Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Anna Stetsenko

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Irish culture in America, acculturation, cultural psychology, culture and mental health


This study investigates the mental health of Irish immigrants and first generation Irish Americans. As the Irish-American population makes up such a large portion of the entire population of the United States, it is important we acknowledge its origin and take that into account where mental illness and treatment are concerned as the Irish culture has a pronounced effect on mental health. The intended audience of this review are expert and non-expert members of the clinical setting and community who may gain insight on helping a client or family member find a way to understand and express repressed feelings affectively. To fully understand Irish culture and acculturation, it was necessary to explore mental health cross-culturally with a researcher lens to gain anthropological, sociological, ecological, psychiatric, and psychological perspective. In literature of this nature, common variables were discussed as playing a part in the most typical behaviors and beliefs of various cultures. Those variables were documented and applied to Irish culture. A positivist approach was taken in the review of the material to summarize and synthesize the interpretation of Irish culture and mental health. It was concluded that socioeconomic status, religion, gender, and age commonly mold the traditions and characteristics of a culture which in turn, affect the status and perception of mental health and illness, as well as the perception of and action taken towards treatment and healing. The history of the Irish culture in terms of religion, surviving imperialism, and socialization seem to be slowly losing its grip on the belief systems of the Irish and Irish-Americans today. However, due to the loyal-to-tradition nature of the Irish, many Irish-American families continue to have troubled relationships as traditional family roles encourage a cycle of problematic behaviors.