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Jessica L. Mayo is a 2014 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee

  • Gargi Roysircar-Sodowsky, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • William Slammon, Ph.D. Committee Member
  • Cynthia Whitaker, Ph.D. Committee Member

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2014

Abstract

Given the proximity to Canada, many French Canadians who immigrated to the United States between 1850 and 1950 settled within New England. This immigration resulted in a large population of French Canadian descendants, now considered Franco Americans, within this region. Despite the number of Franco Americans, mental health professionals in New England are offered limited knowledge on conceptualizing and treating this population. To respond to this need, the present study investigated the cultural values, ethnic identity, and professional psychological help-seeking attitudes of contemporary Franco Americans. It was hypothesized that Franco Americans would prioritize values in line with the group’s traditional characteristics and values; immigrant generational status would impact ethnic identity and help-seeking attitudes; and ethnic identity would be negatively related to help-seeking attitudes. Information was gathered in an online survey utilizing demographic items, Portrait Values Questionnaire (PVQ) and additional author-created items, Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure-Revised (MEIM-R), and Attitude Toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help Scale-Short Form (ATSPPHS-SF). Data were evaluated using descriptive statistics, correlations, and tests of difference. Results indicated that Franco Americans ranked/prioritized values in the following order: work, family, benevolence, self-direction, universalism, conformity, hedonism, achievement, tradition, stimulation, religion, and power. Generational differences did not exist with regards to ethnic identity and help-seeking attitudes, and ethnic identity was not related to help-seeking attitudes. Women prioritized family and benevolence higher than men, whereas men prioritized power higher than women. Age was positively correlated with ethnic identity, universalism, self-direction, security, and religion, and negatively correlated with hedonism, achievement, and power. Those who spoke French as their first language possessed higher ethnic identity than those who spoke English as their first language. First generation prioritized religion and tradition higher than second generation. Third generation prioritized universalism higher than fourth generation. The study concluded: that (a) contemporary Franco Americans’ values orientations are similar to those of the general American population; (b) the majority of contemporary Franco Americans identify with an ethnic label, but do not have a high level of ethnic identity in terms of exploration and commitment; and (c) contemporary Franco Americans as a group hold impartial to somewhat favorable help-seeking attitudes.

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