Toward Understanding Ethnic and Cultural Factors in the Interviewing Process

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The clinical interview is critical in the diagnostic assessment undertaking in clinical settings, and cultural/ethnic influences have been shown to influence the outcome of this process. Specifically, a number of studies have reported that proportionally far more ethnic minorities than Caucasians are likely to be misdiagnosed when assessed for psychiatric disorders. This particularly is the case when open clinical interviews are used. Semistructured interviews, on the other hand, result in an increase in diagnostic accuracy with ethnic minorities. Parameters associated with bias in the clinical interview of ethnic minorities and its impact on assessment, diagnosis, and treatment decisions are examined. Although the current discussion focuses primarily on African Americans, many examples are provided that pertain to other ethnic groups. Strategies for addressing these issues are explored and recommendations for increasing cultural competence are made.

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