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Impacts of Colonial Mentality Among Filipinos

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Despite the rapid growth of Filipino communities throughout the United States, this population remains understudied and underserved by the mental health care system (Sue & Sue, 2003). Based on the 2000 U.S. Census, Barnes and Bennett (2002) reported that Filipinos represent the second largest Asian subgroup in the United States following Chinese Americans, and are projected to become the largest Asian American ethnic group in the 2010 census (Nadal, 2009). Yet, according to Ying and Hu (1994), Filipino Americans underutilize psychotherapeutic services when compared with other Asian American populations. One primary reason for this underutilization may be that Western therapy is not congruent with Filipino cultural values. Researchers argue that Filipino Americans may be neglected in research due to the “model minority” stereotype associated with Asian Americans (de la Paz, 2004; Espiritu, 1995; Nadal, 2009). This stereotype involves sweeping assumptions regarding Asian Americans in general without considering the distinctions among various ethnicities that comprise this generic racial category. For example, many Filipinos have Spanish surnames and most Filipino immigrants speak English, further contributing to Filipinos’ invisibility in the United States (Nadal, 2009).

Filipinos also have a greater percentage of intermarriage with other ethnicities than do other Asian sub-groups (Le, 2009). These factors may contribute to the neglect of the needs of the Filipino American community. Espiritu (1995) further contends that “the invisibility of the Philippines and Filipino Americans is connected to a historical amnesia and self-erasure regarding U.S. colonization of the Philippines, in particular, and U.S. imperialism, in general” (p. 2). In 1 addition, Filipinos may also be relatively invisible to the psychological community due to their lack of help-seeking. Psychology has started to recognize the significant between-group differences among Asian Americans. Specifically, researchers have recognized that the collective ethnic identity of Filipinos is distinct from the experiences of other Asian American groups because of the pervasive historical impact of Western influences, which include Spanish and American colonization (Root, 1997). The history of the Philippines, with its colonization by Spain and the United States, and the subsequent trends of immigration into the United States form a context through which practitioners can better understand Filipino Americans (Sese, 2008).

Nadal (2008) indicates how the colonization of Filipino culture has impacted religion, language, and cultural self-perceptions. It is important that psychologists understand this unique context in order to provide meaningful, professional support that Filipinos will seek out. The goal of the present study was to better understand the determinants of psychological help-seeking patterns of Filipino Americans by examining specific aspects of enculturation and colonial mentality. No research to date has examined how colonial mentality is related to help-seeking attitudes. Filipino Americans and Colonial Mentality As a result of colonization, Filipinos may be susceptible to developing a colonial mentality (CM) (Nadal, 2008) whereby the colonizer’s values and beliefs are accepted by the colonized as truths, and the customs of the colonizer are accepted as being superior to those of the colonized (Strobel, 2001).

Similar to the concept of internalized racism, CM includes “beliefs about race, ethnicity, religion, language, cultural practices, traditions 2 and standards of beauty,” and can lead to hierarchy or within-group discrimination (Nadal, 2008, p. 165). CM may also involve an automatic and critical rejection of anything Filipino and an automatic and uncritical preference for anything American. CM is a multifaceted construct and the manifestations vary by individuals (David & Okazaki, 2006a). Research has found colonial mentality to be positively related to depression (David, 2008; David & Okazaki, 2006b) and negatively related to psychological well- being, enculturation, personal self-esteem, and collective self-esteem (Bergano & Bergano-Kinney, 1997; David & Okazaki, 2006b). David & Okazaki (2006b) theorized three general types of effects of colonialism. First, covert manifestations of colonial mentality (CM) consist of internalized cultural/ethnic inferiority and cultural shame/embarrassment, whereby the colonized internalizes a sense of inferiority imposed by the colonizer. This intrinsic feeling of unworthiness among Filipinos may lead to a feeling that European Americans are superior which has major implications for the dynamics in the therapeutic relationship.

Filipino Americans may have unconsciously internalized messages about themselves based on their perception that Filipino culture is inferior to Western culture, which may lead to pervasive institutionalized and systemic feelings of inferiority. As Dovidio, Major, and Crocker (2000) suggested, in addition to knowing that their social identity is generally devalued by others, stigmatized persons in general may also be aware of negative stereotypes associated with their [ethnic] group which in turn may produce particular vulnerabilities such as shame, powerlessness, and internalized racism. Second, overt manifestations of CM include within-group discrimination and denigration of Filipino physical characteristics. The discrimination toward less- 3 Americanized Filipinos and resentment of the Filipino phenotype reflect the internal desire to distance oneself from perceptions of inferior identity. Finally, colonial debt is a third type of manifestation of CM in which an individual believes that the colonizer is superior and thus emulates the colonizer and perceives the colonizer as well-intentioned, civilizing, and liberating (David & Okazaki, 2006b).

Thus, colonial debt tolerates historical and contemporary oppression of Filipino Americans by seeing colonization as the natural cost of progress or civilization; admiring the colonizer; and adopting the belief that the colonizer is superior. Overall, CM reflects both a group and individual orientation, which denigrates the Filipino culture as a whole, as well as individually-focused denigration. People who experience internalized colonial oppression or CM may demonstrate a stronger identification with the dominant culture, rather than the culture of origin. Thus, it would be expected that CM as a whole would reflect more positive attitudes toward help- seeking because the rejection of Filipino culture may lead to the idealization of Western culture, including how one deals with psychological problems. Filipino Americans and Enculturation There are multiple values and behaviors that may be considered expressions of enculturation. The first involves a person’s level of interaction with their homeland, which includes participation in cultural traditions, knowledge of Filipino culture and identification with the Filipino community (del Prado, 2007).

Religion (particularly Catholicism) is also a very significant part of Filipino culture (del Prado). The attitudes and behaviors among Filipino Americans which relate to traditional roles, including hierarchy in relationships, deference to authority figures and gender role expectations, are 4 other expressions of enculturation. Sense of personal dignity and the strong cultural notion of hiya, or shame, along with indirect communication styles are common features that distinguish Filipino enculturation. Finally, the collectivistic culture of Filipino Americans focuses on family solidarity and family obligation. These specific factors describe levels of enculturation as conceptualized by del Prado. Research has demonstrated that when Filipino enculturation is higher, adherence to Asian values, retention of their Asian culture of origin, and affiliation with other Asian Americans, is also higher (del Prado, 2007). It should be noted, however, that high enculturation does not imply low acculturation, or low affiliation with American cultural values (del Prado, 2007). Enculturation has been found to relate negatively to help- seeking attitudes in other Asian groups.

Kim and Omizo (2003) found that in Asian American college students, (primarily Chinese, Korean and Filipinos) adherence to general Asian values (i.e., high enculturation) was inversely related to both attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help and willingness to see a counselor. Moreover, Kim (2007) found that after controlling for the association with acculturation to European American values, enculturation to Asian cultural values was inversely related to attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help. In other words, more positive attitudes toward help-seeking in Asian Americans was associated with less traditional Asian cultural norms, rather than the acquisition of European American cultural norms. Aspects of enculturation consist of interaction with one’s homeland; religious activity; sense of personal dignity; indirectness or non-assertiveness; traditional gender roles; family solidarity; and family obligation (del Prado, 2007).

The traditional cultural 5 values and behaviors unique to Filipinos may relate to less positive attitudes toward seeking psychological help. Thus, it is expected that enculturation would relate to more negative attitudes toward help-seeking. Purpose of the Study The purpose of the current study was to explore the potential impact of colonial mentality and enculturation on help-seeking attitudes among Filipino Americans. It was hypothesized that colonial mentality would be positively associated with help-seeking attitudes as it implies a rejection of Filipino cultural characteristics, while enculturation would be negatively associated with help- seeking attitudes, after controlling for demographic variables associated with help-seeking. Furthermore, the predictive variance of the individual subscales of colonial mentality (e.g., within group discrimination, physical characteristics, colonial debt, cultural shame and embarrassment, and internalized cultural/ethnic inferiority) and enculturation (e.g., interaction with homeland, religion, personal dignity, indirectness, traditional roles, family solidarity, and family obligation) on help seeking attitudes were also examined. Method Participants All 251 participants self-identified as Filipino American. Participants were obtained through Filipino student cultural organizations at local universities, the Asian American Psychological Association, and social networking websites.

As seen in Table 1, participants ranged in age from 18 to 72 (median age = 31, M = 34, SD = 10.95). Males comprised 30.5% and females comprised 69.5% of the sample. Residents from California comprised 77.3% followed by 5.2%> residents from Hawaii. Participants who held 4-year 6 college degrees comprised 44.2%, followed by 32.3% with advanced degrees, making it a highly educated sample. In terms of generational status, 49% identified as 2nd generation or higher, followed by 27.5% who identified as 1st generation, and 23.5% identified as 1.5 generation (born the Philippines, but grew up in the U.S.) Naturalized citizens comprised 40.4% while 50.8% comprised U.S. born citizens. The majority of participants (69.2%o) identified as Catholic, and almost 33% reported religious attendance once a week.

7 Table 1: Demographic Characteristics of Sample Variable n % of sample M SD Gender Male Female Missing Age Missing Education Advanced degree 4-year college degree Junior college Some college High school Some high school Other Generational Status 1st generation 2nd generation 3 rd generation or higher Religion Catholic Protestant Muslim Iglesia ni Cristo Seventh Day Adventist None Other Missing Religious Attendance 2x per week or more lx per week lx per month Less than lx per month Never 76 173 2 235 16 81 111 15 31 10 1 69 59 123 173 16 0 2 0 24 35 1 18 82 28 81 42 30.5 69.5 32.3 44.2 6.0 12.4 4.0 .4 27.5 23.5 49.0 69.2 6.4 .8 9.6 13.9 .4 7.1 32.7 11.2 32.3 16.7 33.98 10.95 Procedures Prior to data collection, approvals were obtained from the Institutional Review Board of the host institution. Study instruments, including an informed consent letter, were completed online through SurveyMonkey.com. Measures Measures were completed in the order listed: a demographic measure with an option to provide open comments; the Colonial Mentality Scale (CMS) (David & Okazaki, 2006); the Enculturation Scale for Filipino Americans (ESFA) (del Prado, 2007); and Attitudes Toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help – Shortened Form (ATSPPH-SF) (Fischer & Farina, 1995). Colonial Mentality Scale (CMS) The Colonial Mentality Scale (CMS) (David & Okazaki, 2006b) is a 36-item self- report measure that is intended to assess feelings, opinions, attitudes, and behaviors associated with five factors of CM including:

(a) Within-Group Discrimination (tendency to discriminate against less-Americanized Filipinos); (b) Physical Characteristics (tendency to perceive Filipino physical traits as inferior to White physical traits; (c) Colonial Debt (tendency to feel fortunate for having been colonized and to feel indebted to one’s past colonizers; (d) Cultural Shame and Embarrassment (examines feelings of shame and embarrassment toward Filipino culture); and (e) Internalized Cultural/Ethnic Inferiority (describes feelings of inferiority about one’s ethnicity and culture). A higher number on the 6-point Likert type scale indicates higher colonial mentality. In the original study by David and Okazaki using 603 Filipino Americans, the internal 9 consistency ranged from .33 to .66 and subscale intercorrelations were low to moderate (.19 to .49). Validity studies demonstrated that CMS was negatively correlated to Collective Self-Esteem Scale, indicating that as one’s level of CM increases, one’s evaluation of one’s ethnic group becomes less positive. Enculturation Scale for Filipino Americans (ESFA) The 35-item short version of the Enculturation Scale for Filipino Americans (ESFA) (del Prado, 2007) measures adherence to central values, attitudes, and behaviors of Filipino culture.

The Interaction with Homeland scale measures a participant’s contact with the Philippines and other Filipinos; adherence to food customs; and use, preference, and knowledge of Filipino language. The Religion subscale includes items that describe the participation and value placed on religious activities. The Sense of Personal Dignity scale includes items that describe the value placed on self-respect and respect for others. The Indirectness scale measures non-assertive, indirect and covert ways of communicating and interacting with others. The Traditional Roles subscale assesses the belief in gender roles for males, females, and within relationships in general. The Family Solidarity measures the importance of family closeness and unity in family relationships. Finally, the Family Obligation scale measures feelings of obligation to one’s family.

The ESFA has a 6-point Likert scale and a higher number on the scale indicates higher enculturation to Filipino culture. In del Prado’s study with 269 Filipino Americans, internal consistency was very good (.96) and the reliability for the subscales ranged from .70-.96. 10 Attitudes Toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help The widely used Attitudes Toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help Scale – Short Form (ATSPPH-SF) (Fischer & Farina, 1995) has 10 items on a 4-point Likert scale that assess four factors: Need (recognition of need for psychotherapeutic help); Stigma (tolerance of stigma associated to seeking psychological help); Openness (interpersonal openness regarding one’s problems); and Confidence (confidence in the ability of the mental health practitioner to be helpful). Higher scores reflect more positive attitudes toward help-seeking. Fischer and Farina reported evidence of criterion-related validity and convergent validity (r=.87). The reliability demonstrated a coefficient alpha of .84.

The ATSPPH-SF has also been used in a number of studies with ethnic minorities by Kim and Omizo (2003) who found good evidence for the scale’s reliability. Results Preliminary Analyses The means, standard deviations, and scale reliabilities in the current study are shown in Table 2. The normality of the distributions was assessed using skewness divided by the standard error of skewness (SK/SE). When SK/SE values exceeded +/- 4.0, distributions were normalized using logarithm transformations. Transformed variables included: Colonial Mentality; Within-Group Discrimination; Physical Characteristics; Internalized Cultural/Ethnic Inferiority; Traditional Roles; and Family Solidarity. Age (r = .30, p < .001) and education (r = .26, p < .001) were significantly correlated to help-seeking attitudes. No other demographics were significantly related to help-seeking attitudes and were used in all computations with that variable.

11 Table 2: Reliability Coefficients and Descriptive Statistics for Survey Measures Measure Colonial Mentality Scale Colonial debt Cult, shame/embarrassment Intern, cult/ethnic inferiority Physical characteristics Within-group discrimination Enculturation Scale for Filipino Americans Family Obligation Family Solidarity Indirectness Interaction with homeland Personal Dignity Religion Traditional Roles #of items 36 7 5 5 8 11 35 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 Cronbach’s Alpha .914 .801 .729 .683 .869 .810 .749 .672 .662 .739 .773 .750 .736 .766 M 74.66 18.72 6.70 9.51 17.22 22.51 123.19 22.01 22.95 11.70 17.95 14.31 19.97 10.37 (SD) (23.43) (7.10) (2.97) (4.17) (8.19) (8.19) (17.67) (4.60) (4.33) (4.08) (6.16) (5.36) (6.36) (4.91) Attitudes toward psych, help 10 .860 28.40 (5.58) 12 Correlational analyses Colonial Mentality overall was negatively and significantly related to attitudes toward seeking psychological help (r = -.19, p < .003), counter to hypothesis 1. Furthermore, none of the subscales of colonial mentality were positively related to help- seeking attitudes. The only subscales that were significantly and negatively related to attitudes toward seeking psychological help were:

Colonial Debt (r = -.30, p < .001) and Within-Group Discrimination (r = -.14, p < .05). The following subscales were not significantly related to attitudes toward seeking psychological help: Internalized Cultural/Ethnic Inferiority (r = -.01); Cultural Shame and Embarrassment (r = -.03); and Physical Characteristics (r = -.11). Results indicated that there was a statistically significant negative correlation between enculturation and help-seeking attitudes as expected (r = -.26, p < .001) and are reported in Table 3. Religious Activity (r = -.20, p < .002), Traditional Roles (r = -.22, p < .001), Personal Dignity (r=i-.\2,p< .05), and Indirectness {r = -.\l,p< .006) were negatively and significantly related to attitudes toward seeking psychological help. Interaction with Homeland (r = -.02), Family Obligation (r = -.05), and Family Solidarity (r = .11) were not significantly related to attitudes toward seeking psychological help.

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