Abstract: A Systematic Review of Racial Microaggressions and Asian Americans' Well-Being (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

517P A Systematic Review of Racial Microaggressions and Asian Americans' Well-Being

Saturday, January 18, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 6 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Shinwoo Choi, PhD, MSSW, Assistant Professor, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL
Eunjee Song, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL
Ava Sambriski, BSW student, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL
Ruby Mendenhall, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL
Background: Racial microaggressions are defined by Sue and colleagues (2007) as “subtle, daily derogatory racial discrimination” and have a well-known detrimental impact on people of color physical health and mental health. In addition, the Asian American population is steadily growing in the U.S., and their experiences of discriminations including racial microaggressions has been empirically studied in the recent years.

Methods: Authors registered this study at the PROSPERO: International prospective register of systematic reviews (CRD42018088745) and conducted a search by using keywords such as: racial microaggressions, ethnic microaggressions, Asian, people of color, minorities, mental health, self-esteem, well-being, and health. By following the PRISMA guideline, the given study systematically searched various data bases (i.e., PudMed, PsychInfo, Social Services Abstract, and CINHAL) and systematically screened articles that met the study criteria. Inclusion criteria include: (a) empirically studied the impact of racial microaggressions; (b) looked at the well-being outcomes including both mental health and physical health; (c) included Asian individuals (both Asian Americans and Asian immigrants); (d) conducted in the U.S or Canada; (e ) written in English language; (f) age range of the sample is from children to adults; and (g) was published from 1998 to 2018.   Researchers systematically reviewed them for content, methods, effect sizes, and the risk of bias. In order to assess the quality of the included studies, we used a tool developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI, 2014).

Results: Between 1998-2018, there have been numerous (49) studies published which examined the impact of racial microaggressions on Asian Americans in the U.S. There were 19 studies which met all the inclusion criteria and were included in the final list. The studies looked at mental & physical health, physical health only, substance abuse, and mental health only as their outcome variables, respectively. In terms of risk of bias, a majority of the included studies were deemed to be with low to moderate risk of bias. In conclusion, all the included studies found the significant detrimental impact of racial microaggressions on Asian Americans’ well-being outcomes: psychological well-being, health, substance abuse, or quality of sleep.

Discussion & Implications: This systematic review makes a significant contribution to the literature on racial microaggressions and Asian Americans’ well-being. It has reviewed all the published empirical studies that examined the impact of racial microagressions on Asian Americans’ well-being and has found consistent findings. The authors also identified strengths and weakness of the previous studies. Furthermore, this review provides suggestions for future research studies on this topic in terms of measurement, sampling strategies, and utilization of longitudinal data collection. Both social work practitioners and researchers working with Asian American population can benefit from the implications of the given study.