Date of Award

Summer 8-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Dr. Michael Anestis

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Dr. Joye Anestis

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Dr. Daniel Capron

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Dr. Donald Sacco

Committee Member 4 School



Korean Americans have the highest suicide mortality rates among Asian American subgroups (6.84 per 100,000 population; U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). Therefore, it may be important to examine the unique factors that account for the suicide rates of Korean Americans, especially since current knowledge on suicide with Korean Americans is limited. Thus, the present dissertation study sought to examine the role of acculturation and acculturative stress in the association between generational status and factors related to suicide among Korean Americans.

A sample of 150 participants completed a study protocol consisting of various self-report measures on MTurk. The results supported the hypothesis that the relationship between generational status and willingness to seek help for suicidal ideation would be moderated through acculturation, but such that that individuals identifying as third or higher generation were less willing to seek help for suicidal ideation at higher levels of acculturation. The proposed model did not consider the possibility of Korean Americans relying on social networks to receive support and help with mental health difficulties. As such, it is worth reconsidering the methods for measuring help-seeking behaviors and utilization of help for mental health difficulties in Asian Americans, given that traditional methods have focused on professional sources of help. Secondly, the model hypothesized that higher generation status would be associated with a more open and positive attitude toward suicide, due to longer duration of residency in the United States and therefore, being more acculturated to the American culture. However, it appears that the level of acculturation is not entirely contingent on one’s generational status, given that the acculturation process is affected by various factors. Given that Korean American immigrants may be at higher risk of developing psychopathology and suicidal ideation than other minority groups and prefer mental health providers who have similar values and ethnic background as them, it would be important for Asian American psychologists to increase their visibility to the Korean American community and do outreach services to increase their awareness of psychological services.