Public Radio Discussion Examines Factors Behind High Suicide Rate Among Asian-American Women
NPR's "Tell Me More" on Monday included a discussion with Aruna Jha of the Asian-American Suicide Prevention Initiative and Eliza Noh, an assistant professor of Asian-American studies at California State University-Fullerton, about suicide rates among Asian-American women. According to Noh, who has conducted research on the issue, Asian-American females ages 15 to 24 have a higher rate of suicide than other populations in the same age range. Noh's research has found that pressure on Asian-American young women to succeed academically, coupled with societal pressure for Asian-Americans to serve as a "model minority," contributes to the high suicide rate. In addition, Asian-American young women frequently experience a "cultural divide" between their parents' values and their own values, Noh said, adding that family and societal expectations on such women "conflict with their desire to be individuals and to kind of lead their own lives."
Jha said future research should examine how gender roles in traditional Asian cultures contribute to the suicide rate. Jha added that "what we haven't started to focus on is that a culture of honor really put the burden of honor and pride on the roles that the women in the family held." Jha said, "And we need to start looking at how we are transferring these values into the American context" (Martin, "Tell Me More," NPR, 5/21).
Audio of the segment is available online.