Perceived discrimination, depression, and the role of perceived social support as an effect modifier in Korean young adults

Kwanghyun Kim, Sun Jae Jung, So Mi Jemma Cho, Ji Hye Park, Hyeon Chang Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The relationships among discrimination, social support, and mental health have mostly been studied in minorities, and relevant studies in the general population are lacking. We aimed to investigate associations between discrimination and depressive symptoms in Korean non-minority young adults, considering the role of social support. Methods: In total, 372 participants who completed the psychological examinations conducted in the third wave of the Jangseong High School Cohort study were included. We used the Everyday Discrimination Scale to evaluate perceived discrimination and the Beck Depression Inventory-II to measure depressive symptoms. Social support was measured by the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. Multivariate linear regression was conducted to investigate associations between discrimination and depression, along with the effect modification of social support. We stratified the population by gender to investigate gender differences. Results: Perceived discrimination was significantly associated with depressive symptoms (β=0.736, p<0.001), and social support was negatively associated with depression (β=-0.245, p<0.001). In men, support from friends was the most influential factor (β=-0.631, p=0.011), but no significant effect modification was found. In women, support from family was the most influential factor (β=-0.440, p=0.010), and women with higher familial support showed a significantly diminished association between discrimination and depression, unlike those with lower family support. Conclusions: Discrimination perceived by individuals can lead to depressive symptoms in Korean young adults, and this relationship can may differ by gender and social support status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-376
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Nov

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (NRF-2018R1C1B5083722).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2019 The Korean Society for Preventive Medicine.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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