The Moderating Role of Emotion Regulation in Everyday Discrimination and Internalizing Disorders

2019-08-06T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Alexander A Jendrusina
Everyday discrimination, defined as subtle, unfair treatment that occurs during daily routines (Essed, 1991), is one form of discrimination experienced by the Latinx community (Pérez et al., 2008). Researchers have theorized that experiencing discrimination negatively impacts an individual’s psychological wellbeing by inciting the stress response and that when repeatedly activated, increases risk for illness, including psychiatric disorder (Clark, Anderson, Clark, & Williams, 1999). Notably, a multitude of studies provide evidence that discrimination is associated with compromised psychological wellbeing and psychiatric disorder (e.g., Paradies, 2006; Pascoe & Richman, 2009). Social anxiety disorder (Levine et al., 2014) and major depressive disorder (Leong, Park, & Kalibatseva, 2013) are two psychiatric disorders associated with everyday discrimination. Although discrimination must ultimately be addressed at multiple levels (e.g., systemic, individual), it is also important to identify strategies that enhance a person’s coping skills to mitigate the negative effects of discrimination when experienced. This cross-sectional study examined whether the emotion regulation strategies of cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression each moderated the relationship between everyday discrimination and symptoms of social anxiety disorder (i.e., social fear/anxiety, social avoidance) and major depressive disorder in an undergraduate Latinx sample (N = 122). Results indicated that everyday discrimination was positively associated with social avoidance and major depressive disorder symptoms but not social fear/anxiety. Furthermore, neither cognitive reappraisal nor expressive suppression moderated the relationship between discrimination and psychiatric symptoms. We discuss possible explanations for our findings and highlight future directions of research.