Perceived discrimination and depressive symptoms: a study of Vietnamese women who migrated to South Korea due to marriage

Yong Ju Cho, Yuri Jang, Jung Eun Ko, Sun Hae Lee, Soo Kyung Moon

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International migrants are one group that is vulnerable to discrimination and mental health problems. This study examined the experience of perceived discrimination and its impact on depressive symptoms among women who migrated in the specific context of marriage. Using social constructionism and the stress appraisal model, this study conceptualized perceived discrimination as a potential source of stress and hypothesized that it would negatively impact the mental health of migrant women. A survey sample of 212 Vietnamese marriage migrant women in South Korea was used for the final analysis. Perceived discrimination was measured using the adapted Everyday Discrimination Scale (EDS). Overall, approximately 62% of the sample reported having at least one discriminatory encounter based on the nine items of the EDS. The results of the multivariate analyses indicated that perceived discrimination posed a significant risk to mental health (β = 0.43, p < .001). The experience of perceived discrimination increased the amount of explained variance of depressive symptoms by 17%. Findings highlighted the adverse mental health consequences of daily unfair treatment and disrespect in interpersonal contexts and the importance of social policies and programs that promote respect for cultural diversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)863-871
Number of pages9
JournalWomen and Health
Issue number8
StatePublished - 13 Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

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© 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Depressive symptoms
  • Everyday Discrimination Scale (EDS)
  • Vietnamese migrant women
  • mental health
  • perceived discrimination


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