Health status and Healthcare Access of Southeast Asian refugees in the United States: An integrative review. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: Since 2010, more than 527,000 refugees have resettled in the United States (US), most from Asia, fleeing war, violence, and persecution. However, there is little research that integrates findings about health among Southeast Asian refugees (SEAR). DESIGN: We conducted an integrative review of studies that examined health status, risk factors, and barriers to healthcare access among SEAR in the US. We synthesized findings of studies published from 1980, when the Refugee Act was enacted, to 2022 using five databases. We reviewed 20 articles and data were extracted into a table for synthesis. RESULTS: Participants were from Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Burma and the Thailand-Myanmar border. Hypertension (12%-64%), hypercholesterolemia (37%-39%), diabetes (0.6%-27%), heart disease (7%), bone and muscle problems (23%-50%), and chronic pain (8%-51%) were most common physical health problems; and PTSD (45%-86%) and depression (20%-80%) were the most common mental health problems. Trauma, resettlement stress, lack of community or religious engagement were associated with mental health problems. Language differences, transportation, and lack of health insurance were the most significant obstacles to receiving healthcare. CONCLUSION: SEAR experienced worse physical and mental health than the general US population. Different patterns of disease were identified depending on gender, time settled in the US, and ethnic group. Qualitative and longitudinal studies will elucidate refugees' experience and should guide interventions.

published proceedings

  • Public Health Nurs

author list (cited authors)

  • Bang, S. H., Huang, Y., Kuo, H., Cho, E. S., & Garca, A. A.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Bang, So Hyeon||Huang, Ya-Ching||Kuo, Hsuan-Ju||Cho, Emma S||GarcĂ­a, Alexandra A

publication date

  • March 2023