Perceived workplace discrimination, coping and psychological distress among unskilled Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia

Author(s): Noraini M. NOOR ; Muhamad Nabil SHAKER


Migrant workers face many migration-related stressors that may affect their mental health. This study examines workplace discrimination in relation to psychological distress, and the role of coping among unskilled Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia. In a sample of 119 workers (39 males and 80 females), results of a hierarchical regression analysis showed that workplace discrimination was positively related to psychological distress. Both problem-oriented coping and emotion/avoidance coping were predictive of distress. While problem-oriented coping was associated with lower distress, emotional/avoidance coping was related with higher distress levels. In addition, low emotion/avoidance coping was found to buffer the adverse effect of discrimination on distress. These results are discussed in relation to the literature on coping as well as the social-cultural context of the migrants and the host country.


Perceived workplace discrimination; Coping; Psychological distress; Migrant workers; Collectivist culture

Tags: Malaysia, Indonesia, Migrant workers, Employment, Perceived discrimination, Psychological distress, Coping strategies

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