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ERIC Number: EJ1061290
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jan
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 56
ISSN: ISSN-0897-5264
Mental Health Help-Seeking Behaviors among Asian American Community College Students: The Effect of Stigma, Cultural Barriers, and Acculturation
Han, Meekyung; Pong, Helen
Journal of College Student Development, v56 n1 p1-14 Jan 2015
According to the 2008 U.S. Census, there are 15.5 million Asian Americans in the United States, and 17% are students enrolled in a university (Shea & Yeh, 2008). Asian American college students in higher education are oftentimes perceived as the "model minority" with high academic achievements and few mental and/or behavioral problems (Park, 2010). In contrast to this general assumption, studies have shown that many Asian American college students suffer from psychological distress (Abe-Kim et al., 2007; Breaux, Matsuoka, & Ryujin, 1997; Lee et al., 2009; Mallinckrodt, Shigeoka, & Suzuki, 2005; Nguyen & Anderson, 2005). In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008) highlighted considerable disparities in mental health among racial/ethnic groups, including the fact that Asian Americans 15-24 years old have significantly higher suicidal rates than do other racial/ethnic groups of the same age range. Researchers have attributed this mental health disparity to Asian students' underutilization of professional services. Consequently, a growing number of empirical studies have been conducted to identify the contributors to low mental health service utilization (Abe-Kim et al., 2007; Kim & Park, 2009; Lee et al., 2009; Nguyen & Anderson, 2005; Umemoto, 2004). These studies have found that acculturation, cultural barriers, and stigma attached to mental health problems are common factors that significantly contribute to Asian American college students' low mental-health-seeking behaviors. However, based on the authors' knowledge, these studies have focused on Asian American students who attend 4-year colleges. There is very little known about Asian American students attending 2-year community colleges, who comprise over 40% of Asian American undergraduates enrolled in higher education (Park, 2010). By taking an exploratory approach and borrowing from the literature on Asian Americans and 4-year university students, the current study examined whether well-developed cultural contributing factors, such as stigma, acculturation, and preference for racially/ethnically concordant counselors, among Asian American 4-year college students might also predict help-seeking behaviors for mental health issues among Asian American community college students. A quantitative cross-sectional survey research design was used for this study via a self-administered, paper and pencil survey questionnaire. The survey consisted of questions pertaining to the stigma attached to mental health, acculturation issues, cultural barriers, language barriers, psychological issues for Asian American college students, and their willingness to seek mental health services. The population in this study consisted of Asian American students enrolled in Asian American Studies, Asian American Literature, and English as Second Language classes at one of the largest public community colleges in California's San Francisco Bay Area. Of a total of 66 student participants from three classes at the community college, 50% were female (n = 33). In terms of the subethnicity of the participants, the largest group was Vietnamese (n = 19) followed by Filipino (n = 14) and Chinese (n = 13). The rest of the participants' ethnicities included Korean, South Indian, Cambodian, and Japanese; these were categorized as "other" due to the small sample size per group. The main finding of the current study confirmed the significant effect of stigma and mental health seeking behaviors among Asian American students, which is congruent with previous research (Kim & Park, 2009; Lee et al., 2009; Leong & Zachar, 1999; Luu, Leung, & Nash, 2009; Masuda et al., 2009; Ting & Hwang, 2009). Although each Asian group has a unique immigration history and acculturation stage, most of them have been influenced by Confucian teachings and philosophies of collectivist tradition, which discourage emotional expressions in order to avoid disclosure of personal weakness and/or maintain harmony in family and society (Kim & Park, 2009; Lin & Cheung, 1999). As a result, since keeping the public appearance of the individual and family is extremely important to them (Kim & Park, 2009; Surgeon General, 2001), even when mental health services are needed Asians are unlikely to seek help from mental health professionals due to stigma.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California