Date of Award


Document Type



College of Nursing

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Project Mentor

Jila Mirlashari


Kristin Vitalich


Background: Asian Americans form a growing part of American society, and it is critical to address the mental health challenges of this growing population. Due to the minority status of this community, limited information is available regarding the details of unique issues experienced by members of this community in accessing and continuing treatment for mental health disorders. Depression is a critical high-prevalence mental health illness affecting Asian Americans, and low depression medication adherence is an important factor in this illness remaining undertreated in community members. Understanding the barriers to depression medication adherence for Asian Americans is thus critical to effectively addressing this community's mental health needs. Aim: This qualitative research study explores the barriers to depression medication adherence in Asian Americans from the perspective of mental health professionals, including mental health prescribers and behavioral health counselors. Study Design: In this qualitative research study, we conducted in-depth interviews with 13 participants, including five mental health prescribers and eight behavioral health counselors from a local institution with extensive experience treating and working with Asian American clients with depression. To analyze the data, a thematic analysis approach was employed. Audio recordings of interviews were transcribed and analyzed with the help of a coding tool. The information obtained through the study was then systematically categorized into themes, subthemes, and codes to derive systematic conclusions supported by quotes from participants. Result: This study identified several barriers to medication adherence in Asian Americans with depression that fall under five broad themes: personal barriers, financial burden, the family’s dual role as a facilitator or a hindrance, cultural and personal beliefs, and the role of healthcare system and strategies to overcome barriers to medication adherence. Some barriers unique to Asian Americans, such as stigma associated with mental illness, cultural beliefs, psychosocial problems like language barriers and cultural differences, and strong family influence in mental health decisions, were also highlighted by the participants in this study. Furthermore, several strategies employed by mental health professionals to overcome barriers to medication adherence for their clients were also uncovered through the analysis in this study.