First Advisor

Ronald Smith

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Mental illness -- United States, Chinese -- United States



Physical Description

1 online resource (72 pages)


Several mental health professionals have suggested that Chinese in the United States as a group are less subject to mental disorders than other races. Whereas other investigators have also indicated that due to the influences of cultural conflict and racism, Chinese in the United States are under greater emotional distress than members of the host society. When stress from these sources becomes too great, mental health problems are frequently the result.

The purpose of this library research thesis is to review the available research works related with Chinese Americans mental health problems in the hope of seeking answers to the following questions:

  1. Is mental illness among the Chinese a myth or reality?
  2. If mental illness does exist among the group, what is the rate and how is it distributed in the Chinese population?
  3. Are there some particular psychiatric maladies more commonly reported among the group than others?

First, the literature review confirms that mental illness does exist among the Chinese population residing in the United States.

Second, the review shows that the rate of mental illness is not uniform within the group, in that among recent immigrants, the aged and students studying in the United States experience a higher risk of mental break-down than do female immigrants, the young or the native born.

Last but not least, research reveal that psychosomatization seems to be the origin of a significant portion of those reported cases of mental disorders.

These conclusions are not as extreme as those suggested by Tom in his Chinatown sample, namely that Chinese-Americans have an extremely high rate of mental illness. However, they do indicate the mental health needs of Chinese are sufficient to warrant greater concern. Several suggestions on how to improve the mental health care for Chinese are made in the text. They include training bilingual professionals and paraprofessional modifications in therapeutic concepts and techniques; setting up community health programs in Chinatown's and encouraging more research to be done in this particular area.


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