While psychological assessment can be useful, it is merely a tool that provides a piece of a puzzle when assessing individuals. Many things need to be considered in addition to psychological assessment to generate the most accurate results. No individual is exactly the same, therefore a standarized assessment tool will remain flawed. Cultural and linguistic differences are important to acknowledge and understand in efforts to reduce bias in assessment tools.
Cultural and Linguistic Issues Impacting Psychological Assessment
An individuals culture is one of the most influential factors that will drive an individual’s responses to psychological assessment. Culture molds and shapes our values, social norms, behaviors and belief systems. Duran, Firehammer and Gonzalez (2008) recognize, “Culture is part of the soul. As human beings, we are all part of a culture and not separate from it” (p.288 ). The understanding of culture is complex and has to be extended to include how domestic and international culture vary in relation to similarities, variances and contradictions. Within cultures there are subcultures further complicating the ability to truly remove bias from psychological assessment.
Exposure is another factor that plays a pivotal role in the development of a human being and their perceptions. Each exposure an individual has results in a experience, contributing their frame of reference. Far to often it is assumed that because human beings possess the same machinery (brian, senses, body parts) that it operates in same manner and if it doesn’t, it is defective or broken. The realization that different doesn’t equate to flawed is critical in psychological assessment. Duran, Firehammer and Gonzalez (2008) state:
The culture-bound nature of the diagnostic nosology used by mental health practitioners, referred to as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed., text rev.; American Psychiatric Association, 2000), serves to alienate Native people and...