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Training Culturally Competent Psychologists: The Effects Of A Doctoral Level Diversity Laboratory Course

16 April 2018


The American Psychological Association (APA) requires clinical psychology graduate programs to take steps to prepare students to work with culturally diverse populations; however, there are no guidelines based on strong empirical research regarding the most effective way of teaching Multicultural Counseling Competence (MCC). This study sought to evaluate the impact of a Human Diversity laboratory at Pacific University School of Graduate Psychology, students are trained under a unique multicultural training model. The participants in this study were the students enrolled in either the Human Diversity course or the Human Diversity laboratory. This study utilizes an experimental pre-test post-test cohort design. MCC of graduate students was measured using Implicit Association Test-Race (Race-IAT) scores, Color-Blind Racial Attitudes Scale (CoBRAS) total scores, White Privilege Attitudes Scale (WPAS) total scores, and WPAS subscale scores. After completion of the Human Diversity course, students on average showed a decrease in implicit racial bias (d = .84). Students went from having a slight preference for White over Black faces to no preference. However, White students on average endorsed less White privilege awareness after completion of the Human Diversity course than at pre-test (d = 1.11). There were no significant findings at post-test for the Human Diversity laboratory. Taking a single didactic course on diversity may be more impactful on students’ awareness than previously believed. There also appears to be a consistent longitudinal change effect for implicit racial bias. Future research should continue to examine MCC through a developmental lens and


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