Race of Interviewer Effect on Disclosures of Suicidal Low-Income African American Women
Few studies have investigated the impact of interviewer race on the results gleaned through psychological assessment. African American and European American clinical evaluators conducted face-to-face interviews with 161 low-income African American women seeking services at an inner-city hospital following a suicide attempt. Participants were administered measures related to various current life stressors, including the Survey for Recent Life Events, which assesses various forms of daily hassles, and the Index of Spouse Abuse, which taps both physical and nonphysical intimate partner violence (IPV). Multivariate analyses of variance revealed a significant difference on the participants’ reports of daily hassles and IPV to African Americanand European American evaluators. With regard to overall life stress, African American women reported higher levels of total life stress, time pressure stress, social acceptability stress, and social victimization to African American than in European American–led interviews. They also endorsed higher levels of both physical and nonphysical IPV to interviewers of the same race as themselves as compared with interviewers from a different racial background. There were no group differences in terms of work stress, sociocultural differences, and finances. The findings underscore the saliency of interviewer race as a source of nonrandom measurement error capable of influencing statistical results. Implications of ignoring race of interviewer effects in analysis are explored and suggestions are offered in terms of culturally responsive assessment processes.