Assessing culturally competent chemical dependence treatment services for Mexican Americans

Clayton Shorkey, Liliane Cambraia Windsor, Richard Spence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mexican Americans struggling with chemical dependence are greatly underserved. Barriers to treatment include language, lack of culturally relevant services, lack of trust in programs, uninviting environments, and limited use and linkage with cultural resources in the community. This project aimed to develop a tool for assessing and planning culturally competent/relevant chemical dependence treatment services for Mexican Americans. Focus groups were conducted with experts in Mexican-American culture and chemical dependence from six substance abuse programs serving adult and adolescent Mexican Americans and their families. Sixty-two statements were developed describing characteristics of culturally competent/relevant organizations. Concept mapping was used to produce a conceptual map displaying dimensions of culturally competent/relevant organizations and Cronbach's alpha was calculated to assess the internal consistency of each dimension. Analysis resulted in seven reliable subscales: Spanish language (α∈=∈0.84), counselor characteristics (α∈=∈0.82), environment (α∈=∈0.88), family (α∈=∈0.84), linkage (α∈=∈0.92), community (α∈=∈0.86), and culture (α∈=∈0.89). The resulting instrument based on these items and dimensions enable agencies to evaluate culturally competent/relevant services, set goals, and identify resources needed to implement desired services for both individual organizations and networks of regional services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-74
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Behavioral Health Services and Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Cultural competence
  • Hispanic
  • Mexican American
  • Substance abuse treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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