Abstract: Help-Seeking Preferences and Correlates of Recommending Help-Seeking Among South Asian Immigrants (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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Help-Seeking Preferences and Correlates of Recommending Help-Seeking Among South Asian Immigrants

Wednesday, January 20, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Abha Rai, PhD, Assistant Professor, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL
Yoon Joon Choi, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Orion Mowbray, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Jennifer Elkins, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Georgia
Background and Purpose: Domestic violence is a serious problem among South Asian immigrants in the U.S., yet empirical evidence on the preference of help-seeking in cases of domestic violence (DV) among South Asians (SA) immigrants in the U.S. is limited. In addition, it is unknown whether SA immigrants recommend help-seeking resources to their family/friends who experience DV or tell family/friends to keep DV to themselves. This gap has led to limited knowledge on how to involve SA community-members in dialogue and interventions aimed at tackling DV in the SA community. Therefore, the goal of this study was to examine: 1) the preferences for DV help-seeking resources; 2) whether SAs recommend help-seeking resources to DV victims, and 3) the correlates of recommending help-seeking among SA men and women.

Methods: The current study collected data from SA men and women over the age of 18 and residing in the U.S. The sample (N=468) was collected from all 50 U.S. States. The dependent variable in the study was recommending help-seeking (0=no, 1=yes). The independent variables were gender-role attitudes, acculturation and socio-demographic variables, such as, gender, age, education, religiosity, income, marital status, family type, ethnicity and generational position. Logistic regression was conducted to examine the correlates of recommending help-seeking. To examine the preferences for help-seeking resources, frequencies from the list of resources (hospitals/emergency rooms, medical professionals, U.S. consulate/embassies, police, courts, lawyers, South Asian organizations, social workers/counselors, places of religious worship) provided to participants was examined.

Results: Medical professionals were the most preferred source of help-seeking, followed by the police, hospital/emergency room, courts, U.S. consulate/embassies, SA organizations, social workers/counselors/mental health professionals, lawyers and ultimately places of religious worship. Of the total sample, 88.5% answered yes to recommending a help-seeking resource to a friend or family member in case of DV victimization. The logistic regression model fit the data well [c2(10)=43.370, p<0.001, R2=0.247]. This model showed that, gender (B=2.946, P<0.05, 95% CI 1.336-6.498), religiosity (B=0.207, p<0.01, 95% CI 0.079-0.545), family-type (B=0.405, p<0.05, 95% CI 0.179-0.918) and gender-role attitudes (B=0.417, p<0.05, 95% CI 0.192-0.908) were significant correlates of recommending help-seeking. According to which, men, those who were religious, from joint families and with conservative gender-role attitudes had a lesser likelihood of recommending help-seeking.

Conclusion: This study is important in lending insights about SA community members’ preference of help-seeking resources as well as the correlates of recommending help-seeking. The study findings can be utilized by social work practitioners to develop interventions that can clarify the utility of the resources that were not viewed as helpful by community members. Given that informal help-seeking is more common within the SA community, the knowledge on recommending help-seeking generated through this study is critical. The findings about specific correlates can be useful in developing bystander awareness interventions to enhance the involvement of SA community members in putting an end to DV. Future researchers and scholars are also encouraged to replicate this study with diverse immigrant communities and in turn build new knowledge for other minority communities.