Mental health burdens among North American Asian adults living with chronic conditions: a systematic review

Jessica Y. Islam, Nina S. Parikh, Hope Lappen, Vandana Venkat, Priyanka Nalkar, Farzana Kapadia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Asians are likely to experience a high burden of chronic conditions, including, but not limited to, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, due to differences in biologic, genetic, and environmental factors across Asian ethnic groups. A diagnosis of any chronic condition can contribute to increased mental health burdens, including depression, psychological distress, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, few studies have examined these comorbid conditions across distinct Asian ethnic groups—an important limitation given the differences in social, cultural, and behavioral drivers of mental health burdens within and across Asian ethnicities. To understand the disparities in mental health burdens among Asians living with a chronic health condition, we conducted a systematic literature review of relevant, peer-reviewed publication databases to identify studies reporting on mental health burdens (e.g., depression, anxiety, distress, PTSD) in distinct Asian ethnic groups in North America. Thirteen studies met the inclusion criteria for this review and collectively demonstrated a high burden of depression, psychological distress, and PTSD among Asians living with chronic conditions. Moreover, there were distinct disparities in mental health burdens across chronic conditions and across Asian ethnic groups. Despite the detrimental impact of poor mental health on chronic disease–specific outcomes, such as death and poor quality of life, few data exist that characterize mental health outcomes among Asian ethnicities living in North America with chronic conditions. Future work should prioritize estimating the national prevalence of mental health outcomes among adults with chronic conditions, by Asian ethnicities, to inform culturally tailored interventions to address this public health burden.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-92
Number of pages11
JournalEpidemiologic Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023


  • anxiety
  • Asian Americans
  • Chinese
  • depression
  • Japanese
  • mental health
  • racial/ethnic disparities
  • South Asian

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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