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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Model Minority Myth on Asian Americans and its Impact on Mental Health and the Clinical Setting


The false perceptions from the "Model Minority Myth" mask the reality of the myth’s harm in obscuring racism that is seen through forms of microaggressions, lack of representation in American political leadership, and implementation of a racial hierarchy. As the model minority myth continues to be embodied, Asian Americans face generalizations that invalidate the individual experience. Although the myth of the model minority is perceived as a “positive” stereotype, the myth causes high mental health issues among Asian Americans and obscures the inaccessibility to healthcare services, especially in light of COVID-19. Because the myth has become ingrained in American society, a racial hierarchy continues to establish social norms that silence the voices of all minorities. In order to change the positive perceptions surrounding the myth, researchers and healthcare practitioners must be wary of the way in which stereotypes influence diagnoses as well as understand that culture and its connection to the individual is flexible and varies among patients.

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