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Patients' Reports about Medical Doctors' Inquiries on Their Mental Health: Do Generational Status, Ethnicity and Mental Health/Substance Use Disorders Matter?


Immigrants are less likely than others to use mental health (MH) services. Physicians' limited time often precludes inquiry about MH. This study investigated the influence of generational status, ethnicity, and mental/substance use disorders on physicians' inquiries about Asian American (AA) MH. Data from the National Latino and Asian American Study were analyzed (n=1,853). The outcome was past year physician's inquiry regarding MH. Results revealed that AA with U.S.-born parents had significantly greater odds compared to AA born outside the U.S. to report that their doctors inquired about their MH (OR=218, 95% CI: 1.28, 3.73). Past year mental/substance use disorder increased the odds of AA reporting that their doctors inquired about their MH (OR=8.41; 95% CI: 3.28, 21.66). This increase differed by ethnicity, with Chinese less affected than Vietnamese (OR=0.17; 95% CI: 0.05, 0.59). The reasons for these associations warrant further exploration.