Perceived racial discrimination, depression, and coping: a study of Southeast Asian refugees in Canada

J Health Soc Behav. 1999 Sep;40(3):193-207.


Using data obtained from personal interviews with 647 Southeast Asian refugees in Canada, this study tests hypotheses regarding both the association between perceived racial discrimination and depression, and the roles of coping and ethnic identity in conditioning the nature of the discrimination-depression relation. Refugees who reported that they had experienced racial discrimination had higher depression levels than their counterparts who reported no such experiences. Responding to discrimination through confrontation was not significantly associated with depression. Study findings support the effectiveness of forbearance in diminishing the strength of the association between discrimination and depression. The moderating effect of forbearance was conditioned by the level of ethnic identity: The beneficial effect of forbearance was significantly greater among those holding stronger ethnic identification. Cultural and situational interpretations of the findings are presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Asia, Southeastern / ethnology
  • Canada
  • Depressive Disorder / ethnology*
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prejudice*
  • Risk Factors