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Cultural adaptation of evidence-based practice utilizing an iterative stakeholder process and theoretical framework: problem solving therapy for Chinese older adults




Main objectives were to familiarize the reader with a theoretical framework for modifying evidence-based interventions for cultural groups, and to provide an example of one method, Formative Method for Adapting Psychotherapies (FMAP), in the adaptation of an evidence-based intervention for a cultural group notorious for refusing mental health treatment.


Provider and client stakeholder input combined with an iterative testing process within the FMAP framework was utilized to create the Problem Solving Therapy—Chinese Older Adult (PST-COA) manual for depression. Data from pilot-testing the intervention with a clinically depressed Chinese elderly woman are reported.


PST-COA is categorized as a ‘culturally-adapted’ treatment, where core mediating mechanisms of PST were preserved, but cultural themes of measurement methodology, stigma, hierarchical provider-client relationship expectations, and acculturation enhanced core components to make PST more understandable and relevant for Chinese elderly. Modifications also encompassed therapeutic framework and peripheral elements affecting engagement and retention. PST-COA applied with a depressed Chinese older adult indicated remission of clinical depression and improvement in mood. Fidelity with and acceptability of the treatment was sufficient as the client completed and reported high satisfaction with PST-COA.


PST, as a non-emotion-focused, evidence-based intervention, is a good fit for depressed Chinese elderly. Through an iterative stakeholder process of cultural adaptation, several culturally-specific modifications were applied to PST to create the PST-COA manual. PST-COA preserves core therapeutic PST elements but includes cultural adaptations in therapeutic framework and key administration and content areas that ensure greater applicability and effectiveness for the Chinese elderly community. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.