Date of Award

8-1-2013

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Karen L. Suyemoto

Second Advisor

Alice S Carter

Third Advisor

Sarah Hayes-Skelton

Abstract

Previous research has supported that racial discrimination is associated with negative mental health outcomes among Asian Americans. However, there are mixed findings related to ethnic identity, immigrant status, and the relation of racism to multiple mental health outcomes simultaneously. This study tested whether ethnic identity moderated the negative effects of racism related stress on anxiety, interpersonal sensitivity, and depressive symptomology, and how relations between variables differed based on status as a 1st, 1.5, or 2nd generation Asian American. Results indicated that for the sample as a whole, racism related stress was positively associated to all three mental health variables, and that anxiety and interpersonal sensitivity mediated the relations between racism related stress and depression. Generational status acted as a moderator for the relation between racism related stress and anxiety such that the positive relation between racism related stress and anxiety was significantly stronger in first generation immigrant participants as compared to U.S. born participants. When generations were disaggregated and analyses were run with subsets of participants from each generation, the whole sample findings that racism related stress was positively associated to mental health variables and that anxiety and interpersonal sensitivity mediated the relationship between racism related stress and depression applied for first generation participants only. Ethnic identity did not moderate the relationship between racism related stress and mental health variables for either the sample as a whole or any generational sub-sample. Exploratory analyses examining the relations between the subscale components of racism related stress and mental health indicated the same overall pattern of significance for the whole sample and the first generation subsample as found when examining racism related stress overall. We discuss the implications and importance of addressing generational status in research and clinical work when considering the effects of discrimination on mental health among Asian Americans.

Comments

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