Substance abuse among Asian Indians in the United States: A consideration of cultural factors in etiology and treatment

Mudita Rastogi*, Serena Wadhwa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We explore cultural factors that contribute to substance use in the Asian Indian population in the United State and propose culturally sensitive treatment, with an emphasis on family issues. The 2000 U.S. Census figures show that Asian Indians residing in this country have grown to about 1.7 million from the 1990 U.S. Census figure of 815,000. On average, Asian Indians have a higher level of education and proficiency in English compared with many other new immigrant groups. The median family income for Asian Indians in the United State in 1999 was $70,708, compared with $53,356 for Whites. Based on these statistics, Asian Indians are erroneously labeled a "model minority." However, a closer look shows that Asian Indians are paid lower than their White counterparts with comparable education. Also, many Asian Indians live in areas where the cost of living is higher, and high family income does not automatically translate into a higher standard of living. There is large within-group disparities in income, and Asian Indian families might fall at either end of the Socio-economic status (SES) pole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1239-1249
Number of pages11
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Acculturation
  • Asian Indian
  • Cultural identity
  • Culturally sensitive
  • Ethnic identity
  • Family dynamics
  • Gender
  • Shame
  • South Asian
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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