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Title: Mental Illness, Alexithymia, and Acculturation in Asian Americans
Authors: Chaudhry, Maha
Advisors: Allen, Lesley
Department: Psychology
Class Year: 2016
Abstract: Though Asians are the fastest-growing racial/ethnic group in the U.S. (Brown, 2014), they still face many obstacles to mental health, including cultural stigma, the difficulties associated with being bicultural, and insufficient attention from the psychological research community. One psychological construct that disproportionately affects Asian Americans is alexithymia, a cognitive-affective personality trait characterized by difficulties experiencing and communicating emotions (Taylor, 1984). Higher rates of this construct are also associated with mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. This study aimed to understand the differences in rates of mental illness, stigmatizing attitudes towards mental illness, acculturation, and alexithymia between Asians and non-Asians. Groups of Asian American and non-Asian American college students completed various self-report measures of mental health, acculturation, and alexithymia. Analyses of their responses showed that Asian Americans scored significantly higher on the externally oriented thinking (EOT) factor of alexithymia, had significantly stronger feelings of anger towards the mentally ill, and significantly greater generational status’ than their non-Asian counterparts. Asian Americans’ acculturation also predicted the EOT factor of the alexithymia construct. These results suggest that despite being exposed to American culture at a relatively young age, college-aged Asian Americans share some of the mental health experiences of their ethnic cultures.
Extent: 57 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Psychology, 1930-2017

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