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The Importance of Multicultural Awareness in Wilderness Treatment Settings

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Many cultural and ethnic minorities have extensive experiences of being oppressed, which they may eventually internalize. However, psychology has yet to actively incorporate various forms of internalized oppression (e.g. colonial mentality [CM]) into the etiological conceptualizations of psychopathology. Using a sample of 248 Filipino Americans, the author tested more complete and socio-politically informed cultural model of depression symptoms. Results with structural equation modeling showed that conceptual model that includes CM better explained depression symptoms among Filipino Americans than the model without CM and revealed that CM had a significant direct effect on Filipino Americans’ experiences of depression symptoms. It is argued, through this illustrative case of depression symptoms among Filipino Americans, that incorporating the psychological effects of oppressive historical and contemporary conditions into our conceptualizations of ethnic minority mental health may lead to a more culturally accurate etiological understanding of psychopathology among historically oppressed groups.

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