Mediation analysis in SEM is important for addressing racial and economic inequality for several reasons. Past evidence suggest that there are disparities in health and economic outcomes among peoples of different racial, ethic, linguistic, or national backgrounds. The emergence and reinforcements of these disparities operate along different trajectories and pathways for marginalized populations in the lifecourse. Identifying specific pathways for different cultures can improve outcomes through timely and appropriate medical, psychological and social interventions.
Multilevel analysis, or HLM, has an intuitive fit to cross-cultural research. This approach takes into account the heterogeneity of different populations. Cross-cultural multilevel analysis can account for neighborhood effects, which can explain racial and economic inequality at mezzo and macro levels. At the same time, multilevel analysis can be integrated with mediation analysis to apply further rigor and explanatory power to applied cross-cultural research. This can allow social work researchers to examine and address racial and economic inequality in the trajectories of vulnerable populations in individual and community levels.
This workshop aims to teach participants HLM and SEM approaches which can be employed in cross-cultural social work research. The workshop will provide participants with step-by-step illustrations in the use of SEM and multilevel approaches through hands-on exercises, to compare cross-cultural population using large-scale, population-based survey data. These techniques have important applications in social work research, especially in providing a framework of evidence to examine health disparities in empirical, cross-cultural research. For each statistical approach discussed in this workshop, we will explain the underlying purpose, basic assumptions, types of variables, application of commonly used statistical packages (e.g., SPSS, Stata, Lisrel, HLM), the presentation of statistical findings, and the interpretation of results, as well as how to explain the implications of these findings for policy and practice.
After attending this workshop, participants will be able to 1. Explain the foundation of cross-cultural research, from the definitions of culture in research, the importance of understanding risk and protective factors, and conceptualization of social problems across vulnerable populations. 2. Identify statistical approaches and techniques relevant to examining similarities and differences in cross-cultural research 3. Apply the appropriate use of mediation and multilevel analysis to tease out differences in effects and causal pathways in cross-cultural research