Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department

Asian American Studies

Reader 1

Guadalupe Bacio

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Rights Information

© 2017 Michelle S Chan


The intersection of Asian American identity and illicit substance use is greatly understudied in psychological literature, especially with matters of mental health and drug use being stigmatized by Asian cultural norms. However, with an increasingly alarming number of fatal drug overdoses by Asian Americans at electronic dance music (EDM) events, attention must be drawn to the needs of this unique population. The present study characterizes this community by drawing from data of 1,290 Asian American young adults who participate in the EDM scene. This study also hypothesizes the impact of acculturative stress and feelings of social belonging on MDMA usage patterns. Analysis reveals a population of largely East and Southeast Asian, 2nd generation, college-educated young adults with strikingly high usage rates of MDMA, an illicit drug linked to the EDM scene. Multiple regression models were created that could predict MDMA use through various measures related to acculturative stress and social belonging. Findings revealed the significant impact of acculturation, acculturative stress, mental health, peer relationships, and desires for social belonging on this population’s MDMA usage patterns, providing an important platform from which future research may launch much-needed additional studies of Asian American young adults and illicit drug use.


This research study is supplemented by a related short film and a photo essay. You may find a compilation of the research paper with these documentary media works at

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