Date Awarded

Fall 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Charles R McAdams


Asian Americans are a rapidly growing population in the US and have high levels of psychological distress. However, Asian Americans tend not to ask for help from mental health professionals in regards to social/emotional issues, including school counselors. Asian American students are typical in terms of their presence within the US mainstream public school system, yet they are atypical in experiencing a variety of stressors and issues such as academic pressures, language and communication difficulties with parents/guardians, acculturative stress, and many more (Chang & Smith, 2015; Mouw & Xie, 1999; Berry, 2005). Despite mental health needs and the growing relevance of this population, research on the Asian American population is limited (Cho & Haslam, 2010). Thus, the purpose of this research study was to gain an understanding of participants’ experiences with Asian American students through the lens of the help-seeking model (Cauce et al., 2002). Two high schools and one middle school in a suburban area within the Southeast region of the US were purposefully selected for this study, and from these schools, eight high school counselors and two middle school counselors were interviewed. Participants were specifically asked about interactions, observations, and accommodations pertaining to the help-seeking needs of Asian American students. Data was collected through semi-structured individual interviews, which were then transcribed and analyzed for themes and conclusions. Four main themes (acculturative stress, school based expectations, lack of mental health counseling, and counselor involvement) with 10 subthemes were extrapolated from the data and confirmed the current literature on the help-seeking needs and processes of Asian American students. The study brought new insights to this topic and provided implications for future practice and research.




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