Symptoms of Anxiety and Associated Risk and Protective Factors in Young Asian American Children

Abstract

Anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health problems in young children but there has been a dearth of studies focusing on Asian American children. This study examines the patterns and the predictors of childhood anxiety and related symptoms in young children in a diverse Asian American (ASA) sample (n = 101). Findings indicate that ASA children are at higher risk for anxiety, somatization, and depressive problems than their peers. Parents’ level of acculturation (i.e., American identity, English competence), parental negative emotion socialization, conflicted parent–child relationship, child emotional knowledge and adaptive skills, as well as teachers’ ethnic background and school class types were all associated with ASA children’s anxiety. A combination of cultural, family, and school factors explained from 17 to 39 % of the variance in anxiety symptoms. Findings inform prevention services for young ASA children.

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Acknowledgments

This research was funded by a grant to the first author from the National Research Center of Excellence – NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health supported by the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (P60 MD000538-05). We thank the participating families, Pre-K programs and volunteer research assistants Jenny Moy, Xem Bui, Melissa Mak, Stefani Kim, Sadia Hussain, Sarah Bakar, Tiffany Anderson, Anne Kay and Pavita Singh.

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Correspondence to Keng-Yen Huang.

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Huang, KY., Cheng, S., Calzada, E. et al. Symptoms of Anxiety and Associated Risk and Protective Factors in Young Asian American Children. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 43, 761–774 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10578-012-0295-0

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Keywords

  • Asian American
  • Anxiety
  • Somatization
  • Acculturation
  • Parenting
  • Risk factor