Coping With Discrimination Among Mexican American College Students

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Abstract

There is limited research directly examining the process of how Mexican American college students cope with unique experiences of racial discrimination. The present study used a multiple mediation model to collectively examine the indirect effects of engagement (i.e., problem solving, cognitive restructuring, expression of emotion, and social support) and disengagement (i.e., social withdrawal, self-criticism, problem avoidance, and wishful thinking) coping strategies on the relationship between perceived racial discrimination and subjective well-being of 302 Mexican American college students. Results suggested that perceived racial discrimination was negatively correlated with subjective well-being. Moreover, of the engagement coping strategies examined, only problem solving had a significant mediating effect that was associated with elevations in subjective well-being. Specifically, perceptions of racial discrimination were positively related to problem solving, which, in turn, was positively related to subjective well-being. Of the disengagement coping strategies examined, self-criticism, wishful thinking, and social withdrawal had a significant mediating effect that was negatively associated with subjective well-being. Specifically, perceptions of racial discrimination were positively related to self-criticism, wishful thinking, and social withdrawal, which, in turn, were negatively related to subjective well-being. Ultimately, these findings highlight the indirect and complex ways in which multiple coping strategies are used to effectively, and sometimes not effectively, deal with racism experienced by Mexican Americans college students.

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