South Asian and Other Asian students' use of university counseling services

Vagdevi Venugopal Meunier (1997)

This exploratory study examined the clinical profile of 50 South Asian and Other Asian students who received counseling at a southern state university counseling center compared to an equal sample of Caucasian students. The study sought to address gaps in the past research on the within groups differences in the population of Asian college students through descriptive and comparative analyses of counseling data using random sampling of archived clinical records from one academic year. Sixty-five variables were measured, including 11 demographic variables, 45 diagnostic variables, and 9 treatment variables. The data was analyzed along two primary independent variables, ethnicity and immigrant generation. The expectations were that South Asians students would have a distinctive clinical profile and would be significantly different in the comparisons from Other Asian and Caucasian students and that within the Asian groups, international students would be different from second generation students. Chi Square tests, Analyses of Variance, and Discriminant Function analyses showed that the data distinguished the groups along ethnicity across the demographic variables more than the diagnostic or treatment variables. There were consistently greater statistically significant within group differences between international and second generation students, particularly in the diagnostic category of variables. Among the Asian samples, South Asian international students were more likely to be older, male, graduate students, enrolled in Engineering or Business, who minimized their level of distress, number of concerns, and had more somatic concerns. South Asian second-generation students were more likely to be younger, upper class students, also enrolled in Engineering and Business majors, and more likely to report greater distress on the diagnostic measures including concerns with identity, autonomy, academic performance, study skills such as perfectionism, procrastination, and physical health problems. Other Asian students, both international and second-generation had the highest ratings of distress on the diagnostic measures with concerns related to social and academic performance, adjustment to college, uncertainty about the future, and racial discrimination. Suggestions for future research include the replication of the study with alternative measures and comparisons between clinical and non-clinical samples of South Asian and Other Asian students.