Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Elin Ovrebo

Committee Member

Douglas Strohmer

Committee Member

Chrisann Schiro-Geist

Committee Member

Laura Marks


The importance of cultural competence for psychologists and psychology students are discussed at length in theoretical psychology literature. Some authors have suggested that international experiences such as study and work abroad may promote cultural competence. However, few empirical studies explore whether such experiences actually promote intercultural and multicultural competence. The current study investigated whether international experience, defined as time spent outside the United States for the purposes of education, professional training or work, is associated with higher levels of perceived intercultural competence (IC), multicultural competence (MC), and self-awareness among doctoral students in psychology. Two hundred seventy-seven psychology doctorate students from APA accredited clinical and counseling graduate programs completed self-report surveys that measured their perceived cultural competence and self-awareness. Results of analysis of variance group comparisons suggested that there were several significant relationships between time spent abroad and IC, MC, and public self-awareness. International experiences of more than 180 days were related to higher levels of IC and lower levels of perceived public self-awareness, but differences in perceived MC as predicted by time spent abroad were only found between groups of less than 30 days and 30 90 days abroad. Correlation studies also revealed several significant, but weak relationships between perceived cultural competence, self-awareness, type of international experience and the number of graduate level multicultural courses taken by psychology doctorate students. Implications and recommendations were included for graduate psychology training and study abroad programs as well as the research and measurement of cultural competence and self- awareness.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.