Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 1–11 | Cite as

Discrimination Distress among Chinese American Adolescents

Original Paper


This paper addresses contradictions between common perceptions of Asian Americans as a “model minority” and growing evidence of discrimination and its negative psychological implications for this group. The current study examined Chinese American early adolescents’ distress from experiences of discrimination, its relationship with mental health and social functioning, and what factors may support their healthy development in the face of discrimination. The sample consisted of 158, 6th–8th grade, Chinese American youth. Study findings provided evidence for a relationship between distress from discrimination and social emotional health variables of depression and cooperation (a social competence construct). Results also revealed that peer support buffered the negative effects of discrimination on cooperation. These findings highlight the interpersonal context of discrimination among early adolescents, and the importance of developmentally and culturally appropriate supports.


Discrimination Racism Early adolescence Peers Support 



The authors wish to thank Maureen Kenny and Sumru Erkut for their editorial assistance, and Allison Tracy for her statistical support. Thanks to Belle Liang’s research team at Boston College for making this project possible.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wellesley Centers for WomenWellesley CollegeWellesleyUSA
  2. 2.Boston CollegeLynch School of EducationChestnut HillUSA

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