Biracial Asian Americans and mental health

Aug 17, 2008

A new study of Chinese-Caucasian, Filipino-Caucasian, Japanese-Caucasian and Vietnamese-Caucasian individuals concludes that biracial Asian Americans are twice as likely as monoracial Asian Americans to be diagnosed with a psychological disorder.

The study by researchers at the Asian American Center on Disparities Research at the University of California, Davis, will be reported on Sunday, Aug. 17, at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in Boston.

"Up to 2.4 percent of the U.S. population self-identifies as mixed race, and most of these individuals describe themselves as biracial," said Nolan Zane, a professor of psychology and Asian American studies at UC Davis. "We cannot underestimate the importance of understanding the social, psychological and experiential differences that may increase the likelihood of psychological disorders among this fast-growing segment of the population."

Zane and his co-investigator, UC Davis psychology graduate student Lauren Berger, found that 34 percent of biracial individuals in a national survey had been diagnosed with a psychological disorder, such as anxiety, depression or substance abuse, versus 17 percent of monoracial individuals. The higher rate held up even after the researchers controlled for differences between the groups in age, gender and life stress, among other factors.

The study included information from 125 biracial Asian Americans from across the U.S., including 55 Filipino-Caucasians, 33 Chinese-Caucasians, 23 Japanese-Caucasians and 14 Vietnamese-Caucasians.

The information was obtained from the 2002-2003 National Latino and Asian American Study, the largest nationally representative survey ever conducted of Asian Americans. Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the landmark survey involved in-person interviews with more than 2,000 Asian Americans nationwide. The survey yielded a wealth of raw data for researchers to analyze for insights into Asian American mental health.

Zane and Berger did not look at the mental health of non-Asian Americans.

Future research should investigate the factors that explain the higher rate of diagnosed psychological disorders among biracial Asian Americans, Zane said. Possibilities include influences of ethnic identification and experiences of ethnic discrimination.

Source: University of California - Davis

Explore further: Gun deaths twice as high among African-Americans as white citizens in US

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Challenges and strategies for women pursuing STEM careers

Aug 11, 2014

As a national push continues to recruit talented girls and young women into math and science-related careers, a new study underlines the importance of mentoring and other social support systems for women pursuing those research ...

Recommended for you

Health law enrollment now 7.3M

4 hours ago

The Obama administration says 7.3 million people have signed up for subsidized private health insurance under the health care law—down from 8 million reported earlier this year.

Bill Gates says progress made on new super-thin condom

5 hours ago

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said Thursday progress is being made on developing a "next-generation" ultra-thin, skin-like condom that could offer better sexual pleasure, help population control and ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Arthur_Dent
not rated yet Aug 17, 2008
Possibilities ALSO include things like simply *mistakenly* using the same standard on different cultures, because different cultures "show"/hide conditions differently.

Doctors who go from North America to Africa have to get trained to diagnose there, because the patients won't whine the way we westerners do, instead keeping quiet out of deference to the Doctor.

It completely screws one's ability to get the same accuracy, when one's testing methods are calibrated to 1 cultural group, and then one is applying the same methods on a different group who are culturally different ( communication is only part of it: some cultures bury some things, some cultures "see" reality in specific ways, etc. ).