The influences of cultural values, ethnic identity, and language use on the mental health of Korean American college students.J Psychol. 2006 Sep; 140(5):499-511.JP
Little research has examined ethnic identity, cultural values, and native language maintenance as predictors of mental health in Korean Americans. The authors explored the influences of ethnic identity, maintenance of Asian cultural values, and maintenance of Korean language usage on self-esteem, anxiety, and depression in Korean American college students (N = 133). Findings indicated that Korean American men reported relatively high levels of state and trait anxiety and that the overall sample reported a relatively high level of depression. Whereas language and ethnic identity had a minimal influence on the mental health of students, greater cultural value maintenance was associated with decreased self-esteem and increases in state anxiety, trait anxiety, and depression. The positive relationship between cultural values and mental health problems may be indicative of being caught in an ethnic bind, in which the clash of traditional and modern values contributes to psychological distress. The authors discuss clinical implications of the findings.