study examines effect of stereotypes on mental health

A group of researchers at Texas A&M are studying stereotypes and unrealistic expectations, and their effects on mental health. Yup, I think Asian Americans might know a thing or two about that: Texas A&M researchers study effect of stereotypes on mental health.

This research specifically looks at stereotypical and cultural influence on Houston's Chinese American immigrant population. As part of their study, Project Chinese American Successful Living, their aim is to understand the factors that contribute to positive or negative mental health and academic performance of immigrant students:
Jeffrey Liew, an associate professor of learning sciences, along with Bonny Chang, a third-year counseling psychology doctoral student, and Peggy Chang, a fourth-year school psychology doctoral student, collected data over the past year using online surveys to measure Chinese American adolescents and their parent's cultural beliefs, psychological health and academic achievement.

The team found that 40 percent of Chinese American adolescents reported clinically significant depressive symptoms, which was unexpectedly high for a community sample. Further, those who reported clinical levels of depression were less willing to seek mental health services.
This part might also ring true with some folks:
The research team also found that parents and their children often experience an acculturation gap when there are discrepancies across the generations in terms of adopting and/or retaining cultural values and practices. Because of this, youth from immigrant families often find themselves straddling two cultural worlds. When the acculturation gap becomes too wide between the parent and child, it may strain the parent-child relationship and place the child at risk for identity and adjustment problems.
I don't think any of this is going to sound new to many of the second generation Asian Americans who are dealing or have dealt with these pressures, but I'm glad someone is adding to the scant research and writing out there on this topic.

In the next phase of their research the team plans to include preschool and elementary school-aged children, as well as Vietnamese and Asian Indians in the Houston area. To read more about Project CASL and their findings, go here. (Thanks, Eugenia.)

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