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Ecological Systems Theory of Asian American Mental Health Service Seeking

16 July 2010


The present study provides a comprehensive review of the psychological literature on the barriers to seeking formal and informal mental health help-seeking for Asian immigrants and Asian Americans. Within the present review, the researcher utilizes Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory (1992) of human development (macrosystem, exosystem, mesosystem, and microsystem) to organize eight ecological factors that influence Asian immigrants and Americans’ mental health help-seeking behaviors including; ethnicity, generational influence (acculturation), culture, stigma/shame associated with mental health, family structure/environment, social support, gender, and age. The researcher offers a proposed model of treatment help-seeking and provides directions for future research. The latter section of this study focuses on the methodological problems inherent in the study of Asian immigrant and American mental health help-seeking. The implications and suggestions for current clinical research, training/education, and practice are explored.


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