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Psychiatr Serv. 2011 Oct;62(10):1180-6. doi: 10.1176/

Mental health service use by persons of Asian ancestry with DSM-IV mental disorders in the United States.

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  • 1Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.



This study compared the prevalence and odds of mental health service utilization among people of Asian ancestry with lifetime DSM-IV mood, anxiety, alcohol, and drug use disorders with utilization by members of other racial and ethnic groups with similar disorders.


Between 2001 and 2002, a total of 43,093 noninstitutionalized individuals were assessed by the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) study of lifetime prevalence of DSM-IV psychiatric disorders and mental health service utilization among various ethnic and racial groups.


Among individuals with lifetime mood disorders, Asians had significantly lower mental health service utilization compared with whites (odds ratio [OR]=.31, 95% confidence interval [CI]=.21-.46), Hispanics (OR=.49, CI=.33-71), and Native Americans (OR=.27, CI=.15-.48) but similar utilization compared with blacks. There were no statistically significant differences in lifetime mental health service utilization for alcohol and drug use disorders among racial and ethnic groups.


Asians with lifetime mood disorders underutilized mental health services even after adjustment was made for socioeconomic variables and years of residency in the United States. Future studies of culture-specific attitudes, correlates, and barriers to mental health service utilization are warranted.

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