Friday, January 18, 2019: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Continental Parlor 8, Ballroom Level (Hilton San Francisco)
Cluster: Gender (G)
Stephanie Bryson, PhD, Portland State University
Stigma associated with mental illness has been implicated as a critical factor that inhibits help-seeking, diminishes access to effective mental healthcare, hinders recovery processes, and diminishes life chances for education, employment, and meaningful social connections (Hatzenbuehler, Phelan & Link, 2013; Stuart, Arboleda-Florez, & Sartorius, 2012). Although stigma persists globally (Thornicroft, Brohan, Rose, Sartorius, & Leese, 2009), it varies widely in terms of prevalence, magnitude, and type, as well as how it is perceived, enacted, and experienced by certain groups and communities (Thornicroft et al., 2009; Pescosolido, Medina, Martin, & Long, 2013). In the past decade, there has been a steady growth in research examining how mental illness is perceived and experienced within various Asian communities and societies, including several informative reviews (Ando, Yamaguchi, Aoki, & Thornicroft, 2013; Yang et al., 2014). These studies have established the pervasiveness and seriousness of mental illness stigma in Asian communities and societies (Lien, Kao, Liu, Chang, Tzeng, Lu, & Loh, 2015b), which translates into underutilization of mental health services. Asian societies have unique histories, which have produced distinct systems of beliefs and practices, but certain normative and interpretive frameworks appear to transcend cultural and societal differences in terms of how mental illness is viewed, treated, and experienced. These include, but are not limited to, religious philosophies (e.g., Confucianism, Hinduism), beliefs about social and family obligations (e.g., filial piety), social structure (e.g., collectivism, familism), and language (e.g., cultural idioms) (e.g., Dardas & Simmons, 2015; Han & Pong, 2015; Kishore, Gupta, Jiloha, & Bantman, 2011; Lauber & Rossler, 2007; Li, Hatzidimitriadou, & Psoinos, 2014). Undertheorized are the ways in which “Asian-ness” interacts with mental health symptomatology, gender, and multiple systems of power (social, political, economic) to produce differential experiences of stigma in Asian communities (Cole, 2009; Morrow & Halinka-Malcoe, 2017). Intersectional frameworks show promise in clarifying these complex relationships. The proposed symposium thus focuses on the utility of intersectionality as a framework for conceptualizing, measuring, and ultimately reducing mental health stigma among Asian men. This symposium brings together the research team from a 4-year (2013-2017), 3-site Canadian study of mental health stigma among Asian men in Canada, Strength in Unity, to present findings from the British Columbia study site. Included are: 1) qualitative findings from focus groups conducted with study participants (n=428); 2) quantitative findings that shed light on stigma reduction in the study sample, including among men with lived experience of mental illness; and 3) methodological challenges of centering intersectionality in all phases of the study—from recruitment to data analysis and knowledge transfer. This symposium has multiple implications for U.S. social work practice and research, including: 1) increased understanding of intersectionality as a methodological framework for intervention research; 2) increased knowledge of factors which predicted stigma reduction in a diverse sample of Asian-identified men with complex immigration histories; and 3) increased awareness of ways in which Asian men described their experiences of mental health stigma and stigma reduction.
* noted as presenting author
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