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Telecounseling for the Linguistically Isolated: A Pilot Study With Older Korean Immigrants

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telehealth, cultural competence, Korean Immigrants


David Chiriboga, PhD


Responding to the critical needs of the linguistically isolated, this pilot study tested the use of telehealth technology in providing access to culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services. The goal of the study was to explore the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a telecounseling program in the client’s native language.

Design and Methods:

Using a small sample of older Korean immigrants living in a low-income housing facility in Orlando, Florida, who had concerns about depressive moods (n = 14), the pilot telecounseling program was implemented via videoconferencing. Four weekly sessions were conducted by 4 Korean mental health counselors based in New York.


A high level of completion (86%) and overall satisfaction with the program were observed. Participants also exhibited a significant reduction in depressive symptom severity shortly after completion of the program. At the 3-month follow-up, the participants’ depressive symptom scores remained significantly lower than those at the initial assessment. Implications. The findings support the value of telecounseling for linguistically isolated populations and suggest further efforts to extend such programs.



Jang, Y., Chiriboga, D. A., Molinari, V. A., Roh, S., Park, Y., Kwon, S., . . . Choi, N. (2013). Telecounseling for the linguistically isolated: A pilot study with older Korean immigrants. Gerontologist, Advance online publication.  doi:10.1093/geront/gns196