School of Nursing

Increasing Understanding of Mental Health Among Korean-American Adolescents

Minjeong KimProfessor Minjeong Kim joined the School of Nursing faculty in 2016, after completing her doctorate in nursing at the University of California San Francisco. She was born in South Korea and earned her bachelors and masters in nursing from Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea, where she also served on the faculty. In the US she was a RN at the Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Clinic, an LGBTQ health center. She teaches psychiatric nursing to SDSU undergraduate nursing students. She enjoys her specialty as it involves the whole patient perspective and includes working with the patient’s family and community. Her research interest is in understanding mental health issues of Korean-American adolescents.

Dr. Kim was interested in the impact of acculturation (adjustment to a new culture), friendships and personality traits on the mental health of these teens. Korean-Americans are the fifth largest Asian American subgroup and have a recent immigration history. More than 80% of Korean American teens are first or second generation Americans, making the group an ideal one to study. Because there are significant cultural differences between Korea and America, these teens may have a higher risk for mental health issues. However, there have been few studies concentrated on this group of adolescents.

Korean-American teens were recruited from a variety of places around the San Francisco Bay area. They took a self-administered questionnaire to determine mental health status, friendships, acculturation levels and various personality traits. She found that acculturation had a minimal impact on predicting mental health problems. Having close friend- ships also did not impact mental health, although Dr. Kim notes that they only looked at mental health as a whole, while the presence or absence of friendships might only impact one aspect of mental health, for example depression. Among personality traits, openness to new experiences and agreeableness both impacted mental health and youth who were more agreeable or more open to new experiences experienced fewer mental health issues.

Dr. Kim is looking forward to continuing her research now that she has settled into her role at SDSU. She hopes to study a larger number of youth so that she can study different aspects of mental health separately, as well as studying each aspect in more depth.

Director Greiner Joins Nat’l Board of Directors

Dr. Greiner has been elected to the board of directors for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, based in Washington, D.C. In this role, he will help shape the future of nursing education nationally. “Having SDSU featured so prominently on this national stage benefits our university, nursing, faculty, and students by increasing our name recognition and our involvement in decisions that guide academic nursing for the immediate future,” Greiner said.