Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Racial Discrimination Has Different Mental Health Effects On Asians, Study Shows

Date:
May 9, 2008
Source:
American Psychological Association
Summary:
The first national study of Asians living in the United States shows that for some individuals, strong ties to their ethnicity can guard against the negative effects of racism. For others, strong ties to ethnicity can actually make the negative effects of discrimination worse. And the mental health effects of such discrimination may shift over a lifetime as Asian-Americans continue to examine their ethnic ties, say researchers.

The first national study of Asians living in the United States shows that for some individuals, strong ties to their ethnicity can guard against the negative effects of racism. For others, strong ties to ethnicity can actually make the negative effects of discrimination worse. And the mental health effects of such discrimination may shift over a lifetime as Asian-Americans continue to examine their ethnic ties, say researchers.

Anti-Asian racism is prevalent in the United States but research into the psychological ramifications of those experiences is scarce, said lead author Tiffany Yip, PhD, of Fordham University. Using the first nationally representative sample of Asian adults in the United States, Yip, Gilbert C. Gee, PhD, of the University of California Los Angeles, and David T. Takeuchi, PhD, of the University of Washington, examined whether ethnic identity protected a person against the negative effects of discrimination and whether age and birthplace also played a role.

Data came from the National Latino and Asian American Study, a household survey conducted between 2002 and 2003 that included 2,047 Asian adults 18-75 years old. The interviews were conducted at the participants' homes in a variety of languages, including Cantonese, Mandarin, Tagalog and Vietnamese.

The participants were questioned about any negative feelings they may have had in the previous 30 days. Participants were also asked about their perceptions of racial and ethnic discrimination. They were asked how often they felt discriminated against because of their race and how close they felt their ideas and feelings were to other people of the same racial and ethnic descent.

The researchers controlled for socioeconomic status, gender, age at immigration and where the participants lived. Overall, the researchers found that discrimination was associated with psychological distress; respondents said they felt depressed more often if they had been discriminated against.

The analysis uncovered an unexpected result when the researchers looked at age and whether the participant was born in the United States. For those born outside the United States, embracing one's ethnic identity did not guard against the negative effects of discrimination on psychological wellness. However, for Asians born in the United States, ethnic attachment did affect whether discrimination made people feel more distressed, and its effect varied by age. "Among adults in their 40s, feeling strongly about their own background can counteract the negative effects of discrimination," said Yip.

Surprisingly, more analysis showed that U.S.-born participants in their 30s and those above the age of 50 who described themselves as having a strong ethnic identity had more mental distress from discrimination than those participants with a weaker ethnic attachment. "This may be because people in their forties, who are entering middle age, cope more effectively with stress and are better able to deal with emotional reactions to negative events, such as racism," said Yip. However, research has suggested that as people enter their 50s, they are actively trying to maximize happiness and minimize unhappiness, so experiencing discrimination during this time may be especially harmful for people who have a strong sense of connection to their ethnic background.

The researchers acknowledge that much more work needs to be done to understand how discrimination influences psychological well-being. "A better understanding of these issues could help us create resources that can protect against racial discrimination in this country, especially for those who are not born in the United States," said Yip.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Racial Discrimination and Psychological Distress: The Impact of Ethnic Identity and Age Among Immigrant and United States-Born Asian Adults. Tiffany Yip, PhD, Fordham University, Gilbert C. Gee, PhD, University of California Los Angeles, and David T. Takeuchi, PhD, University of Washington; Developmental Psychology, Vol. 44, No. 3.

Cite This Page:

American Psychological Association. "Racial Discrimination Has Different Mental Health Effects On Asians, Study Shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080508115812.htm>.
American Psychological Association. (2008, May 9). Racial Discrimination Has Different Mental Health Effects On Asians, Study Shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080508115812.htm
American Psychological Association. "Racial Discrimination Has Different Mental Health Effects On Asians, Study Shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080508115812.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins