Ethnic Identity, Color-Blind Racial Attitudes, and Multicultural Competence Among Psychologists

Natalie Ochoa, Pace University


Research has shown that multicultural competence (MCC), ethnic identity (EI) and colorblind racial attitudes (CoBRA) are related. Specifically, MCC has been positively correlated with level of EI development and negatively correlated with CoBRA. The American Psychological Association (APA; 2002) published the "Guidelines on Multicultural Education, Training, Research, Practice, and Organizational Change for Psychologists," specifying the importance of "commitment to cultural awareness and knowledge of self and others." This study examined these correlations, as well as whether these constructs moderate level of MCC. In addition, differences in MCC, EI, and CoBRA based on race and training were examined among psychologists and psychologists-in-training. The sample consisted of 163 participants; 58.9% were graduate psychology students and 41.1% were psychology supervisors. An online survey which included a demographic questionnaire, the Ethnic Identity Scale (Umafia-Taylor, Yazedjian, & Bamaca-Gomez, 2004), the Color-Blind Racial Attitudes Scale (Neville, Lilly, Duran, Lee, & Browne, 2000), and the Multicultural Awareness, Knowledge, and Skills Survey—Counselor Edition—REVISED (Kim, Cartwright, Asay, & D'Andrea, 2003). Ethnic identity was assessed in terms of three continuous variables (affirmation, exploration, and resolution), while the total scores for CoBRA and MCC were used in the analyses. Results supported previous findings on the correlations between the variables, but did not find moderation effects. In terms of race, it was found that non-Caucasian participants reported lower CoBRA, higher EI (exploration and resolution), and higher MCC than Caucasian participants. More experienced psychologists reported higher levels of MCC. Lastly, the type of training received was found to be a significant variable when assessing MCC, EI, and CoBRA. Formal academic courses were found to be correlated to El and CoBRA, while additional/continuing education activities were correlated to MCC, CoBRA, and EI. One important implication of this study is that current models of MCC training may not be adequate for developing MCC. These findings suggest that psychologists-in-training would benefit from participating in additional multicultural educational activities that are more active in nature (self-exploration versus lectures) and take into account personal attributes, such as race. These results also speak to the need for more culturally diverse individuals in the profession.

Subject Area

Counseling Psychology|Ethnic studies|Organization Theory

Recommended Citation

Ochoa, Natalie, "Ethnic Identity, Color-Blind Racial Attitudes, and Multicultural Competence Among Psychologists" (2014). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3574428.



Remote User: Click Here to Login (must have Pace University remote login ID and password. Once logged in, click on the View More link above)