Journal Article

Characteristics of Korean-Americans With Schizophrenia: A Cross-Ethnic Comparison With African-Americans, Latinos, and Euro-Americans

Sung-Woo Bae and John S. Brekke

in Schizophrenia Bulletin

Published on behalf of Maryland Psychiatric Research Center

Volume 28, issue 4, pages 703-717
Published in print January 2002 | ISSN: 0586-7614
Published online January 2002 | e-ISSN: 1745-1701 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.schbul.a006974
Characteristics of Korean-Americans With Schizophrenia: A Cross-Ethnic Comparison With African-Americans, Latinos, and Euro-Americans

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The purpose of this study was (1) to identify the demographic and psychosocial characteristics of Korean-Americans with schizophrenia, and (2) to compare the demographic and psychosocial characteristics of Korean-Americans with schizophrenia to African-American, Latino, and Euro-American individuals with schizophrenia. Based on current models of psychosocial functioning in schizophrenia, four dimensions—clinical status, functional status, subjective experience, and community risk—were examined and compared across the ethnic groups. Data on 223 individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia who were Korean-American (n = 40), Euro-American (n = 95), African-American (n = 60), and Latino (n = 28) were gathered in face-to-face interviews. All of the subjects were engaged in outpatient treatment. After controlling for sociodemographic variables, the main findings were as follows: (1) while the Korean-Americans were the least acculturated, their symptom levels and clinical status were highly comparable with those of the other ethnic groups; (2) based on living situation, family contact, social functioning, activities of daily living, and vocational data, the Korean-Americans showed a stronger familial orientation, lower social initiation, and higher affiliative qualities than other groups; (3) the Korean-American sample had comparable levels of self-esteem but reported lower satisfaction with life than the other ethnic groups. Minority status did not confound these findings. It is concluded that the psychosocial profile of the Korean-Americans was strongly influenced by their traditional and collectivistic cultural orientation. At the same time, the lower levels of life satisfaction could indicate that they experience difficulties in adjusting to Western society. Considering the Korean-Americans' strong tendency to maintain a collectivistic cultural orientation, mental health services need to be congruent with their cultural expectations. Interventions should also identify risk factors associated with lower life satisfaction. Several research implications are discussed.

Keywords: schizophrenia; Korean-American; cross-cultural; ethnic minority; psychosocial

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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