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Tony Wu


Depression is a prominent issue in the African American community. However, there are significant gaps in the literature on the delivery and outcomes of culturally relevant mental health psychotherapy to African Americans. Cultural variables, such as worldview, have been noted to impact an individual's overall psychosocial functioning and have significant implications for mental health service delivery. The purpose of this study was to use archival data to analyze the impact of African-centered therapeutic services on depressive symptoms and on Africentric worldview among African Americans. Archival data on 38 African American adults, recorded from 2012-2015, were obtained from a community mental health agency in the Midwest. Each of the adults received therapy via an African-centered treatment modality. The study was grounded in the cognitive theory of depression and optimal theory. The dependent treatment outcome variables were (a) depressive symptomology, as measured with the depression subscale of the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised and (b) Africentric worldview as measured by the Belief Systems Analysis Scale. The dependent variables were measured twice: once in the beginning and once at the end of a year's treatment. A dependent, paired t tests indicated a significant reduction in depressive symptoms but no significant increase in adherence to Africentric worldview. This study has implications for positive social change by: providing increased insight on the need for culturally relevant services to African Americans, which can subsequently lead to culturally relevant social change in the delivery of mental health services to diverse populations.