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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Association Between Cultural Orientations, Social Support, and Depression Among American College Students
by Le, Jeffrey, M.S., Barry University, 2020, 76; 28002235
Abstract (Summary)

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH, 2016) states that depressive symptomology is widely reported among college students. The percentage of college students reporting Major Depressive Episode (MDE) in the past year was 8.5 – 8.9 % in 2011and 2015, respectively (NSDUH, 2012, SAMSHA, 2016). Several studies show that a number of individual, contextual, and social factors including cultural orientations are related to depressive symptomatology. Cultural orientations such as collectivism and individualism refer to the shared behaviors, practices, and values that an individual or group adopts (Triandis, 1998). Collectivism is defined as a social pattern that closely linked individuals who see themselves as dependent on and part of one or more collectives (Triandis,1995). On the other hand, individualism is the cultural orientation where individuals feel loosely connected to one another and are independent of the social group (Triandis, 1995). Studies show that collectivism and individualism have been found to contribute differentially to the likelihood of depressive symptomatology (Bhullar, N., Malouff, J. M., & Schutte, N. S., 2012; Brougham, D., & Haar, J. M., 2013; Jung, J. Y., McCormick, J., & Gross, M. M., 2012). Social support is a domain of social relationships that has been shown to increase likelihood of psychological well-being (Ryff, 2014). It has been defined as the various types of support that people receive from others. Current empirical evidence indicates that social support promotes adaptation and has been shown to be a negative correlate of depressive symptoms (Xingmin, Lin, Jing, & Jiaxi, 2014). To date, reports on the association between cultural orientations and depressive symptomatology are mixed. Studies indicate that individuals with a collectivistic cultural orientation report lower levels of depressive symptoms whereas those with an individualistic orientation are more likely to report higher levels of depressive symptomatology. Despite these noteworthy findings, the patterns of

association between social support, cultural orientations, and depressive symptomatology have not been explored in ethnically diverse emerging adults who are in college. As a result, the present study used the Triandis’ Individualism-Collectivism theoretical framework to describe whether social support, individualism, and collectivism predicted likelihood of depressive in a ethnically diverse sample of college students.

The current study used a cross-sectional survey design. The sample was drawn from an archived national data set of identity and culture (Multisite Study of Identity and Culture [MUSIC]; Schwartz et al., 2011). The data were de-identified. College students of diverse background (N = 1,650), with participant ages ranging from 18 to 29 years (M = 20.08, SD = 2.11). Most participants were women (N = 1,192 (72%). The measures for the current study included a demographic questionnaire, as well as measures for the cultural values of individualism and collectivism, social support, and depressive symptomatology. Reliability analysis were conducted to evaluate internal consistency. All measures had good reliability.

However, the social relationships subscale of the Ryff’s scale used to measure social support was found to have a very low reliability coefficient in this sample. Exploratory analyses were conducted to identify potential differences in predictor variables. One-way ANOVA results did not yield statistically significant differences in mean levels in predictor variables of cultural orientations and social support. A multiple regression data analytic approach was used to evaluate whether social support, individualism, and collectivism would predict depressive symptomatology. Results indicated good model fit F(2, 1203) = 5.49, p < .01. Both predictor variables of the Social Relationships Ryff subscale (β = - .09, p < .01) and Individualism (β =

.07, p < .05) were identified as significant predictors of depressive symptoms. Whereas social support was a negative predictor, individualism was a positive predictor of depressive symptoms.

Collectivism was not observed to be a statistically significant predictor of depressive symptoms (β = .003, p = .908, ns). These findings have important implications for prevention and intervention efforts that seek to support mental health in ethnically diverse emerging adults who are enrolled in college.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Des Rosiers, Sabrina E.
Commitee: Wated, Guillermo, Hall, Pamela D.
School: Barry University
Department: College of Arts and Sciences
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: MAI 81/12(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Clinical psychology, Psychology, Ethnic studies, American studies, Higher education
Keywords: Collectivism, College, Cultural orientation, Depression, Individualism, Social support
Publication Number: 28002235
ISBN: 9798617024359
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