Vol. 8:1 (1998) ► pp.181–201
Clinicians' Perceptions of Children's Oral Personal Narratives
A diverse group of child clinicians (n — 39) rated paragraph-long transcriptions of two Euro-American, two African-American, and two Latino children's oral narratives. Clinicians were asked to rate the logic, cohesion, and comprehensibility of the stories using 6-point scales. They were also asked to give a rough estimate of the children's IQ, to comment on the existence of emotional/behavioral and/or learning/language problems, and to assign possible diagnoses. The results indicated clinicians' ratings of the Latino narratives were significantly different from ratings of the Euro-American and African-American narratives, as confirmed by Scheffe post hoc analysis. Diagnoses revealed a distribution by ethnicity of children. Euro-Americans received 21 diagnoses, African-Americans received 33 diagnoses, and Latinos received 53 diagnoses. Further, clinicians' ethnicity and gender did not account for any group differences. The implications of these findings are twofold. First, clinicians seem to be unaware of the differences in Latino children's narrative structure, and seem to be penalizing them for not conforming to the Euro-American structure. Second, it appears that clinicians training and practicing in the U.S. tend to adopt a Euro-American perspective which may desensitize them as to the narrative intricacies of their own culture.
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