August 18, 2008

Mental health of biracial Asian Americans

Biracial Asian Americans and mental health:
A new study of Chinese-Caucasian, Filipino-Caucasian, Japanese-Caucasian and Vietnamese-Caucasian individuals concludes that biracial Asian Americans are twice as likely as monoracial Asian Americans to be diagnosed with a psychological disorder.


Zane and his co-investigator, UC Davis psychology graduate student Lauren Berger, found that 34 percent of biracial individuals in a national survey had been diagnosed with a psychological disorder, such as anxiety, depression or substance abuse, versus 17 percent of monoracial individuals.


Future research should investigate the factors that explain the higher rate of diagnosed psychological disorders among biracial Asian Americans, Zane said. Possibilities include influences of ethnic identification and experiences of ethnic discrimination.

I don't know what accounts for this phenomenon, but it's strange that a biological or genetic cause is not listed as a possibility.


UncleTomRuckusInGoodWhiteWorld said...

There was also a study of black/white mixes that came out a few weeks ago and it also said that they were more prone (than white or blacks) to have behavioral problems than black or white kids.

The study sited that they felt it was because they have no natural group to belong to based on appearance so they do riskier behavior to be excepted or be seen as "cool".

I would also say that interracial marriages, are even more likely to end up in divorce that monoracial American marriages (which is already about 50%) so this might also have something to do with it, there have been tones of studies that show children of "broken homes" have more behavioral problems. If you add those two factors together, with or without genetic issues you will see more "issues".

Still biracial kids are thought to be more attractive (doesn't matter there mix).

This could be due to "exoticness" more so than traditional norms in a society (I'm not talking about universal normals like symmetry).

UncleTomRuckusInGoodWhiteWorld said...

I felt I should add that I felt the explaination in the white-black mix study was not good. FOr the most part, even in 2008, outside of some major urban areas, mixed race kids of that mix are treated as black. So they do have a natural social group. Blacks don't "dis" mixed race kids based on appearance because many mixed race kids look like "mono-racial kids" due to the historic hypodescent rule.

My mother looked "mixed race" but had two "black parents". LOL One was a Lousiana Creole, which explains her appearance, she was more caucasion looking than Barak Obama for certain.

Anonymous said...

If race-mixing disrupts the transmission of healthy mental characteristics to offspring, it follows that groups of the same race with significant genetic distances who mix together should also show greater than average psychological problems. Thus, Americans should have more psychological disorders than Brits and Germans.

Or is this a wrong assumption?

terryt said...

I suspect that the cause is that differing, and perhaps conflicting, parental cultures lead to confusion in the offspring. This in turn leads to psychological problems. I doubt if it has anything to do with genetics. In fact conflicting parental cultures can occur within the same 'race' and have the same effect.

Max said...

Keep in mind that marrying outside one's race is still not the norm. I'm not saying only crazy people hop the fence, so to speak, but there might be some sort of selection going with the parents.

stephen fuqua said...

As a "Caucasian" married to a Filipina, and the father of 2 biracial Asian American kids, I read this article with interest. My "biracial" son leans more toward the "crazy people marry outside of their race" theory that marc brought up. He said it with a smirk. Considering who my son's been dating, I think it's pretty likely that I may have triracial grandchildren. My wife (of 18 years) and I had some fun trying to figure out who was crazier, a Filipina who marries a white guy or a white guy who marries a Filipina.
I think that the cross cultural aspects of an Asian American marriage can be a problem for people who don't know what they are getting into and can lead to a lot of family problems, which may lead to problems (knock on wood).