The clinical evaluation of acculturative stress is for psycho-educational purposes and is imperative if supporting the learning process for individuals originating from systematically marginalized communities. With institutions seeking effective solutions to increase academic achievement, the assessment of acculturative stress as it relates to academic success can no longer be ignored.
Acculturative stress is a psychological phenomenon that causes depression, anxiety, and isolation that negatively impacts learning. Clinically documented, depression and anxiety fall under accommodation criteria. Current accommodations are granted for documented disabilities through the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990).
Acculturative stress generates adverse psychological, social, and academic outcomes equal to negative consequences for lack of accommodation for traditional disabilities. If something, such as a move across the street or a broken finger requires consideration, then surely something as well documented as the impact of acculturative stress originating from multiple encounters with racism, marginalization, and inequality rises beyond the level of a broken finger.
Cultural responsiveness is a significant accommodation for those experiencing acculturative stress. Cultural responsiveness decreases invisible yet present barriers to effective cognition and socialization in higher education institutions. Culturally responsive accommodations are recommended for individuals experiencing high levels of acculturative stress.
Providing documentation about acculturative stress and culturally responsive accommodations contributes to the increased well-being of individuals. If education professionals desire to increase the relevance and longevity of cultural responsiveness via clinical documentation, a meaningful, equitable, and culturally responsive shift in education will occur.
Clinical documentation of acculturative stress further contributes to the clinical significance of “lived experiences” that include racism, prejudice, and micro-aggressions occurring within a learning environment.
Acculturative stress should be categorized as a disability when present to a marked degree because can interfere with cognition and cause negative psychological outcomes when present to a marked degree. Acculturative stress can be measured and quantified. The results of a clinical evaluation can identify specific barriers in the learning environment for individuals. Barriers associated with specific culturally responsive accommodations can be identified. This is the foundation for the clinical process of building cognitive equity in education. Similarly, as with current practice, accommodations will be provided to instructors and course designers to help develop more culturally responsive learning experiences for individuals. The CRS approach allows meaningful support to be introduced in the learning environment.
Documenting lived experiences is crucial when assessing acculturative stress because it provides valuable insights into the unique challenges individuals face as they navigate the process of adapting to a new culture. Acculturative stress is the psychological, social, and emotional strain that individuals may experience as a result of cultural adaptation. Here are several reasons why documenting lived experiences is important in this context:
In summary, documenting lived experiences is an essential component of assessing acculturative stress because it provides a rich and comprehensive understanding of the individual’s journey. This understanding, in turn, enables the development of targeted interventions, fosters cultural sensitivity, and contributes to the broader knowledge base on acculturation and mental health.
Garcia, J. A., Sanchez, G. R., Sanchez-Youngman, S., Vargas, E. D., & Ybarra, V. D. (2015). RACE AS LIVED EXPERIENCE: The Impact of Multi-Dimensional Measures of Race/Ethnicity on the Self-Reported Health Status of Latinos. Du Bois review: social science research on race, 12(2), 349–373. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1742058X1500012RACE AS LIVED EXPERIENCE – PMC (nih.gov)
Gomez, J., Miranda, R., & Polanco, L. (2011). Acculturative stress, perceived discrimination, and vulnerability to suicide attempts among emerging adults. Journal of youth and adolescence, 40(11), 1465–1476. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-011-9688-9 Acculturative Stress, Perceived Discrimination, and Vulnerability to Suicide Attempts among Emerging Adults – PMC (nih.gov)
Urzúa, A., Caqueo-Urízar, A., Henríquez, D., & Williams, D. R. (2021). Discrimination and Health: The Mediating Effect of Acculturative Stress. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(10), 5312. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105312
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