Online Program

A comparison of physical health, mental health and health service-seeking among Asian Americans in the US

Monday, November 4, 2013

Hoa B. Appel, PhD, MPH, School of Nursing and Health Studies, Univ of Washington Bothell, Bothell, WA
Amy Ai, PhD, Psychology, Social Work, Family Medicine, and Nursing, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Bu Huang, PhD, Bastyr Research Institute, Bastyr University, Kenmore, WA
Ethel Nicdao, PhD, Department of Sociology, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA
Hyung J. Daniel Lee, M.S.W., School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Significance: Asian Americans are one of the largest growing minority populations in the U.S. There is ample research showing that minorities face health disparities with respect to seeking mental health services in the U.S. This study analyzed the chronic and mental health and health service-seeking among Asian Americans. Objective: Using the first epidemiological nationally representative sample (n=2,095) from the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS), we examined the annual rates of chronic, behavioral, mental health and healthcare service utilization including general medical, specialty mental health and any medical services in three major subgroups of Asian American men and women: Chinese, Filipino, and Vietnamese American. Methods: Respondents were asked the types of mental health services they used, satisfaction with care received, and how often they saw their primary care providers, or other health care provider such as nurses, specialists, psychologist and other mental health professionals. Results: Chronic health problems varied with three major Asian American subgroups. In physical health, Chinese American women reported the highest rates of headache, other pain, hypertension and heart disease, while Vietnamese American women reported the highest rates of ulcer, stroke and diabetes. More Filipino American men reported higher rates of obesity, while more Vietnamese American men reported being smokers. Filipino American women self-rated significantly better mental health compared with their Chinese and Vietnamese American counterparts. Other variations exist among the three subgroups of Asian American men with regard to chronic, behavioral and mental health issues. Discussion/Conclusions: Asian American women encountered various physical, behavioral and mental health problems and yet had low health care service seeking rates. Asian women and men have both similar and different rates in various health issues. The results provide greater understanding of the heterogeneity and relationships among the Asian American subgroups with respect to physical, behavioral and mental health concerns.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify significant factors, including those relating to discrimination and acculturation, which contribute to the lack of service-seeking in Asian Americans. List three differences of behavioral and mental health-related issues between Asian American women and men. Discuss four reasons why disparities in mental health care exist in minority populations in the U.S. Compare the differences and similarities in physical health in Asian American men and women in the U.S.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I worked on the research as coauthor
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.