Health and Social Experiences of Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the United States Military

James Byung Park, Fordham University


Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) make up approximately 4-5% of the total U.S. Armed Forces (U.S. Department of Defense, 2017); however, little is known about their experiences and general well-being. Recent studies that have explored the well-being of service members suggest a lack of adequate representation of AAPIs in research and also identify AAPIs as having the highest rates of suicide within the military (Eisen et al., 2012; Foynes et al., 2015; Pietrzak et al., 2015; Schoenbaum et al., 2014). Social interactions and teamwork are essential to efficient operations and functioning in the military. Positive social experiences, such as strong unit cohesion, may serve as a protective factor against negative life events, whereas instances of discrimination may place chronic strain on an individual’s well-being (Adams et al., 2017; Adler & Castro, 2013; Williams et al., 2016). To address a significant gap in the current literature and develop a better understanding of AAPIs in the military, this study examined how AAPIs’ social experiences in the U.S. military influence their health and well-being. Significant relationships were identified between perceived workplace discrimination and unit cohesion, perceived discrimination and health outcomes, and unit cohesion and health outcomes. Implications for policy, practice, and theory, limitations of the current study, and future directions for research are discussed.

Subject Area

Counseling Psychology

Recommended Citation

Park, James Byung, "Health and Social Experiences of Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the United States Military" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28498083.