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Exploring culture, race, and ethnicity in early childhood mental health consultation: The role of the Consultative Alliance


Young boys of color are at disproportionate risk for suspension and expulsion from child care indicating that race and culture may influence disciplinary decisions. It is therefore necessary to investigate efforts to mitigate expulsion risk as well as the potential role of race and culture in these efforts. Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMHC) has been shown to be associated with reduced rates of expulsion. Prior research indicates that the positive effects of ECMHC are influenced by a strong positive relationship between a consultant and an educator—a construct referred to by Davis (2018) as the Consultative Alliance (CA). The current study sought to expand upon these findings to assess whether variables related to race and culture affected the CA, ECMHC outcomes, and/or the link between the two. Participants were young children (n = 316, average age = 42 months), early educators (n = 289) and MHCs (n = 62) from child care centers in a southwestern state. Results of moderation analyses conducted within multilevel models indicated that, for some outcomes, the predictive power of CA was stronger when the focus child for mental health consultation was a boy of color, the consultant had self-reported expertise in cultural diversity, and the educator and consultant were racially/ethnically matched. Taken together, these results suggest that adding a cultural lens to our exploration of the effectiveness of ECMHC may enhance our understanding of how racial disparities in child care programs might be mitigated. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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Section 6: Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC): A prevention-based approach to supporting social and emotional wellness in early care and education settings

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