newsletter: fall 2016

Welcome to the first cultural-clinical psychology newsletter. We hope to post summaries here three times a year. Feel free to contact us a month in advance if you want us to add something.

APS: Boston 2017

There has been considerable enthusiasm for a cultural-clinical psychology one-day preconference before the next APS meeting in Boston (i.e., May 25th, 2017). Stay tuned for more details about this exciting event — in the meantime, save the date!


A special thank you to everyone who contributed material to the teaching resource section of this website. While we are not quite ready for a formal launch yet, there is in fact quite a bit of material already there.

If you’re teaching a course in this area, there are all kinds of sample syllabi … and do please contribute your own. And if you’ve already contributed, please send us updates in the future if you make substantive changes.

Recent Conferences

Yulia co-organized a successful one-day interdisciplinary conference on global mental health was held in April, 2016 at Georgetown University. Find out more here:

The conference featured talks by Vikram Patel, Arthur Kleinman, Laurence Kirmayer, Junko Tanaka-Matsumi, along with Yulia and Nuwan. Audio files are available for all presentations, which you can check out here:

Meanwhile, conferences in Japan this summer revealed quite a bit of enthusiasm for Cultural-Clinical Psychology. We gave a well-attended keynote on the topic at ICP, and a special invited symposium on the field at IACCP was presented to a packed room (and despite an unusual evening time slot). Many thanks to Jessica and Vinai for their contributions. IACCP also included symposia on cultural biology and on the cultural shaping of physical health, along with keynote addresses from Junko Tanaka-Matsumi and Laurence Kirmayer. We would also like to add that we got some good feedback from some senior folks about what we’re trying to achieve. We should give serious thought to how we might make an even bigger dent at their 2018 conference in Guelph, Ontario (an hour or so west of Toronto).

Publication Highlights

For our inaugural newsletter, let’s take January 2016 as our starting point. Links will connect to full text versions if you have institutional access — except where we’ve indicated ‘full text!’, in which case access is open to all.

Dzokoto, V., et al. (2016). Their hands have lost their bones: Exploring cultural scripts in two West African affect lexica. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research.

Previous research has indicated the importance of embodiment in West African emotion lexica. The current study aims to explore the pervasiveness of this cultural script through the analysis of the emotional lexica of two West African languages (Ga and Ewe) from Southern Ghana that have been featured minimally in previous emotion research. The analysis indicated that embodiment was an important cultural script in both affective lexica. However, interpersonal representations of emotions were also present. Further, emotion words in the two languages differed in the more specific loci of emotions.

Gone, J. P. (2016). Alternative knowledges and the future of community psychology: Provocations from an American Indian healing tradition. American Journal of Community Psychology. [full text!]

In the early years of this globalized century, alternative health knowledges and wellness traditions circulate faster and farther than ever before. To the degree that community psychologists seek collaboration with cultural minority and other marginalized populations in support of their collective wellbeing, such knowledges and traditions are likely to warrant attention, engagement, and support. My purpose in this article is to trace an epistemological quandary that community psychologists are ideally poised to consider at the interface of hegemonic and subjugated knowing with respect to advances in community wellbeing. To this end, I describe an American Indian knowledge tradition, its association with specific indigenous healing practices, its differentiation from therapeutic knowledge within disciplinary psychology, and the broader challenge posed by alternative health knowledges for community psychologists.

Hassan, G., et al. (2016). Impact of the charter of Quebec values on psychological well-being of Francophone university students. Transcultural Psychiatry.

This paper discusses results from a pilot study conducted in the spring of 2014 among young adults living in Montreal. The main objective of this study was to assess the relation between perception of the Charter of Quebec Values,1 self-identification, perception of intercommunity relations, perceived discrimination, and psychological well-being in young students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs of a francophone university in Montreal. A total of 441 students (30.5% male, 69.5% female) took part in a web survey designed by the research team. The data analyses and results suggest that the debate around the Charter of Quebec values was associated with a shift from a predominantly positive perception of intercommunity relations to a predominantly negative one, particularly among women, immigrants, and those who self-identified as cultural or religious minorities. In addition, more than 30% of participants reported having experienced some form of ethnic or religious discrimination since the Charter was released (personally or as a witness). This was particularly the case among immigrants, as well as those who self-identified as bicultural or from cultural or religious minority groups. This study’s results thus highlight the exacerbation of intercommunity tensions linked to the public debate around identity and intercommunity relations in Quebec.

Soto, J., et al. (2016). Convergence in feeling, divergence in physiology: How culture influences the consequences of disgust suppression and amplification among European Americans and Asian Americans. Psychophysiology.

Much empirical work documents the downsides of suppressing emotions. Emerging research points to the need for a more sophisticated and culturally informed approach to understanding the consequences of emotion regulation. To that end, we employed behavioral, self-report, and psychophysiological measures to examine the consequences of two types of emotion regulation (suppression and amplification) in a sample of 28 Asian Americans and 31 European Americans. Participants were shown a neutral film and then a series of disgust-eliciting films during which they were asked to regulate their response by suppressing or amplifying their emotional behavior (counterbalanced). Despite self-reporting equal levels of disgust, European Americans showed greater skin conductance reactivity than Asian Americans in both regulation conditions, but not in response to a neutral film. These findings extend work on divergence in the consequences of emotion regulation across different cultural groups, which could help identify optimal emotion regulation strategies for health and well-being.


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