An Analysis of Cultural Content in Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing Textbooks
Deitrick, Anita J.
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The purpose of this study was to analyze the cultural content of selected psychiatric/mental health nursing textbooks. The study was based on Madeleine Leininger's theory of culture care diversity and universality. Four major research questions were posed for the study: (1) What cultures are represented in psychiatric/mental health nursing textbooks?; (2) How frequently is each culture represented?; (3) What is the context within which each culture is represented?; and (4) How accurately are cultures represented in psychiatric/mental health nursing textbooks? A qualitative research design was employed for the study. Data were collected from fourteen selected textbooks using four tools developed by the researcher. The findings of this study indicate that cultural content is being addressed in the psychiatric/mental health nursing textbooks. This content is primarily segregated into separate chapters. The majority of the textbooks focus on the four largest minority groups: African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-American, and Native-American. The frequency count of student learning activities indicated that African-Americans were the most often represented cultural groups appearing seventeen times in student learning activities. Hispanic-Americans and Asian-Americans were represented almost equally, appearing twelve and eleven times respectively. Native-Americans were represented only one time in student learning activities in the textbooks. Occasionally a member of another cultural group would be represented. Some variations in symptoms of illness were included in eleven of the fourteen psychiatric/mental health nursing textbooks examined. These variations primarily involved the four largest minority groups. Culture-bound syndromes for these four groups also were identified. The three contexts of health restoration, health maintenance, and health promotion were examined but information related to these areas was not mutually exclusive. Nursing activities identified could be applied to all three areas. This study also examined content in the psychiatric/mental health nursing textbooks for obvious examples of stereotyping and bias. Little evidence of obvious stereotyping and bias was found. Further research is needed to develop valid and reliable tools for the evaluation of multicultural content of all educational materials. Research needs to be conducted to evaluate the multicultural content of nursing curricula. The effect of experiential learning on knowledge and attitudes also need to be evaluated. Nurse educators need to lead the way in research that will contribute to the effectiveness of multicultural education. It is the responsibility of nurse educators to develop and implement multicultural content that is accurate and effective in teaching students to provide culturally congruent care.
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