Beliefs in traditional chinese medicine efficacy among chinese americans: Implications for mental health service utilization

Lawrence H. Yang, Serena Corsini-Munt, Bruce G. Link, Jo C. Phelan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We examined how community attitudes towards traditional Chinese conceptions of health and Western dichotomization of illness might affect perceptions of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) efficacy in order to identify factors underlying psychiatric service underutilization among Chinese-Americans. We administered an experimental vignette to assess perceived illness, severity, and beliefs of TCM efficacy for physical and psychiatric disorders among 90 Chinese-Americans ascertained through a national telephone survey. Perceived illness severity was unrelated to assessment of TCM effectiveness. However, psychiatric conditions tended to be viewed as distinct from physical disorders, and TCM use was endorsed as less effective for psychiatric illnesses when compared with physical illnesses. Furthermore, differences in perceived TCM efficacy appeared to be magnified among US-born respondents, with US-born respondents endorsing lower efficacy for psychiatric disorders than foreign-born respondents. These findings suggest that TCM use for psychiatric disorders may decrease with Westernization, but might delay access to psychiatric services among first-generation immigrants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-210
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Volume197
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2009

Keywords

  • Asian american
  • Beliefs of efficacy
  • Help seeking
  • Service utilization
  • Traditional chinese medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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