Cross-cultural Differences in Preferred Forms of Address: Implications for Work with African American Adults

  • Wanda Lott Collins
  • Sharon E. Moore
Keywords: African American, social titles, professional relationship, social work


Using an individual’s last name indicates respect and contributes to positive interaction with African American clients and adults of African descent. This paper discusses the importance of using social titles as a proper form of address during, and sometimes after, the initial professional relationship. Two case vignettes will highlight potential difficulties that non-African American practitioners may experience when using first names with African Americans within the professional realm. The vignettes include a scenario for a supervisor and a client.