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Mental-illness stigma among Korean immigrants: Role of culture and destigmatization strategies
Asian American Journal of Psychology (2017)
  • Meekyung Han, San Jose State University
  • Rachel Cha, San Jose State University
  • Hyun Ah Lee, County of Santa Clara In-Home Supportive Services
  • Sang E. Lee, San Jose State University
Mental-illness stigma is a well-documented problem in the Korean American immigrant community, and the need for antistigma programs is widely acknowledged. However, there is limited information on the ways in which this mental-health stigma is manifested in shaping views toward people with mental illness in the Korean-immigrant community—as well as on how to tackle the problem. To address the gap, this study used an exploratory design and 18 key-informant (KI) interviews were conducted via focus-group meetings with key leaders of the Korean-immigrant community in the San Francisco Bay Area. The study findings reveal stigmatized beliefs (e.g., being dangerous, out of control, and abnormal) and behaviors (e.g., social distance) toward people with mental illness, as well as cultural values that reinforce the stigma in the Korean-immigrant community. Our findings demonstrate an urgent need to ameliorate the stigma associated with mental illness. They also suggest that antistigma programs developed for Korean immigrant communities should emphasize community-based education that employs indirect approaches to preserve confidentiality and cultural values, as well as culturally and linguistically competent mental health services.
  • mental-illness stigma,
  • Korean immigrants,
  • role of culture,
  • antistigma program
Publication Date
June, 2017
Publisher Statement
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Citation Information
Meekyung Han, Rachel Cha, Hyun Ah Lee and Sang E. Lee. "Mental-illness stigma among Korean immigrants: Role of culture and destigmatization strategies" Asian American Journal of Psychology Vol. 8 Iss. 2 (2017) p. 134 - 141 ISSN: 1948-1993
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