Asian immigrants and the stress process: a study of Koreans in Canada

J Health Soc Behav. 1996 Jun;37(2):192-206.


The stress process paradigm is one of the most widely held perspectives in the sociology of mental health. While this model has been applied to a large number of research problems, relatively little work has examined whether the paradigm can assist in understanding the link between socially induced stressors and their consequences for the mental health of immigrants. In this paper, we employ a stress process formulation to examine the interplay among stressors, psychological and social resources, and psychological distress among a large sample of Korean immigrants living in Toronto, Canada. Data from a longitudinal study of over 600 respondents indicate that the stress process paradigm provides a useful perspective for understanding how chronic stressors associated with the immigration experience manifest themselves in psychological distress. Our results suggest that social and psychological resources have important deterrent effects on the experience of stressors and their subsequent distressful consequences. Ethnic social support and mastery are especially important factors in this process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Emigration and Immigration*
  • Ethnicity / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Korea / ethnology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ontario
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*