Contextualizing acculturation: gender, family, and community reception influences on Asian immigrant mental health

Am J Community Psychol. 2011 Dec;48(3-4):168-80. doi: 10.1007/s10464-010-9360-7.


This article investigates differences in the mental health among male and female immigrants from an ecological perspective, testing the influences of both individual acculturation domains and social contexts. Data from the first nationally representative psychiatric survey of immigrant Asians in the US is used (N = 1,583). These data demonstrate the importance of understanding acculturation domains (e.g., individual differences in English proficiency, ethnic identity, and time in the US), within the social contexts of family, community, and neighborhood. Results demonstrate that among immigrant Asian women, the association between family conflict and mental health problems is stronger for those with higher ethnic identity; among immigrant Asian men, community reception (e.g., everyday discrimination) was more highly associated with increases in mental health symptoms among those with poor English fluency. Findings suggest that both individual domains of acculturation and social context measures contribute to immigrant mental health, and that it is important to consider these relationships within the context of gender.

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Adult
  • Asian / psychology*
  • Communication Barriers
  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology*
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mental Health / ethnology*
  • Mood Disorders / ethnology
  • Prejudice
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology