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Self-Compassion and Social Connectedness Buffering Racial Discrimination on Depression Among Asian Americans

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Abstract

Objective

This study aimed to examine the personal (i.e., self-compassion) and social (i.e., social connectedness) resources that can buffer individuals’ psychological distress in the face of difficulty based on previous literature on self-compassion and social connectedness.

Method

We used a cross-sectional online survey to examine whether there was a three-way interaction of racial discrimination, three self-compassion components (i.e., self-kindness, mindfulness, and common humanity), and social connectedness on depression among Asian American college students. Participants were 205 Asian Americans from a West Coast public university.

Results

Results supported the moderation hypothesis with social connectedness and self-kindness as moderators. Specifically, at higher social connectedness and higher self-kindness, the association between racial discrimination and depression was not significant. Conversely, at higher social connectedness and lower self-kindness, the association between racial discrimination and depression was significantly positive. Furthermore, at lower social connectedness and higher self-kindness, the association between racial discrimination and depression was significantly positive. However, at lower social connectedness and lower self-kindness, the association between racial discrimination and depression was not significant. The same results applied to the second (i.e., social connectedness and mindfulness as moderators), but not the third (i.e., social connectedness and common humanity as moderators) moderation hypothesis.

Conclusion

Both personal (i.e., self-compassion) and social (i.e., social connectedness) factors work together to buffer the impact of racial discrimination on depression among Asian American college students.

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Data Availability Statement

All data are available at the Open Science Framework (https://osf.io/2hvkn/).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

SL: conducted literature search, assisted with data analyses, wrote the paper, and revised the manuscript. CL: designed and executed the study, collaborated with the writing of the study, and collaborated in editing and revising the manuscript. CW: executed the study, collaborated with the writing of the study, and collaborated in editing and revising the manuscript. MW: designed the study, analyzed the data and wrote the results, collaborated with the writing of the study, and collaborated in editing and revising the manuscript. SK: collaborated with the writing of the study and collaborated in editing and revising the manuscript and editing the final manuscript. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript for submission.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Shuyi Liu.

Ethics declarations

In accordance with APA ethical guidelines, we affirm that the above order of authorship reflects our relative contribution to this project. We have followed ethical principles of the American Psychological Association in conducting this study and in our treatment of research participants. None of the authors has any financial interest or other conflict of interest that influenced the conduct of this study or the reporting of results.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Institutional Review Board of University of California, Riverside and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

This study was presented at the 126th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA, August 2018.

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Liu, S., Li, CI., Wang, C. et al. Self-Compassion and Social Connectedness Buffering Racial Discrimination on Depression Among Asian Americans. Mindfulness 11, 672–682 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-019-01275-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-019-01275-8

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