This study investigated a new 2-factor construct, termed cultural congruence, which is related to cultural competence in the delivery of mental health services to ethnic minority clients. Cultural congruence was defined as the distance between the cultural competence characteristics of the health care organization and the clients' perception of those elements according to their cultural needs. The measure evidenced both reliability and validity in predicting criterion-related indicators. Older Hispanic/Latino clients (N = 272) receiving mental health services either through integrated primary care or referral to specialized mental health care were assessed for depression and anxiety symptomatology and health status at baseline, 3-, and 6-month follow-up treatment. Results indicated that cultural congruence predicted treatment outcomes (reduction of symptomatology) independent of treatment and evidenced moderator effects with respect to depression, suicidality, anxiety, and physical health criteria. Cultural congruence was more effective under the condition of the enhanced specialty referral model than under the integrated primary care model. Results are discussed in terms of how the new construct of cultural congruence extends knowledge of culturally competent mental health practice among the older Hispanic/Latino population.
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