African American Clinical Psychologists' Q-sort Conceptualizations of Optimal Mental Health

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Northwestern University, 1997 - African American psychologists - 300 pages
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The present study used the California Q-set (CQ-set) and Q-sort methodology (Block, 1961) to study how African American clinical psychologists conceptualize optimal mental health. Specifically, the study examined how their Q-sort descriptions vary as a function of the race of the target and the Afrocentricity of the judges. Template Q-sorts were developed to represent the collective judgment of a group of individual judges' Q- sorts. When the conventional Q-sort template matching method was used to analyze the data, the template Q-sorts of optimal mental health were virtually the same regardless of the target of the sort (European American or African American) or the psychologists' level of Afrocentricity (high or low). Furthermore, African American psychologists' conceptualizations of optimal mental health were also essentially the same as European American clinical psychologists' (Block, 1961) description of optimal mental health. A unique aspect of this study is that the data were also analyzed using an ANOVA model. By assessing the levels of variance within various groups of individual Q-sorts and the variance between groups, it was determined that it is possible for templates to be highly correlated and significantly different. Finally, although the templates were highly similar, participants reported that they believed optimal mental health was different for an African American and a European American. Thus, the appropriateness of using the CQ-set to conceptualize optimal mental health from a non-Eurocentric perspective is explored.

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Function of Afrocentricity

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