The Challenge: A growing public health crisis among Asian American women evidenced by stark growth of suicidal behaviors and prevalent depression.
The Asian Women’s Health Initiative Project is a five-year study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. It is directed by Professor Hyeouk Chris Hahm.
AWARE grew out of stories heard from Asian American young women – diverse individuals who are traversing two worlds (the mainstream American culture & their parents’ culture) while navigating the challenges of young adulthood. Despite the adversities many of them have faced & their on-going struggles, they are a group of vibrant, complex individuals with significant strengths. The AWARE intervention is specific for Asian-American women and unlike other psychotherapy models, it integrates the issues of culture, family, and gender which speak to Asian-American women.
“Healthy Women, Healthy Communities” focused on 1.5 or second generation Asian American young women. 1.5 generation refers to individuals who immigrated to the United States during their childhood or adolescence, and second generation refers to those who were born in the United States but whose parent(s) immigrated to the United States.
Asian Americans comprise one of the fastest growing minority groups in the United States. Between 1980 and 2000, the Asian American population increased more than 200% whereas the Latino population in the United States has grown by 140% (Census 2000, 2003). The Asian American population is projected to double between 1990 and 2020, and the number of Asian Americans will be more than 20 million in year 2020 (Penn, Kar, Kramer, Skinner, & Zambrana, 1995). Despite the substantial size of the Asian American population, there has not been a great deal of research focusing on this population.
“Healthy Women, Healthy Communities” sought to fill the gap in research and services for Asian American women. Specifically, we were interested in exploring how cultural, familial factors, and gender roles interplay to affect physical and mental health. We gathered data specific to Chinese-American, Korean-American, and Vietnamese-American young women between the ages of 18 to 28, who are children of immigrants. With this foundational understanding, we were able to develop culturally-competent and ethnic-specific services for Asian American women.
Learn more about AWARE.