Depressive Symptoms in South Asian, East Asian, and European Americans: Evidence for Ethnic Differences in Coping With Academic Versus Interpersonal Stress?

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The present study sought to understand the role of ethnicity in the relationship between each of 3 distinct coping strategies (problem-focused, active emotional, and avoidant emotional) and depressive symptoms in a sample of 81 South Asian Americans, 123 East Asian Americans, and 117 European Americans. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that use of avoidant emotional coping strategies is a consistent predictor of depressive symptoms when coping with either an academic or interpersonal stressful event. Additional analyses indicated a significant interaction effect between ethnicity and avoidant emotional coping for South Asian Americans and European Americans in accounting for depressive symptoms when the stressful event was interpersonal, but not academic, in nature. Overall, the present findings support some evidence of ethnic differences in the relations between coping strategies and depressive symptoms for Asian-American subgroups and European Americans.

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