Assignment: Analyzing Focus Group Findings

Assignment: Analyzing Focus Group Findings

Imagine that two focus groups have been conducted in an Asian American and immigrant community in a large urban city. The rationale of conducting the qualitative study was because it has been noted that many Asian Americans and immigrants are reluctant to seek mental health services. To further understand this issue, service providers including social workers, counselors, doctors, and nurses were recruited to discuss the barriers in implementing mental health services targeted to Asian Americans and immigrants. After the focus groups were transcribed, two research assistants were hired to conduct a content analysis of the transcripts. Refer to the Week 5 Handout: Content Analysis of Focus Groups.

As the social worker, you have been asked to analyze the focus group data and are charged with working with an advisory board in the community to formulate social work practice recommendations using the ecological model.

To prepare for this Assignment, review Week 5 Handout: Content Analysis of Focus Groups.

By Day 7

REPORT OF THE FOLLOWING:

Discuss the themes found in the Week 5 Handout: (see below) Content Analysis of Focus Groups. Based on this data, what is your analysis of the current barriers to services?

Create two social work recommendations to address a current barrier and explain how the recommendation proposed addresses the findings.

Discuss how you would collaborate with the research stakeholders (e.g. service providers and community members) to ensure that the data are interpreted accurately and that the practice recommendations made will be culturally appropriate.

  1. Critically reflect on your own culture and explain how your cultural values and beliefs may have influenced how you interpreted the focus group data. What specific cultural knowledge do you think you need to obtain to conduct culturally sensitive research with this group?

Support the assignment with references using assigned readings and/or additional scholarly literature.

  1. Week 5 Handout:

Content Analysis of Focus Groups 1 Research Question 1: What are the barriers in implementing mental health services in the Asian American community? Research Design: Qualitative, Descriptive Research Method: Focus groups Patient Related Barriers Social Stigma Associated with Mental Illness “….but also a lot of my patients have a fear of going to psychiatrists because of the social stigma ….” and most of them have financial difficulty and have to pay an additional fee to pay for psychiatry. (DN, pg. 1) Financial Difficulties “….but also a lot of my patients have a fear of going to psychiatrists …. and most of them have financial difficulty and have to pay an additional fee to pay for psychiatry.” (DN, pg. 1) Characteristics of the Asian patient Mistrustful of mental health “I found it easier sometimes to refer them to someone else because a lot of times I find that the Chinese patients are unwilling to open up or trust.” (TPW, pg. 2) “we have to see why Asians go to see a health care provider, forget about whether the mental health profession, or even a regular clinician. Why does the patient see the provider..is it because they have seen a chinese herbalist and have failed and have used their last efforts to see a western doctor, that will put tremendous expectations on this relationship, as opposed to someone who comes to see the doctor for the first time and has faith that the Western doctor.” (Anthony, pg. 7) Don’t Ask for Assistance “It is hard to get them ask for help and ….. “ (TPW, pg. 2) Patient’s View of Mental Health Provider as Last Resort “we have to see why Asians go to see a health care provider, forget about whether the mental health profession, or even a regular clinician. Why does the patient see the provider..is it because they have seen a chinese herbalist and have failed and have used their last efforts to see a western doctor, that will put tremendous expectations on this relationship, as opposed to someone who comes to see the doctor for the first time and has faith that the western doctor.” (Anthony, pg. 7) Week 5 Handout: Content Analysis of Focus Groups 2 Service Provider Related Barriers “Despite all the training I have found that working with Chinese populations there are a lot of barriers I am finding that it is not as easy working with them.” (TPW, pg. 2) “Pass the Buck theme” I found it easier sometimes to refer them to someone else because a lot of times I find that the Chinese patients are unwilling to open up or trust. (TPW, pg. 2) Lack of training/skills/expertise “….and I find that I struggle with my own skills and I am trying to get some help in being a better primary care provider and getting my skills more fine tuned for the population that I work with.” (TPW, pg. 2) “On the Western provider side, we noticed that when a provider is confronted with a Western patient they are reluctant to enter areas because they are not really sure if that behavior is natural to that culture so that while they know pathology on the one hand they are not sure if what they are seeing is pathological. I remember one indian psychiatrist said that a schizophrenic in india is the same schizophrenic in NY but you know there are excuses sometimes and avoidance so educating the general provider concerning what really can be expected is very important.” (MAC, pg. 8) “My comment is very similar, there are very big knowledge gaps for providers and what providers bring to the situation…” (JK, pg. 8) Cultural Assumptions “well what you have to think about is other areas, our own cultural biases. There are certain things that I make assumptions on without even knowing it just because of what I know growing up or and I think these are areas we need to address.” (Ernesto, pg. 7) Systems Barriers Primary Care is the Access Point for Patients with Mental Disorders “….primary care as sort of the gatekeeper those are the guys that are picking up the symptoms and so I sort of see that this is a good project to enhance our understanding of this population.” (AN, pg. 2) Changing Financial Systems “Another issue is that there are financial issues that primary physicians often see that there is cost shifting going on that psychiatry or whomever else is telling us to do this new activity that is really shifting a responsibility” (LR, pg. 4) Week 5 Handout: Content Analysis of Focus Groups 3 Changing of Responsibilities “Another issue is that there are financial issues that primary physicians often see that there is cost shifting going on that psychiatry or whomever else is telling us to do this new activity that is really shifting a responsibility” (LR, pg. 4) Professional Medical/Psychiatry Culture Differing Cultures and Ideologies Within Medical Profession “one major barrier is that there is a difference in physician culture that an internalist perceives a different way of treating a patient than a family care doctor and the pediatrician looks at it differently than an internalist and that certain cultures when they have certain specialty referral systems will feel differently when they specialty referral system is used less frequently, and we have found them being treated much differently” (LR, pg.4) Miscellaneous “we tend to forget that the mental health problems are a spectrum, they may not be necessarily psychosis or dementia, manic depression, they may not be a DSM 4 diagnosis, they may be life style related , they are a state of flux it is a spectrum, when a women is having infertility when a women loses a pregnancy when a women delivers a baby and it is another girl but she wanted a boy, or when she delivers a baby it is what she wanted but the constraints, but the burden is too much, so it can gyn issues it could be ob issues but they are not dsm categories and I think that a barrier is that we do not acknowledge the existence of these kinds of things…” (IH, pg. 6) “The other big thing that I think of is the other side of the spectrum which is when we do see these patients and when we do have the luxuries of identifying these issues that I have just outlined that we try to squeezed these people into the diagnoses that I just described so we make it into an anxiety disorder or we make it into a depression when it could be just life style related or cultural related..” (IH, pg. 6)

Answer:

Based on the content analysis of the focus groups, several themes emerge regarding the barriers to implementing mental health services in the Asian American community:

  1. Social Stigma Associated with Mental Illness: Participants noted that many Asian Americans fear seeking mental health services due to the social stigma attached to mental illness. This stigma can lead to reluctance in seeking help, even if individuals are experiencing mental health issues.
  2. Financial Difficulties: Financial constraints were identified as a significant barrier. Many Asian Americans and immigrants face financial difficulties, and the additional cost associated with mental health services can deter them from seeking help.
  3. Characteristics of the Asian Patient: There are cultural factors at play, including mistrust of mental health services and a tendency to view mental health providers as a last resort. This mistrust and reluctance to seek help may stem from cultural beliefs and experiences.
  4. Service Provider Related Barriers: Service providers also face barriers in delivering mental health services to Asian American communities. These barriers include a lack of cultural competence and training, leading to difficulties in understanding and addressing the unique needs of this population.
  5. Systems Barriers: Structural issues such as the reliance on primary care as the access point for mental health services and financial challenges within the healthcare system were identified as barriers to accessing mental health care.

Based on these findings, here are two social work recommendations to address current barriers:

  1. Cultural Competence Training for Service Providers: It is essential to provide cultural competence training to service providers to enhance their understanding of the cultural nuances and barriers faced by Asian American and immigrant communities. This training should focus on building skills in cross-cultural communication, understanding cultural values and beliefs, and addressing stigma surrounding mental health. By increasing cultural competence among service providers, they can better engage with and support Asian American clients.
  2. Community Outreach and Education Programs: Develop community outreach and education programs aimed at destigmatizing mental illness and promoting mental health awareness within Asian American communities. These programs should be culturally sensitive and delivered in collaboration with community leaders and organizations. Providing information about available mental health services, addressing misconceptions about mental illness, and encouraging help-seeking behaviors can help reduce barriers to accessing mental health care.

To ensure accurate interpretation of the data and culturally appropriate practice recommendations, collaboration with research stakeholders is crucial. This collaboration can involve convening community forums or advisory boards comprised of service providers, community members, and cultural experts to review and discuss the findings. By soliciting input from diverse perspectives, the interpretation of the data can be enriched, and practice recommendations can be tailored to meet the specific needs of the community.

Reflecting on my own culture, I recognize that my cultural values and beliefs may influence how I interpret the focus group data. As a social worker, it’s important for me to acknowledge any biases I may have and actively work to understand the cultural context of the communities being studied. To conduct culturally sensitive research with this group, I would need to obtain specific cultural knowledge about Asian American and immigrant communities, including their cultural values, beliefs, and help-seeking behaviors related to mental health. This may involve engaging with community members, consulting cultural experts, and continually reflecting on my own cultural assumptions throughout the research process.

References:

  • Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (2012). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Lum, D., & Doman Lum, S. (2005). Culturally competent practice: A framework for understanding diverse groups and justice issues. Cengage Learning.
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