Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bored Review - Day 4

After two days of sun and warm temperatures, today, it's raining and a little cooler. This is a perfect day to be stuck indoors for another eight hours of didactic lectures. (image credit)

Had some psych topics this morning - especially psychiatric illnesses in children and adolescents. I have some patients in my practice at home, but I really wasn't aware of the nationwide impact of these diseases.

In surfing the news today, I came across a and an article entitled, "Push To Achieve Tied to Suicide in Asian-American Women." Here's the alarming statistic from the Department of Health and Human Services:
Asian-American women ages 15-24 have the highest suicide rate of women in any race or ethnic group in that age group. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Asian-American women in that age range.
The article from CNN goes on to theorize that Asian-American families put a lot of pressure on their children to academically achieve. According to the researcher in the article, females are more affected than males. There are also cultural differences in which, "you don't question parents."

Growing up in an Asian family, with both my parents being Asian, I can definitely relate to some of this article. Of course, I cannot give an objective view of my family, but although I felt some pressure to do well in school, I did not perceive an overwhelming pressure to academically excel.

In talking with my friends through the years, I personally don't believe that this is a cultural thing isolated to Asians. A lot of people I've met from different nationalities have reported being pressed by their family to receive high grades. But, I do admit, anecdotally, of those who perceived parental pressure, most of them have been of Asian descent.

I guess the question is this: Does parental pressure to excel in school directly relate to suicide? This is an interesting question. The right answer for questions like this is always "multifactorial." However, I would agree with the author in that in the Asian culture there is perceived pressure being felt by Asian-American children/adolescents/young adults to excel academically. Is this good or bad? I guess it depends you to talk to.

1 comment:

N=1 said...

I had two second generation Asian friends. One was my piano performance major room-mate from Vancouver. Her parents made her and her sister practice their violins in a closet so as not to disturb apartment neighbors. Her sister became allergic to the rosin for her bow and played wearing cotton gloves. My roommate practiced her spoken Chinese before calling home, as her primary language was English.

My other friend's mother and her four sisters were spirited out of China during the 1950's by her grandmother. (No one spoke of her grandfather). Her mother was a high school science teacher, and one aunt ran Time Inc's finance department. My friend was in her ophthalmology residency.

Goal-oriented, smart, witty, very funny senses of humor, and unending energy were the commonalities of my friends. I miss them.