Restoring Kapwa: A Systematic Review Of Colonial Mentality Among Pilipinx Americans

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Asian American Journal of Psychology

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Colonialism, Ethnicity -- Philippines -- Social aspects


Pilipinx Americans (PA) make up the third largest sub-Asian American group, yet continue to be disproportionately understudied in the social sciences. Subsequently, very little is known about the bio-psycho-social-spiritual (BPSS) factors that may impact their well-being. Recognizing the social, political, and historical conditions that impact PA is critical for understanding their well-being. Specifically, over 300 years of Spanish and U.S. American colonization of the Philippines have had profound and lasting impacts on Pilipinx and PA. Pilipinx scholars argue that Pilipinx have internalized the effects of colonial violence resulting in the development and intergenerational transmission of colonial mentality (CM). This study aims to build from the vital research on CM by answering the following research question: What is the relationship between CM and BPSS factors of well-being among PA? The literature search included 11 databases, gray literature, and consultations with content experts. Two reviewers independently assessed eligibility for inclusion, and information on CM measurement, sample, outcomes, and study design was extracted. The search strategy and selection criteria yielded 15 studies. Within the collective sample of 5,052 PA, significant relationships were found between CM and depression/self-esteem/body dissatisfaction, mental health help seeking, ethnic identity development, acculturation, and enculturation. CM is one form of internalized racism unique to PA. This systematic review indicated that CM has the potential to impact the BPSS well-being of PA. Recommendations for indigenizing practice and grounding future research in anticoloniality are provided, specifically through the restoration of kapwa, a core Pilipinx cultural value.


© 2023 American Psychological Association


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