Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Joseph R. Morris

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Z. Anderson

Third Advisor

Dr. Chien-Juh Gu


Acculturation, psychological well-being, substance use behaviors, Asian Indian Americans


The American population is becoming more diversified with increases in the number of immigrants and refugees entering the country. These new Americans bring distinct cultural values, traditions, and worldviews. With this diversity, an important need has arisen to better understand the interplay of culture, physical, and mental health concerns that affect specific racial and ethnic populations. This increase in knowledge and awareness will aid in the development and provision of culturally-sensitive mental health services. The stress of immigration and the multifaceted sociocultural and psychological adaptations involved in adjusting to living in a new country with a Eurocentric dominant culture can affect the psychological well-being of immigrants (Abouguendia & Noels, 2001; Tummala-Narra, Deshpande, & Kaur, 2016). The existent scholarship demonstrates that immigrants may seek to migrate to the United States for better economical and educational opportunities, but also experience multifaceted challenges that can impact their relationships, psychological well-being, coping strategies, and overall health (Gibson, 2001; Farver, Bhadha, & Narang, 2002; Oppedal, Roysamb, & Sam, 2004). Previous research has also indicated that increased substance use is linked to decreased psychological well-being (Gong, Takeuchi, Agbayani-Siewert, & Tacata, 2003). The present study builds on previous scholarship that examines the acculturation experiences of Asian immigrants and the Asian American population. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine acculturation experiences, psychological well-being, and substance use behaviors in the Asian Indian population living in the United States. Differences between these three variables were assessed across generation status and length of residency.

One hundred and twenty-two participants who identified as Asian Indian, between the ages of 18 to 60, and currently living in the United States participated in this study. Participants were recruited from Asian American and South Asian American email lists and Asian Indian community centers. The instruments used in this study included: demographic questionnaire, Suinn-Lew Asian Self-Identity Acculturation Scale (SL-ASIA; Suinn, Rickard-Figueroa, Lew, & Vigil, 1987), Scale for Psychological Well-Being (SPWB; Ryff, 1989), Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT; Saunders, Aasland, Babor, de la Fuente & Grant, 1993), and Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST; Skinner, 1982). Primary analyses were conducted via linear regression analyses, multivariate tests of variance, and hierarchical regression analyses. The findings from the study indicated that increases in alcohol use is associated with increases in psychological well-being. The results also suggested that decreases in psychological well-being may be linked with increases in the level of acculturation of Asian Indian Americans. Interpretation of findings, study limitations, clinical implications, and future directions are further explored in the discussion section.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access