Alzheimer’s Disease has numerous impacts on individuals ranging from a physical and individual toll to emotional and financial burdens. The adoption of health and long-term supports is low among racial and ethnic minorities. Stigmatizing beliefs related to Alzheimer’s disease can influence help-seeking behaviors and treatment adherence. Unfortunately, Asian American groups in the US, are understudied. Taking into consideration the fact that these groups have the highest growth of older adults 65 years and older, the early detection of cognitive decline including Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is key. Previous studies link the low rates of help-seeking behavior in racial and ethnic minorities to their culture of recognizing AD as a natural result of aging and their associations between the disease and feelings such as disappointment and avoidance. Thus, the present study examined the factors linked to stigmatizing beliefs about Alzheimer’s disease in Asian Americans of diverse ages and ethnic backgrounds using the 2015 Asian American Quality of Life survey (N=2,609).
This study provides an insight into the understanding of AD within the Asian American community. Using separate logistic regression models for each outcome measure, the authors found that 1) almost half of the participants consider AD a normal process of aging; 2) compared to Chinese participants, Vietnamese are significantly more likely to express belief that AD is a normal process of aging; 3) in general association of AD with feelings of embarrassment and social avoidance tends to be low; and 4) participants with older age, male gender, low education, and limited English proficiency tend to report higher rates of stigmatizing beliefs. The authors argue that linking AD as a part of aging results in delays for getting the needed medical help, and emphasize the need for community-wide educational programs including middle-aged persons. Sub-group differences in the level and correlates of stigmatizing beliefs seem to indicate that health education programs could be targeted and prioritized.
Copy Editor: Selin Mercan
Note: Article published in Health and Social Care in the Community
Citation: Liang, J., Jang, Y., & Aranda, M. P. (2020). Stigmatising beliefs about Alzheimer’s disease: Findings from the Asian American Quality of Life Survey. Health & Social Care in the Community. https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.13208