Online Program

Interethnic differences in mental health service utilization among Asian American children

Monday, November 4, 2013

Yumiko Aratani, PhD, National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY
Cindy Liu, PhD, Commonwealth Research Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Previous research shows that Asians are less likely to utilize mental health services and more likely to drop out from services. However, others found that Asian American children are more likely to stay in mental health services than White children (Bui and Takeuchi 1992; Aratani and Cooper 2012); and the reasons for this remain inconclusive. Further, little is known about inter-ethnic differences among Asians in mental health service utilization even though Asian Americans are a quite heterogeneous ethnic group. Using a unique administrative data set that contains a large sample of various Asian American children and youth who accessed services in California, we examine inter-ethnic differences in the drop out of mental health services. Preliminary findings show that when Whites, East Asians and Southeast Asians are compared, overall East Asians are least likely to drop out from mental health services, but both East Asians and Southeast Asians are significantly less likely to drop out from the services than whites. When we further break down the ethnic groups, we also found further variations, in particular, Chinese, Koreans, and Laotians are significantly less likely to drop out from services than Whites. However, the dropout of mental health services are also significantly affected by English proficiency, and it exhibits different service utilization patterns within Asian groups depending on English proficiency. The results suggest that it is important to pay attention to inter-ethnic differences among Asian American children and youth when providing services and understand socio-cultural factors that affect service usage for each group.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Compare inter-ethnic differences in receiving mental health services among Asian American children using California administrative data. Examine factors that affect mental health service utilization among Asian American children

Keyword(s): Children and Adolescents, Ethnic Minorities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a trained sociologist with a background in mental health service research and methodological training in longitudinal data analysis. I have been the principal and co-principal of multiple projects on child mental health services.
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.