Behavior Analysts’ Training and Practices Regarding Cultural Diversity: the Case for Culturally Competent Care

  • Lauren BeaulieuEmail author
  • Joshua Addington
  • Daniel Almeida
Research Article


The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that by 2044, the United States will become a majority minority nation, meaning no group will have a majority portion of the total population (Colby & Ortman, 2014). Therefore, training on working effectively with individuals from diverse backgrounds is critical. We surveyed Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) to assess the amount of training they received during their coursework, fieldwork or practicum, employer training, and continuing education on working with people from diverse backgrounds. In addition, we assessed whether BCBAs thought training on this topic was important, how skilled they thought they were in this area, and whether behavior-analytic course instructors included material on cultural diversity in their courses. The majority of respondents reported that training on working with individuals from diverse backgrounds is very or extremely important. Interestingly, although the majority of respondents reported they felt moderately or extremely comfortable and were moderately or extremely skilled at working with individuals from diverse backgrounds, the majority of respondents reported having little or no training in this area. We discuss the implications of these results for the field of applied behavior analysis and future directions.


Cultural assessment Cultural awareness Cultural sensitivity Diversity 



We thank the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) for assistance with dispersing our survey to certificants. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and not the BACB.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors do not have a conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyFlorida Institute of TechnologyMelbourneUSA
  2. 2.Newton Public SchoolsNewtonUSA

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