Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Filipino Americans-Psychology, Filipino Americans-Ethnic identity, Identity (Psychology), Decolonization, Social work with immigrants, Filipino, Filipino American, Identity, Identity development, Colonial mentality, Decolonizing the mind, Post-colonial theory, Mental health implications, Social work, Internalized racial oppression, Internalized colonialism, Empirical, Qualitative


Colonial mentality is defined as the perception of ethnic and cultural inferiority and a form of internalized racial oppression. It is deemed a direct consequence of the Philippines' long history of colonialism. This empirical, qualitative study explored whether colonial mentality resonated with Filipino Americans who were born and raised in the United States. This study also investigated if and how the process of decolonization of the mind transpired within individuals. One way decolonization of the mind can be conceptualized is the process of understanding one's history to understand the present. Also examined was Filipino/Filipino American identity and how these perceptions of identity were related to colonial mentality and decolonizing the mind. In addition, attitudes about mental health were delved into on a micro and macro level using the above named frameworks. Postcolonial theory served as a theoretical foundation for this study. Results revealed that both colonial mentality and decolonizing the mind were true experiences for the majority of participants, and a multiplicity of manifestations emerged. Finally, mental health implications for the field of social work were drawn. It is recommended that social workers working with this population be cognizant of these possible contributing factors to Filipino American mental health.




iii, 90 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 73-76)