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Research Article  |   July 2009
Perceived Levels of Cultural Competence Among Occupational Therapists
Author Affiliations
  • Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar, PhD, is Professor and Department Head, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1919 West Taylor Street, Chicago, IL 60612; ysuarez@uic.edu
  • Juleen Rodawoski, OTD, OTR/L, was Graduate Student, University of Illinois at Chicago, at the time of this study
  • Fabricio Balcazar, PhD, is Professor, Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Tina Taylor-Ritzler, PhD, is Research Specialist, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Nelson Portillo, PhD, is Research Specialist, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Dariusz Barwacz, BA, is Graduate Student, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Celestine Willis, MA, is Training Coordinator, University of Illinois at Chicago
Article Information
Education of OTs and OTAs / Professional Issues / Professional Issues
Research Article   |   July 2009
Perceived Levels of Cultural Competence Among Occupational Therapists
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2009, Vol. 63, 498-505. doi:10.5014/ajot.63.4.498
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2009, Vol. 63, 498-505. doi:10.5014/ajot.63.4.498
Abstract

Occupational therapists confront issues of cultural diversity more than ever before because of the increased number of clients seen in their professional practice who are of differing racial or cultural backgrounds. In this study, we examine perceived cultural competence in a sample of 477 occupational therapists. The study's results indicate that among the variables that most affected how therapists rate their level of cultural competence were prior training and favorable attitudes toward cultural competence. Prior training, both formal and informal, was positively correlated with higher levels of cultural competence. In addition, practitioners who placed more value on cultural competence and felt more culturally competent to address the needs of diverse clients scored higher across all of the dimensions of cultural competence measured. These dimensions included cultural awareness and knowledge, cultural skills, and organizational support for multicultural practice. The results have implications for teaching, research, and practice in occupational therapy.