Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Margo A. Jackson & Jaya Mathew
Social science and medical literature, including research on mental health and counseling, has frequently been based on presuppositions that all individuals who differ from members of the sociopolitically dominant cultural group in the United States (i.e., male, heterosexual, Caucasian, Western European Americans of middle-class socioeconomic status and Christian religious affiliation) are deficient by comparison. This deficit hypothesis is particularly apparent in scientific literature presumptions that attribute psychological differences from Caucasians to deviance and pathology. Regarding members of U.S. racial and ethnic minority groups (or people of color)—African American, Hispanic/Latino/a American, Asian American, and American Indian people—the inferiority model is one example of a deficit hypothesis. The inferiority model assumes that the dominant Caucasian group represents the standard for normal or ideal behavior and that cultural groups who differ from these norms are biologically limited and genetically inferior by comparison. In contrast, psychology literature includes critiques that cite how data have ...