Alternative Title

Deconstruction of the model minority myth and implications for the invisibility of Asian American mental health needs

Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School for Social Work


Asian Americans-Mental health, Asian American-Mental health services, Model minority stereotype.Asian, Asian American, Asian Pacific Islander, Asian American Pacific Islander, Asian Picific Islander American, Asian Pacific American, Model minority myth, Yellow Peril, Racism, Discrimination, Oppression, Xenophibia, Perpetual foreigner, Othering, Immigrant, Refugee, Mental health, Wellness, Psychotherapy, Asian culture, Asian values, Culturally sensitive, Culturally responsive, Treatment, Identity, Self-perception


The model minority myth is a racial stereotype imposed upon Asian Americans, often depicting them as a successful and high-achieving monolithic group in the United States. This paper examines sociopolitical functions of the term “model minority” and implications for this broad and diverse racial group by reviewing existing literature and conducting an analysis of qualitative interviews with 12 Asian Americans. The findings of this study suggest that while the model minority myth appears to be a positive stereotype, it may lead Asian Americans to experience distress through (a.) a sense of confinement, (b.) treatment as foreigners, and (c.) erasure and invisibility of challenges around identity, racism and discrimination, immigrant and refugee experiences, mental health, and accessing culturally sensitive resources. This study concludes by urging for cessation of the term model minority and further investigation of consequences on invisibility of Asian American mental health needs and oppression of other minority groups.




iv, 82 pages : color illustration. Includes bibliographical references (pages 59-68)

Included in

Social Work Commons