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Keywords:

  • diversity;
  • ethnography;
  • mental health services;
  • multicultural psychology;
  • preferences

Abstract

The goal of this study is to analyze preferences for relational styles in encounters with mental health providers across racial and ethnic groups. Four primary themes describe what patients want from a mental health provider: listening, understanding, spending time, and managing differences. However, using contextual comparative analysis, the findings explicate how these themes are described differently across African Americans, Latinos, and non-Latino Whites, uncovering important qualitative differences in the meaning of these themes across the groups. The article suggests that closer attention to qualitative preferences for style of interaction with providers may help address disparities in mental health care for racial and ethnic minorities. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol 67:1–14, 2010.