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Immigration and Mental Disorders among Asian Americans

  • Author(s): Takeuchi, David T.
  • Zane, Nolan
  • Hong, Seunghye
  • Chae, David H.
  • Gong, Fang
  • Gee, Gilbert C.
  • Walton, Emily
  • Sue, Stanley
  • Alegria, Margarita
  • et al.
Abstract

Objectives. We examined lifetime and 12-month rates of any depressive, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders in a national sample of Asian Americans. We focused on factors related to nativity and immigration as possible correlates of mental disorders. Methods. Data were derived from the National Latino and Asian American Study, the first national epidemiological survey of Asian Americans in the United States. Results. The relationships between immigration-related factors and mental disorders were different for men and women. Among women, nativity was strongly associated with lifetime disorders, with immigrant women having lower rates of most disorders compared with US-born women. Conversely, English proficiency was associated with mental disorders for Asian men. Asian men who spoke English proficiently generally had lower rates of lifetime and 12-month disorders compared with nonproficient speakers. Conclusions. For Asian Americans, immigration-related factors were associated with mental disorders, but in different ways for men and women. Future studies will need to examine gender as an important factor in specifying the association between immigration and mental health.

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