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Comprehensive Child Marriage Research Library

Hmong Women, Marital Factors and Mental Health Status


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Vang, Pa Der; Bogenschutz, Matthew


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Sage Publications Inc.

Peer Reviewed


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Students Against Child Marriage's Object Summary:

The Hmong people are a group of American migrants from China who were influential in the United States government’s involvement in Southeast Asian anti-communist activities during the Vietnam War (p. 165). Following the war and the emigration of a large portion of this population, there are now 200,000 Hmong living in the United States as of 2004 (p. 165). A review of the literature concerning this population subset reveal that, “traditionally, Hmong women married in their teenage years” (p. 166). In this paper, researchers Pa Der Van and Matthew Bogenschutz explore the factors leading to these marriages, which have continued as the Hmong migrated to the United States, and the ensuing mental health impacts for Hmong child brides. Through an online survey conducted in English, and “distributed via web-based venues that are frequented by Hmong women,” the researchers asked 186 female Hmong respondents several demographic questions in addition to “10 questions [that] sought information on each respondent’s experience with symptoms of depression over the past 12 months” (p. 169-170). The researchers found that teenage marriage continued to be prevalent among the population (p. 170) with several depressive symptoms being common (p. 173). Further finding that Hmong women married at a young age were more likely to experience martial abuse which “in turn, is related to increased reports of depressive symptoms,” the article’s authors establish a strong connection between child and youth marriage and mental health complications (p. 176).

Article Abstract (If Available):

The Summary: An online survey was completed by Hmong women in the United States (n = 186). The survey was distributed via listserves and websites frequently used by Hmong women, and solicited information about marital factors, presence and intensity of depressive symptoms, and socio-demographic circumstances. Findings: The findings of this article indicate a significant relationship between marital abuse and depression among women married as teenagers when compared to non-abused women who married in adulthood. Excessive worry and feeling like everything takes great effort were the two most frequently reported indicators of depression reported by Hmong women in this sample. Additional marital and socio-demographic factors are explored in their relationship with depressive presentation. Applications: These findings suggest that mental health practitioners working with Hmong women may need to be particularly attuned to issues of marital stressors related to traditional marriage practices and cultural stressors.

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