This study investigated services received, length of treatment, and outcomes of thousands
of Asian-American, African-American, Mexican-American, and White clients using outpatient
services in the Los Angeles County mental health system. It tested the hypothesis
that therapist-client matches in ethnicity and language are beneficial to clients.
Results indicate that Asian Americans and Mexican Americans underutilized, whereas
African Americans overutilized, services. African Americans also exhibited less positive
treatment outcomes. Furthermore, ethnic match was related to length of treatment for
all groups. It was associated with treatment outcomes for Mexican Americans. Among
clients who did not speak English as a primary language, ethnic and language match
was a predictor of length and outcome of treatment. Thus, the cultural responsiveness
hypothesis was partially supported.