Effects of social support, coping strategies, self-esteem, mastery, and religiosity on the relationship between stress and depression among Korean immigrants in the United States: structural equation modeling

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2007-12

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Park, Hyun-Sun, 1970-

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Abstract

Literature has shown that Korean immigrants experience severe depressive symptoms due to the stresses associated with immigration. The purpose of this study is to extend current research on stress and depression to the Korean immigrant population in the United States. While most studies on Korean immigrants focus almost entirely on the unsettling nature of immigration, the current study focused on the role of stress-resistance variables (mediating factors) in the relationship between various sources of stress and depression among Korean immigrants. This study investigated the relationship between stressors and depression and the effects of such mediating variables as coping strategies, social support, personal resources (mastery and self-esteem), and religiosity on the stressors-depression relationship among the Korean population. The sample of this study consisted of 374 Korean immigrants who migrated to the United States at the age of 16 or older. Structural Equation Modeling was used to test the study hypotheses. Results found detrimental effects of stressors on the level of depression, as well as mediating effects of perceived social support and personal resources (selfesteem and mastery) on the relationship between stressors and depression. However, no mediating effects of coping strategies and religiosity on the relationship between stressors and depression were found. Implications for social work practice, research, theory, policy, and education are discussed.

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