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Am J Public Health. 2014 Sep;104 Suppl 4:S538-47. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302124.

Asian American and Pacific Islander military veterans in the United States: health service use and perceived barriers to mental health services.

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Jack Tsai and Robert H. Pietrzak are with the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, CT, and the Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. Julia M. Whealin is with the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System and the Department of Psychiatry, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu.



We (1) compared use of various health services nationally between Asian American and Pacific Islander (AA/PI) veterans and veterans of other racial/ethnic groups and (2) specifically compared perceived barriers and stigma related to mental health services.


Using bivariate and multivariable statistics, we analyzed a population-weighted sample of 8315 veterans from the 2010 National Survey of Veterans and a random sample of 567 recent veterans from Hawaii.


A total of 1.5% of veterans were AA/PI compared with 0.4% a decade ago. Compared with other veterans, AA/PI veterans reported higher socioeconomic status and better mental health, although these findings may be specific to AA veterans. Adjusting for sociodemographic and health differences, we found no differences in health service use or perceived barriers or stigma related to mental health services.


AA/PIs are a small but fast-growing racial/ethnic group within the veteran population that deserves attention. Although veteran status may be protective against some barriers to mental health care found in the general AA/PI population, efforts to reduce barriers to health care among veterans should be continued.

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