Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 52 (6), 366-376

Perceived Discrimination, Depression, and the Role of Perceived Social Support as an Effect Modifier in Korean Young Adults


Perceived Discrimination, Depression, and the Role of Perceived Social Support as an Effect Modifier in Korean Young Adults

Kwanghyun Kim et al. J Prev Med Public Health.


Objectives: The relationships among discrimination, social support, and mental health have mostly been studied in minorities, and relevant studies in the general population are lacking. We aimed to investigate associations between discrimination and depressive symptoms in Korean non-minority young adults, considering the role of social support.

Methods: In total, 372 participants who completed the psychological examinations conducted in the third wave of the Jangseong High School Cohort study were included. We used the Everyday Discrimination Scale to evaluate perceived discrimination and the Beck Depression Inventory-II to measure depressive symptoms. Social support was measured by the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. Multivariate linear regression was conducted to investigate associations between discrimination and depression, along with the effect modification of social support. We stratified the population by gender to investigate gender differences.

Results: Perceived discrimination was significantly associated with depressive symptoms (β=0.736, p<0.001), and social support was negatively associated with depression (β=-0.245, p<0.001). In men, support from friends was the most influential factor (β=-0.631, p=0.011), but no significant effect modification was found. In women, support from family was the most influential factor (β=-0.440, p=0.010), and women with higher familial support showed a significantly diminished association between discrimination and depression, unlike those with lower family support.

Conclusions: Discrimination perceived by individuals can lead to depressive symptoms in Korean young adults, and this relationship can may differ by gender and social support status.

Keywords: Depression; Discrimination; Korea; Social support.

Conflict of interest statement


The authors have no conflicts of interest associated with the material presented in this paper.

Similar articles

See all similar articles


    1. Stepanikova I, Baker EH, Simoni ZR, Zhu A, Rutland SB, Sims M, et al. The role of perceived discrimination in obesity among African Americans. Am J Prev Med. 2017;52(1S1):S77–S85. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Wickham S, Taylor P, Shevlin M, Bentall RP. The impact of social deprivation on paranoia, hallucinations, mania and depression: the role of discrimination social support, stress and trust. PLoS One. 2014;9(8):e105140 - PMC - PubMed
    1. Gilman SE, Bruce ML, Ten Have T, Alexopoulos GS, Mulsant BH, Reynolds CF 3rd, et al. Social inequalities in depression and suicidal ideation among older primary care patients. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2013;48(1):59–69. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Chou KL. Perceived discrimination and depression among new migrants to Hong Kong: the moderating role of social support and neighborhood collective efficacy. J Affect Disord. 2012;138(1-2):63–70. - PubMed
    1. Gee GC, Ro A, Shariff-Marco S, Chae D. Racial discrimination and health among Asian Americans: evidence, assessment, and directions for future research. Epidemiol Rev. 2009;31:130–151. - PMC - PubMed