How Discrimination Experiences Relate to Racial/Ethnic Identity and Mental Health Across First- and Second-Generation Vietnamese American Adolescents

Stephanie H. Yu, Austin Saephan, Bahr Weiss, Josephine H. Shih, William Tsai, Jacqueline H.J. Kim, Anna S. Lau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Racial/ethnic discrimination has been linked to behavioral and emotional problems in youth from marginalized groups. However, the psychological experience associated with discrimination may differ between immigrant and nonimmigrant youth. Race-based discrimination may impact an adolescent’s view of their own group (private regard) and/or their sense of how others view their group (public regard). Owing to differences in racialization, immigrant adolescents may be affected differently by experiences of discrimination than their U.S.-born peers. The present study examined whether nativity moderated the paths from racial/ethnic discrimination to private and public regard to mental health problems among Vietnamese American youth. Method: Surveys were completed by 718 Vietnamese American 10th and 11th graders (Mage = 15.54 years, 61.4% female, 38.6% male). In this sample, 21.2% were first-generation (i.e., born outside of the United States) and 78.8% were second-generation (i.e., born in the United States with at least one parent born outside of the United States). Results: Multigroup path analysis tested the direct and indirect effects of racial/ethnic discrimination on behavioral and emotional problems via private and public regard and whether associations differed for first- versus second-generation youth. Racial/ethnic discrimination was associated with lower public regard, but not private regard, for both first- and second-generation Vietnamese American youth. Public regard was negatively associated with behavioral and emotional problems only among second-generation youth. No indirect effects were significant. Conclusions: Findings suggest differences in racialized experiences, as well as opportunities to support second-generation Vietnamese American and other marginalized youth from immigrant families from the mental health impacts of discrimination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-295
Number of pages12
JournalCultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 31 2022


  • Vietnamese American youth
  • collective racial/ethnic identity
  • mental health
  • nativity
  • racial/ethnic discrimination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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