Moderating Effects of Critical Consciousness and Acculturative Stress on the Relation Between Racism and Low-Income Asian Americans’ Mental Health
Lee, Eunmyoung Alice
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Anti-Asian racism has been a pervasive challenge for Asian American communities (Sue et al., 2007), which has increased by nearly 150% from 2019-2020 post the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic (Yam, 2021). An expansive body of research has found that racism is significantly related to an array of negative mental health outcomes among Asian Americans (Hahm et al., 2010). However, there remains a dearth of research specifically examining mental health outcomes among low-income Asian Americans, who may be at greater risk for stress due to exposure to both racism and classism. The present study examined the relation between racism and psychological outcomes amongst low-income Asian American adults. Critical consciousness and acculturative stress were examined as potential moderators in that relation. A sample of low-income Asian American adults (N = 365) participated in an online survey to respond to measures on demographic information, racism, psychological distress, psychological well-being, critical consciousness, and acculturative stress. Results showed that racism was a significant predictor of psychological distress and psychological well-being while controlling for age and subjective social status among low-income Asian Americans. The moderation analyses found that acculturative stress was a significant moderator in the association between racism and psychological well-being whereas critical consciousness was not a significant moderator in the association between racism and psychological well-being nor distress. Clinical implications and recommendations for future research are also discussed.