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.

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