Ethnic and Cultural Influences

The population of the United States and many other industrialized nations is becoming more diverse. It is estimated that by the year 2010 nearly one-third of the population of the United States will be made up of minorities. Genetic counseling that promotes individual autonomy and is consistent with the ethical values discussed here will require that counselors be aware of and responsive to a wide and growing range of ethnic and cultural variations among those who are now and will be seeking genetic counseling (Fisher). Conflicts are almost certain to arise when the values and decisions of the ethnically and/or culturally different counselees conflict with those of the counselors and the Western values derived from Jewish and Christian sources that in general govern the decision-making process. The value systems that have been used traditionally in counseling will probably have to be applied in significantly different ways if the process and outcome of counseling is to be helpful and effective.


SEE ALSO: Access to Healthcare; Autonomy; Beneficence; Confidentiality; Eugenics; Family and Family Medicine; Genetic Counseling, Practice of; Genetic Testing and Screening; Health Insurance; Professional-Patient Relationship; Responsibility

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