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Ethnic Differences in Psychiatric Diagnosis among Asian American Adolescents

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: October 1993
Original Article: PDF Only

This is the first investigation of the psychiatric diagnosis of Asian American adolescents using data from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. It was hypothesized that Asian American adolescents receive different diagnoses than Caucasian adolescents, and furthermore, that there are intra-Asian differences in diagnosis among the Asian subgroups. Asian American adolescents were categorized in the following subgroups: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese, and other Asians (i.e., Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders). Separate comparisons were made for male and female adolescents. The findings strongly support the presence of ethnic differences between Asian and Caucasian adolescents and also among Asian subgroups in both male and female groups. In the Asian-Caucasian comparison, Asian males and females received significantly more nonpsychiatric diagnosis than Caucasians. Asian males were more often diagnosed with nonpsychiatric disorder and less often with affective disorders than Caucasian males. Asian females were more frequently diagnosed with major depression and nonpsychiatric disorder than Caucasian females. Among Asian American adolescents, Chinese and Japanese adolescents received similar diagnoses while Korean and Vietnamese also showed similar patterns in diagnosis. The implications of intra-Asian differences are discussed.

© Williams & Wilkins 1993. All Rights Reserved.