In 1969, when Derald Wing Sue, PhD, received his doctorate in counseling psychology, the field of Asian-American psychology didn't really exist, he says.
"There was very little Asian-American personality, identity, mental health that was uncovered," says Sue, now a professor of psychology and education at Teachers College at Columbia University.
That's now changed, a reality reflected by the launch of the peer-reviewed Asian American Journal of Psychology, published by APA for the Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA).
The journal, which debuts in March, "epitomizes, I think, where Asian-Americans and Asian-American psychology has risen now: it's really become quite a strong force," says Sue, an AAPA founder.
The journal's creation is the result of years of effort and planning, says Fred Leong, PhD, a professor at Michigan State University, who will serve as the journal's first editor for a five-year term. Leong says he expects a journal devoted to Asian-American psychology will spread accurate information about interventions and treatment needs within Asian-American communities across the wider discipline of psychology, and will help researchers further grow the field, which has already seen tremendous growth: In 1982, Leong counted about 1,500 entries in the scientific literature devoted to Asian-American research. By the end of last year, that number had increased to 6,400 studies, he says.
Leong will work with associate editors Edward Chang, PhD, of the University of Michigan and Barbara Yee, PhD, of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. They are considering some special issues devoted to techniques in research methodology to work with small samples and disparities in the delivery of mental health care within Asian-American communities, among other topics.
Leong also wants to start a review feature that would ask senior figures in the field to review and summarize research published in the previous year, identifying both trends in research and gaps in knowledge. "Anybody doing research will find it to be a rich source of ideas," he says.
Karen Suyemoto, PhD, AAPA's past president, hopes the journal's research will help dispel the "model minority" myth—the belief that all Asian-Americans earn more money, go further in education and suffer lower rates of mental illness compared with other groups.
There's also a need for "disaggregation''—to separate out the experiences of various Asian-American groups and cultures so that mental health needs can be better met, Suyemoto says.
"The psychological experience of Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees is vastly different from the experience of Chinese immigrants, which is vastly different from third-generation Japanese-Americans," she says.