Asian Americans are only half as likely to report psychological distress as Americans overall

Keeping calm and carrying on.
Keeping calm and carrying on.
Image: Reuters/Mike Segar
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In the West, people from Asian cultures have a reputation for stoicism—but is it just a stereotype?

A new report (pdf) from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests it isn’t. According to a survey of nearly 10,000 non-Hispanic Asian adults in the US, Asian Americans are half as likely as the greater population to report psychological distress.

Only 1.7% of Asian Americans surveyed said they had felt “sad, nervous, restless, hopeless, that everything was an effort” in the previous 30 days. The national average, based on 165,950 American adults surveyed between 2010 and 2014, was 3.2%.

Among Asians surveyed, Vietnamese American participants were the most likely to say they had felt psychological distress, at 2.6%. Around 1.5% of Chinese and Indian Americans reported psych problems.

The CDC released its information on Asian Americans, but not other ethnic groups specifically. The number of Asians the CDC surveyed came to nearly 6%, reflecting their representation in the greater American population.

Say the researchers, from the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey, “While further research is needed to learn of any disparities that may exist in health care and health care outcomes for the Asian US population, this study brings us closer.”

Image by Richard Masoner on Flickr, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.