Korean Americans' Varying Levels of Depressive Symptoms in Relation to the Ethnicities of Their Major Interaction Partners: Comparisons and Explanations

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Communication Studies




After conducting a survey study with cross-sectional data involving 377 Korean Americans, this study finds that (1) Korean Americans mainly interacting with European Americans report a lower level of depressive symptoms than those in frequent contact with African Americans or Latino/as; (2) a model involving the relationships between Korean Americans’ perceived ethnic distance, personal-relational and personal-enacted identity gaps, and level of depressive symptoms is tenable; and (3) comparisons of the model applied to three groups of Korean Americans who interact with different ethnic groups reveal that relationships between the perceived ethnic distance and the identity gaps are accentuated for Korean Americans who predominantly interact with African Americans and attenuated with those in frequent contact with European Americans. Possible explanations for the different levels of depressive symptoms according to the ethnicities of the Korean Americans’ major interaction partners are discussed.

Publication Title

Journal of International and Intercultural Communication

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