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

Abstract

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.

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Funding

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

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Correspondence to Hans Oh.

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Oh, H., Ko, J. & Waldman, K. Church-Based Sleep Screenings to Detect Mental Health Problems Among Korean-Americans. J Immigrant Minority Health 21, 1440–1443 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-019-00861-1

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Keywords

  • Korean-Americans
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Mental health
  • Churches
  • Screenings