Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Clinical Psychology Review 24 (2004), pp. 193–213. doi:l0.1016/j.cpr.2003.10.003 Copyright © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. Used by permission. Journal homepage: Available online @


Research and clinical information pertaining to mental health needs of Asians residing in the United States is limited but growing. There is a tendency to group all persons of Asian descent together and, therefore, the empirical literature does not sufficiently address the mental health needs in specific subgroups. The focus of this article is to understand the mental health needs of one subgroup of Asians-Southeast Asian refugees (SEAR). The main purpose is to review the relevant literature pertaining to Southeast Asian refugees’ experiences and to understand the manifestation of psychiatric disorders by examining historical, cultural, and contextual challenges. Despite the well-documented mental health needs for SEAR, most do not present for mental health services. Therefore, resilience and protective factors are discussed. Research and clinical implications are described and suggestions are offered on how to apply information obtained from Southeast Asian refugees’ experiences to future refugees.