asian american family conflict and suicide risk

Everybody's family is a little crazy... but could Asian American families be particularly bad for your mental health? According to new findings by psychologists at the University of California Davis, conflict within the family appears to affect Asian Americans more adversely than other negative factors, such as depression or poverty—to the point of increasing their risk of suicide: A Family Suicide Risk in US Asians?

The new findings are based on a preliminary analysis of data collected from in-person interviews with more than 2,000 Asian Americans, aged 18 or older, as part of the federally funded 2003 National Latino and Asian American Study. The study seeks to highlight how profound the impact of the family may be for many Asian Americans—something that many mental-health professionals may not fully appreciate when dealing with an ethnic minority that is often reluctant to seek counseling.

There is a disturbing, unusually high rate of suicide among Asian Americans. We know this. These findings suggest that for Asian Americans, there may be an important difference in the risk factors that lead to suicide attempts. Hopefully, further research will help determine the kinds of family conflicts that are associated with suicide risk among Asian Americans, and find means of preventing these family problems.

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