A survey of depressive symptoms among Vietnamese-American men in three locales: prevalence and correlates

J Nerv Ment Dis. 1998 Nov;186(11):677-83. doi: 10.1097/00005053-199811000-00003.


Vietnamese are one of the fastest growing ethnic minority groups in the United States. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence and correlates of high depression scores among Vietnamese men in three locales. Computer assisted telephone interviews were conducted with adult Vietnamese men in San Francisco/Alameda Counties, Santa Clara County, and the city of Houston. Telephone numbers of households with Vietnamese surnames were chosen randomly from area telephone books. Depression was assessed using a previously validated Vietnamese language depression screening instrument with 86% sensitivity and 96% specificity for major depression. Between 8.2% and 9.8% of the men scored above the cut-off. Logistic regression analysis revealed that men who were the least proficient in English, poorer, unemployed or disabled, veterans, and those living in Houston were more likely to have a high depression score. Based on the characteristics of the screening instrument, rates of clinical depression among Vietnamese men may be modestly higher than rates for men in the general population. However, high-risk subgroups identified by our analyses may suffer from substantially higher rates of clinical depression. To our knowledge, ours is the first study to show that community context or locale is an independent predictor of high depressive symptoms in this population. These findings have important implications for prevention and intervention approaches to depression among Vietnamese men.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Educational Status
  • Employment
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vietnam / ethnology