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Attitudes towards the Diagnosis and Treatment of Depression among South Asian Muslim Americans

While Muslim Americans are one of the fastest growing communities in the United States, very little is known about their mental health needs or concerns. In an effort to better understand their mental health needs, this study explores the attitudes towards the diagnosis and treatment of depression among South Asian Muslim Americans, specifically examining how acculturation shapes these attitudes. A sample of 427 South Asian Muslim Americans (mean age 30.67 years, 73.8% female) completed an anonymous survey on the internet. Participants answered questions about how strongly they agreed with certain diagnostic and treatment recommendations after reading two clinical vignettes, and completed the Attitudes towards Seeking Professional Psychological Help Scale and the Acculturation Rating Scale for Mexican-Americans II. Participants were also asked about their personal experiences with depression, religious identity; and demographic information. Results indicated that educated participants were more accepting of a clinical diagnosis of depression, while females and educated participants had more positive attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help for depression. Acculturation predicted more positive attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help for depression, but did not predict acceptance of a clinical diagnosis of depression, comfort level talking to people outside the family, likelihood of seeking professional help, or importance of ethnic match with mental health provider. Exploratory analyses were conducted to determine how personal history of depression shapes attitudes; however, this variable was not particularly salient in shaping attitudes in this sample. While the results suggest that acculturation did not play as strong a role in predicting attitudes as initially anticipated, several limitations, including the fact that the instrument used to measure acculturation and enculturation in this study has not been validated in this sample and that the sample may be more acculturated than the general South Asian Muslim American population, must be taken into consideration. The results of this study begin to shed light on the attitudes towards depression and its treatment in this community. Future studies should further explore the roles of acculturation and enculturation, while also collecting more personal qualitative information to more fully understand the experiences and needs of South Asian Muslim Americans.
Date January 2011
CreatorsChaudhury, Sadia Rahman
Source SetsColumbia University
Detected LanguageEnglish

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