SURF

Josephine Juanamarga

Understanding Cultural Differences in Disclosure of Personal Problems and Help Seeking Propensity

In my research, I aim to explore the mechanisms behind why Asians experience more difficulty in disclosing personal problems and approaching others for help in various situations (especially emotionally) than when compared to Westerners. Do different styles of communication (indirect vs. direct) or differences in the implicit sense of power status (high vs. low) moderate this interaction? Might Asians show preference seeking certain people to whom they disclose their problems or seek help from? I hope that this research could help shed light on the acculturation process and success of Asian immigrants in flexibly adjusting to the host culture. In addition, I also hope that exploring the reasons why Asians have a harder time seeking others help could give mental and physical health professionals some insights on how to face Asians and give them better treatment methods. Lastly, I hope this research could give a better understanding to people of other cultures on how to face and interact with Asian people from across multiple settings including school and workplaces.

Message to Sponsor

First of all, I want to thank SURF L&S donors; without whom this award would not exist. Second, I would like to thank the committee members for awarding my proposal; I am really honored to be a SURF fellow. With this research stipend of $3500, I would be able to fully devote my time in further advancing my research question of looking at possible mechanisms why Asians are less likely to seek help than compared to Westerners, especially in professional mental health settings. Receiving this award further encourages me to pursue research toward graduate school and beyond. Under the guidance and support of my mentor Prof. Peng Kaiping and two graduate students: Qian Yang and Xiaowei Lu; as well as mental support from SURF advisors and other fellow SURF-ers, I hope to be able to contribute my research to the existing psychological literature.
  • Major: Psychology
  • Sponsor: JSB Fund
  • Mentor: Peng Kaiping, Psychology