Mental Health Difficulties Among Asian Psychologists and Trainees


There is a lack of representation of Asian faculty and trainees in clinical and counseling psychology, and their mental health challenges are often overlooked. We surveyed accredited doctoral training programs and internships across the United States and Canada in 2021. Out of 1959 responses, 158 respondents (8%) identified as Asian. Most Asian respondents (n = 111; 84%) reported a history of a mental health difficulty, with depression (75%), anxiety (47%), and suicidal thoughts or behaviors (STB; 44%) being the most prevalent. These prevalence estimates were similar to those of non-Asian respondents, of which 82% reported a history of mental health difficulties, with depression being the most commonly endorsed (72%), followed by anxiety (54%) and STB (38%). However, when asked about receiving a formal diagnosis for a mental health condition, the proportion of Asian respondents with a diagnosis was significantly lower (37%) than their non-Asian peers (48%) (p = 0.01). The multivariate analysis did not find a significant difference between the Asian and non-Asian groups in symptom severity, indexed by the number of total mental health difficulties and professional performance impairment. The current findings suggest that mental health difficulties are prevalent in clinical and counseling psychology. Asian psychologists and trainees have a lower rate of formal mental health diagnoses, but this may not reflect lower levels of symptom severity but a lack of mental health resources, such as financial constraints, a lack of time, or cultural factors that discourage help-seeking. However, future research is needed to explicitly test these hypotheses.

Author Information
Bingjie Tong, University of South Florida, United States
Andrew Devendorf, University of South Florida, United States
Sarah E. Victor, Texas Tech University, United States
Jonathan Rottenberg, University of South Florida, United States

Paper Information
Conference: ACP2023
Stream: Mental Health

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon