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The Effects of Religious Participation and Familial Assistance on Mental Health among Older Chinese and Korean Immigrants: Multiple Mediator Analyses

  • Isok Kim
  • Suk-Young Kang
  • Wooksoo Kim
ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Abstract

Older Asian immigrants are one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. population and a growing number of them reside in non-traditional destination cities. However, there is a paucity of research on older Asian immigrants living in these non-traditional destination cities, and how this residential choice impacts their stress and mental health. In the current study, we examined how stressors and social support contribute to the overall mental health of older Asian immigrants who lack access to culturally responsive formal social support services. Using a convenience sample of older Chinese (n = 120) and Korean (n = 118) immigrants living in Arizona, we conducted multiple mediator analyses, focusing specifically on how ethnicity would differentially influence mediating effects of religious participation and familial assistance in the relationships between physical/acculturative stressors and mental health outcomes. The results showed that among older Chinese immigrants, religious participation significantly mediated the relationships between both physical/acculturative stressors and mental health, while there was no significant mediation effect detected among older Korean immigrants. Although Asian Americans are often perceived as a monolithic homogeneous group, the multiple mediator models suggest significant differences in the use of cultural/information resources in coping with life stressors and their impact on mental health outcomes between the older Chinese and Korean immigrants in our study. The study findings suggest a need for developing and strengthening formal social services in non-traditional destination cities that are culturally and linguistically responsive to those older Asian immigrants.

Keywords

Older Chinese and Korean immigrants Mental health Social support Chronic medical conditions Limited English proficiency 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkUniversity at BuffaloBuffaloUSA
  2. 2.Department of Social WorkBinghamton UniversityBinghamtonUSA

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