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Mental Illness Public Stigma and Generational Differences Among Vietnamese Americans

  • Mai DoEmail author
  • Jennifer McCleary
  • Diem Nguyen
  • Keith Winfrey
Original Paper
  • 42 Downloads

Abstract

Public stigma is one barrier to accessing behavioral health care among Vietnamese Americans. To explore and identify features of culture and acculturation that influence behavioral health-related stigma, six focus groups were conducted with Vietnamese American participants in three generational groups and eleven key informant interviews were conducted with Vietnamese community leaders, traditional healers, and behavioral health professionals. Data were analyzed using Link and Phelan’s (Annu Rev Sociol 27(1):363–385, 2001) work on stigma as an organizing theoretical framework. Findings underline several key cultural and generational factors that intersect to affect perceptions, beliefs, and stigma about mental health treatment. In particular, participants in the youngest groups highlighted that while they recognized the value of mental health services, they felt culturally limited in their access. This appeared to be closely related to intergenerational communication about mental health. The findings suggest avenues for further research as well as interventions to increase mental health treatment access and adherence.

Keywords

Vietnamese Immigrants Mental health Public stigma 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Research of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number UL1TR001417 with a sub-contract to Tulane University. The authors would like to express their gratitude to Mily Nguyen and the staff at the New Orleans East Community Health Center for their assistance in recruitment and data collection. The authors thank Thuan Vuong and Chali Temple for their work in the transcription and translation of the interviews.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral SciencesTulane University School of Public Health and Tropical MedicineNew OrleansUSA
  2. 2.Department of Social WorkUniversity of MinnesotaDuluthUSA
  3. 3.Tulane University School of Social WorkNew OrleansUSA
  4. 4.New Orleans East Community Health CenterNew OrleansUSA

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