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Mental Disorder Risk Factors Assessed in Asian Americans

Protective factors include non-U.S. birth status for women, English proficiency for men

FRIDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Among Asian Americans, immigration factors are related to 12-month and lifetime prevalence of depressive, anxiety and substance abuse disorders, but differently in men and women, according to a study published online Nov. 30 in the American Journal of Public Health. For example, non-U.S. birth status is protective for women, while English proficiency is protective for men.

David T. Takeuchi, Ph.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues interviewed 2,095 native-born or immigrant Asian American adults, including 600 Chinese, 520 Vietnamese, 508 Filipinos and 467 other Asians including Japanese, Koreans and Asian Indians.

The researchers found that women born outside the United States had a lower lifetime rate of mental disorders than U.S.-born women and that second-generation Asian American women were at higher risk for lifetime and 12-month disorders. Among men, they found that those who reported good-to-excellent English proficiency had lower rates of lifetime and 12-month disorders than those who reported fair-to-poor proficiency.

"These associations [for men] might have resulted because more-proficient speakers of English may have a higher socioeconomic position in the United States," the authors write. "Future studies should consider the interactive influences between immigration, gender and ethnicity in the risk for mental disorders."

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