Factors Influencing Formal and Informal Resource Utilization for Mental Distress Among Korean Americans in Southern California

J Immigr Minor Health. 2021 Jun;23(3):528-535. doi: 10.1007/s10903-020-01050-1.


Despite the high prevalence of mental distress in the Korean American (KA) community, KAs continue to have significantly lower rates of professional mental health utilization than the general U.S. population, making it increasingly critical to study factors related to such utilization. A total of 243 surveys were collected at Korean churches of various denominations in the greater Los Angeles area. This cross sectional study examined KAs' resource utilization using Andersen's Behavioral Model of Health Services Use as a multi-level theoretical framework. Level of education and employment status significantly predicted professional health service utilization. Informal resource utilization was significantly influenced by gender, attitudes toward professional mental health services, acculturation, and views of God and religion. Future studies should further explore which types of interventions or resources would be most effective for KAs to decrease their high levels of mental distress based on their unique intersections and cultural realities.

Keywords: Andersen behavioral model of health services use; Christians; Korean Americans; Mental health.

MeSH terms

  • Asian
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Los Angeles
  • Mental Disorders*
  • Mental Health Services*