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PERSP-21-00113Nelson_SuppS1.pdf (361.59 kB)

Implicit bias and multilingual assessment in SLPs (Nelson & Wilson, 2021)

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-11-16, 20:12 authored by Marisa Nelson, Laura Wilson
Purpose: The purpose of this research was (a) to examine school-based speech-language pathologists’ (SLP) implicit attitudes toward immigrants and how these relate to prioritization and use of best practices when assessing multilingual children and (b) to determine if key demographic factors relate to the use and prioritization of these best practices.
Method: Eighty-six certified SLPs ranked how they prioritize and use best practices in multilingual assessments and completed an online immigrant Implicit Association Test.
Results: The majority of participants exhibited a strong implicit bias against immigrants (median D-score of 0.84, interquartile range (IQR): 0.49), but no significant relationship was found between increasing bias and lower prioritization or use of best practices. Increased years working as an SLP and increasingly distant personal relationships to immigration were related to lower prioritization and use of some best practices. An unexpected association included increased reported use of interpreters with increasing implicit bias against immigrants.
Conclusions: This research found a strong implicit bias against immigrants among participating school-based SLPs, consistent with previous work detailing health professionals’ preferences for ingroups over outgroups. It adds to the call for further research into the impact of implicit biases on clinical practice, and the methods and merits of addressing implicit biases in targeted populations such as SLPs. This study also identified demographic factors associated with decreased prioritization and use of certain best practices when assessing multilingual children. More work is needed to learn how to mitigate these factors to ensure culturally sensitive clinical practice.

Supplemental Material S1. Questionnaire.

Nelson, M., & Wilson, L. (2021). Implicit bias and multilingual assessment in school-based speech-language pathologists. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups. Advance online publication.


This project was funded through the University of Tulsa Student Research Grant Program and the University of Tulsa chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association.