Acculturation, Discrimination and Depressive Symptoms Among Korean Immigrants in New York City

Abstract

Immigrant mental health issues, especially depression in relation to discrimination and acculturation, are reported to be serious problems in the United States. The current study examines the prevalence of depressive symptoms among Korean immigrants in New York City (NYC) and its relation to self-reported discrimination and acculturation. A sample of 304 Korean immigrants residing in NYC completed a survey utilizing the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale—Korean version, Discrimination Scale, and Acculturation Stress Scale. Results indicated that 13.2% of the sample population demonstrated some symptoms of depression and that variable such as living alone, marital status, education, years in US and income impact high depression scores. Results also indicate that higher self-reported exposure to discrimination and lower self-reported language proficiency were related to higher depressive symptoms. In a regression analysis, discrimination and English language proficiency were significant predictors of depression, but acculturation stress was not significantly related to depression.

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Acknowledgments

This study was funded by The Beautiful Foundation USA and by Clinical Translational Science Center, Weill Medical College, Cornell University, grant #ULI-RR024996. In addition, we would like to thank the Korean American Behavioral Health Association (KABHA), which initiated this study as part of its “Mental Health Initiatives” project.

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Correspondence to Kunsook Song Bernstein.

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Bernstein, K.S., Park, SY., Shin, J. et al. Acculturation, Discrimination and Depressive Symptoms Among Korean Immigrants in New York City. Community Ment Health J 47, 24–34 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-009-9261-0

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Keywords

  • Depression
  • Acculturation stress
  • Discrimination
  • Korean immigrants