Methods: Utilizing a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach, the research team was composed of a diverse group of community members who were intimately involved throughout all phases of this study. Based on the feedback from 64 participants during a pilot phase, the Likert scale survey was revised and prepared for distribution. Participants were recruited through snowball sampling and the help of approximately 50 community members (i.e. leaders, activists, professionals and other community volunteers). The resulting sample of Filipino American individuals (N=224) closely represented the profile of Filipino Americans within Illinois by gender, place of residence and whether they were or were not born in the United States. Respondents ranged in age from 16 to 80 years old; were somewhat evenly distributed by gender (42% are male, 53% are female); and close to half (48%) of those sampled are Chicago residents, while the other half (52%) reside in the suburbs. 26% of respondents are U.S.-born, and 83% are U.S. citizens. Respondents were also asked to comment on what they believe are strengths and challenges within the Filipino American community in the Chicagoland area. All surveys were completed anonymously.
Results: Data analysis reveal that youth delinquency, teen pregnancy, gender identity, language barriers, a lack of cultural/heritage awareness, and family break-ups/marital difficulties are considered to exist as prominent issues within the Chicagoland area Filipino American community. Domestic violence, suicide attempts and ideation are also identified as significant issues. The themes from the data analysis also reveal that the social service organizations and community organizations that currently exist do not sufficiently address the psychosocial needs of the Filipino American community. Further, mental health issues such as depression, intergenerational family conflict, and domestic violence are often stigmatized and considered “taboo” within Filipino families.
Conclusions and Implications: Findings from the study reveal a need for strategies to de-stigmatize familial and mental health issues that are often kept hidden, including collaboration with existing community supports and resources (e.g. pastors, and other faith-based organizations) to encourage dialogue, linkage to professional help, and the use of more family-level interventions. Findings from this study have broader implications for many other ethnic communities in which both psychosocial issues and the services that address them are stigmatized; and in which the resources that already exist within the community must be capitalized on and enhanced to more readily and effectively address these issues.