267309 Examining the use of healthcare services for mental health among older Asian Americans in California using CHIS 2007 and 2009

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dara Sorkin, PhD , Health Policy Research Institute, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA
Hannah Nguyen, MSW , Department of Social Welfare, UCLA School of Public Affairs, Los Angeles, CA
Background: Research suggests that Asian American older adults are particularly vulnerable to having unmet mental health needs. Asian American older adults are not only more likely to report symptoms indicative of mental distress and serious mental illness than are older non-Hispanic white adults, but also have worse access to mental health services than whites.

Objectives: To understand in greater detail the reasons that older adults (aged 55 and older) from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds both seek help for mental health concerns, as well as the reasons they no longer receive treatment, highlighting the unique experience of Asian American/Pacific Islander older adults.

Methods: A cross-sectional analysis of a population-based sample of California adults responding to the 2007 and 2009 California Health Interview Survey. Multivariable logistic regression will be used to examine ethnic/racial differences in reasons for use and non-use of mental health services, after adjusting for respondent socio-demographic characteristics, including language proficiency, insurance status, and general health status.

Results: A total of over 40,000 respondents are included. Asian/PI older adults most often report no longer receiving treatment because they felt they no longer needed it (80%) or it was too expensive (20%). The majority of Asian/PI older adults also reported not seeking help because they did not feel comfortable talking with a health professional (52%) or were concerned about someone finding out (58%). Further analyses examining the role of ethnic sub-group variation and language proficiency will be presented.

Discussion/Conclusions: Implications for addressing the mental health needs of older Asian/PIs will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify unique mental health needs of older Asian Americans. Understand reasons older adults from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds terminate mental health treatment

Keywords: Asian Americans, Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an assistant professor with the Health Policy Research Institute at the University of California, Irvine. The focus of my research involves understanding and promoting social psychological factors that contribute to the effective management of Type 2 diabetes, particularly among ethnically diverse older adults. Other research interests include investigating the impact of social relationships on psychological and physical health in later life. I received a Ph.D. in psychology and social behavior from UC Irvine.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.