You say you're inclusive, but can you show us?” The importance of cultural competence when working with sexual minorities in a mental health setting

Joshua Bishop, Dimity Crisp, Janie Busby Grant, Brett Scholz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Sexual minorities experience higher rates of psychological distress than heterosexual people, likely due to minority stress. While rates of help-seeking by sexual minorities are high, sexual minorities report greater dissatisfaction with mental health service providers. This dissatisfaction may result from poor cultural competence practices. Our study sought to determine the importance of service provider cultural competence practices to a community sample of sexual minority people. Methods: Participants (n = 274) were sexual minority Australians recruited from affirming Facebook groups, organizations, and research-based organizations. To measure the importance of cultural competence practices, participants completed a modified online version of the Gay Affirming Practices Scale (GAP) and responded to open-ended questions. Results: Between 80% and 99% of participants endorsed each item on the GAP, indicating the importance of service providers demonstrating an array of culturally affirming practices. No significant associations were found between overall GAP score and age or sexual orientation, though further analyses revealed individual items on the GAP showed associations with age. A structured tabular thematic analysis, of open-ended participant responses, found positive attitudes, knowledge, and affirming practices were the three most important characteristics for service providers seeking to demonstrate culturally competent practices, mirroring the tripartite model (attitudes, knowledge, and skills) of cultural competence. Conclusion: Recommendations for service providers to demonstrate cultural competence include: utilizing affirming practices such as inclusive language, increasing knowledge about sexual minorities, and utilizing education resources such as cultural competence workshops, lived experience stories, and seeking mentorship from service providers with expertise in working with sexual minorities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Aug 2022

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'You say you're inclusive, but can you show us?” The importance of cultural competence when working with sexual minorities in a mental health setting'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this