Date of Award

May 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Shawn Cahill

Committee Members

Jonathan Kanter, Shannon Chavez-Korell, HanJoo Lee


Behavioral Activation, Cultural Competence, Online Training


There is a growing need for mental health professionals to provide evidence-based practices in a culturally competent manner, in part, due to the current and projected increases in racial and ethnic minority and immigrant populations in the United States and barriers to mental health services for those populations. In light of many barriers to access to mental health services for underserved populations, one crucial factor is cultural incompetence of providers. This study sought to address the mental health imperative to improve the culture competence of clinicians by creating a cultural competence training for health professionals using a behavioral model and methodological framework that would be effective, scalable, efficient, and cost and time-effective. The present study aimed to 1) develop a cultural competence training module from an existing model, and 2) evaluate preliminary efficacy, feasibility and acceptability of the cultural competence training module using a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that compared a standard therapy training (Behavioral Activation) with that therapy training plus the cultural competence training. The training took place bi-weekly over 18 weeks in 6 one-hour and a half sessions. Training content was delivered online and through self-paced materials. Study findings are presented as preliminary and exploratory. Results overall were promising suggesting that the trainings provided significant increases in cultural competence skills as evidenced by the cultural competence subscale of the Behavioral Activation Skills Assessment (BASA) and the skills subscale of the Multicultural Awareness, Knowledge and Skills Survey (MAKSS) for participants that underwent the cultural competence training. However, results on the BASA evidenced a slightly smaller, yet significant improvement in cultural competence for participants who did not participate in the cultural competence training. Lastly, results on the other BASA scales indicate that participants significantly improved in their BA competency at similar rates as those found in previous pilot studies.