Christine Ka-Po Mok-Lammé, Fielding's School of Psychology
Using a bilinear, multidimensional model of acculturation, the present study explored relationships between Chinese Americans’ cultural orientation level and their comfort level with psychotherapy when the focus of intervention was on either cognition or emotion. The sample was composed of 92 Chinese American participants with a wide range of backgrounds.
Each participant was randomly assigned to read a cognition-focused or emotion-focused vignette. After reading the vignette, participants responded to questionnaires that measured their comfort level with the vignette, their behavioral acculturation, behavioral enculturation, values acculturation, values enculturation, and emotional self-control levels. The results indicated that Chinese Americans with higher level of emotional self-control predicted lower “likeliness to seek counseling” with the cognition-focused therapy. Participants with higher behavioral enculturation predicted higher “likeliness to seek counseling” with the emotion-focused therapy.
These unexpected findings have significant clinical implications. Cultural orientation is a complex framework and needs to be understood in light of individual differences and underlying unconscious dynamics.