Acculturation, Discrimination and Depressive Symptoms among Korean Immigrants in New York City

Monday, 12 July 2010: 2:45 PM

Kunsook S. Bernstein, RN, PhD, NP, CASAC
Nursing, Hunter College of the City University of New York, New York, NY
Sunhee Cho, PhD, RN
School of Nursing, Hunter College, New York, NY

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to understand the prevelance of depression among Korean immigrants compared to the general population

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to understand the impact of acculturation and discrimination in relation depression among Korean immigrants in New York City.

Purpose: The current study examines the prevalence of depressive symptoms among Korean immigrants in New York City (NYC) and its relation to self-reported discrimination and acculturation. 

Methods: A sample of 304 Korean immigrants residing in NYC completed a survey utilizing the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale – Korean version, Discrimination Scale, and Acculturation Stress Scale.

Results: Results indicated that 13.2% of the sample population demonstrated some symptoms of depression and that variables such as living alone, marital status, education, years in US and income impact high depression scores. Results also indicate that higher self-reported exposure to discrimination and lower self-reported language proficiency were related to higher depressive symptoms. In a hierarchical regression analysis, discrimination and English language proficiency were significant predictors of depression, but acculturation stress was not significantly related to depression.
Conclusion: This study contributes to a deeper understanding of the relationship between depression, self-reported discrimination and particular sociodemographic factors among Korean immigrants.  The results suggest that health and mental health care practitioners need to be keenly aware of the impact of discrimination on mental health when treating patients from this population.