Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Leonardo M. Marmol

Second Advisor

Wayne Adams

Third Advisor

Leah B. Schock


This study is interested in the relationship of acculturation to performance on verbal learning tasks. The hypotheses of the study are that as acculturation to Anglo American culture approaches assimilation, total recall scores on the California Verbal Learning Test-II (CVLT-II) will increase and performance on a nonsense word task will not significantly correlate with acculturation level. A review of the literature on acculturation and test bias in Hispanic populations is followed by research on bilingual performance on memory tasks. As the independent variable, acculturation is examined on three levels: Mexican Oriented, Bicultural Oriented and Anglo Oriented using Scale One of the Acculturation Rating Scale for Mexican Americans-II (ARSMA-II). The dependent variables include recall performance scores on the CVLT-II and on a nonsense word list learning task. Subjects were 57 research volunteers from a rural Washington State community and the Portland, Oregon area.

A 3 X 8 (group X test scores) multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was performed to assess differences between mean raw scores for subjects in the three acculturation groups on the CVLT-II and on the nonsense word list. A 3 X 4 (group X test scores) MANOVA was also performed to assess differences between mean standardized score transformations from the CVLT-II computerized scoring program for subjects in the three acculturation groups for the same verbal learning instruments. Post hoc analyses (Tukey HSD, Scheffe, Dunnet C) were used to determine which groups were different. The effect of moderator variables was examined in an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA).

The results of the study do not support a significant difference in means by acculturation level on the CVLT-II recall scores or on the nonsense word list. Performance by this bilingual Mexican-American sample was approximately one half standard deviation below the standardizing sample of the CVLT-II. While means were within the average range, further research including larger samples of bilingual Mexican-Americans is recommended in order to support use of the CVLT-II with greater confidence as an accurate measure of verbal learning in this population. This study discusses other results of interest and makes recommendations for further research and for conducting neuropsychological testing with individuals of Mexican-American extraction.

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