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Researchers challenge myth of the well-adjusted Asian-American
Date:8/18/2010

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Two University at Buffalo researchers are challenging the "myth of the well-adjusted Asian American," detailing how members of one of the country's fastest-growing ethnic groups face crucial disadvantages preventing them from receiving quality health care taken for granted by other, more culturally assimilated Americans.

In their paper, "Barriers to Health Care Among Asian Americans," UB School of Social Work professors Wooksoo Kim and Robert H. Keefe write that Asian Americans cannot be carelessly lumped together with such easy stereotypes as "well adjusted" or "successful." In addition to the many Asian Americans who have assimilated well and become accomplished professionals, able to enjoy all the accompanying benefits, millions of Asian Americans still face daunting obstacles that stand in the way of quality health care, the UB researchers say.

Their conclusions are based on analysis of previous research into health care disparities among U.S. racial and ethnic groups, including Asian Americans, and upon U.S. Census data.

Four major barriers -- language and culture, health literacy, health insurance and immigrant status -- create vast differences between some Asian Americans with access to good health care and those who endure these barriers as best they can, the researchers conclude in their study, published this summer in Social Work in Public Health.

"Previous researchers (who studied selective nationalities or regional groups) may extrapolate from their findings to form a model they believe is representative of all Asian Americans," explain Kim and Keefe. "This limitation not only fails to flush out differences among the Asian-American groups not being studied, but the one group under study is unlikely to be representative of its own ethnic Asian-American population."

All these factors "perpetuate the myth of the well-adjusted Asian American," the researchers find.

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Contact: Charles Anzalone
dellacon@buffalo.edu
716-645-4600
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert

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