Depression and anxiety among Asian Americans: The effects of social support and strain

Cindy C. Sangalang, Gilbert C. Gee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

It is almost taken for granted that social relationships benefit mental health, yet these relationships may not always be protective. This study examines how the support and strains individuals derive from family and friends may be related to depression and anxiety among Asian Americans. Data come from the 2002-2003 National Latino and Asian American Study, the first nationally representative study of mental health outcomes among Asian Americans (n = 2,066). Results indicate that family support was associated with decreased odds of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed., text rev.) criteria for both major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) among men and women. In addition, family strain was associated with increased odds of GAD equally among men and women. However, friend strain was associated with increased odds of GAD among women but not men, and family strain was marginally associated with increased odds of MDD for women but was unrelated for men. The findings affirm the need to consider social strain along with social support, as well as their sources, with attention to the potentially stronger effects of strain for women. Implications for social work practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-60
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Work (United States)
Volume57
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

Keywords

  • Asian Americans
  • Mental health
  • Social strain
  • Social support
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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