The association of perceived discrimination and depressive symptoms among Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese Americans

Victoria Chau, Janice V. Bowie, Hee Soon Juon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Few studies have investigated ethnic differences in discrimination and depressive symptoms, and the link between them among foreign-born Asian Americans. This study identifies if depressive symptoms and perceived discrimination differ by Asian ethnicity, and if perceived discrimination is associated with depressive symptoms among foreign-born Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese Americans. Methods: This study uses data from the Asian American Liver Cancer Prevention Program (N = 600). Using nonprobability sampling, foreign-born Asian American adults (58% female, M age = 47.3 years, SD = 11.82) were recruited from the community in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. Perceived discrimination was defined using everyday and major discrimination scales; the Centers for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale defined the outcome of depressive symptoms. Multiple logistic regressions were conducted to determine if this association exists. Results: A high prevalence of depressive symptoms (one third to one fifth per ethnicity) and ethnic differences between foreign-born Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese Americans were found; increased perceived discrimination was associated with worse depressive symptomology. Those with "high" and "mild discrimination" had greater odds of being depressed than those who had never experienced discrimination; those with "unfair treatment" had greater odds of being depressed than those who had none. Major experiences of discrimination were less common and less likely associated with depressive symptoms than everyday experiences. Conclusions: Foreign-born Asian Americans experience substantial discrimination and depressive symptoms. Future studies should stratify by Asian ethnicity and examine the differences between minor and major experiences of discrimination to provide appropriate mental health prevention and treatment for this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-399
Number of pages11
JournalCultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2018

Keywords

  • Depressive symptoms
  • Ethnic differences
  • Foreign-born Asian
  • Perceived discrimination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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