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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

Asian American college students as model minorities: An examination of their overall competence.

Author: Ying,-Yu-Wen; Lee,-Peter-Allen; Tsai,-Jeanne-L; Hung,-Yuan; Lin,-Melissa; Wan,-Ching-Tin
Author Background: U California, School of Social Welfare, Berkeley, CA, US
Date 2/2001
Type Journal
Journal Title: Cultural-Diversity-and-Ethnic-Minority-Psychology.
Volume/Pages Vol 7(1): 59-74
Subject Matter Asian American, Research
Abstract Educational success among Asian Americans has led to their being labeled the model minority. At the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), Asian American students have higher grade point averages (GPAs) than Hispanic and African Americans but not White students, supporting the notion that Asian Americans are more successful compared with other racial minorities. However, according to the authors, nonacademic criteria ought to be considered in assessing the validity of the model minority image. This was empirically tested in a group of 642 undergraduates at UCB, including 291 Asian, 197 White, 20 African American, 67 Hispanic, and 56 multi-racial students. Overall competence was operationalized by sense of coherence, that is, the extent to which the world is experienced as comprehensible, manageable, and meaningful. Asian Americans had significantly fewer numbers of cross-racial groups represented in their friendship network than did students of all other races. Lower cross-racial engagement and being Asian (as compared with White) were related to a lower sense of coherence, whereas lower GPA was not. Thus, extending the definition of success to overall competence, these findings raise questions about the applicability of the model minority level to Asian Americans. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2000 APA, all rights reserved)