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Asian American Center on Disparities Research

University of California, Davis
Psychology Department
149 Young Hall
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
Tel: (530) 723-9831
Fax: (530) 752-2087

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Research

Current Research Programs

Biracial Mental Health, Identity & Adjustment
Ethnic Differences in the Social Validity of Treatment Interventions
Examining Health and Mental Health in Diverse Older Adults
Interdisciplinary Frontiers in the Humanities and Arts (IFHA): Interdisciplinary Reappraisals to Enhance Health and Resilience in Immigrant Communities
Student Attitudes and Behaviors Related to Campus Ethnocultural Diversity
The Effects of Face Concern on Self-Disclosure and Emotion Regulation
Understanding How Individuals Manage Distress to Achieve Academic Success


NLAAS – Biracial Mental Health, Identity & Adjustment

Primary Investigators: Lauren Berger, Nolan Zane, and David Takeuchi

Study Status: Data Collection Complete
Accepting Undergraduate Research Assistant Applications? No

This study looks at biracial mental health on a nationwide scale, and compares biracial to monoracial populations in an attempt to determine how the complexity of ethnicity is related to functioning and psychological distress. Results from the 2000 US Census show that 6.8 million people (2.4%) marked more than one race category (US Census Bureau, 2001) with the overwhelming majority (93.3%) reporting exactly two races. Despite the presence of this rapidly growing minority group, little if any research has been conducted on biracial mental health. Most studies conducted with biracials are severely limited in size and data collection methods. Data from the present study comes from the first ever national epidemiological household survey of Asian Americans in the United States: the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS). NLAAS is the largest, most rigorously conducted psychiatric epidemiological and service use study of Asian Americans and Latinos in the U.S.

Additional research under this program includes: (1) Identifying how psychosocial factors such as parenting styles, peer group ethnicity, neighborhood/school ethnic make-up, primary household language, phenotype, parent ethnicity, and personality styles may lead to varying ethnic self-identities and bicultural adaptation modes in the biracial population; (2) Examining the academic performance of biracial students as a function of ethnic self-identity and bicultural adaptation mode; (3) Studying the effect of ethnic self-identity development and different bicultural adaptation modes on biracial social and psychological adjustment outcomes.


Ethnic Differences in the Social Validity of Treatment Interventions

Primary Investigators: Nolan Zane and Lauren Berger

Study Status: Active
Accepting Undergraduate Research Assistant Applications? Yes

Little research examines the social validity of treatment interventions among individuals from diverse backgrounds. Social validity refers to the extent to which individuals from a social or cultural group find certain aspects of procedures used in interventions to be socially acceptable and/or useful (Foster & Mash, 1999; Kazdin, 1977). This study examines ethnic, gender, and SES differences in the social validity of common treatment interventions (e.g., Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, etc.). The study also aims to demonstrate the potential utility of research on social validation as an empirically-based approach to developing and adapting interventions to make them more culturally informed and appropriate for diverse communities.


Examining Health and Mental Health in Diverse Older Adults

Primary Investigators: Oanh Meyer, Ph.D. (Department of Neurology; UC Davis School of Medicine)

Study Status: Active
Accepting Undergraduate Research Assistant Applications? Yes

Research Assistant Position
The Vietnamese Caregiver Study is seeking research assistants for a qualitative study about the experiences and preferences for care of Vietnamese American caregivers whose family member has dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or problems with memory loss. The principal investigator in this study is Dr. Oanh Meyer, at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, Alzheimer’s Disease Center. Research assistants will be responsible for recruiting and interviewing caregivers in the Sacramento and Bay Areas, as well as administrative, project management work. He/she will also learn how to code and analyze interview data. This is an excellent opportunity to learn qualitative research methods and about the experiences of an understudied population. Research assistants should have a valid California driver’s license and be able to travel to interviews and lab meetings. Vietnamese language proficiency is required. This is a one-year, part-time, volunteer opportunity with potential for pay. Interested individuals should contact Dr. Oanh Meyer DIRECTLY at olmeyer@ucdavis.edu.


Interdisciplinary Frontiers in the Humanities and Arts (IFHA): Interdisciplinary Reappraisals to Enhance Health and Resilience in Immigrant Communities

Primary Investigators: Nolan Zane, Jill Joseph, Lynette Hunter, Carolina Apesoa-Varano, Cindy Huang, and Lauren Berger

Study Status: Data Collection Complete
Accepting Undergraduate Research Assistant Applications? No

The purpose of this pilot intervention study is to use an interdisciplinary and community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach to enrich health disparities research. This study is collaboration between the UC Davis Department of Psychology, School of Nursing, and the Department of Theatre and Dance. Vietnamese elderly adults (ages 60-75) experiencing inordinate amounts of mental and/or emotional distress are recruited to participate in a 10-week intervention using a traditional, ancient Asian movement system focused on the coordination of breathing and movements. The movement system utilizes elements of tai chi, yoga, breathing exercises, aikido-type movement, energy work, dance, and sports training/martial arts. Participants are recruited from the Sacramento, CA community and assessed at baseline, post-test, and at 6-week follow-up to determine the effects of this intervention on their health and mental health well-being. It is hypothesized that participants who are enrolled in the 10-week movement class will experience improvements in their health and mental health well-being compared to participants in the control (no movement class) group.


Student Attitudes and Behaviors Related to Campus Ethnocultural Diversity

Primary Investigators: Alan Chan, Gordon Hall, and Jennifer Chain

Study Status: Active
Accepting Undergraduate Research Assistant Applications? No

This study tests Hall et al.’s (2011) three-class model of student support towards campus ethnocultural diversity (active support, passive support, and dissent) on two college campuses with different levels of student diversity. This study will examine (a) what student attitudes and behaviors reflect different categories in diversity support, (b) what factors affect student attitudes and behaviors toward campus diversity, and (c) the relationship between different categories of diversity support with positive academic and civic outcomes.


The Effects of Face Concern on Self-Disclosure and Emotion Regulation

Primary Investigators: Nolan Zane and Lauren Berger

Study Status: Active
Accepting Undergraduate Research Assistant Applications? No

Face concern is a very salient interpersonal dynamic in many Asian cultures. Scholars have posited that face concern may affect psychotherapy processes among Asian American clients. This study utilizes an experimental analog design to examine the extent to which self-disclosure tendencies and emotion regulation strategies differ among individuals who vary in their levels of face concern. These results have implications for identifying therapeutic processes that may be especially important for ethnic minority clients.


Understanding How Individuals Manage Distress to Achieve Academic Success

Primary Investigators: Helen Ku

Study Status: Active
Accepting Undergraduate Research Assistant Applications? No

Studies in academic performance research have found that higher levels of self-efficacy, more intrinsic motivation and more self-control are predictive of better performance among students.  However, researchers have yet to fully deconstruct how certain students react to adversity more positively, where they can recover and become more resilient, compared to others who react negatively and become incapacitated. This study examines whether certain emotion regulation strategies and coping styles can attenuate the negative impact anxiety has on academic performance.


Completed Research Programs

Assessment of an Evidence-Based Parenting Intervention in Asian American Families
Clinical Effectiveness
Impacts, Mechanisms, and Individual Variations in the Stress Response to Racial Microaggressions
Medication Adherence
Therapist Factors
Utilization and Outcomes of University Counseling Services for Ethnic Minority Students
Variations in Emotion Regulation
Vietnamese Youth Stress and Coping Study (Adolescents Coping with Everyday Stress, ACES)