Substance Abuse Among Asian Americans Essay

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Introduction Asian Americans are always shown to have a relatively low rate of substance abuse among all the ethnic groups in the US (Kim, Ziedonis, & Chen, 2007). In fact, studies suggest that Asian American youth are more vulnerable for emotional and social difficulties than youth of other races or ethnicities (Wong et al. 1998). As a group of immigrants, Asian American youth often face acculturation stressors like low self-esteem, high depression and anxiety and social isolation, and more and more studies have reported various behavior problems among Asian American youth, like gang activities (Zhang, 2002), a rapid increase in juvenile crime (Le, 2002) and a significant increase in violence. The substance usage among Asian American…show more content…
Since Asian Americans are mostly immigrants and their substance abuse issues are often close related to acculturation status, based on the conceptual framework of acculturation, the key to explain this phenomenon is to understand the cultural distance (Berry, 1997), the difference between the culture and values between society of origin and society of settlement. In this case, it is necessary to understand the different attitudes (attitudes of original society and that of settlement society) toward specific substance abuse issues (alcohol, drugs, tobacco) and the different attitudes toward the specific ethnic group. In addition, the level of immigration should also be taken into consideration. The different immigration status indicates the degrees to which an immigrant will accept his or her original culture and to which the settlement culture. The longer they stay in the settlement country, the more they behave like the native population (Rumbout, 1997b). Considering the different immigrant levels among Asian Americans is an efficient empirical method to remove the influence of original culture in order to test the effectiveness of target cultural variables. Considering the specific characteristics of Asian culture, the explanations can be drawn from two perspectives: what decreases the risk and what hides the risk. From general perspective to specific perspective, the following sections will compose the whole
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