Method: This study used the data from the Korean American Families (KAF) Project to examine how potential risk factors of Korean American adolescents predict depressive symptoms, and how the participation and involvement in the ethnic church buffer the negative influences of the risk factors. Korean Americans report the very high level of ethnic church attendance. The KAF Project surveyed Korean American adolescents in middle school and their parents living in Chicago and surrounding areas. A total 220 Korean American adolescents (115 boys and 105 girls) were interviewed with an average age of 12. 97 (SD = 1.001) at the time of the first interview in 2007. This study used the data from youth and their parents.
Results: Regression analysis shows that peer rejection and conflict with parent were significantly associated with depressive symptoms. When the church related variables were included in regression models, social support from church was significantly negatively associated with depressive symptom. Church involvement and attendance were not significantly associated with depressive symptoms. The interaction effects between church related variables and risk factors were not statistically significant.
Implication: Findings suggest that social support from church mentor or friends may offset the stress among adolescence. The benefits from the church involvement may result not merely from attending ethnic church, but from social support of the co-ethnic network. Future research should address how social relationships in ethnic church are specifically related with the positive development of immigrant children and how immigrant children can maximize the benefits from ethnic church involvement.