Methods: Using a cross-sectional design, this study employed nonprobability sampling procedure that relies on available subjects. The sample consisted of 374 Korean immigrants who migrated to the U.S. at the age of 16 or older. Data were collected through a paper-pencil survey questionnaire that includes nine standard instruments to measure the exogenous variables (acculturative stress and resilient factors) and endogenous depression variable of the study. Data were analyzed using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM).
Results: The analysis indicated that almost half of the study subjects (47.1%, n=176) were considered as experiencing depressive symptoms, with a mean score of 15.7 (SD=8.9). Multivariate analysis using SEM found detrimental effects of stressors on depression (.519, p=.004), as well as mediating effects of perceived social support (-.231, p=.015) and personal resources (-.556, p=.028) on the relationship between stressors and depression. However, no mediating effects of coping strategies and religiosity were found. Although stressors themselves explained a significant amount of the total variance in depression (R2= .27, p=.004,) the relationship between stressors and depression was better explained by the multivariate model (R2= .524, p=.049).
Implications: The findings indicating high prevalence of depression among Korean immigrants suggest that needs assessment for Korean population needs to be more active than just based on the utilization rate of the facilities, and any barriers for them to access public services need to be addressed. In addition, the findings that coping has no effects on depression but strong effects on perceived social support and personal resources suggest that future research need to identify the contexts where coping is positively related to these mediators. Another important implication for future research is that the pre-migration experiences of Korean immigrants need to be considered to clarify whether the high level of depression is more influenced by the migration process or by general life stressors.