VOLUME 5 (2003) - ISSUE 9 (SUMMER)

Multiethnicity: Its impact on Reference Benchmarks

by Pamela GELLER, Evelyn OROZCO, Ellen MOORE-BOOHAR and Adriana RESTREPO


This chapter examines the maintenance and loss of cultural benchmarks among ethnic majorities and minorities in American, European, Latino, and Asian cultures. Our discussion defines what is meant by “majority” and “minority” cultures, and examines the process of acculturation and assimilation across the various cultures. The chapter also outlines the traditional worldviews and social support networks in European, Latino, and Asian societies, as well as in the American majority and minority groups that originated in the aforementioned cultures and in Africa. Finally, the chapter will discuss changes and future directions in each cultural group and consider the movement towards and barriers to achieving a global multicultural society. 

In an effort to better understand majority and minority cultures around the world, we created an informal cultural survey. Some of the information and opinions presented in this chapter were derived from these survey responses.  The survey included questions about the attitudes of majority culture members toward ethnic minorities, as well as items about typical family composition and social support networks.  The survey also assessed help-seeking behaviors and perceptions of formal mental health treatment.  The survey was presented to individuals in the United States - including Puerto Rico Dominican RepublicCuba; MexicoPeru; and countries within Europe and Asia. No individuals currently residing in African countries were surveyed.  Results of this survey will be referred to throughout this chapter.  In many cases, information presented comes directly from survey responses unless otherwise referenced.


Cultural Benchmarks - Immigration - Ethnic Groups - Anomie 


Pamela A. GELLER is an Assistant Professor of Clinical and Health Psychology and a Director of the Student Counseling Center at MCP Hahnemann University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. She completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, and completed a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship in Psychiatric Epidemiology at the Joseph L.Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University in New York City. Dr Geller’s research interests involve stressful life events and mental and physical health outcomes, and the role of personal and social resources as moderators of stress. Her work has focused on differences within and between different ethnic groups, as well as women’s health issues, including women’s reproductive health. Dr. Geller is an Associate Editor for the Health Psychology volume for the Handbook of Psychology, a 12-volume set being published by Wiley, Inc. in 2002.

Evelyn A. OROZCO is the Clinical Supervisor of the Children at Risk: Resources and Intervention (CARRI) Program sponsored by the University of Medicine and Dentistry-University Behavioral Health Care, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA, and holds adjunct faculty positions at Rutgers University in the Applied and Professional Psychology Department and in the Psychiatry Department of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She completed a M.A. in Counseling Psychology, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, and a M.A. and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio. Dr. Orozco’s clinical work includes home-based therapy with multiethnic population – specifically women and their children. Her research interests focus on the impact of acculturation on self-esteem and interpersonal relationships for Latina women.

Ellen MOORE BOOHAR is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at MCP Hahnemann University, in Philadelphia, Penn., USA. Her research interests include depression and substance use in adolescents, as well as cultural differences in social support and attitudes toward seeking mental health treatment.

Adriana F. RESTREPO is a candidate for a M.A. in Clinical Psychology for Spanish-English Bilinguals at Montclair State Univesity, New Jersey, USA. She currently works with the CARRI Youth Incentive Program providing home-based therapy and case management services to children under the age of 18 that are at risk for residential placement. She is interested in multisystemic work with Latino families.


Author Name (Year), “Title”, in: The International Scope Review, Volume Number, Issue Number, TSCF Editions, Brussels.


This contribution is a chapter of the book edited by Patrick HUNOUT, The Erosion of the Social Link in the Economically Advanced Countries.


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