Promoting strengths among culturally diverse youth in schools
School Psychology Forum
Abstract: School psychologists work with increasingly diverse students who represent a variety of cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. In this article, we discuss the need for addressing strengths among culturally diverse youth in order to promote optimal functioning. We first provide a historical perspective on multiculturalism and positive psychology, as well as a rationale for the integration of these areas of study. Then we describe the importance of psychologists working toward cultural competence through the knowledge of self and others’ cultural backgrounds. We discuss two culturally related strengths—ethnic identity and biculturalism—that have been shown to be adaptive for diverse youth and will likely have utility for school psychology practice. Finally, we conclude with two specific frameworks, the ADDRESSING model (Hays, 2001) and the Four-Front approach (Wright, 1991), which can be useful for conceptualizing students’ personal and environmental strengths and resources.