Culturally Informed Care of the Turkish-American Child, Adolescent, and Family
Hatice Burakgazi Yilmaz, Alican Dalkilic, Cheryl Al-Mateen, Aradhana Sood and Andres J. Pumariega
Affiliation: Temple University, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Temple Episcopal Campus, 3rd Floor, 100 E. Lehigh Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19125.
Keywords: Turkish child, Turkish culture, cultural competency, ethnicity, immigrants, mental health, American Muslims,
Background and objectives: We aim to provide clinicians with clinically relevant information about Turkish
culture and provided some clinical case experience from the United States. We discuss common values, traditions, and
nuances within Turkish culture, and highlight basic Turkish family structures and roles in the U.S. Our objective is to help
clinicians be aware of clinically important characteristics of their patients’ cultures and make appropriate adjustments.
Results: According to the US Census population report, by 2030 European-origin children will no longer be a majority in
the US and this is already the case among 7 years old children and younger. Culture and ethnicity may have significant
impact on diagnosis, treatment, and outcome in psychiatry. Culturally uninformed evaluation and care can lead to acculturative
stress, a weak therapeutic alliance, non-adherence, neglect, and misdiagnosis. Methods: We review of demographic
information and literature regarding Turkish immigrants to the US. Since, there has been so far no research about
Turkish children, adolescents, and families in the US, we rely on our clinical experience and research conducted in countries
other than the U.S. Results: Overall there are about 7 million American Muslims, whose lives are significantly influenced
by Islamic values. The Turkish and Muslim population in Europe and North America will likely continue to increase
due to globalization, strong economic growth in Turkey, and the effects of the “Arab Spring” on the Islamic World.
Conclusions: We hope this article will provide an initial guide for clinicians treating minority Turkish patients and families
and also advance awareness about the need of cultural competence in psychiatry.
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