Ethnically Heterogeneous Friendships and Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety Among Filipino Americans

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Abstract

Ethnically heterogeneous friendships may be characterized by interactional discord and other challenges, but the potential risks for minority status groups, namely, Filipino Americans, have been overlooked. The present study examined whether ethnically heterogeneous friendships are associated with depressive and anxiety symptoms and whether friendship discord mediates these relationships after adjusting for covariates. Analyses focused on data from the Filipino American Community Epidemiological Study, involving 2,305 Filipino American adult respondents in San Francisco and Honolulu. Participants completed measures of depressive and anxiety symptoms, ethnically heterogeneous friendships, friendship discord, ethnic identity, everyday discrimination, and sociodemographics. Compared with their Filipino counterparts who reported two or less close non-Filipino friends, Filipino Americans who reported three or more very good non-Filipino friends endorsed depressive and anxiety symptoms to a greater extent. Friendship discord also partially mediated these associations between ethnically heterogeneous friendships and symptoms of depression and anxiety. These results suggest that friendship discord may potentially mitigate the benefits of ethnically heterogeneous friendships and contribute to depressive and anxiety symptoms among Filipino Americans.

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