A Sociodemographic Profile of Asian Americans Served in Community Mental Health Centers for a Diagnosis of Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorder

  • Caroline LimEmail author
  • Mercedes Hernandez
  • Lizbeth Gaona
  • Paula Helu-Brown
  • Concepción Barrio
Original Article


Little is known about Asian Americans treated for serious psychiatric disorders in the public mental health system. We characterized 75 Asian Americans seen at community mental health centers for a diagnosis of schizophrenia spectrum disorder to anticipate likely clients and gain insights into their service needs. Participants completed in-person interviews and self-report questionnaires on their demographic and social characteristics. The ethnically diverse sample featured mostly foreign-born individuals with long-standing schizophrenia. Findings highlighted participants’ differential experience of social adversities and stressful events, but also revealed salient cultural resources that shielded some from the social sequelae of schizophrenia. Recovery-oriented mental health programs staffed by culturally and linguistically compatible providers remain key to engaging this marginalized population in service. Findings also uphold a holistic management of schizophrenia spectrum disorder among racial and ethnic minorities, taking into account the complex social needs of afflicted individuals.


Asian Americans Schizophrenia Sociodemographic profile Community mental health centers 



This research was supported by the Okura Mental Health Scholarship awarded to Caroline Lim by the Asian Pacific Islander Social Work Educator Association. Funding from the University of Southern California Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work supported the article preparation. The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions of mental health providers and study participants. The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, or publication of this article.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social WorkUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Steve Hicks School of Social WorkUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  3. 3.Department of Social Work, Faculty of Arts and Social SciencesNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  4. 4.Mount Saint Mary’s UniversityLos AngelesUSA

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