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date: 23 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents an outline of eight general features of culture that provide a background for understanding the role of culture in assessment. The eight general features define culture as shared meaning; distinct from ethnicity, race, and minority status; as occurring in a setting or ecology; as dynamic and transactional; as experienced subjectively; as operating silently as well as with voices; as providing multiple views of reality and the world; as influencing the ways in which individuals express distress; and, for infants and toddlers in particular, as mediated through the parenting relationship. The authors distinguish the classification of disorder from the assessment of the individual and the role of current diagnostic systems, such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition, and the revised Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood (DC:0–5).

Keywords: early development, culture, cultural formulation, diagnostic assessment

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