Church-Based Sleep Screenings to Detect Mental Health Problems Among Korean-Americans

  • Hans OhEmail author
  • Justine Ko
  • Kyle Waldman
Brief Communication


Korean-American mental health is poorly understood, and screening for sleep disturbances may be an effective means of identifying at-risk individuals. In partnership with a Korean-American church in Los Angeles, an online survey was administered. The study was conducted at a Korean-American church in Los Angeles, California. The sample consisted of 137 Korean-Americans drawn from the church congregation. Sleep disturbances were measured using a single ordinal variable, and mental health outcomes included nonspecific psychological distress, perceived stress, loneliness, suicidal ideation, hazardous drinking, treatment seeking behaviors, and perceived need for help. Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate the associations between sleep disturbances and mental health outcomes, adjusting for age and sex. Results are presented as odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals. Almost a third of the sample reported moderate or severe sleep disturbances. After adjusting for age and sex, sleep disturbances were associated with greater odds of reporting probable mental illness, perceived need for treatment, and treatment-seeking behaviors. Sleep disturbances were also associated with higher levels of perceived stress and loneliness, but were not significantly associated with suicidal ideation or hazardous drinking. Sleep disturbances are associated with mental health problems and may be an important idiom of distress for Korean-Americans. Primary care providers and informal providers in the community (specifically churches) should work together to screen for sleep problems and refer at-risk individuals to appropriate levels of care.


Korean-Americans Sleep disturbances Mental health Churches Screenings 



This study was funded by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (award number T32AA014125).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 16 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Southern California, Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social WorkLos AngelesUSA

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