Within Asian communities and Asian American families

April 6, 2019 Cultural

Within Asian communities and Asian American families, the order of importance flows from parents to children and with particular emphasis being placed on a patriarchal structure where the male is given priority. Great value and importance is also placed on bringing honor, avoiding shame, and avoiding loss of face to the family. In addition to the structure of the family, women are considered more of as a husband’s property rather than an equal in the relationship (Kim, 2000). This makes the Asian woman more susceptible to Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) than in other cultures. When interacting with these individuals, it is best to not assume their level of cultural integration and first assess language and beliefs if appropriate. Asian Americans tend to be less forward in their responses and communicate with high context methods such as body language, gestures, pitch, inotation, and word stress that are equally important as spoken words. Asians also tend to smile or nod when either confused or embarrassed. If the patient is strongly culture oriented, then we must evaluate the language barrier and address it if necessary, address concerns with largely open-ended questions, and give time for the individual to answer. Avoiding eye contact or covering their mouth is a sign of respect.

The abuse assessment screen is a tool that helps identify individuals who are at risk for or have been victims of IPV. The assessment includes 6 questions and then acknowledges of any positive responses and prompting of discussion of the issue (Jaris, 2016).

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When you and you and your partner argue, are you ever afraid of him?
When you and your partner verbally argue, do you thin he tries to emotionally hurt / abuse you?
Does your partner try to control you? Where you go? Who you see? How much money you can have?
Has your partner *or anyone) ever slapped you, pushed you, hit you, kicked you, or otherwise physically hurt you?
Since you have been pregnant (when you were pregnant), has your partner ever bit you, slapped you, pushed you, hit you, kicked you, or otherwise physically hurt you?
Has your partner ever forced you into sex when you did not want to participate?
If abuse is discovered, the victim should be pulled away into a more private setting without the partner near to elaborate on the type of abuse if possible. The patient should be asked if the abuse has been reported and confirm if it has with a police report number. If the patient has not reported it, we as nurses are required to report it to the proper authorities and ensure patient safety with a friend / family / or battered woman’s shelter. Resources can be given including IPV hotline and information on local resources. Documentation and photography of any visible marks or trauma on the patient should be completed and the patient stabilized. Care should be taken to not place the patient in further danger, if possible and if care is refused, something as simple as a “shoe card” could make a difference in their future.


Kim, I. (2000). Risk Factors and Interventions for Domestic Violence among Asian Americans.

Jarvis, C. (2016). Physical examination & health assessment (7th ed.). Philadelphia: Elsevier.

Make a Difference in Your Community. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2018, from http://www.wcaboise.org/shoe-cards/#more-4004

Cultural Values of Asian Patients and Families. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2018, from http://www.dimensionsofculture.com/2010/10/cultural-values-of-asian-patients-and-families/


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