, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 31-42

Effects of an Asian client-therapist language, ethnicity and gender match on utilization and outcome of therapy

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of Asian client-therapist ethnicity, language and gender match on two measures of utilization: number of sessions with primary therapist and dropout from therapy; and one measure of client outcome: admission-discharge difference in Global Assessment Scale (GAS) scores. The sample consisted of 1746 Asian client episodes in Los Angeles County mental health facilities between January 1983 and August 1988. Various types of multiple regression analyses were used to investigate the relationship of language, ethnicity, and gender match to the three dependent variables and to eight sociodemographic variables.

Either client-therapist language match or ethnic match significantly increased the number of client sessions with the primary therapist. However, only ethnicity match had a significant effect on dropout rate. Gain in GAS admission-discharge score was not affected by either a client-therapist ethnicity or language match. Gender match had no consistent effect on the dependent variables. Of the covariates examined, only therapist discipline (social worker) had a consistent effect on the dependent variables.

It was concluded that both client-therapist language and ethnicity match are important variables affecting the utilization of treatment. Further research will be needed to separate the effects of language and ethnicity on therapy utilization.

This study was supported in part by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, #MH 44331 and the National Research Center on Asian American Mental Health, UCLA.
At the time the study was conducted, Dr.Lui was employed with the National Research Center on Asian American Mental Health, UCLA.