EN ES
Vol. 20. Num. 3. 2011. Pages 243-253

The Influence of Discrimination on Inmigrant Adolescents´ Depressive Symptoms: What Buffers its Detrimental Effects?

[Influencia de la Discriminación en los Síntomas de Depresión en Adolescentes Inmigrantes: ¿Qué Elementos Mitigan sus Efectos Perjudiciales?]

Cristini, Francesca Scacchi, Luca Perkins, Douglas D. Santinello, Massimo Vieno, Alessio

Abstract

The present study examined the link between perceived discrimination, depressive symptoms, cultural identity and social support at school reported by immigrant adolescents. Participants were 214 mostly male, immigrant adolescents in grades 9 through 13 of high schools in two small cities in northern Italy. Results showed that discrimination has a significant detrimental effect on psychological well-being of foreign-born adolescents. Additionally, the current study outlined that the only protective factor for depressive symptoms, among the analyzed variables concerning cultural identity and school social support, was social support from teachers. None of the analyzed moderators buffered the relationship between discrimination and depressive symptoms reported by immigrant adolescents. These results have implications for preventive interventions for immigrant adolescents and suggest a protective role for teachers. Future research should detect strategies to reduce discrimination and prejudice toward immigrant adolescents and detect factors that may buffer detrimental effects of discrimination on psychological well-being.

Resumen

El presente estudio examina la relación entre discriminación percibida, síntomas de depresión, identidad cultural y apoyo social percibido en una muestra de 214 estudiantes adolescentes inmigrantes. Todos ellos cursaban estudios entre los grados 9 y 13 en institutos de enseñanza secundaria de dos pequeñas ciudades del norte de Italia. Los resultados confirmaron que la discriminación posee un efecto perjudicial significativo en el bienestar psicológico de los adolescentes nacidos en el extranjero. Además, el presente estudio confirma que el apoyo social por parte de los profesores es un factor protector contra los síntomas de la depresión. En cambio otros potenciales moderadores analizados, como identidad cultural y otras fuentes de apoyo social, no mitigaron la relación entre discriminación y síntomas de depresión en los adolescentes inmigrantes. Estos resultados tienen implicaciones para el diseño de intervenciones preventivas con adolescentes inmigrantes puesto que subrayan el papel protector del profesorado. Futuras investigaciones deberían centrarse en detectar estrategias para reducir la discriminación y prejuicios hacia los adolescentes inmigrantes y detectar los factores que puedan mitigar los efectos perjudiciales de la discriminación en el bienestar psicológico.

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