Cultural and Model Minority Stress: Toward a Theory of Mental Health Distress Experiences of Indian American Youth

Rachel S. John, Maryann Amodeo, Seth J. Schwartz, Michael G. Vaughn, Christopher P. Salas-Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Indian Americans now constitute the nation's second largest foreign-born population group in the United States (U.S.). Concerning Indian American youth, there is a paucity of information about their experiences in the U.S., particularly with respect to cultural stress and model minority stress, and whether these stressors have an impact on their mental health. This article describes the dual experiences of Indian American youth in the Indian and American cultures and discusses two theoretical frameworks (cultural stress and model minority stress) that illuminate dynamics influencing the lives of these youth. We illustrate three core pathways (independent, synergistic and indirect) by which cultural stress and model minority stress can influence the mental health of Indian American youth. Social workers and other behavioral health providers can assist Indian American youth by examining their own biases related to the model minority stereotype, helping school personnel assess the impact of this stereotype, and remembering that Indian American youth are not a monolith. Researchers need to disaggregate data on Asian Americans to gather accurate statistics on the Indian American population and refine model-minority-stereotype assessment instruments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-327
Number of pages13
JournalChild and Adolescent Social Work Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Apr

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2022.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Social Sciences


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