Multicultural Training, Experience, and Competence In Counseling Center and Hospital Settings

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

William G. Wagner

Advisor Department



Since the first operationalization of multicultural competencies, training programs and professional organizations have worked to improve training on diversity issues. The construct of multicultural competence is important in attempts to evaluate the quality of this training. Attempts to survey practicing doctoral-level psychologists have been limited. This study investigated the relationship between individual multicultural competence and a new construct of institutional multicultural competence suggested by recent guidelines on multicultural practice (American Psychological Association, 2003). Psychologists were surveyed online in two disparate environments, University Counseling Centers (UCCs) and Veterans Administration Medical Centers (VAMCs). Individual multicultural competence was measured using the Muticultural Counseling Knowledge and Awareness Scale (MCKAS). Institutional multicultural competence was measured using the Diversity Mission Evaluation Questionnaire (DMEQ). Three correlational comparisons and two hierarchical linear regression analyses were used to explore these relationships and factors that predicted MCKAS and DMEQ total scores. A significant positive relationship was found between MCKAS scores and DMEQ scores. There was a positive relationship between total MCKAS scores and total DMEQ scores at UCCs, but not at VAMCs. There was not a significant difference in the strength of correlation between the two work environments. Regression results revealed that gender, multicultural training, and work environment were significant predictors of MCKAS total score, while experience with ethnic minority clients was not a significant predictor. Regression analysis revealed that experience with ethnic minority clients was a significant but small predictor of DMEQ scores, while gender, multicultural training, and work environment were not. The results suggest the importance of factors APA identified as critical to good multicultural practice across work environments. The suggested interaction between work environment and individual competence supports the need for a new standard definition of multicultural competence that extends beyond the individual. Further research is necessary to better identify factors important to institutional competence. Finally, results suggest that it is difficult for psychologists to create change in institutional competence without at least tacit cooperation from their work environment. It is thus vital for psychologists to be more actively aware of their work environment to meet the needs of their community.