Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Chinese Americans-Economic conditions, College graduates-Economic conditions, Unemployment-Psychological aspects, Unemployed-Psychology, Chinese Americans-Study and teaching (Graduate), United States-Economic conditions-21st century, Acculturation, Chinese Americans-Cultural assimilation, Asian American, Great Recession, Underutilization, Mental health, Qualitative


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the ways in which the Great Recession has affected Chinese American, recent college graduates in their career development. The person-in-environment perspective of clinical social work was the foundation for this study: it was expected that the negative economic effects of the Great Recession have changed the occupational landscape for Chinese American recent college graduates, which has had an effect on their mental health and personal relationships. Participants were recruited through snowball sampling, and 12 individuals were interviewed regarding their career-related experiences after graduation. All participants identified as Chinese American and graduated with an undergraduate bachelor's level degree (B.A., B.S., etc) from a U.S. college or university in 2010, 2011, 2012, or 2013. The findings of this research showed that respondents faced numerous obstacles to employment and graduate school admission, including long periods of unemployment and highly competitive graduate school pools. They coped with discouragement and frustration by accessing family and peer support. Results indicated that the collectivist orientation was significant among the respondents. Furthermore, the underuse of mental health resources was common. Implications of this study include the need for further exploration of the collectivist orientation among Chinese American young adults and the ongoing need to address the underutilization of mental health resources among Chinese Americans.




iii, 84 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 70-75)

Limited Access until August 2019