Attitudes of older Korean Americans toward mental health services

Yuri Jang, Giyeon Kim, Lianne Hansen, David A. Chiriboga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Given the increasing evidence that older ethnic minorities underuse mental health services, the present study assessed determinants of attitudes toward mental health services with a sample of older Korean Americans (N=472). Adapting Andersen's behavioral health model, predisposing factors (age, sex, marital status, education, length of residence in the United States), mental health needs (anxiety, suicidal ideation, depressive symptoms), and enabling factors (personal experiences and beliefs) were considered as potential predictors. Shorter residence in the United States and higher levels of depressive symptoms were associated with more-negative attitudes toward mental health services. Culture-influenced personal beliefs (knowledge about mental illness and stigmatism) were found to play a substantial role in shaping individuals' attitudes toward mental health services. Findings call attention to the need to investigate how culture influences the response to mental health needs and to develop community education and outreach programs to close the gaps between mental health needs and service utilization in older ethnic minority populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)616-620
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Korean American
  • Mental health
  • Older adults
  • Service utilization


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