Literature Review on Mental Health Literacy of East Asian Elders
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to understand the levels of mental health literacy (MHL) of East Asian elders and factors influencing their MHL.
Methods: The researcher conducted a comprehensive literature review using EBSCOhost Research Database, Ageline, Social Work Abstracts, SocINDEX with full-text, along with hand-search due to the limited body of literature in this area.
Results: Studies indicated that Asian elders have a low level of MHL. Regarding factors influencing MHL, more than one study illustrated that depression and rural dwelling are negatively correlated with MHL; whereas education and self-rated health are positively associated with MHL. Mixed findings were reported on age, spousal status, social support, and gender. Most studies measured different aspects of MHL and drew from Jorm’s conceptualization and measurement of MHL.
Conclusions and implications: This review confirmed the low level of MHL among East Asian elders and identified factors affecting MHL. Meanwhile, the review of the methods in these studies also shed light on the lack of culturally sensitive conceptualization and standardized instruments in MHL research. Future research should establish a more inclusive conceptualization of MHL, and increase the number of studies to explain the mixed results. Meanwhile, comparison study on MHL of Asian elders in Asia and those in the U.S. can increase the accuracy of the analysis on factors influencing MHL. In addition, progress in MHL research will also further inform MHL assessment and intervention in practice for East Asian and other diverse elders in future.