Pressure To Achieve Partly Contributes to Asian-American Women’s High Suicide Rates
Pressure to be a "model minority" in part contributes to high suicide rates among Asian-American women, according to an Asian-American studies expert, CNN reports. Asian-American girls and women ages 15 to 24 have the highest suicide rate among all females in the same age group, according to HHS statistics.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Asian-American girls and women in the age group, CNN reports. In addition, previous studies have found that Asian-American girls contemplate suicide at much younger ages than other races and also have the highest rate of depression, according to Eliza Noh, assistant professor of Asian-American studies at California State University-Fullerton.
Noh studied 41 Asian-American women who had attempted or contemplated suicide and found that the pressure Asian-American families and American culture put on Asian-Americans to be high achievers professionally and scholastically is partly behind the higher suicide rates.
She also found that many of the study participants had mothers who also were suicidal, suggesting that heredity or genetics might play a role. Noh also said it could be that daughters are observing and imitating their mothers' behavior. Young Asian-American girls are more affected than young boys because Asian families tend to be stricter on girls than boys, Dung Ngo, a psychologist at Baylor University, said.
Being labeled a minority also can lead to depression, Noh said. She added that many of the participants treated depression through religion, herbal remedies and acupuncture instead of receiving counseling.
"They said it would have helped if the counselor were another Asian-American woman," Noh said (Cohen, CNN, 5/16). The CNN article was a part of a special report on Asian-Americans that included a feature on health. The special report is available online.