Examining Differences in Mental Health Status Among Adult Asian Immigrants

Hari Poudel , University of Missouri, Columbia
Stephanie Potochnick, University of Missouri, Columbia

The U.S. Asian population growth rate reached to 72% between 2000 and 2015, which is the fastest growth rate of any major racial or ethnic group during this period. Asian Americans have been historically portrayed as "model minority" which describes that all Asians tend to have better health and wealth. However, Asians are pan-ethnically diverse and little is known about psychological distress. This study advances literature on Asian subgroups’ mental health conditions by examining psychological distress and demographic, socioeconomic, and immigration-related factors. Using Kessler psychological distress scale (K6) in 2011-2015 NHIS survey, the results demonstrated Asians were advantageous compared to Whites. Decreasing levels of income and education independently associated with increased level of distress. The findings reveal subgroup differences in psychological distress, whereby the Filipinos consistently showed higher psychological distress among them. The findings highlight the heterogeneity of Asian Americans’ psychological distress and reinforce the need for developing ethnic-specific strategies for effective mental health services.

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 Presented in Session 11. Health & Mortality 2