Social skills training: The moderating influence of culture in the treatment of Latinos with schizophrenia

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Providing effective psychiatric rehabilitation to ethnic minority patients with serious persistent mental illness (SPMI) requires an understanding of the role of cultural values and ethnicity-relevant factors on the course and outcome of severe mental disorders. In this paper, the author identifies some of the cultural factors that are relevant for Latinos with SPMI, and describes how these factors were incorporated into existing rehabilitation modalities. The results of a pilot study designed to test the efficacy of culturally-modified social skills training are presented. The results suggest that the cultural modifications improved Latino patients' ability to learn the material and enhanced their use of these skills in their natural environments. Future research will be aimed at identifying and incorporating these salutary cultural forces into the rehabilitation process of the severely mentally ill.