In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Asian Americans

  • Introduction
  • Introductory Works
  • Clinical Works
  • Reference Resources
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Identity
  • Mental Health
  • Domestic Violence
  • Family Relationships
  • Health
  • Substance Abuse
  • Economic Hardship
  • Education
  • Bibliography

Related Articles Expand or collapse the "related articles" sectionabout

Forthcoming Articles Expand or collapse the "forthcoming articles" section


Social Work Asian Americans
Rowena Fong
  • LAST REVIEWED: 01 April 2021
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 May 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0126


The 2000 US Census subdivides Asian Americans into groupings of persons whose ethnic roots are from countries in East Asia (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea), Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Burma, Philippines, and Thailand) and South Asia (India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Bhutan).

Introductory Works

Asian Americans are persons grounded in the history of their Asian ancestral people. First-generation immigrants play a role in the generational health and mental health, psychological and social well-being of people of all ages. Historical accounts (Charney and Hernandez 1998) deal with socioeconomic, health, and acculturation issues for Asian families. History also presents itself in political and social contexts (Chan 2006). Understanding contexts explained through history, culture, and adaptation is necessary for intervention programs, policy, and practice (Furuto, et al. 1992). Stressors, ethnic identity, psychopathology, and the underuse of mental health services are all examples of challenges this populations faces (Uba 2003). Psychological and diversity issues affect women, children, adolescents, adults, and elderly persons (Choi 2001). Such issues relate to Chinese international adoptions, Filipino American dating violence, Vietnamese American premigration traumatic experiences, and elderly Korean immigrants’ stress and coping as well as depression. In providing prevention and intervention services to immigrants and refugees, culturally competent practice is needed (Fong 2007).

  • Chan, S. 2006. The Vietnamese American 1.5 generation: Stories of war, revolution, flight, and new beginnings. Asian American History and Culture. Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press.

    Presents a history of Vietnam in historical, social, and political contexts. This book provides vivid personal narratives of the 1.5 generation of Vietnamese Americans, as well as lists of useful information, such as a bibliography and videos. It will be useful for those wanting to understand Vietnamese Americans.

  • Charney, E., and D. J. Hernandez. 1998. From generation to generation: The health and well-being of children in immigrant families. Washington, DC: National Academies.

    Explores socioeconomic status, health status, and acculturation of white, black, Hispanic, and Asian children from many countries. It also deals with strengths and weaknesses of immigrant children and their families. This book provides information about their lives and is a good source for policymakers in need of more understanding of these ethnic groups and national origins.

  • Choi, N., ed. 2001. Psychosocial aspects of the Asian American experience: Diversity within diversity. New York: Haworth.

    Reviews psychological issues of Asian American women, children, adolescents, young adults, and elderly persons related to adoption, academic achievement, depression, social integration and coherence, dating violence, mental health, acculturation, and substance abuse treatment.

  • Fong, R. 2007. Cultural competence with Asian Americans. In Culturally competent practice: A framework for understanding diverse groups and justice issues. 3d ed. Edited by D. Lum, 328–350. Social Work Practice with Children and Families. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

    Reviews demographics and group diversity within the Asian and Pacific Islander groups. Historical oppression and current social issues such as racist attitudes and behaviors toward Asian Americans are discussed, as are cultural awareness, knowledge acquisition, and skill development—all useful knowledge for working with Asian American clients. The skill areas of engagement, assessment, empowerment, and advocacy are all emphasized in this chapter.

  • Furuto, S., R. Biswas, D. Chung, K. Murase, and F. Ross-Sheriff. 1992. Social work practice with Asian Americans. SAGE Sourcebooks for the Human Services. Newbury Park, CA: SAGE.

    Covers history, culture, and adaptation of Asian Americans to provide the contexts for micro- and macro-level interventions. Programs, policies, and practices as well as life cycles are discussed.

  • Uba, L. 2003. Asian Americans: Personality patterns, identity, and mental health. New York: Guilford.

    Focuses on culture and race, personality patterns, ethnic identity, stress, psychopathology, and the underuse of mental health services.

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