank
4.43 (0.90)
68.29
4.63 (0.82)
78.62
4.21 (0.90)
58.90
3.94
Mean (SD)
Mean Rank
3.65 (0.50)
70.18
3.69 (0.50)
73.73
3.89 (0.67)
85.65
1.52
Mean (SD)
Mean Rank
24.21 (10.84)
97.04
17.73 (8.80)
69.76
22.25 (10.63)
89.70
7.68*
Mean (SD)
Mean Rank
28.71 (3.77)
47.89
32.45 (5.13)
78.83
31.45 (5.89)
71.98
6.55*
Mean (SD)
Mean Rank
3.39(0.60)
67.04
3.55 (0.35)
73.64
3.28 (0.41)
46.15
8.10*
Mean (SD)
Mean Rank
18.00 (7.95)
69.54
19.57 (14.10)
68.54
90.20 (94.55)
108.08
14.86**
Adjustment Indicator
MMRS Social Customs
MMRS Language
Usage
CADC Intercultural
Competence
IEEI Public cultural
values
IEEI Mainstream/
Outgroup Identification
CES-D
RSES
GPA
Months in U.S.

Predicting Traditional Social Customs Acceptance
from Goals & Ethnic Identity factors (n=149)
Predictor
B
S.E.
Goal
Wald 2
8.467
p
Odds Ratio
.014
 Return immediately (vs. other stays)
-.799
.721
1.228
 Temporary in USA (vs. permanent)
2.045
.737
7.703
.006
7.728
IEEI Ethnic Food Preference
1.239
.375
10.924
.001
3.453
.666
.320
4.319
.038
1.946
-.419
.437
.920
.657
-.180
.288
.392
.835
.335
.192
3.039
1.398
-.122
.171
.508
.885
IEEI Public Cultural Values
IEEI Mainstream/Outgroup Identification
IEEI Ingroup Loyalty
IEEI Ingroup Information-Seeking
IEEI Caution about Ingroup
All Degrees of Freedom = 1, except for Goal (df = 2).
.450
Predicting Depressive Symptoms from
Goals & Ethnic Identity factors
Predictor
S.E.
B
Goal
Wald 2
p
6.644
.036
.015
Odds Ratio
 Return immediately (vs. other stays)
1.748
0.716
5.971
 Temporary in USA (vs. permanent)
-.639
.574
1.238
.528
IEEI Ethnic Food Preference
.473
.283
2.793
1.605
IEEI Public Cultural Values
.393
.284
1.918
1.481
IEEI Mainstream/Outgroup Identification
.629
.284
4.916
-.216
.284
.576
.806
IEEI Ingroup Information-Seeking
.100
.171
.339
1.105
IEEI Caution about Ingroup
.578
.169
11.669
IEEI Ingroup Loyalty
All Degrees of Freedom = 1, except for Goal (df = 2).
.027
.001
5.746
1.875
1.783
Acculturation Research Conclusions So Far
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Cultural skill development & retention
reflect expected place in a given culture
Goals must be considered, as much as
(simple) cultural exposure
Mismatch of goals and context leads to
distress
Next steps
– Identify specific preferred skills
– Identify changes in goals (& skills) over time
Research Program in Interethnic Emotion:
“Race”-Related Police Contact
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Mental health implications of contact with law
enforcement in communities of color
Safety & security vs oppression &
disempowerment
– Types of contact
– Basic responses: prevention mechanism vs
secondary traumatization
– Implicit attitudes as action potentials
– Transmission of attitudes to children, adults
Additional Opportunities for Multidisciplinary
Collaboration in Clinical Psychology
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Connecting researchers & practitioners
– Aggregating data across practitioners on “what
works”
– Tracking service utilization
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Improving assessment
– Automated CPTs to assess attention (McClellan)
– Technology to aid manipulation of materials
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Evidence-Based Interventions
– Symptom sampling in hard-to-reach groups
– Monitoring dose-response
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Emotional Health in Interethnic Contexts