Date of Award

Summer 1999

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Committee Director

Roland Thomas

Committee Director

Joseph Galano

Committee Member

William S. Fals-Stewart

Committee Member

Janis Sanchez-Hucles

Committee Member

Delanyard Robinson


This exploratory study examined whether community mental health centers (CMHCs) in Virginia that had services evaluated as being more compatible with the cultural needs of African Americans attracted a higher percentage of adult African American service users from their catchment areas than CMHCs which were evaluated as being less culturally compatible. The cultural compatibility of 36 CMHCs was assessed via a telephone interview with their clinical directors using a modified version of the Cultural Competence Self-Assessment Questionnaire: Administrative Version (Mason, J., 1995). This study did not find a correlation between CMHCs' cultural compatibility and their success at attracting African American service users. The ways in which the methodological limitations of the study may have contributed to the lack of significant findings are discussed as are ensuing implications for future research on this topic. Also investigated were the types of services used by African and White American CMHC consumers and consumers of other races. Consumers of other races received more emergency care and less outpatient care than did African and White American consumers. Consumers of other races may have been less assimilated into social service networks and therefore made less use of CMHC services until their problems became severe enough to warrant emergency treatment. The study also found that as the percentage of African Americans on the caseloads of CMHCs increased over the percentage of African Americans in the catchment areas of CMHCs, so did the CMHCs' scores on the cultural compatibility questionnaire. No definitive conclusions were drawn regarding these findings due to the methodological limitations of the study but possible explanations and implications for future research are discussed. Also discussed are ways to improve the existing database of statistics on minority CMHC utilization characteristics in the state of Virginia.


A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculties of The College of William and Mary, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology through the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.


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