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J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2010 Jan;65B(1):14-21. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbp019. Epub 2009 Apr 3.

Living in a different world: acculturative stress among Korean American elders.

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  • 1Department of Aging and Mental Health Disparities, University of South Florida, Tampa, 33612, USA.


Using a sample of Korean American elders, this study examined internal mechanisms by which the level of acculturation influences mental health outcomes. We hypothesized that the impact of five domains of acculturation on mental distress (depressive symptoms and anxiety) would be mediated by individuals' subjectively appraised acculturative stress. The latter was indexed by measures of task-oriented and emotion-oriented stress. The results from structural equation modeling with 472 Korean American elders in Florida (M age = 69.9, SD = 7.04) provided support for the mediation model. Findings demonstrate that acculturation exerts an influence on mental health and that acculturative stress functions as a mediator in the linkage between the level of acculturation and mental distress. Findings suggest avenues for facilitating immigrant elders' positive adaptation and promoting their mental well-being.

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