CHANGES IN CULTURAL BENCHMARKS IN THE MULTIETHNIC UNITED STATES
PAMELA GELLER AND EVELYN OROZCO
The United States is a country comprised of numerous ethnic groups. Both between and within these different groups, there is tremendous diversity in terms of timing and reasons for immigration to the U.S., level of acculturation, and maintenance of cultural benchmarks. Despite the within group differences, we have attempted to clarify what makes each of the major ethnic groups in the U.S. distinct from one another in terms of worldview and the use of social resources. We discuss how the melting pot and pluralistic perspectives have served to maintain these ethnic group distinctions. We conclude that there is greater acceptance of cultural diversity as we approach the twenty-first century, but that there may be the development of new cultural benchmarks as the majority - or dominant group - and minority groups have increased interaction and combine to form an amalgamated society.
Ethnic minorities - Worldviews - Social Support - Pluralism - Cultural Diversity
Dr. Pamela A. GELLER is an assistant professor of Clinical and Health Psychology and director of the Student Counseling Center at MCP Hahnemann University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, and completed a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship in Psychiatric Epidemiology at the Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University in New York City. Dr. Geller’s research interests involve stressful life events and mental and physical health outcomes, and the role of personal and social resources as moderators of stress. Her work has focused on differences within and between different ethnic groups, as well as women’s health issues, including women’s reproductive health.
Dr. Evelyn A. OROZCO is director of the Healthy Families America teen parent programs sponsored by the University of Medicine and Dentistry-University Behavioral Health Care, Piscataway, NJ. She completed a M.A. in Counseling Psychology at Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio. Dr. Orozco’s clinical work includes home-based therapy with multiethnic populations–specifically women and their children. Her research interests focus on the impact of acculturation on self-esteem and interpersonal relationships for Latina women.
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