The Relationship Between Critical Ethnic Awareness and Racial Discrimination: Multiple Indirect Effects of Coping Strategies Among Asian Americans


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Asian Americans face discrimination based on their culture and ethnicity, despite being perceived as successful immigrants with few problems. Little information is available regarding what factors might facilitate Asian Americans’ recognition of racial discrimination experiences (RDEs) to enhance their ability to cope. This study draws concepts from empowerment and stress-coping theories and examines relationships between critical ethnic awareness and RDEs and between RDEs and the effects of coping strategies specific to discrimination on the outcome of depressive symptoms. A convenience sample of Asian American adults (N = 405) was used to test 2 main hypotheses using path analysis: first, that critical ethnic awareness is indirectly associated with coping strategies through RDEs, and second, 4 coping strategies differentially and indirectly affect the RDE-depression relationship. The findings show critical ethnic awareness indirectly affects 2 types of emotional coping through RDEs. In addition, RDEs have an indirect effect on depressive symptoms through 2 coping strategies involving emotional reactions. The proposed path model strengthens theoretical arguments of the empowerment theory that hold that critical ethnic awareness contributes to better recognition of RDEs and facilitates emotion-based coping strategies to deal with psychological stresses in response to RDEs. The study also found support for the significant indirect effects for emotional engagement coping in RDE-depressive symptoms relationships.

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