Role of Western Society on Health Status

The degree to which immigrants have adopted the culture and behaviors of Western society has impacted their health status in many cases. Comparisons of illness patterns show an increased rate of cancer of the breast, colon, and prostate in Chinese Americans when compared to Chinese living in mainland China (PRC), Taiwan, and Hong Kong and Singapore.

In terms of mental health, because of cultural views about psychological well-being and illness, mental health is an extremely complex issue among the Chinese. The traditional focus on the body and mind as a single unit can lead to more frequent somatic complaints, because patients may focus on physical discomforts rather than emotional or psychological concerns (K.-M. Lin & Cheung, 1999).

Somatization, or manifesting physical symptoms related to psychiatric or emotional disorders, is common among Chinese Americans (Daus, Borme, Trieu, & Chen, 2006). Also, acculturation and gender may be associated with perceptions and attitudes towards domestic violence. (Shibusawa 2007)