Addressing Racial Equity in Health Psychology Research: An Application of the Multicultural Orientation Framework

Trisha L. Raque, Amanda M. Mitchell, M. Nicole Coleman, Jeremy J. Coleman, Jesse Owen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Health psychology research emphasizes biological and positivist methods, giving less attention to the multifaceted sociocultural and political forces at play in health processes and outcomes. In this article, we present a new sociostructural approach for working toward racial equity in health psychology research, consistent with public psychology goals. This new approach uses the multicultural orientation framework (MCO) to guide health psychologists to consider the sociocultural and political history of their work, systems of oppression and privilege embedded in health research, and a path toward using research to achieve social change, antiracism, and health equity. We identify MCO as a tool for health psychology researchers to engage in ongoing self-reflection, cultivate cultural humility, and act upon opportunities to examine cultural factors at each step of the research process. After describing the MCO’s components of cultural humility, cultural opportunities, and cultural comfort, we introduce questions that researchers can use to guide self-reflexivity and the implementation of MCO into health psychology research focused on racial equity. Specifically, we present the issue of Black women’s perinatal health to embody the importance of applying MCO to health disparities research. We then walk through how to apply MCO in health research study development, data collection, and data dissemination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1266-1279
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Antiracism
  • Health inequities
  • Multicultural orientation
  • Public psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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