Mohan, Sarita (2010-12). Acculturation and Its Effects on Help-Seeking Attitudes among Asian Indians. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • There is a lack of research in the mental health field and on help-seeking regarding the Asian Indian population. Asian Indians are the third largest Asian subgroup in the United States; thus, it is important to understand their culture and lifestyle. Collectively, they are more likely to consult family and close friends rather than seek help from mental health professionals. Asian Indians may not choose to discuss these problems because they feel it is unnecessary, or it could bring shame to the family. The purpose of this study was to look at the effects of acculturation on the help-seeking attitudes of Asian Indian parents and caregivers when considering seeking help for their children. Inclusion criteria included parents and caregivers of children ages 7-17, who are 18 years of age or older, of Asian Indian ancestry, have resided in the U.S. for at least one year, and who have been the primary caregiver for at least 6 months. Measures used examined culture, acculturation, help-seeking attitudes, and some basic demographic information. The survey was available online as well as on paper to be returned to the researcher.
    A total of 89 participants, the majority of whom were mothers and well-educated, completed the survey. Participants were recruited at community events, at a temple in Houston, and through family members and friends by emailing the online link. Analyses of the data indicated that acculturation does not impact openness to seek mental health services, level of mental health stigma, and intentions to seek mental health services. It was also shown that openness and stigma do not mediate the relationship between acculturation and the intention to seek mental health services. Finally, the top sources of help indicated by the Asian Indians in this study are intimate partners, mental health professionals, and doctors or general practitioners. There were participants who had taken their children to see a professional before, but opinions varied regarding its helpfulness. It is hoped that this study will provide valuable information to inform mental health professionals about an understudied population and to continue to emphasize the importance of understanding diversity and what that means for school psychology and the mental health field.

publication date

  • December 2010