Original Paper

Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 46, Issue 6, pp 570-578

First online:

Utilization of Complementary and Alternative Medicines for Mental Health Problems Among Asian Americans

  • Namkee G. ChoiAffiliated withSchool of Social Work, University of Texas at Austin Email author 
  • , Jinseok KimAffiliated withDepartment of Social Welfare, Seoul Women’s University

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Using the Asian sample (n = 2,095) of the National Latino and Asian American Study, 2002–2003, this study examined the prevalence and correlates of the use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) and traditional/conventional mental health services (TCMHS) for mental health problems. Of those with a probable DSM-IV diagnosis of any mental disorder, 45.2, 26.1, and 28.7%, respectively, used CAM alone, both CAM and TCMHS, and TCMHS alone for their mental health problems. The corresponding rates for those not meeting the DSM-IV criteria were 71.8, 9.3, and 18.8%. Of those with a probable DSM-IV diagnosis, the use of CAM only was significantly positively associated with level of education, English proficiency, and perceived discrimination. The TCMHS use was also significantly positively associated with English proficiency. Although Asian Americans with severe mental health problems are more likely to access TCMHS than CAM alone, the utilization of TCMHS still appears to be low.


Asian Americans Complementary and alternative medicines Conventional mental health services