Loss of face, intergenerational family conflict, and depression among Asian American and European American college students

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Loss of face, intergenerational family conflict, and depression among Asian American and European American college students Zornitsa Kalibatseva, Frederick T.L. Leong, Eun Hye Ham, Brittany K. Lannert, Yang Chen Psychology
Original Date of Publication: 
June, 2017

Intergenerational conflict and loss of face, or the damage to one's social image, status, and reputation, are significantly correlated to the development of depressive symptoms among Asian-American students. Asian cultures often use shame as a sanction for breaking societal expectations that might result in loss of face. The fear of shame may discourage Asian-American immigrants from seeking help for socially unaccepted issues (e.g. mental health). This relationship offers one explanation to the lower rates of mental health services and interventions Asian-American students seek compared to their peers. This is concerning as Asian-American students experience a significantly higher rate of depression compared to European-American students. The researchers also found that intergenerational conflict, exacerbated by different rates of acculturation in immigrant families, is correlated with an increased risk for depression among Asian-American students. From this outcome, the researchers gleaned that Asian immigrant family members are likely to acculturate at different rates based on their age. This acculturation gap can cause tension between generations of Asian-American immigrants that leads to social support relational disruptions and higher incidences of depression. Social workers must be aware of the intergenerational, cultural, and immigration obstacles Asian-American students and families may experience. It is imperative that clinicians assess for loss of face and intergenerational conflict when working with Asian-American immigrant clients to ensure culturally informed practice. (Immigrant Integration Lab)

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Citation: 

Kalibatseva, Z., Leong, F. T. L., Ham, E. H., Lannert, B. K., & Chen, Y. (2017). Loss of face, intergenerational family conflict, and depression among Asian American and European American college students. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 8(2), 126–133. https://doi.org/10.1037/aap0000067

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