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Suicide, Identity, and Acculturation: Study of a Social Problem Within the Hmong Community. Presented at the UCI Undergraduate Research Symposium By Machiline Xiong. May 15, 2004. Hmong Culture. Children Traditional Gender Roles Withhold Emotions Academic Success Family Structure

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Suicide, Identity, and Acculturation: Study of a Social Problem Within the Hmong Community

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Suicide identity and acculturation study of a social problem within the hmong community l.jpg

Suicide, Identity, and Acculturation: Study of a Social Problem Within the Hmong Community

Presented at the

UCI Undergraduate Research Symposium

By

Machiline Xiong

May 15, 2004


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Hmong Culture

  • Children

    • Traditional Gender Roles

    • Withhold Emotions

    • Academic Success

  • Family Structure

    • Husband Ultimate Authority

    • Large, Extended Families


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Hmong Culture (cont.)

  • Respect the Elders

  • Collectivism vs Individualism

  • Hesitancy to use Western Resources

    • Reliance on Elders

    • Spiritual Healers


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Source: Sacramento Bee


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What is a Social Problem?

  • A condition or issue that threatens the quality of life and the most cherished values of most people in a society, leading them to recognize and agree that something should be done to remedy that condition.

    (Kornblum & Julian, 2001, p. 4)

    Unless a problem is perceived or recognized as potentially harmful, there will not be a response or attempts to find a solution.


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Overview of the Study

  • 15 participants from San Diego and Fresno Counties

  • Semi-structured interviews conducted

Table 1


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Nov. 2001

Suicide Prevention Program

Aug. 2002

Media Headlines

July 2003

Assembly Bill 78

May 2001

8th Suicide

2001

2002

2003

March 2003

HND Conference

Washington, D.C.

2002

Refugee Information

Exchange Conference

Aug. 2001

Southeast Asian

Meeting


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Main Research Questions

  • How did the string of teen suicides affect the acculturation of the Hmong?

    • The suicides were used by community leaders as a means to accelerate the acculturation of the Hmong.

  • “Prior to us, other resources have been looked at as the enemy, but when we go with them and explain to the Hmong families what we’re doing and how we can help them to prevent future conflicts, they’re pretty receptive and they understand.”

    - Clinical Health Professional


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Main Research Questions (cont.)

  • How might the acculturation status of the Hmong be correlated with the suicides?

    • Children are raised to put the interest of others first so they often carry the burden alone

  • “I usually don’t talk to anyone when I’m having problems…I might tell a friend at school, but I don’t go into detail. …That’s just how I deal with it.”- Student


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Conclusions

  • Immigrant community leaders can use traumatic events to facilitate acculturation

  • Suicides used to present to larger audience that the Hmong had a social problem


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In Summary…

  • “The process of becoming an American is most simply called "Americanization," which must always be a two-way street. All Americans, not just immigrants, should understand the importance of our shared civic culture to our national community.”

    (U.S. Commission on Immigrant Reform Report 1997)


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Dr. Paul Jesilow

Dr. Valerie Jenness

Funding:

UCI Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

Acknowledgements

  • Participants from San Diego and Fresno Counties


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For more information, please contact:

Machiline Xiong

Department of Psychology & Social Behavior

University of California, Irvine

[email protected]


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