How Otherness Connects With Discrimination

I chose to write a review on how discrimination impacts ethnic groups and results in depressive symptoms. I selected an article by Ikram and other scientists because it connects to what we learned in class about otherness and how discrimination can negatively impact an individual in society. The article focuses on three psychosocial factors that are involved to weaken the association of perceived ethnic discrimination (PED) and depressive symptoms. This is important to help minorities cope with discrimination and to reduce it in society.

The article was about examining perceived ethnic discrimination (PED) and how it can impact the mental and physical health of minorities. The factors that they examined were ethnic identity, religion, and ethnic social network. They tested these factors in minority groups in Amsterdam and the Netherlands and found that perceived ethnic discrimination did positively correlate with depression. Overall, the factors did decrease the likelihood that PED would result in depression in minorities, but it showed stronger results in certain minority groups.

For example, African Surinamese and Ghanaians that had a strong ethnic identity were less likely to show depressive symptoms when feeling discrimination compared to other groups. Also, religion among African Surinamese and Moroccans as well as the same-ethnic friends of South-Asian Surinamese, Ghanaians, and Turks did prevent depression. Based on their findings, the factors did weaken the association between PED and depressive symptoms. To support their conclusion, they analyzed prior research.

Some research showed different results on whether psychosocial factors prevented PED and depression.

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For instance, researchers did a meta-analysis and found that being a part of a group and having social support did not impact PED and depression. Another study found that racial identity and social support did not stop PED and depression. To explain why they did not find a positive correlation could be because of other outside factors and that most research on the impact of discrimination is studied in the U.S. with African Americans. To support their research, they looked at what was found in African Americans.

One study found that when African Americans were religious, they were able to control their emotional anger. Another study on African Americans found that belonging to a church provided social support that reduced the feeling of PED and anxiety. To explain these results, being involved in church or religious activities could make minorities feel a part of a group and having others to lean on for support. Also, a study on ethnic identity found that when minorities know their identity that it reduces anxiety from discrimination because of a history of racism and past slavery.

In my opinion, based on the Ikram article and other studies, psychosocial factors do play an important role in weakening the association of perceived ethnic discrimination and depressive symptoms. For ethnic identity, if minorities know their worth and history, then they will be able to handle discrimination without showing depressive symptoms. Also, I do agree that if minorities belong to a religious group that it can provide a support system to cope with anger from discrimination. Religion could also give minorities a sense of purpose to help others in the community and give them peace. Lastly, minorities that have same-ethnic friends are beneficial because they can relate to the stress that discrimination can have compared to groups that do not face discrimination.

Overall, the article does connect to what we learned in class about otherness and the stress it can have on an individual being excluded. In class, we talked about otherness which means that people intentionally treat people like they are different or strangers (Trammell lect. 3/10/20). Humans are wired to see differences, but this can have negative implications (Trammell). Discrimination can result in prejudice and stigma which can lead to oppression. It is important to see how we can prevent perceived ethnic discrimination to reduce the effect of feeling depressed. There need to be more studies on how PED and depression can be prevented so minorities are not impacted. In addition, I think social media can play a role in spreading hatred which also needs to be taken into account. In the end, race cannot be proven through science so we should treat everyone the same.

Works Cited

  1. Bierman, Alex. “Does Religion Buffer the Effects of Discrimination on Mental Health? Differing Effects by Race.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 22 Nov. 2006,
  2. Brondolo, Elizabeth, et al. “Coping with Racism: A Selective Review of the Literature and a Theoretical and Methodological Critique.” Journal of Behavioral Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2009,
  3. Graham, Jessica R, and Lizabeth Roemer. “A Preliminary Study of the Moderating Role of Church-Based Social Support in the Relationship between Racist Experiences and General Anxiety Symptoms.” Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 2012,
  4. Ikram, Umar Z, et al. “Perceived Ethnic Discrimination and Depressive Symptoms: The Buffering Effects of Ethnic Identity, Religion and Ethnic Social Network.” Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, Feb. 2016,[email protected]&bquery=(AU+ikram+AND+(IS+%220933-7954%22)+AND+DT+2016&bdata=JmRiPWE5aCZ0eXBlPTEmc2VhcmNoTW9kZT1TdGFuZGFyZA==.
  5. Pascoe, Elizabeth A, and Laura Smart Richman. “Perceived Discrimination and Health: A Meta-Analytic Review.” Psychological Bulletin, U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 2009,
  6. Rumbaut, Ruben G. “The Crucible within: Ethnic Identity, Self-Esteem, and Segmented Assimilation among Children of Immigrants.” International Migration Review, vol. 28, no. 4, 1994, p. 748., doi:10.2307/2547157.
  7. Trammell, John, K. “Lecture on Otherness.” Mount St. Mary’s University, March 22, 2020 Emmitsburg, MD.

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How Otherness Connects With Discrimination. (2022, Feb 09). Retrieved from

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