Effect of Perceived Discrimination on Depressive Symptoms in 1st- and 2nd-Generation Afghan-Americans

Author(s): Qais ALEMI ; Hafifa SIDDIQ ; Kelly BAEK ; Hoda SANA ; Carl STEMPEL ; Nahid AZIZ ; Susanne MONTGOMERY



While it is well established that Afghan refugees are disproportionately affected by mental health problems, limited evidence exists concerning the psychosocial needs of their children who are transitioning to adulthood in the United States; that is, of 1st- and 2nd-generation Afghan-Americans. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of perceived discrimination on depressive symptoms in this population, and to determine whether discrimination is buffered by ethnic identity and social support. A convenience sample of 133 1st- and 2nd-generation Afghan-Americans participated in this study by completing a brief survey. We used OLS regression methods to control for covariates, and to sequentially test study hypotheses. The results show that perceived discrimination was significantly associated with high levels of depression. Furthermore, the effect of discrimination on depression was not buffered by ethnic identity or social support. We found that perceived discrimination was a significant source of stress and a risk-factor for negative mental health outcomes among 1st- and 2nd-generation Afghan-Americans. Future research should examine additional pre-dispositional and protective factors for discriminatory experiences and associated health outcomes.


Afghan-American, 2nd-Generation, Depression, Discrimination 

Tags: United States, Afghanistan, Refugees, Discrimination, Depression, First generation, Second generation

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