Asian American Women Battle Depression

A new study links mental health to time spent in the U.S.

By Leticia Miranda Dec 09, 2009

December 9, 2009

Asian American women are more likely than any other group to contemplate suicide, according to a recent University of Washington study. And this likelihood increases the longer they’ve lived in the U.S.

Roughly 16 percent of U.S.-born Asian women have contemplated suicide in their lifetime, and about 6 percent of U.S.-born Asian women said they had tried to kill themselves, exceeding the national average.

Researchers drew data from the National Latino and Asian-American Study and interviews with nearly 2,100 young Asian adults. They found that Chinese and Filipinos reported the highest rates of suicidal thoughts.

It is still unclear why the rates increase with the number of years spent in the U.S. But they found immigrants’ health weakens as they adopt American behaviors that are less healthy than those in their homeland.

“It is important for service providers, as well as policymakers, to know that U.S.-born Asian Americans, particularly the second generation, are at high risk for mental health problems and suicidal behavior,” said Aileen Duldulao, senior author of the study.