What are Research Recaps ?
Research Recaps are brief, reader-friendly summaries of peer-reviewed research studies. The studies cover topics related to mental health and psychology and are selected for their relevance to the Asian and Pacific Islander communities of the San Joaquin Valley.
Acculturation conflict places adolescents at a higher risk to internalize (i.e. keep feelings inside oneself) or externalize (i.e. express feelings on the exterior) the amount of distressed experienced as they often felt misjudged and disconnected from their parents, finds in a study in the Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. Researchers surveyed how 375 Vietnamese American adolescents perceived acculturation conflict and whether they internalized or externalized mental health symptoms. When adolescents expressed their emotions in an outward form, their behaviors were misinterpreted by parents as disrespect and distance from the family, resulting in chastisement from parents. In part, when adolescents express emotions on the outside, it was related to their perception of their mothers’ controlling behaviors (e.g. criticism, shaming, and invalidation). Therefore, it is recommended that parents adopt strategies such as active listening and openly exchanging concerns with their youth.
Source: Nguyen, D. J., Kim, J. J., Weiss, B., Ngo, V., & Lau, A. S. (2018). Prospective relations between parent–adolescent acculturation conflict and mental health symptoms among Vietnamese American adolescents. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 24(2), 151–161.
Recapped by Kimberly Fang, MA
Seeking Family Support
Not all Asian Americans turn to family for support during times of distress, finds a study in the Asian American Journal of Psychology. Researchers asked 160 Asian American college students about their adherence to Asian values, their emotional intelligence, and their help-seeking behaviors. Getting support from family trailed behind avoidance and exercise/meditation as coping strategies. In addition, Asian Americans who adhered more to Asian values, as well as those who considered themselves skilled in managing others’ (not their own) emotions, were more likely to seek support from family when they were in distress. Therefore, when a therapist considers coping strategies for an Asian American client, it is important to assess the client’s level of adherence to Asian values and to explore whether he or she feels confident in managing family members’ emotions when turning to family for help.
Source: Lei, N., & Pellitteri, J. (2017). Help-seeking and coping behaviors among Asian Americans: The roles of Asian values, emotional intelligence, and optimism. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 8(3), 224–234.
Recapped by Kia Yang & Ya-Shu Liang, PhD
API individuals are often treated as a single group, but the experiences of Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders are often very different from those of East Asians, as highlighted by a recent study in the Asian American Journal of Psychology. Researchers surveyed 1,661 API middle schoolers about their exposure to traumatic events, whether as victims or as witnesses, including deaths of family members, community violence, domestic violence, separation from family, natural disasters, and serious illness. Their disaggregated data show that Samoan, Filipino, and Southeast Asian students reported having experienced a greater number of traumatic events, as well as more stress as a result of trauma, than their Chinese, Japanese, and Korean counterparts. The most frequently reported traumatic event for Southeast Asian students was witnessing or being a victim of physical assault.
Source: Davies-Mercier, E., Woodbridge, M. W., Sumi, W. C., Thornton, S. P., Roundfield, K. D., Lee-St. John, T., … Yu, J. (2017). Traumatic experiences and associated symptomatology in Asian American middle school students. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 8(3), 209–223.
Recapped by Ya-Shu Liang, PhD