Methods: Data are from the Midwest Longitudinal Study of Asian American Families (ML-SAAF) project, a longitudinal survey of Filipino American (FA) and Korean American (KA) youth and their parents living in a Midwest metropolitan area. This study used three waves of youth data. The first wave was collected in 2014 from 378 FA youth and 408 KA youth (N=786). The retention rates were 77% at Wave 2 in 2016 (N=604) and 82% of Wave 1 at Wave 3 in 2018 (N=641). Stepwise mixed effects regression models first examined (1) the impact of racial discrimination, preparation for bias, promotion of mistrust, and cultural socialization on youth depressive symptoms, (2) two-way interaction effects (discrimination×subtypes of racial-ethnic socialization) and (3) three-way interaction effects (discrimination×subtypes of racial-ethnic socialization× nativity or ethnicity).
Results: In the main effect model, racial discrimination and promotion of mistrust increased depressive symptoms. In the two-way interaction model, however, preparation for bias and promotion of mistrust mitigated the negative impact of racial discrimination on mental health. These differential impacts further varied by social positions. We found that i) the mitigating effects of preparation for bias and promotion of mistrust were significant only among U.S.-born youth, ii) the mitigating effect of promotion of mistrust was significant only among Filipino youth.
Conclusions and Implications: The findings underscored the multi-dimensional nature of racial-ethnic socialization and its influence. That is, racial-ethnic socialization that involves explicitly preparing children for racial discrimination, but not cultural socialization, alleviated the burden of racial discrimination. The study also demonstrated that Filipino and U.S.-born youth benefited from preparation for bias and/or promotion of mistrust. These findings are especially notable because Filipino American youth and U.S.-born Asian American youth have reported higher internalizing problems. This study highlights the significance of group specific interventions to be meaningfully effective in helping Asian American families to respond to racial discrimination.