Likelihood of Using Mental Health Services among Asians and Latinos in the U.S.: An Acculturative Approach
Lopez, Angelica A.
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Prior research indicates that because of acculturation, racial minorities’ use of mental health services increases with each subsequent generation. Yet little is known about how refining generational categories to include the 1.5 and 2.5 generations affects the association between acculturation and the perceived need for mental health resources. Using the National Latino and Asian American Study, the present study examined the interplay between generation status, acculturation, socioeconomic status (SES), and perceived need to seek mental health services among Asians (N = 2,095) and Latinos (N = 2,554) in the United States. The findings indicate that the interrelationships between these factors may be different for Asians and Latinos and that it is crucial to use more refined generational categories in intergenerational health mobility research. Specifically, the 1.5, 2.5 and third generations are associated with an increase in perception of needing to seek mental health resources among Asians. Furthermore, the findings highlight the importance of taking into consideration the implications of several acculturation measures on the association between generation status and the perception of mental health services. In particular, English proficiency accounts for the impact of generation status partially among Asians and completely among Latinos. Lastly, this study demonstrates that not only various acculturation measures, but also some SES factors (i.e., education and employment) might make a difference in the effect of generation status on access to mental health services.