Perceived discrimination and depression: moderating effects of coping, acculturation, and ethnic support

Am J Public Health. 2003 Feb;93(2):232-8. doi: 10.2105/ajph.93.2.232.


The authors evaluated the effects of cultural norms and social contexts on coping processes involved in dealing with perceived racial discrimination. Cross-sectional data derived from personal interviews with Korean immigrants residing in Toronto were analyzed. Among the respondents, active, problem-focused coping styles were more effective in reducing the impacts on depression of perceived discrimination, while frequent use of passive, emotion-focused coping had debilitating mental health effects. The present findings lend greater support to a social contextual explanation than to a cultural maintenance explanation of coping processes. They also suggest that, when empowered with sufficient social resources, racial minority individuals of diverse cultural heritages are more likely to confront than to accept racial bias.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / ethnology*
  • Depression / prevention & control
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Ethnicity / psychology*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Korea / ethnology
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Ontario
  • Prejudice*
  • Problem Solving
  • Social Adjustment
  • Social Support*
  • Socioeconomic Factors