Thursday, August 27, 2009

Asian American Women at Risk For Suicide

According to a recent University of Washington study*, women of Asian descent who were born in the United States are at greater risk to contemplate and actually attempt suicide than the general population. Although the researchers are unclear why U.S. born Asian women are at a greater risk for suicide, one contributor to the study has some ideas:
"It is unclear why Asian-Americans who were born in the United States have higher rates of thinking about and attempting suicide," said Aileen Duldulao, a UW doctoral student in social work and lead author of the study. "There is the theory of the 'healthy immigrant' that proposes immigrants may be healthier on average than U.S-born Americans, because of the selectivity of migration or the retention of culturally-based behaviors. But it is unclear if this theory is the mechanism at work with regard to our findings."

Evidence supporting this idea was previously found among Mexican-American and Latino American immigrants. However, Duldulao said, the health of immigrants tends to decline with the number of years they spend in the U.S. and start adopting behaviors that are less healthy than those found in their homeland."
Another contributing factor to the alarmingly high rates of suicide among young Asian American women may be the myth of the "model minority." In case you're not familiar with the term, the model minority refers to those of a certain ethnic minority group that excels in education, business or in adapting to mainstream American culture. Generally, this term is applied to East Asian cultures.

For example, there can be tremendous pressure placed on young Asian Americans to not only do well in education, but to be the best with little to no room left for error. This pressure, coupled with family demands and expectations, can become too much for those that fail to meet the standard that has placed upon them.

Although there is nothing wrong with educational attainment or striving for success in business, these accomplishments will never bring lasting satisfaction and fulfillment. It is why I'm grateful for my friends in the Epic Movement that seek to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to emerging Asian American leaders throughout the country. With large numbers of young Asian college students dealing with the pressures of college, the grace offered through a relationship with Christ is what will satisfy their deepest longings. To learn more about Epic click here.

*Thanks to Racialicious for the link and commentary on the study.


Carita said...

Thanks for taking the time to write about Asian Americans and for acknowledging Epic in your blog. It is such a joy to get to be a part of The Epic Movement. We do pray that the love of Christ will bring healing to these types of issues many Asian American students are experiencing today. Praying for you and the Impact Movement as well!

scottmcrocker said...

Thanks, Carita.