Stigma beliefs of Asian Americans with depression in an internet sample

Can J Psychiatry. 2005 Jul;50(8):470-8. doi: 10.1177/070674370505000807.


Objective: To study the beliefs of Asian Americans with depression about stigma associated with depression treatment among friends, employers, and family.

Method: Participants completed the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D) anonymously on the Internet. In this cross-sectional design, those who screened positive for depression were asked questions regarding stigma (n = 68 656). We used analysis of variance (ANOVA) and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) to compare Asian Americans with whites and also to make comparisons by age and sex. Further, we stratified for Asian Americans and used ANOVA and ANCOVA to compare age and sex. We used linear regression to assess how stigma beliefs were associated with self-reported need for depression treatment.

Results: Asian Americans overall had greater stigma beliefs than did whites for all 3 stigma outcomes (P < 0.001), especially those related to family. Although this same pattern existed for subjects aged between 16 and 29 years and between 30 and 45 years (P < 0.001), among those aged under 16 years, this existed for family stigma (P < 0.001) but not for friends or employer stigma. In our stratified analyses among Asian Americans, male participants had greater stigma beliefs than did female participants for friends (P < 0.001) and employer (P < 0.05) but not for family.

Conclusions: The pattern of Asian Americans having greater stigma levels than whites may be changing among younger Asian Americans because of acculturation. Also, among Asian Americans, unlike previous research showing no sex differences for stigma, we show that male participants had greater stigma levels than did female participants. Future directions should include measuring stigma after culture-specific interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asian / psychology*
  • Asian / statistics & numerical data
  • Culture*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Family / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peer Group
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Prejudice*
  • Psychometrics
  • Sampling Studies
  • Social Values
  • White People / psychology*
  • White People / statistics & numerical data