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Sources of ethnic differences between Asian American and white American college students on measures of depression and social anxiety

Okazaki, S.

Journal of Abnormal Psychology 106(1): 52-60

1997


ISSN/ISBN: 0021-843X
PMID: 9103717
Accession: 009437273

This study tested an affect-specific explanation for the Asian and White American differences in depression and social anxiety. Construal of the self as independent or interdependent in relation to others (H. R. Markus & S. Kitayama, 1991) was hypothesized to be 1 possible way in which culture may be expressed in individuals' psychological functioning, which in turn was hypothesized to be linked specifically to social anxiety. College students (N = 348; 183 White Americans and 165 Asian Americans) completed self-report measures of depression, social anxiety, and self-construals. Asian Americans scored significantly higher than White Americans on measures of depression and social anxiety. When the covariance between depression and social anxiety was statistically controlled, ethnicity and self-construal variables were found, as predicted, to be associated with measures of social anxiety but not depression. These findings suggest a more differentiated perspective on the relations between culture, ethnicity, and emotional distress.

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