Mental Illness Public Stigma and Generational Differences Among Vietnamese Americans

Mai Do, Jennifer McCleary, Diem Nguyen, Keith Winfrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Public stigma is one barrier to accessing behavioral health care among Vietnamese Americans. To explore and identify features of culture and acculturation that influence behavioral health-related stigma, six focus groups were conducted with Vietnamese American participants in three generational groups and eleven key informant interviews were conducted with Vietnamese community leaders, traditional healers, and behavioral health professionals. Data were analyzed using Link and Phelan’s (Annu Rev Sociol 27(1):363–385, 2001) work on stigma as an organizing theoretical framework. Findings underline several key cultural and generational factors that intersect to affect perceptions, beliefs, and stigma about mental health treatment. In particular, participants in the youngest groups highlighted that while they recognized the value of mental health services, they felt culturally limited in their access. This appeared to be closely related to intergenerational communication about mental health. The findings suggest avenues for further research as well as interventions to increase mental health treatment access and adherence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)839-853
Number of pages15
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Immigrants
  • Mental health
  • Public stigma
  • Vietnamese

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Mental Illness Public Stigma and Generational Differences Among Vietnamese Americans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this