Cultural Competence of Healthcare Providers: A Systematic Review of Assessment Instruments

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Few articles in the literature identify and describe the instruments that are regularly used by scholars to measure cultural competence in healthcare providers.


This study reviews the psychometric properties of the several instruments that are used regularly to assess the cultural competence of healthcare providers.


Researchers conducted a systematic review of the relevant articles that were published between 1983 and 2013 and listed on academic and government Web sites or on one or more of the following databases: CINAHL, MEDLINE, ERIC, PsycINFO, Psyc ARTICLES, PubMed, Cochrane, Pro Quest, Google Scholar, CNKI (China), and the National Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (Taiwan).


This study included 57 articles. Ten instruments from these articles were identified and analyzed. These instruments included five that were presented in English and five that were presented in Chinese. All were self-administered and based on respondent perceptions. Five of the 10 instruments were designed to measure cultural competence, two were designed to measure cultural sensitivity, two were designed to measure transcultural self-efficacy, and one was designed to measure cultural awareness. The six cultural dimensions addressed by these instruments were attitudes, knowledge, skills, behaviors, desires, and encounters. An expert panel validated the content of the 10 instruments. The subscales explained 33%–90% of the variance in scores for eight of the instruments. The reliability of the 10 instruments was estimated based on the internal consistency, which ranged from .57 to .97.


This systematic review may assist researchers to choose appropriate instruments to assess the cultural competence of healthcare providers. The findings of this review indicate that no single instrument is adequate to evaluate cultural competence in all contexts.

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