Generational status and family cohesion effects on the receipt of mental health services among Asian Americans: findings from the National Latino and Asian American Study

Am J Public Health. 2010 Jan;100(1):115-21. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.160762.


Objectives: We investigated the relative strengths of generational status and family cohesion effects on current use of mental health services (past 12 months) among Asian Americans.

Methods: We conducted a secondary data analysis with data from the National Latino and Asian American Study, 2002 to 2003, restricted to Asian American respondents (n=2087). The study's outcome was current use (past 12 months) of any mental health services. Respondents included Chinese, Filipino, Vietnamese, and other Asian Americans.

Results: Multivariate analyses suggest no significant interaction exists between second- versus first-generation Asian Americans and family cohesion. The impact of generational status on mental health service use was significant for third- or later-generation Asian Americans (versus first-generation Asian Americans) and varied with family cohesion score.

Conclusions: Family cohesion and generational status both affect the likelihood of Asian Americans to seek mental health services. Our findings also highlight the need for primary care and other providers to consistently screen for mental health status particularly among first-generation Asian Americans. Mental health service programs should target recent immigrants and individuals lacking a strong family support system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Asian Americans / psychology*
  • Asian Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Emigration and Immigration / statistics & numerical data
  • Family Relations / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intergenerational Relations / ethnology
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / ethnology
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States