The Role of Mastery in the Relationship Between Perceived Ethnic Discrimination and Depression: The HELIUS Study

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Objective: This study examined the mediating and moderating role of one’s sense of mastery in the relationship between perceived ethnic discrimination and depression. Method: Questionnaire data from participants of the Healthy Life in an Urban Setting (HELIUS) study were used, containing responses from 9,141 Surinamese, Turkish, Moroccan, and Ghanaian immigrant adults, aged 18 to 70, living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Results: Results of path modeling indicated that perceptions of ethnic discrimination were positively related to depression symptomatology, and this relationship was moderated and partially mediated by mastery. Results remained fairly robust across sex, educational level, immigrant generation, and ethnicity. Conclusion: This study indicated that mastery may both serve a moderating and mediating role in the relationship between perceived ethnic discrimination and depression, suggestive of a process in which the impact of perceiving discrimination becomes increasingly more deteriorating over time. Thus, interventions focused on mastery may potentially be beneficial to improve ethnic minority mental health.

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