Cultural competence dimensions and outcomes: a systematic review of the literature

Somayeh Alizadeh*, Meena Chavan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


It has been widely suggested that cultural competence is an individual's core requirement for working effectively with culturally diverse people. However, there is no consensus regarding the definition or the components of this concept and there is a dearth of empirical proof indicating the benefits of cultural competence. Therefore, a systematic review was conducted to identify the most common cultural competence dimensions proposed in recent publications and to identify whether sufficient evidence exists regarding the efficacy of cultural competence in the healthcare context. A total of 1204 citations were identified through an electronic search of databases, of which 18 publications included cultural competence frameworks, and 13 studies contained empirical data on cultural competence outcomes. The overarching themes of the review were centred around the challenges faced by the healthcare sector in many countries due to growing cultural diversity, but lack of cultural competence, leading to predicaments that arise during intercultural interactions between patients and clinicians. This review will benefit researchers exploring cultural competence as one of the research variables impacting research outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e117-e130
Number of pages14
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • cultural competence
  • healthcare quality
  • patient outcome
  • systematic review

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