What is it about?

This study illustrates that Black and Asian American emerging adults may have different self-concept processes through which they experience racial/ethnic discrimination and depressive symptoms. Whereas racial/ethnic discrimination was linked to lower personal self-worth and mood among Asian Americans, for Black Americans discrimination was associated with both lower personal and racial/ethnic self-concept, and lower self-esteem was in turn related to higher depressive symptoms. Regardless of group differences, the negative association between racial/ethnic discrimination and Asian and Black American emerging adults’ emotional health was palpable and calls for continued attention.

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Why is it important?

Eliminating racial/ethnic discrimination present in our society is of the utmost priority. However, as long as health disparities for individuals from marginalized communities persist, elucidation of the psychological processes underlying negative outcomes remains critical. To this effect, the present study contributes to advancing the understanding of diversity within racial/ethnic minority experiences by underscoring shared and group-specific risk and resilience processes among Asian and Black American emerging adults. Specifically, our results suggest that racial/ethnic discrimination may involve both personal and group-based self-concept in its relation to depressive symptoms among Black Americans. Asian Americans, on the other hand, may be more prone to associate such negative social experiences with personal sense of worth. Overall, these findings highlight the need to increase society-wide and race/ethnicity-specific intervention to address the harmful impact of discrimination. For instance, programs to enhance awareness and reduce racial/ethnic discrimination on college campuses are essential to help improve Black and Asian American students’ mental health. Moreover, increased education and outreach efforts to discuss how to better process and cope with discriminatory encounters may help promote their well-being.

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This page is a summary of: Discrimination and depressive symptoms among Black and Asian American college students: Shared and group-specific processes of self-concept., Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, May 2022, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/cdp0000549.
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