Immigration-related stressors and mental health problems: exploring the role of religious involvement among Asian-American immigrants
Focusing on Asian-American immigrants in the National Latino and AsianAmerican Study, this work examines (1) whether immigration-related stressors areassociated with 12-month depressive disorder and suicidal ideation, and (2) howindividual religious involvement moderates the associations. Findings from regressionanalyses reveal that limited English proficiency increases the risk of both 12-monthdepressive disorder and suicidal ideation. No significant differences in 12-monthdepressive disorder and suicidal ideation are found by age at immigration. Mostimportantly, religious coping—frequently seeking comfort from religion—buffers thenegative effects of limited English proficiency on suicidal ideation. Our findingssuggest the importance of individual religious involvement in helping Asian-Americanimmigrants cope with stress associated with immigration. Mental health professionalsmay need to integrate religious coping mechanisms into the clinical setting to offer more effective treatments that are sensitive to individuals’ religious and spiritual needs.
Abe-Kim J, Takeuchi DT, Hong S, et al. (2007). Use of mental health-related services among immigrants and U.S. born Asian Americans: Results from the national Latino and Asian American study. American Journal of Public Health, 97(1): 91–98. https://doi.org/10.2105 AJPH.2006.098541.
Ai AL, Appel HB, and Nicdao EG (2016). Differential associations of religious involvement with the mental health of Asian-American subgroups: A cultural perspective. Journal of Religion and Health, 55(6): 2113–30. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-016-0257-0.
Ai AL, Huang B, Bjorck J, et al. (2013). Religious attendance and major depression among Asian Americans from a national database: The mediation of social support. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 5(2): 7889. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0030625.
Alegria M, Takeuchi DT, Canino G, et al. (2004). Considering context, place, and culture: The national Latino and Asian American study. International Journal of Methodsin Psychiatric Research, 13(4): 208–20. https://doi.org/10.1002/mpr.178.
Aneshensel CS and Frerichs RR (1982). Stress, support, and depression: A longitudinal model. Journal of Community Psychology, 10(4): 363–76. https://doi.org/10.1002/1520-6629(198210) 10:4<363::AID-JCOP2290100407>3.0.CO;2-8.
Appel HB, Ai AL, Huang B, et al. (2014.) Detrimental effects of discrimination on mental health in Asian Americans: Counteracting roles of religious involvement. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 24(1): 28–46. https://doi.org/10.1080/10508619.2012.761524.
Berkman LF, Glass T, Brissette I, et al. (2000). From social integration to health: Durkheim in the new millennium. Social Science and Medicine, 51(6): 843–57. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0277-9536(00)00065-4.
Berry JW, Kim U, Minde T, et al. (1987). Comparative study of acculturative stress. International Migration Review, 21(3): 491–511. https://doi.org/10.2307/2546607.
Bierman A (2006). Does religion buffer the effects of discrimination on mental health? Differing effects by race. Journal for the Scientifc Study of Religion, 45(4): 551–65. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5906.2006.00327.x.
Bjorck JP, Cuthebertson W, Thurman JW, et al. (2001). Ethinicity, coping, and distress among Korean Americans, Filipinos Americans, and Caucasian Americans. The Journal of Social Psychology, 141(4): 421–42. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224540109600563.
Bjorck J and Thurman JW (2007). Negative life events, patterns of positive and negative religious coping, and psychological functioning. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 46(2): 159–67. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5906.2007.00348.x.
Bonelli RM and Koenig HG (2013). Mental disorders, religion and spirituality 1990 to 2010: A systematice evidence-based review. Journal of Religion and Health, 52(2): 657–73. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-013-9691-4
Bourdieu P (1979). Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. Cambridge , MA: Harvard University Press. Bradshaw M and Ellison CG (2010). Financial hardship and psychological distress: Exploring the buffering effects of religion. Social Science and Medicine, 71(1): 196–204. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.03.015.
Breslau J, Borges G, Hagar Y, et al. (2009). Immigration to the USA and risk for mood and anxiety disorders: Variation by origin and age at immigration. Psychological Medicine, 39(7): 1117–27. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291708004698.
Breslau J and Chang DF (2006). Psychiatric disorders among foreign-born and US-born Asian Americans in a US national survey. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 41(12): 943–50. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-006-0119-2.
Chao MM, Chiu CY, and Lee JS (2010). Asians as model minority: Implications for U.S. government’s policies. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 13(1): 44–52. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-839X.2010.01299.x.
Cheng JKY, Fancher TL, Ratanasen M, et al. (2010). Lifetime suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in Asian Americans. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 1(1): 18–30. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0018799.
Chung RY, Fred B, Ortiz DP, et al. (2008). Promoting the mental health of immigrants: A multicultural/social justice perspective. Journal of Counseling and Development, 86(3): 310–17. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1556-6678.2008.tb00514.x.
Cohen S (1988). Psychosocial models of the role of social support in the etiology of physical disease. Health Psychology, 7(3): 265–97. https://doi.org/10.1037/0278-6188.8.131.529.
Cohen S and Wills TA (1985). Stress, social support, and the buffering hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 98(2): 310–57. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.98.2.310.
DeVylder JE, Oh HY, Yang LH, et al. (2013). Acculturative stress and psychotic-like experiences among Asian and Latino immigrants to the United States. Schizophrenia Research, 150(1): 223–28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2013.07.040.
Duldulao AA, Takeuchi DT, and Hong S (2009). Correlates of suicidal behaviors among Asian Americans. Archives of Suicide Research, 13(3): 277–90. Ellison CG (1993). Religious involvement and self-perception among Black Americans. Social Forces, 71(4): 1027–55. https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/71.4.1027.
Ellison CG, Boardman JD, Williams DR (2001). Religious involvement, stress, and mental health: Findings from the 1995 Detroit Area Study. Social Forces, 80(1): 215–49. https://doi.org/10.1353/sof.2001.0063.
Ellison CG and George LK (1994). Religious involvement, social tie, and social support in a southeastern community. Journal for the Scientific study of Religion, 33(1): 46–61. https://doi.org/10.2307/1386636.
Ellison CG and Henderson AK (2011). Religion and mental health: Through the lens of the stress process. In: Blasi A (Ed.), Toward a Sociological Theory of Religion and Health–(pp.11–44). Boston, MA: Brill.
Ellison CG and Levin JS (1998). The religion-health connection: Evidence, theory, and future directions. Health Education and Behavior, 25(6): 700–720.
Ellison CG, Musick MA, and Henderson AK (2008). Balm in gilead: Racism, religious involvement, and psychological distress among African-American adults. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 47(2): 291–309. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5906.2008.00408.x.
Fischer P, Ai AL, Aydin N, et al. (2010). The relationship of religious identity and preferred coping strategies: An examination of relative importance of interpersonal and intrapersonal coping in Muslims and Christian faiths. Review of General Psychology, 14(4): 365–381. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021624.
Fuligni AJ (2004). Covergence and divergence in the developmental contexts of immigrants to the United States. In: Schaie WK and Elen GH (Eds.), Historical influences on lives and aging–(pp. 89–98). New York, NY, USA: Springer Publishing Compancy.
Gartner J, Larson DB and Allen GD (1991). Religious commitment and mental health: A review of the empirical literature. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 19(1): 6–25.
Gee GC, Walsemann KM and Takeuchi DT (2010). English proficiency and language preference: Testing the equivalence of two measures. American Journal of Public Health, 100(3): 563–69. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2008.156976.
George LK (1993). Sociological perspectives on life transitions. Annual Review of Sociology, 19: 353–73. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.so.19.080193.002033.
George LK, Ellison CG and Larson DB (2002). Explaining the relationship between religious involvement and health. Psychological Inquiry, 13(3): 190–200. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15327965PLI1303_04.
Giedd JN (2004). Structural magnetic resonance imaging of the adolescent brain. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1021: 77–85. https://doi.org/10.1196/annals.1308.009.
Gogtay N, Giedd JN, Lusk L, et al. (2004). Dynamic mapping of human cortical development during childhood through adulthood. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 101(21): 8174–79. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0402680101.
Hackney CH and Sanders GS (2003). Religiosity and mental health: A meta-analysis of recent studies. Journal for the Scientifice Study of Religion, 42(1): 43–55. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-5906.t01-1-00160.
Hayward MD and Gorman BK (2004). The long arm of childhood: The influence of early-life social conditions on men’s motality. Demography, 41(1): 87–107.
Hasin DS, Goodwin RD and Stinson FS (2005). Epidemiology of major depressive disorder: Results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on alcoholism and related conditions. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(10): 1097–1106. https://doi.org/10.1353/dem.2004.0005.
Heeringa SG, Wagner J, Torres M, et al. (2004). Sample designs and sampling methods for the collaborative psychiatric epidemiology studies (CPES). International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 13(4): 221–40. https://doi.org/10.1002/mpr.179.
Hurh WM and Kim KC (1990). Correlates of Korean immigrants’ mental health. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 178(11): 703–711.
Kim Y and Seidlitz L (2002). Spirituality moderates the effects of stress on emotional and physical adjustment. Personality and Individual Differences, 32(8): 1377–90. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0191-8869(01)00128-3.
Kim G, Worley CB, Allen RS, et al. (2011). Vulnerability of older Latino and Asiam immigrants with limited English proficiency. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 59(7): 1246–52. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03483.x.
Koenig HG (1998). Handbook of Religion and Mental Health. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Koenig HG (2015). Religion, spirituality, and health: A review and update. Advances in Mindbody Medicine, 29(3): 19–26.
Koenig HG and Larson DB (2001). Religion and mental health: Evidence for an association. International Review of Psychiatry, 13(2): 67–78. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540260124661.
Kposowa AJ, McElvain JP and Breault KD (2008). Immigration and suicide: The role of marital status, duration of residence, and social integration. Archives of Suicide Research, 12(1): 82–92. https://doi.org/10.1080/13811110701801044.
Krause N (1995). Religiosity and self-esteem among older adults. The Journals of Gerotology, 50B(5): 236–46. https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/50B.5.P236.
Krause N (2002). Church-based social support and health in old age: Exploring variations by race. The Journals of Gerontology, 57(6): 332–47. https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/57.6.S332.
Krause N (2006). Gratitude toward God, stress and health in late life. Research on Aging, 28(2): 163–83.
Krause N (2007). Social involvement in religious institutions and God-mediated control beliefs: A longitudinal investigation. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 46(4): 519–37. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5906.2007.00375.x.
Lee BJ (2007). Moderating effects of religious/spiritual coping in the relation between perceived stress and psychological well-being. Pastoral Psychology, 55(6): 751–59. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11089-007-0080-3.
Leu J, Yen IH, Gansky SA, et al. (2008). The association between subjective social status and mental health among Asian immigrants: Investing the influence of age at immigration. Social Science and Medicine, 66(5): 1152–64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.11.028.
Levin JS (2010). “Religion and mental health: Theory and research”. International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 7(2): 102–15. https://doi.org/10.1002/aps.240.
Levin JS and Chatters LM (1998). Research on religion and mental health: An overview of empirical findings and theoretical issues. In: Koenig HG (Ed.), Handbook of Religion and Mental Health–(pp. 70–84). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Link BG and Cullen ET (1990). The labeling theory of mental disorders: A review of the evidence. Research in Community and Mental Health, 6: 75–105.
Lynch EW (1992). From culture shock to cultural learning. In: Lynch EW and Hanson MJ (Eds.), Developing Cross-Cultural Competence: A Guide for Working with Young Children and their Families–(pp.19–34). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brooke.
Moreire-Almeida A, Neto FL and Koenig HG (2006). Religiousness and mental health: A review. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, 28(3): 242–50. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1516-44462006005000006.
Mossakowski KN (2007). Are immigrants healthier? The case of depression among Filipino Americans. Social Psychology Quarterly, 70(3): 290–304. https://doi.org/ 10.1177/019027250707000307.
Mossakowski KN and Zhang W (2014). Does social support buffer the stress of discrimination and reduce psychological distress among Asian Americans. Social Psychology Quarterly, 77(3): 273–95. https://doi.org/10.1177/0190272514534271.
Noh S, Kaspar V and Wickrama KAS (2007). Overt and subtle racial discrimination and mental health: Preliminary findings for Korean immigrants. American Journal of Public Health, 97(7): 1270–1274. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2005.085316.
Nooney JG (2005). Religion, stress, and mental health in adolescence: Findings from add health. Review of Religious Research, 46(4): 341–54. https://doi.org/10.2307/3512165.
Nooney JG and Woodrum E (2002). Religious coping and church-based social support as predictors of mental health outcomes: Testing a conceptual model. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 41(2): 359–68. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-5906.00122.
Pargament K, Ensing DS, Falgout K, et al. (1990). God help me: Religious coping efforts and predictors of the outcomes to significant negative life events. American Journal of Community Psychology, 18(6): 793–824.
Pearlin LI (1985). Social structure and processes of social support. In: Cohen S and Syme LS (Eds.), Social Support and Health–(pp.43–60). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Pearlin LI (1989). The sociological study of stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 30(3): 241–56.
Pearlin LI, Menaghan EG, Lieberman MA, et al. (1981). The stress process. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 22(4): 337–56.
Pew Research Center (2014). The rise of Asian Americans. www.Pewsocialtrends.org/2012/06/19/the-rise-of-asian-americans.
Rogler LH, Cortes DE, and Malgady RG (1991). Acculturation and mental health status among Hispanics. American Psychologist, 46(6): 585–97. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.46.6.585.
Rumbaut RG (1994). The crucible within: Ethnic identity, self-esteem, and segmented assimilation among children of immigrants. International Migration Review, 28(4): 748–94. https://doi.org/10.2307/2547157.
Salant T and Lauderdale DS (2003). Measuring culture: a critical review of acculturation and health in Asian immigrant populations. Social Science and Medicine, 57(1): 71–90. https://doi.org/ 10.1016/S0277-9536(02)00300-3.
Schnittker J (2001). When is faith enough? The effects of religious involvement on depression. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 40(3): 393–411. https://doi.org/10.1111/0021-8294.00065.
Seybold KS and Hill PC (2001). The role of religion and spirituality in mental and physical health. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10(1): 21–24. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8721.00106.
Siegel K, Anderman SJ and Schrimshaw EW (2001). Religion and coping with health-related stress. Psychology and Health, 16(6): 631–53. https://doi.org/10.1080/08870440108405864.
Smart JF and Smart DW (1995). Acculturative stress of Hispanics: Loss and challenge. Journal of Counseling and Development, 73(4): 390–96.
Stack S (1983). The effect of religious commitment on suicide: A cross-national analysis. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 24(4): 362–74.
Tabora BL and Flaskerud JH (1997). Mental health beliefs, practices, and knowledge of Chinese American immigrant women. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 18(3): 173–189. https://doi.org/10.3109/01612849709012488.
Takeuchi DT, Chuang RCY, Lin K, et al. (1998). Lifetime and twelve-month prevalence rates of major depressive episodes and dysthymia among Chinese Americans in Los Angeles. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 155(10): 1407–14. https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.155.10.1407.
Takeuchi DT, Zane N, Hong, S, et al. (2007). Immigration-related factors and mental disorders among Asian Americans. American Journal of Public Health, 97(1): 84–90. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2006.088401.
Thoits PA (1983). Multiple identities and psychological well-being: A reformation and test of the social isolation hypothesis. American Sociological Review, 48(2): 174–87.
Thoits PA (2011). Mechanisms linking social ties and support to physical and mental health. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 52(2): 145–61. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022146510395592.
United States Census Bureau (2014). State & county quickFacts. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html
Viruell-Fuentes EA (2007). Beyond acculturation: Immigration, discrimination, and health research among Mexicans in the United States. Social Science and Medicine, 65(7): 1524–35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.05.010.
Walton E, Takeuchi DT, Herting JR, et al. (2009). Does place of education matter? Contextualizing the education and health status assocaition among Asian Americans. Biodemography and Social Biology, 55: 30–51. https://doi.org/10.1080/19485560903054648.
Won MH and Kwang CK (1990). Adaptation stages and mental health of Korean male immigrants in the United States. The International Migration Review, 24(3): 456–479. https://doi.org/10.2307/2546369.
World Health Organization (2017). Health topic: Suicide. http://www.who.int/topics/suicide/en/.
Yeh CJ (2003). Age, acculturation, cultural adjustment, and mental health symptoms of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese immigrant youths. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 9(1): 34–48. https://doi.org/10.1037/1099-9809.9.1.34.
Yeh CJ, Arora AK and Inose M (2003). The cultural adjustment and mental health of Japanese immigrant youth. Adolescence, 38(151): 481–500.
Yoo HC, Burrola KS and Steger MF (2010). A preliminary report on a new measure: Internalization of the model minority myth measure (IM-4) and its psychological correlates among Asian American college students. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 57(1): 114–127. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0017871.
Yoo HC, Gee GC and Takeuchi DT (2009). Discrimination and health among Asian American immigrants: Disentangling racial from language discrimination. Social Science and Medicine, 68(4): 726–732. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.11.013.
Zhang J, Fang L, Wu YB, et al. (2013). Depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation among Chinese Americans: A study of immigration-related factors. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 201(1): 17–22. https://doi.org/10.1097/NMD.0b013e31827ab2e2.
Zhang W, Hong S, Takeuchi D T, et al. (2012). Limited English proficiency and psychological distress among Latinos and Asian Americans. Social Science and Medicine, 75(6): 1006–14. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.05.012.
Zhang W and Hong S (2013). Perceived discrimination and psychological distress among Asian Americans: Does education matter? Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 15(5): 932–943. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-012-9676-5.