newsletter: summer 2017

Welcome to the third cultural-clinical psychology newsletter. We aim 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

We held our third annual APS pre-conference meeting on May 25th; this year, we tried something new by holding our small group meeting from 10am-3pm, followed by an open mini-conference from 3pm-6pm, and concluding with a social dinner. See our pictures at the bottom of this page! The closed small-group meeting had nine attendees, featuring lively discussions and presentations of new ideas. The open mini-conference had 25 attendees who were treated to a datablitz with five presentations and a keynote address from our guest Devon Hinton (Harvard Medical School). Moreover, the APS conference itself featured three symposia chaired by members, and we had healthy attendance at all of them (e.g., 25+ attendees at a symposium on culture and relationships chaired by Janet and Shu-wen). We are open to any feedback about how things went this year, and how they can be improved (feel free to send an email to Andrew). This will help us to prepare for next year; speaking of which…

APS: San Francisco 2018

We are currently building our planning committee in anticipation of May 24th, 2018, in San Francisco, CA, again in advance of APS. If you’re a member interested in volunteering, please let us know (email to Andrew is fine). It would be especially good to get some help from the west coast. Based on future APS conferences, we can also look ahead to 2019 in Washington, DC and 2020 in Chicago, IL.


Again, please do not forget about the teaching portion of the website.

Any contributions or updates would be most appreciated.

Other Upcoming Conferences

The 29th International Congress for Applied Psychology, held every four years, will be taking place in Montreal, QC, from June 25-30, 2018. Immediately afterwards, the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP) will hold their biannual International Congress in Guelph, ON. Montreal and Guelph are approximately a 1 hour flight plus a 1 hour drive apart, or 7-9 hours apart by car or train. This would be a good opportunity to have a continuing presence on the international scene, and to bring together our North American and International members.

New Members

If there are any new members that you would like to propose for the group, please let Andrew Ryder know via email.

Publication Highlights

Here are some publication highlights from members between January 1st and April 30th, 2017. 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.

Uchida, Y., et al. (2017). Do you always choose what you like? Subtle social cues increase preference-choice consistency among Japanese but not among Americans. Frontiers in Psychology. [full text!]

Previous research has suggested that stability of self-concept differs across cultures: in North American cultural contexts, people’s self-concept is stable across social contexts, whereas in Japan, different self-concepts are activated within specific social contexts. We examined the implications of this cultural difference for preference-choice consistency, which is people’s tendency to make choices that are consistent with their preferences. We found that Japanese were less likely than Americans to choose items that they liked the most, showing preference-choice inconsistency. We also investigated the conditions in which Japanese might exhibit greater preference-choice consistency. Consistent with research showing that in Japanese culture, the self is primarily conceptualized and activated by social contexts, we found that subtle social cues (e.g., schematic representations of human faces) increased preference-choice consistency among Japanese, but not among Americans. These findings highlight that choices do not reveal preferences to the same extent in all cultures, and that the extent to which choices reveal preferences depends on the social context.

Lau, A. S., et al. (2017). Adolescents’ stigma attitudes toward internalizing and externalizing disorders: Cultural influences and implications for distress manifestations. Clinical Psychological Science. [full text!]

This study examined predictors of stigma attitudes toward common youth emotional behavioral problems to test the hypothesis that interdependent cultural values would be associated with differential stigma towards externalizing versus internalizing disorders. Furthermore, we examined whether problem-specific stigma attitudes would predict adolescent’s own self-reported manifestations of distress. 1224 Vietnamese American and European American adolescents completed measures of social distance stigma attitudes in response to vignettes depicting youth with internalizing (depression, social anxiety, somatization) and externalizing (alcohol use, aggressive behaviors, delinquency) disorders. A subset of 676 youth also provided self-reports on their own adjustment prospectively over six months. Measurement models revealed clear separation of negatively correlated factors assessing stigma toward externalizing versus internalizing problems. Values related to family interdependence were significantly associated with greater tolerance of internalizing disorders and lower tolerance of externalizing disorders. Stigma towards internalizing disorders was associated with lower concurrent self-reported internalizing symptoms, whereas stigma towards externalizing symptoms was associated with lower concurrent externalizing symptoms and greater decreases in externalizing symptoms over time. The results of the study suggest that stigma attitudes are differentiated by problem type and may represent one cultural factor shaping distress manifestations.


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