Discrimination, Stress, and Depressive Symptoms in the Context of Interracial Relationships: Evidence From the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health

Claire M. Kamp Dush, The Ohio State University
Patricia Pittman , The Ohio State University

Interracial relationships have grown in the last 50 years. Couple-level minority stress theory asserts that individuals in interracial relationships become vulnerable to stressors because their relationship itself is stigmatized, leading to poorer mental health. We test this assertion by using Add Health. We conducted ordinary least square regressions to test the association between being in an interracial relationship at Wave IV with depressive symptoms, as well as mediating variables of discrimination, isolation and perceived stress. Individuals in interracial relationships reported elevated discrimination, isolation, perceived stress, and depressive symptoms. In the mediation model, the association between depressive symptoms and interracial relationship membership was no longer significant after the inclusion of discrimination, isolation, and perceived stress. Our preliminary evidence suggests that a potential mechanism underlying the association between being in an interracial relationship and depressive symptoms may be through an increased experience of stress due to being in a marginalized relationship.

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 Presented in Session 5. Health & Mortality 1