Model Minority Stereotype: Influence on Perceived Mental Health Needs of Asian Americans
- 2.3k Downloads
This study examined the influence of the model minority stereotype on the perceived mental health functioning of Asian Americans. It was hypothesized that college students would perceive Asian Americans as having fewer mental health problems and clinical symptoms than Whites due to the model minority stereotype. Four hundred and twenty-five undergraduate students from a predominately White college campus in the American northeast were randomly exposed to one of four conditions: (1) a clinical vignette describing a White college student suffering from adjustment disorder; (2) the same vignette describing an Asian American college student; (3) a newspaper article describing a success story of Whites and the White clinical vignette; (4) the same newspaper article and clinical vignette describing an Asian American. Following exposure to one of the conditions, participants completed a memory recall task and measures of colorblindness, attitudes towards Asian Americans, attitudes towards out-group members, and perceived mental health functioning. Participants exposed to the vignettes primed with the positive/model minority stereotype perceived the target regardless of race/ethnicity as having better mental health functioning and less clinical symptoms than the condition without the stereotype. Additionally, the stereotype primer was found to be a modest predictor for the perception of mental health functioning in Asian American vignettes. Results shed light on the impact of the model minority stereotype on the misperception of Asian Americans’ mental health status, contributing to the invisibility or neglect of this minority group’s mental health needs.
KeywordsAsian American Model minority stereotype Mental health Decision-making Racial bias
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals
All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- 1.Abe-Kim J, Takeuchi DT, Hong S, Zane N, Sue S, Schröder MS, et al. Use of mental health-related services among immigrant and US-born Asian Americans: results from the National Latino and Asian American study. Am J Public Health. 2007;97:91–8. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2006.098541.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- 5.Allport GW. The nature of prejudice. New York: Addison-Wesley; 1954.Google Scholar
- 9.Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Deaths: Leading causes for 2008. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr60/nvsr60_06.pdf (2012).
- 14.Chou RS, Feagin JR. Myth of the model minority: Asian Americans facing racism. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers; 2008.Google Scholar
- 16.Dovidio JF, Gaertner SL. Intergroup bias. In: Fiske ST, Gilbert DT, Lindzey G, editors. Handbook of social psychology, Vol. 2. 5th ed. Hoboken: John Wiley; 2010. p. 1084–121.Google Scholar
- 27.Huang B, Grant BF, Dawson DA, Stinson FS, Chou S, Saha TD, et al. Race-ethnicity and the prevalence and co-occurrence of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, alcohol and drug use disorders and Axis I and II disorders: United States, 2001 to 2002. Compr Psychiatry. 2006;47(4):252–7. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2005.11.001.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 34.Lee SJ, Wong N, Alvarez AN. The model minority and the perpetual foreigner: Stereotypes of Asian Americans. In: Tewari N, Alvarez AN, editors. Asian American psychology: current perspectives. New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group; 2009. p. 69–84.Google Scholar
- 50.Tajfel H, Turner JC. The social identity theory of intergroup behavior. In: Worchel S, Austin WG, editors. Psychology of intergroup relations. Chicago: Nelson-Hall; 1986. p. 7–24.Google Scholar
- 52.UPI. Asian Americans more educated, successful. Retrieved from http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2012/06/19/Asian-Americans-more-educated-successful/35291340123834/ (2012).
- 53.U.S. Census Bureau. Population Profile of the United States: State population projections. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/population/www/pop-profile/stproj.html (2007).
- 54.U.S. Census Bureau. Overview of the race and Hispanic origin: 2010. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-02.pdf (2012).
- 55.U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mental health: Culture, race, and ethnicity—A supplement to Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44243/pdf/TOC.pdf (2001).
- 60.Wu FH. Yellow: race in America beyond black and white. New York: Basic Books; 2002.Google Scholar
- 61.Yang LH, WonPat-Borja AJ. Psychopathology among Asian Americans. In: Leong FTL, Ebreo A, Kinoshita L, Inman AG, Yang LH, Michi F, editors. Handbook of Asian American psychology. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage; 2006. p. 379–405.Google Scholar